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The program is offered during three semesters each year. Students participate in paced learning activities that require completion of course work on a fixed schedule. All course work should be completed during the semester periods. Extensions to these timelines may be granted, if circumstances warrant.
Students progressing through the Master of Counselling program on the standard program plan sequence generally complete the program in 3.3 years. Students may take courses at a slower pace to accommodate life circumstances. Thesis students usually take approximately one extra year to complete the program.
It is strongly recommended that you consider the time commitment involved with online graduate work as you prepare for this program. You should plan to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week in each course. During the semesters when you are completing your practicum, you must be able to devote 250 hours per semester on your practicum placement.
The MC program involves 36 credits of graduate psychology courses: seven core courses, a 6-credit practicum and nine more credits (courses determined by which specialization is chosen).
All students are required to complete the following core courses.
All students are also required to complete an Advanced Counselling Practicum:
Students may apply to complete a thesis as part of the Counselling Psychology specialization. Thesis students complete the following additional courses:
All students are automatically enrolled in the course-based exit route. In the course-based exit route, students complete two courses in their area of specialization (three courses for art therapy):
And the following culminating course as their third elective course:
The normal program plan is four courses per year; one in the fall, one in winter, and two in the spring-summer semester. All students are required to complete the first year of the program as a cohort, completing the first four courses in a standard sequence. The courses have been designed to build sequentially the foundational competencies required for your success in the rest of the program. Accordingly, students must pass GCAP 631 to proceed to GCAP 633; and must pass GCAP 633 in order to take GCAP 671 or GCAP 635. Students not passing GCAP 633 will be given an alternative program plan, requiring them to retake GCAP 633 the following year and defer the Summer Institute by one year.
For most students, four courses per year is the ideal pace to complete their program as it ensures core courses are available and you have maximum flexibility in selecting elective courses. The program normally takes 3.3 years to complete.
GCAP 634: Assessment Processes (online)
GCAP 692: Advanced Quantitative Methods*
693: Advanced Qualitative Research*
* Program on hold – Athabasca University and the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute have decided to suspend admissions to the Master of Counselling: Art Therapy specialization, commencing with the 2020 admissions year while we review the program and the partnership. Updates to this decision will be provided as details emerge.
Students in the Art Therapy specialization will complete a portion of their coursework through Athabasca University and a portion through the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute (VATI). The Art Therapy students must follow a fixed program plan because of the nature of the collaboration with the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute. For more details on the Art Therapy specialization courses, please see the VATI website. Since there is a relatively small cohorts of students in this stream, you must adhere to the following course schedule.
The thesis route is not available to MC:AT students because it does not allow room for the Art Therapy specialization courses.
* Program on hold – The Master of Counselling: School Counselling specialization is closed for admissions starting with the 2020 admissions year.
Students in the School Counselling specialization will complete the following courses in the order noted below:
Students in the MC: School Counselling specialization are not eligible for the Thesis route.
Under exceptional circumstances, you may be permitted to complete the program over a longer period of time (taking up to a maximum of seven years). However, you must still complete the first year courses as part of your cohort. Be prepared to plan ahead to ensure course availability if you deviate from the standard program plan.
To maintain program status, students must complete six credits during each academic year (September 1 to August 31). Students are required to receive an overall grade of 70 per cent or B- to pass each GCAP course. In addition, students are expected to maintain at least a B or 75 per cent in the program. Students who fail a course, or who receive a grade of B- in two courses, may be removed from the program with no option for re-admission to graduate programs.
In keeping with Athabasca University's mandate of open access, residency requirements for the MC are satisfied when the student has successfully completed 24 credits within the MC program. The remaining credits may be transferred from other institutions, if they are applicable to AU's MC program.
Throughout the program, students must participate in a three-week summer institute and two 4-day intensive seminars. These intensive face-to-face experiences are held in Calgary, Alberta. All students must complete GCAP 671 Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication and GCAP 685 Advanced Counselling Practicum within the MC program.
Students may withdraw from the program by submitting their request in writing to the GCAP program office and formally withdrawing from any courses in which they are currently registered. Students who withdraw may apply to re-enrol in the program by following the regular application procedures outlined above.
Normally, the MC program is completed at a pace of four courses per year. Students may study in the program on a full- or part-time basis. Part-time students must complete a minimum of six credits per calendar year. Program students are considered full time if they complete a minimum of nine credits in a given calendar year. Note however, that other organizations (e.g. provincial student loan programs, First Nations, Canada Revenue Agency) may have other criteria for defining full-time status.
Students must complete the MC degree requirements within seven years of their initial enrolment in the program. Students who do not do so may be required to repeat courses completed at the beginning of their program.
The MC Program does not have candidacy exams, therefore the use of MC (C) or MC (Candidate) during your program is not permitted. You may use this credential only after the degree is conferred.
To be eligible for graduation, each student must successfully complete 36 credits of graduate coursework required for the MC degree, including either the thesis or course-based exit.
Information effective September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020.
Updated August 06, 2019 by Student & Academic Services