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Athabasca University

Master of Counselling Specializations

Specializations offered in the Master of Counselling program are:

For information about specific courses in each of these specializations, please see the Program Plans.

Art Therapy*

Students 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 Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) of British Columbia. VATI offers a Graduate Level Diploma Program in Art Therapy. Students 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 students 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. Applicants to the Art Therapy specialization must have an abnormal psychology course, either undergraduate or graduate level. Students may be admitted to the program without this prerequisite if they meet all other program prerequisites; however, it must be completed before they begin any of the art therapy components of the program.

For details on courses, see the Art Therapy specialization program plan.

* 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). Reconfirmed March 27, 2014.

Counselling Psychology

Students in all specializations may be able to license as psychologists depending on the selection of courses, their academic background and the requirements in their jurisdiction.

The courses in the Counselling Psychology specialization are designed to meet the graduate course requirements for licensing with the College of Alberta Psychologists. Students from other provinces are encouraged check with their provincial regulatory body for course and program requirements. Provisions will be made for students to obtain other courses required to qualify, as additional electives, to begin the licensing process.

To register as a psychologist in Alberta, applicants must have a total of 72 psychology credits, 36 of which must be at the graduate level. Students who plan to seek registration as a psychologist in Alberta are advised that they are required to have 36 psychology credits in psychology from outside the Master of Counselling Program.

Students without a comprehensive psychology background may be admitted to the program, but will require additional undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate course work to meet the academic requirements for licensing. Courses are offered through Athabasca University to enable students to meet these additional academic requirements. Students may also be required to pick up prerequisites for particular graduate courses.

Graduates may also qualify for registration as a clinical counsellor, counselling therapist, or psychotherapist in their respective province or territory. Please refer to the requirements in your jurisdiction.

For details on courses, see the Counselling Psychology specialization program plan.

School Counselling

The School Counselling specialization prepares graduates to be educational leaders who have the capacity to support the well-being of school communities. This specialization will prepare graduates who can: develop universal programs and initiatives to help schools better support students' development, educational achievement, and mental health; provide school-based leadership to personnel (teachers and non-teachers) dedicated to supporting student development; act as a broker of services that support students' development and mental health; and provide direct services to children, youth, families, and groups.

Most graduates will be certified teachers working as school counsellors with the competence to lead and deliver services in the K-12 education system to individuals, groups, whole schools and school systems. Graduates will also be equipped for leadership roles in their schools or school divisions. Graduates may also be eligible for counsellor certification or licensure, which will generally enable them to engage in community practice (please check with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association of the College of Counselling Therapists in provinces where counsellors are regulated).

For details on courses, see the School Counselling specialization program plan.



Information effective Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017.

Updated November 22 2016 by laurab

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