Master of Counselling
The program is offered during three semesters each year. Learners 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.
Learners progressing through the Master of Counselling program on the standard program plan sequence generally complete the program in 3.3 years. Learners may take courses at a slower pace to accommodate life circumstances. Thesis learners 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 200 hours per semester on your practicum placement.
The MC program involves 36 credits of graduate psychology courses: seven core courses, two 3-credit practicum courses and nine more credits (courses determined by which specialization is chosen).
All learners are required to complete the following core courses.
|GCAP 631||Models of Counselling and Client Change||(3)|
|GCAP 632||Professional Ethics||(3)|
|GCAP 633||Sociocultural and Systemic Influences on Counselling||(3)|
|GCAP 634||Assessment Processes||(3)|
|GCAP 635||Responsive Case Conceptualization & Counselling Interventions||(3)|
|GCAP 671||Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication||(3)|
|GCAP 691||Methods of Inquiry||(3)|
All learners are also required to complete two Counselling Practicum courses:
|GCAP 681||Counselling Practicum I||(3)|
|GCAP 682||Counselling Practicum II||(3)|
Learners may apply to complete a thesis as part of the Counselling Psychology program. Thesis learners complete the following additional courses:
|GCAP 692||Advanced Quantitative Methods||(3)|
|GCAP 693||Advanced Qualitative Research|
|GCAP 696||Thesis I||(3)|
|GCAP 697||Thesis II||(3)|
All learners are automatically enrolled in the course-based exit route. In the course-based exit route, learners also complete two elective courses:
|GCAP 643||Health Psychology||(3)|
|GCAP 648||Counselling Children and Adolescents from a Developmental Perspective||(3)|
|GCAP 650||Special Topics Course||(3)|
|GCAP 654||Family Therapy: Theory and Practice||(3)|
|GCAP 672||Group Counselling and Process Skills||(3)|
And the following culminating course as their third elective course:
|GCAP 695||Specialization Seminar – Knowledge Transfer||(3)|
The normal program plan is four courses per year; one in the fall, one in winter, and two in the spring-summer semester. All learners 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, learners must pass GCAP 631 to proceed to GCAP 633; and must pass GCAP 633 in order to take GCAP 671 or GCAP 632. Learners not passing GCAP 633 will be given an alternative program plan, requiring them to retake GCAP 633 the following year and defer GCAP 671 and GCAP 632.
For most learners, 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.
|Year||Semester||Course-Based Exit Route||Thesis Route|
|1||Fall||GCAP 631: Models of Counselling and Client Change (online)||GCAP 631: Models of Counselling and Client Change (online)|
|Winter||GCAP 633: Counselling Psychology: Sociocultural and Systemic Influences (online)||GCAP 633: Counselling Psychology: Sociocultural and Systemic Influences (online)|
GCAP 632: Professional Ethics (online)
|GCAP 632: Professional Ethics (online)
GCAP 671: Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication (online + virtual seminars)
|2||Fall||GCAP 691: Methods of Inquiry (online)||GCAP 691: Methods of Inquiry (online)|
GCAP 635: Responsive Case Conceptualization & Counselling Interventions (online)
GCAP 635: Responsive Case Conceptualization & Counselling Interventions (online)
|Spring/Summer||GCAP 634: Assessment Processes (online)
Specialization Option I (online)
|3||Fall||GCAP 681: Counselling Practicum I (online + field placement + virtual intensive seminars)||GCAP 681: Counselling Practicum I (online + field placement + virtual intensive seminars)|
|Winter||GCAP 682: Counselling Practicum II (online + field placement + virtual intensive seminars)||GCAP 682: Counselling Practicum II (online + field placement + virtual intensive seminars)|
|Spring/Summer||Specialization Option II (online)|
|4||Fall||GCAP 695: Specialization Seminar – Knowledge Transfer||GCAP 696: Thesis I*|
|Winter||GCAP 697: Thesis II*|
- Most learners will complete the program through the course-based exit route. Learners enter the thesis by application in their second year, following GCAP 691. Admission is based on:
- Availability of research supervisors
- Alignment with faculty research interests.
