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Athabasca University

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 (senior-level), and must be completed, with a grade issued on an unofficial transcript, 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.

To calculate your program admission GPA (the GPA AU will use for your entry into the program), please visit the Graduate Admission GPA page on the Faculty of Health Disciplines website.

If you are lacking the prerequisite psychology courses, they are available through Athabasca University. These courses are offered in an online learning format. To register in a course, please follow Athabasca University undergraduate course registration process.

Prerequisite Available Courses
Learning Psychology PSYC 387 Learning (3)
  PSYC 355 Cognitive Psychology (3)
Developmental Psychology PSYC 323 Developmental Psychology (3)
  PSYC 381 Psychology of Adult Development (3)
  PSYC 350 Adolescent Development (3)
Counselling Theories PSYC 406 Introduction to Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy (3)
  PSYC 356 Introduction to Personality Theories and Issues (3)

If you are submitting alternative prerequisite courses from another post-secondary institution, please submit a course outline / syllabus and a website link to the course if available. Courses are not reviewed for equivalency prior to the application deadline. Prerequisites will be evaluated during the admission process.

Preference is given in the admissions process to applicants who have at minimum 1–2 years full-time paid or volunteer experiences in counselling or a related field.

Successful applicants are required to participate in an online self-study GCAP 500: Student Orientation before the start of the program. Failure to successfully complete the orientation may result in removal from the program.

Applicants Without a Four-Year Degree

Applicants without a four-year degree will be considered if they have completed a degree equivalent in nature to three-year academic degree programs at Athabasca University. The degree must consist of a minimum of 90 credits (15 full-course equivalents). In addition, applicants must meet one of the following additional criteria:

  1. A minimum of 18 additional credits (3 full-course equivalents) at the senior undergraduate or graduate level. The average grade point of the additional coursework must be at least 3.0 to apply to the Master of Counselling program or 2.5 to apply to the Graduate Diploma in Counselling.


  2. Evidence of at least three years of full-time (or part-time equivalent) work experience. Applicants must demonstrate that the work experience has been completed within the last five years and was in an area related to counselling/human services or equivalent. Applicants must also demonstrate active professional development during that time period in areas related to counselling. Applicants must have an average GPA of 3.3 in psychology and educational psychology courses in their degree program and in any additional program prerequisites if applying to the Master of Counselling (and 2.8 if applying to the Graduate Diploma in Counselling*).

Advanced Standing

Some learners may have completed work at other post-secondary institutions that is applicable to the MC program. Only courses taken within six years of the date of application will be considered for advance credit. Learners 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. Learners must demonstrate that previous course work is equivalent to core GCAP courses or appropriate for option or specialization course credit.

Transfer Credit

Learners may apply for transfer credit for up to 12 credits of graduate study from other universities into the MC program if courses were not used to fulfill requirements of a completed degree or credential. 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 course that were successfully completed with a final grade of B- (70 per cent) or higher, will be considered for transfer credit. For more information on applying for transfer credit, see the Transfer Credit page.

Non-Program Students

Current and Post-Masters learners 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 learner may be directly applied toward the program in accordance with the degree requirements, if and when a learner becomes a program student. However, the GCAP is under no obligation to admit non-program learners into the MC program. To apply to take a course as a non-program learner, please contact

English Language Proficiency

There are minimum English Language Proficiency Requirements allowed for admission to a graduate program at Athabasca University. It is the learner's responsibility to ensure they meet the minimum requirements.

Information effective September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Updated July 29 2021 by laurab

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