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Athabasca University

Time Commitment

You may progress through the diploma program at various paces. The time commitment will also depend on whether you decide to apply to  ladder into the Master of Counselling program or exit the program with the diploma.

The normal program plan is 4 courses per year; one in the fall, one in winter, and 2 in the spring-summer semester. For most students, this is the ideal pace to complete their program, and it ensures  maximum flexibility in selecting elective courses. If you are working while completing the program, the 4 courses per year plan is strongly recommended.

Alternatively, you may choose to accelerate your diploma program by taking 6 courses per year. However, if you are taking the diploma with the intention of applying to ladder into the Master of Counselling program, you may want to ensure your success by opting for the normal 4 course per year plan. We strongly recommend that you consider the time commitment involved in online graduate work before selecting this option. You should plan to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week to each course.

You may also choose to complete the program over a longer period of time (taking up to a maximum of 3.5 years). If you choose this route, you will be required to attend the summer institute twice to complete the required courses. Be prepared to plan ahead to ensure course availability.

Laddering to the Master of Counselling

Students who successfully complete the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Counselling may apply to ladder their coursework directly into the Master of Counselling. You must maintain a 3.0 GPA and meet all other program requirements in order to qualify to ladder your courses into the master's program. Once your application to ladder has been approved, you may continue on to complete the Master of Counselling degree.

The program plans are designed to ensure that students who want to ladder are able to take courses continually and stay in step with other students who are following the normal 3.5-year completion plan for the master's program. There are no additional fees associated with completing the diploma and transitioning into the master's degree. Fees are dependent solely on the number of semesters you take to complete the programs.

If you ladder into the Master of Counselling program, during the semesters when you are completing your practicum, you must be able to add an additional 250 hours per semester for your practicum placement. This route should only be selected if you plan to devote your full attention to your studies.

Updated June 02 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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