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Athabasca University

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 students attain competency in the fundamentals of counselling psychology as well as a particular area of specialization.

Specializations are offered in:

  • Master of Counselling: Counselling Psychology
  • Master of Counselling: Art Therapy* (Admissions to the Art Therapy program specialization are currently suspended. See note below.)
  • Master of Counselling: School Counselling* (Admissions to the School Counselling program specialization are currently suspended. See below.)

Students in the Art Therapy specialization take their art therapy courses through the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute.

Counselling Psychology

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. Students from other provinces are encouraged check with their provincial regulatory body for course and program requirements.

Because non-thesis students require a total of 72 psychology credits for registration in Alberta, students 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 students without 36 undergraduate credits, options include:

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

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

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. Updates to this decision will be provided as details emerge.

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 Degree Quality Assessment Board of the Province 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.

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

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 August 12, 2019.

School Counselling*

* Program on hold – The Master of Counselling: School Counselling specialization is closed for admissions starting with the 2020 admissions year.

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 regulations.



Information effective Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020.

Updated January 06 2020 by laurab

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