Master of Social Sciences (Counselling)

Director's Message

As the Programme Director since September 2009, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the two former Directors, Dr. Sandra Tsang and Dr. Ho-yee Ng, who have laid down a solid foundation for the programme. The Master of Social Sciences in Counselling is a two / three year part-time programme for professionals in human services who are interested in counselling as a career, or as an enhancement to their work performance in their respective professional settings.

Since its inception in September 2002, the student population has spanned from social workers and teachers to administrative and medical personnel such as executive officers, human resource managers, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists. The mutual stimulation arising from students with such diverse backgrounds has proven to be most inspiring in the process of teaching and learning. The camaraderie amongst students who all struggle and between full-time work and part-time study has evolved as an unexpected feature in the programme and has culminated into the formation of an Alumni Association by the graduating class of 2005.

Apart from the diversity in student backgrounds, our teachers are also multidisciplinary, consisting of clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, family therapists, clinical social workers, play therapists, and hypnotherapists etc., who are all practitioners in the field of counselling.

I am very confident that the counselling programme offered by The University of Hong Kong has an important and growing role in strengthening the counselling workforce in Hong Kong and beyond. May I extend an invitation to all those who are interested in counselling to join the HKU Master in Counselling ‘family’ for a journey not only into the theories and practices of counselling, but also the experience of student life within a community of dedicated professionals

Professor Samson S.K.TSE
Professor,Department of Social Work and Social Administration
Associate Dean Faculty of Social Sciences


To equip students for acting as the first line of help, both at work and in their personal lives, for people in need of support before they develop more severe mental health problems.

To add to the resources of practitioners in human services who find themselves in need of further training in the counselling process.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this programme, students should be able to

  1. Value and attitude

    • respect the dignity and civil rights of individuals with whom they interact in their professional practice
    • demonstrate their interest, enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to practice, research and continued education in counselling and related fields

  2. Ethics

    • consider and adhere to the code of ethics for counsellors regarding delivery of direct counselling services and research practice
    • recognize the limit of their own practices and provide only those counselling services for which they are competent by training and/or experience
    • raise the level of self-awareness and personal development, and gradually develop a personal style of counselling within the boundaries of professional and ethical practice

  3. Professional knowledge

    • demonstrate a clear understanding of important concepts, theories and principles that constitute the discipline of counselling
    • integrate counselling theories and models into practice and develop counselling skills
    • use a range of research and learning strategies to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills to improve practice
    • use the professionally derived knowledge and the most effective interventions for those with whom they are working

  4. Professional practice

    • select appropriate assessment procedures and justify their application and interpretation
    • explain and begin to apply the up-to-date interventions learnt from specialist practitioners in areas of studies of their own choice
    • critically evaluate the consequences of interventions and if necessary, develop alternative courses of action in consultation with the client, professional colleague or supervisor

Students' Profiles - Who will benefit from the programme

The Master of Social Sciences in Counselling is a self-funded two / three year part-time postgraduate programme for professionals in the human services, such as social workers, teachers, managers, human resources personnel, medical personnel like doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and other related professionals who are interested in counselling.


Over the years, some of our graduates from the present programme have become members of the Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association.

The MSocSc (Counselling) completed at HKU has been evaluated and recognised by the World Education Services as equivalent to a Master's degree in the United States.

Depending on individual circumstance (e.g., major in psychology, clinical experience), graduates are able to obtain professional registration or membership in several overseas countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.