Clinical Psychology - Psychology - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Postgraduate Diploma in
Clinical Psychology

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Canterbury Clinical Training Programme is to train competent clinical psychologists who can apply and adapt general conceptual and technical skills in diverse professional settings, with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, and consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi,


The University of Canterbury pioneered clinical psychology training in New Zealand with the establishment of the first Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology programme in New Zealand in 1962. The programme has developed over time, as have opportunities for graduates, such that University of Canterbury graduates areas of practice have broadened beyond traditional mental health services to include extensions to primary care, general medical, criminal justice, social welfare, education, research and senior administrative/management positions in related areas.

The aim of the University of Canterbury Clinical Psychology programme is to provide a comprehensive integration of academic and practical work, and produce generalists rather than specialists.

General Programme Goals and Philosophy of Education

An effective clinical psychologist possesses a strong professional identity that includes:

  • a firm grounding in the science of psychology,
  • knowledge of relevant theories of human behaviour and psychopathology,
  • competence in the application of technical skills that aid in the amelioration of human suffering, and
  • awareness of and adherence to the ethical principles of the profession.

Consistent with these goals, a clinical psychologist understands the interactive and mutually informative relationship between science and practice. As such, the educational philosophy of the clinical training programme at the University of Canterbury is consistent with the traditional scientist-practitioner model of clinical training.

Several professional characteristics are integral to all levels of clinical training and are reflected throughout the programme objectives and curriculum. Specifically, a clinical psychologist adapts to societal needs and changes in service delivery, thinks critically, and communicates clearly. In addition, a clinical psychologist contributes to the knowledgebase of psychology, evaluates the effectiveness or professional services, embraces standards of professional ethics, recognises the importance of personal values, and appreciates and respects individual and cultural differences.