Skip To Content

Athabasca University

Master of Counselling Program and Course Regulations

Program Regulations

Program Status

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 Developing a Working Alliance and GCAP 685 Advanced Counselling Practicum within the MC program.

Program Withdrawal

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. Students requesting re-admission to the MC program will not receive special consideration.

Full- and Part-Time Involvement

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 will be considered full time if they complete a minimum of nine credits in a given calendar year.

Program Completion Time Limits

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.

Non-Program Students

Individuals who are not enrolled in the MC program may apply to register in MC courses on a first-come, first-served basis, space permitting. Courses taken as a non-program student may be directly applied toward the program in accordance with the degree requirements, if and when a student becomes a program student. However, the GCAP is under no obligation to admit non-program students into the MC program. To apply to take a course as a non-program student, please contact

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 student must successfully complete a final project in addition to the 36 credits of graduate coursework required for the MC degree, including either the thesis or course-based exit.

Course Regulations


It is the student's responsibility to register by the course registration deadline and ensure that all prerequisite requirements are fulfilled. If a student registers in a course that is not part of his/her approved program plan, the registration will be cancelled and the tuition fee, less the withdrawal processing fee, will be refunded.

Advanced Standing

Some students may have completed work at other post-secondary institutions that is applicable to the MC program. Only courses taken within the past six years from the date of application to the program will be considered for advance credit. Students may apply for advance credit for up to 12 credits of graduate study from other universities into the MC program. A maximum of three credits can be applied to the area of specialization. The remaining courses must be applied to the core program courses. Students must demonstrate that previous course work is equivalent to core GCAP courses or appropriate for option or specialization course credit. Advanced standing will not be granted for GCAP 671, GCAP 635, and GCAP 685.

Transfer Credit

Students may apply for transfer credit throughout the program for up to 12 credits of graduate study from other universities into the MC program. A maximum of three credits can be applied to the area of specialization. The remaining courses must be applied to the core program courses. Transfer credit maximums are inclusive of any advance credit awarded at the time of admission. Only graduate-level courses that were successfully completed with a final grade of B- (70 per cent) or higher, will be considered for transfer credit. However, students who receive a grade of B- in two courses may be removed from the program with no option for re-admission to graduate Counselling programs at AU.

Course Withdrawal

Students may withdraw from a course up until one month before the end of the session. Students who withdraw from a course any time after their course registration is finalized and up until one month after the course start date, will have the record of registration deleted from their official transcript and will be refunded the course tuition less the Course Withdrawal Processing Fee. Course materials should not be returned, as there will be no additional refund. Students who withdraw from a course after the first month of the course start date and before the last month of the course will have their official record and transcript indicate that they withdrew without credit, and without prejudice or academic penalty (W). No fees will be refunded for students withdrawing after the first month of a course.

Normally a student will only be allowed to withdraw from a core course two times (non-medical) before being asked to leave the program. Continued enrolment and withdrawing from a course—in particular a core course—is interpreted as the inability to successfully meet the academic requirements of the program.

Course Extensions

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.

In exceptional circumstances, and where the course instructor concurs, students may be assigned a grade of "Incomplete" (INC). This allows students to take one additional month to complete and submit the course work. In order for students to extend their course work, they must submit the course extension fee and receive written permission from the Graduate Program Administrator. One month after the original course completion date, a final grade will be assigned to the course based on the assignments completed before that date. If no assignments have been submitted, a final grade will be assigned based on the course work received as of that date. Normally, this will result in a grade of "Failure" (F) being assigned.

Grading System

All courses will be graded using the Alpha/4.0 grading scale, effective September 1, 2004. Please review the Graduate Grading Policy and Academic Records FAQ for more information on grading scales.


Information effective September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017.

Updated October 04 2016 by laurab

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.