How to train to be a Clinical Psychologist in New Zealand as an International Applicant

New Zealand

We at Share Resolve don’t have any direct experience of training in New Zealand so the information below is collated from information we have found on the New Zealand Psychology Society’s website, the Psychologist’s Board (regulator), the New Zealand College for Clinical Psychologists and university websites.

We’ve tried to link to the sources of information that we have found so you can check the details for yourself and so you know where to look for updates. Please let us know if there are inaccuracies or if we have missed any relevant information.

New Zealand has a shortage of Clinical Psychologists. This is probably because there is a lack of places on Clinical Psychology training programmes. We think this is why some clinical psychology training courses are not open to international students.

We could not find a clinical psychology programme that was actively inviting applications from overseas. So we don’t know whether it is possible for international applicants to train in New Zealand.

Qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist in New Zealand

To qualify as a registered Clinical Psychologist in New Zealand it is necessary to have at least a Master’s degree in Psychology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology.

If you apply for a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology the university will require that you study a masters or a PhD in a related subject alongside the diploma.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology is usually a three-year programme. The Diploma is comprised of academic coursework and supervised clinical practice. There is a gradual transition from an emphasis on didactic teaching and observation in the first year, to mainly supervised clinical experience (internships) in the third year. In all years, substantial independent work is required, such as accessing and reading journal articles and writing clinical reports and case studies. The first two years of the programme are often taken concurrently with the Masters or PhD.

The University of Auckland and Massey University offer a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology rather than the Postgraduate Diploma but neither are open to international students.

The Psychologist’s Board of New Zealand lists the training courses that it accredits on it’s website. The available clinical psychology training courses are:

To be eligible to register as a clinical psychologist the regulator, the Psychologists Board, requires approved practicum or internship involving 1,500 hours of supervised practice.

Do I need to be licensed or registered to practice as a psychologist in New Zealand?

Only practitioners who are currently registered by the New Zealand Psychologist’s Board can lawfully use the title ’Psychologist’ or any other names, words, titles, initials, abbreviations, or descriptions stating or implying that they are a Psychologist.

Also, no one can claim to be practising psychology as a psychologist or say or do anything that would suggest that they practise psychology unless they are registered by the Psychologists Board and hold a current practising certificate.

If I train as a Clinical Psychologist in New Zealand will I be able to practice in my home country?

You should check with the authorities or potential employers in your home country to determine whether a qualification from New Zealand will be recognised. The qualification from New Zealand is usually accepted internationally but some countries, for example the USA, may require that you take extra examinations before you can work.

How much will it cost?

We could only find one clinical psychology course, the University of Canterbury’s Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, that gave the fees for international students. Their fees were 88,000 New Zealand Dollars per year (approximately 54,000 USD). You will also need to be able to afford to live in the New Zealand. The actual cost of living depends on the region in which you live but New Zealand is known for a relatively high cost of living.

It is unlikely that you will be able to work part-time to cover costs because the course itself is very demanding.

How can I get a taste of what it’s like to be a Clinical Psychologist?

What does a psychologist do when they meet with clients? What happens during therapy? If you would like to find out for yourself then you could join our ‘Manage Emotions Live Life Program.

Our program is based on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy which is a well regarded evidence-based approach that many psychologists use (our director Dr. Dan Seal uses it as his primary approach). It is regarded as a ‘third-wave therapeutic approach’. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is thought of as a ‘second wave therapeutic approach’ whereas Behaviourism is an example of a ‘first wave approach’.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, and therefore our program, is transdiagnostic. This means that it can be helpful for everyone. You can benefit from it whether you are finding it difficult to manage emotions such as sadness or anxiety or if you’re finding it difficult to stop behaviours such as overeating or overusing social media. It’s also useful if you don’t have any particular problems but you want to learn how to make life even more fulfilling.

If you join the program you’ll meet our facilitators one-on-one so we can tailor the program to your needs. Our facilitators are either recently qualified clinical psychologists or clinical psychologists who are about to finish their training and qualify as clinical psychologists. This means that, in addition to teaching you skills based on ACT, they can also answer any questions you may have about training as a clinical psychologist.

The full program consists of six meetings and costs RM150 per meeting. You can meet our facilitators in-person at Colony KLCC or the Hub SS2 in PJ or online via Zoom. There’s no obligation to complete the program if you don’t like it and you don’t have to pay for meetings you don’t use. However, we hope you will complete the program because in the later weeks we teach mindfulness (which we call Attention Training on our program) and we introduce the concepts behind Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) which is another third-wave evidence based therapy.

If you would like to join the Manage Emotions Live Life Program please contact Vivian who will schedule a time for you to meet one of our psychologists.

Any questions or comments about training as a Clinical Psychologist in New Zealand as an international applicant?

Did you find this article helpful? If you have any questions on training in New Zealand as a Clinical Psychologist please write them in the comments section at the bottom of this page. We will reply to you as soon as possible.

We would also be happy to receive any comments or opinions you may have on this article.


I am a British Chartered Clinical Psychologist currently working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I aim to help people who are facing psychological or emotional difficulties to overcome their difficulties.

Any questions or comments? Please write them here ...