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Athabasca University Masters of Counselling

Last Updated on December 21, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

Athabasca University’s Master of Counselling program is one of the most respected and recognized in the world. The program delivers a combination of theory and practice to help students develop the skills they need to make a difference in their clients’ lives.

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Athabasca University Masters of Counselling

Athabasca University’s online Graduate Diploma in Counselling (GDC) program is designed for students who either do not want to complete a full master’s degree or who do not meet the admissions criteria for the Master of Counselling program.

The GDC focuses on the fundamentals of counselling psychology, theory and practice. There are no specialized streams in this program.

Why take the Graduate Diploma in Counselling?

If you don’t meet the admissions requirements for AU’s Master of Counselling, you will be considered to ladder your credits into the Master of Counselling program after you complete 5 courses in the GDC.

Athabasca University’s online Master of counselling (MC) is designed to meet the graduate academic requirements for professional counsellors or counselling psychologists.

Master of Counselling

The Faculty of Health Disciplines offers a 36-credit, Master of Counselling (MC) program. The MC is a distributed learning, mixed delivery master’s program designed to meet the graduate academic requirements for the career paths of professional counsellor or counselling psychologist. The program incorporates core and specialization courses to ensure that all learners attain competency in the fundamentals of counselling psychology.

We offer:

  • Master of Counselling: Counselling Psychology
  • Master of Counselling: Art Therapy*

Master of Counselling
Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the MC program, applicants must have:

  • an undergraduate (baccalaureate) degree, normally four years.*
  • a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in the last 10 half course equivalents (30 credits).
  • a minimum of three courses** (nine credits) in psychology or educational psychology, including:
    • a course in developmental psychology (3 credits),
    • a course in learning psychology (3 credits),
    • a course in counselling theories or personality theories (3 credits).

* The undergraduate degree must be conferred prior to the application deadline. Official, sealed transcripts including the date of degree conferral must be received by the program office on or before the application deadline. Canadian degrees must be granted by institutions that are members of Universities Canada or are provincially authorized to grant university degrees. U.S. degrees must be granted by institutions that are regionally accredited.

** These courses must be at the second-year undergraduate level or above, and must be completed by the application deadline. An official, sealed transcript stating final course grades must also be received by the Faculty of Health Disciplines office on or before the application deadline.


Counselling Psychology At Athabasca University

The courses in the Counselling Psychology specialization are designed to meet the graduate course requirements for licensing as a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. Learners from other provinces are responsible for checking their provincial regulatory body for licensure requirements.

Because non-thesis learners require a total of 72 psychology credits for registration in Alberta, learners who intend to seek registration as a psychologist in Alberta must have 36 credits in addition to the 36 credits in the Master of Counselling program. For learners without 36 undergraduate credits, options include:

  • taking additional graduate courses in GCAP;
  • taking undergraduate psychology courses from Athabasca University or another institution.

Art Therapy

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.

Learners in the Art Therapy specialization take art therapy courses through the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute (VATI). VATI was established in 1982 and is accredited by the Degree Quality Assessment Board of the Province of British Columbia. VATI offers a Graduate Level Diploma Program in Art Therapy. Learners in the Master of Counselling: Art Therapy (MC:AT) take core program courses through Athabasca University and then access specialization courses through VATI. The VATI courses are recognized for transfer credit into the Athabasca University MC:AT.

The MC:AT is designed to provide learners with both a solid foundation in counselling practice as well as specialized training in Art Therapy. Art Therapy provides individuals with an opportunity to explore personal problems and potentials through painting, sculpture, or drawing. The symbolic communication of emotions and experiences through art leads naturally into other more traditional verbal forms of counselling processes.

This program is offered under the written consent of the Minister of Advanced Education effective February 24, 2014, having undergone a quality assessment process and been found to meet the criteria established by the minister. Nevertheless, prospective students are responsible for satisfying themselves that the program and the degree will be appropriate to their needs (for example, acceptable to potential employers, professional licensing bodies, or other educational institutions).

Masters of Education Counselling Online

What can you do with a master’s in educational counseling?

A master’s in educational counseling prepares graduates to take the appropriate state and national licensure tests to practice as a counselor in a particular area. These professionals are trained in counseling theory, child and adolescent psychology, career counseling, and personal evaluation. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will be able to perform counseling duties in K-12 settings.

Typical tasks of an educational counselor include: creating counseling programs, using assessment tools to evaluate individuals, meeting with students, and providing crisis intervention. Because most schools tend to only have a few counselors for a large population of students, counselors will be responsible for a large group of people.

Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in Educational Counseling Online

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1Southern Arkansas UniversityMagnolia, AR
2North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NC
3Emporia State UniversityEmporia, KS
4Chadron State CollegeChadron, NE
5Angelo State UniversitySan Angelo, TX
6Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station, TX
7The University of Tennessee at MartinMartin, TN
8The University of West AlabamaLivingston, AL
9The University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroe, LA
10Salem CollegeWinston-Salem, NC

Master of Counselling Program Regulations

Program Delivery

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.

Full- and Part-time Status

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.

Program Completion Time Limits

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.

Use of Master of Counselling Credential

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.

Graduation Requirements

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.

athabasca university masters of counselling tuition

A non-refundable convenience charge will be charged when using Visa or Mastercard to pay student fees. American Express is no longer an accepted method of payment. For more information on the convenience charge, please visit the Financial Services website.

The following fees are effective for courses starting September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. All fees are quoted in Canadian dollars and are subject to change. Academic-related fees are exempt from the Federal Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T.). G.S.T. is added to all other goods and services, for example, workshops, some publications, self-help seminars, and Athabasca University promotional sales items.

Program application fee (non-refundable) required each time a person applies:$163
Program admission fee (payable upon acceptance into the program and non-refundable)$226
Non-program application fee (non-refundable) required only once and waived if previously an AU student:$107

Course Tuition Fees (includes all required materials)

Students living in Canada$1,6541
Students living outside Canada$1,8711

1 MC Course Tuition fees now include a Course Administration and Technology fee of $51 and Course Materials fee of $32 per course. They are included in this calculation and are non-refundable. This calculation also includes the Athabasca University Graduate Students Association (AUGSA) fee of $13 per credit.

Program fee per 3-credit course (non-refundable)$599
Program fee per 6-credit course (non-refundable)$1,198
Total Program fee (non-refundable)2$6,589

The total program fee is split up and charged with individual course registrations.

Estimated program tuition cost (2021-2022):

The total tuition cost for a student living in Canada who takes all courses from Athabasca University, over a 3 1/3 year period, would be $24,783 ($1,654 x 11 = $18,194, three-credit course equivalents, plus program fees of $6,589 for a total of $24,783) plus any additional tuition and program fees required by VATI. AUGSA fees are included in this calculation. Application, Admission, and Art Therapy specialization fees are not included in the above calculation.

Other Fees

Transfer credit evaluation fee$301 per course
Course extension fee (regular mode or paced independent study):$289
Letter of Permission fee:$86
Course withdrawal processing fee2:$391
AU Graduate Student Association Fee (per credit):$13

2The course withdrawal processing fee includes the cost of course materials, shipping, and an administrative fee for processing the request. For early withdrawal only, the student will be refunded the full course tuition fees (see above) less the course withdrawal processing fee. Refer to Course Withdrawal.

Thesis (MC)

There is no Thesis fee.

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