- You must plan to add in 200 hours per semester (400 hours total across the two practicum courses) of on-site placement during GCAP 681: Counselling Practicum I and GCAP 682: Counselling Practicum II.
- If you are in the course-based exit route, you may opt to take GCAP 695 in the spring-summer semester of Year 3 along with your final elective, if you have completed the 400 required practicum hours.
- The courses above marked with an asterisk * indicate differences in course requirements for each of the program plans—thesis or course-based exit.
* 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.
Learners 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 learners 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 learners in this stream, you must adhere to the following course schedule.
The thesis route is not available to MC:AT learners because it does not allow room for the Art Therapy specialization courses.
|Year||Semester||AU Courses||VATI Courses|
|1||Fall||GCAP 631: Models of Counselling and Client Change (online)|
|Winter||GCAP 633: Counselling Psychology: Sociocultural and Systemic Influences (online)|
|Spring/Summer||GCAP 635: Responsive Case Conceptualization & Counselling Interventions (online + Summer Institute)
GCAP 671: Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication (online + Summer Institute)
|2||Fall||GCAP 691: Methods of Inquiry (online)|
|Winter||GCAP 632: Professional Ethics (online)
GCAP 651: Art Therapy History and Theory
|Spring/Summer||GCAP 634: Assessment Processes (online)||VATI 601: Art Therapy Training Group I (Summer Institute)
VATI 603: Art Therapy Techniques Lab I (Summer Institute)
|3||Fall||GCAP 685: Advanced Counselling Practicum (online + field placement + intensive seminar||VATI 617: Specialized Practicum (200 hours)|
|Winter||GCAP 685: Advanced Counselling Practicum (online + field placement + intensive seminar||VATI 617: Specialized Practicum (may extend into spring semester)|
|Spring/Summer||VATI 601: Art Therapy Training Group II (Summer Institute)
VATI 603: Art Therapy Techniques Lab II (Summer Institute)
|4||Fall||GCAP 695: Specialization Seminar – Knowledge Transfer|
- In order to meet all the requirements for the Registered Canadian Art Therapist designation and the AU Master of Counselling Program (MC:AT), students are required to complete an additional 300 hours of supervised practicum for a total of 700 hours. VATI 617 fulfills this purpose. This practicum will include a number of instructional modules included in the VATI Summer Institutes and some additional assignments.
- Two courses will be recognized for transfer credit into the AU Master of Counselling to complete your degree requirements: VATI 601 and VATI 603, which are both offered in two parts; one at each of the VATI Summer Institutes that occur in Years 2 and 3 of your program.
- You are required to attend the GCAP Summer Institute in Calgary in Year 1 and two VATI Summer Institutes in Years 2 and 3. No exceptions will be permitted. The VATI Summer Institutes will be held in Vancouver at VATI.
- To meet all the requirements for the Registered Canadian Art Therapist designation, MC:AT students require one additional elective, which will result in one extra-to-program course registration.
- All MC:AT students are required to complete two self-study modules housed on the GCAP Moodle site before attending the VATI Summer Institute in Year 2: Child Art Therapy Module and Adolescent Art Therapy Module.
Maximum Time in the Program
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, learners must complete six credits during each academic year (September 1 to August 31). Learners are required to receive an overall grade of 70 per cent or B- to pass each GCAP course. In addition, learners are expected to maintain at least a B or 75 per cent in the program. Learners who fail a course, or who receive a grade of B- in two courses, will 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 learner 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, learners must participate in synchronous virtual labs, virtual intensive seminars (VIS), and a two-week summer institute. The face-to-face summer institute is held in Calgary, Alberta. All learners must complete GCAP 671 Responsive Counselling Relationships & Interpersonal Communication, GCAP 681: Counselling Practicum I, and GCAP 682: Counselling Practicum II within the MC program.
Learners 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. Learners 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. Learners may study in the program on a full- or part-time basis. Part-time learners must complete a minimum of six credits per calendar year. Program learners 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.
Learners must complete the MC degree requirements within seven years of their initial enrolment in the program. Learners 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 learner 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, 2020 to August 31, 2021.