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MA in Counselling Psychology

Application deadline: December 15 annually (Fall admission only).

 

Overview & admissions

Professional/Internship concentration

Program overview

The aim of the MA in Counselling Psychology - Professional/Internship concentration (non-thesis) is to produce graduates who:

  • Are trained in the major applied areas of Counselling
  • Will be qualified to work in a variety of settings where educational, vocational, personal, and developmental counselling is offered
  • Have had an extensive supervised internship in either a clinical or educational setting

The training program emphasizes:

  • Career and vocational theory and development
  • Individual and group counselling skills
  • Integrating multicultural, gender, and other diversity theories into practice
  • Diagnosis and assessment procedures

Internships: The program provides field placements in the Montreal area in diverse settings related to students' interests. These placements extend students' experiences to clinical settings. Most internship opportunities are in academic and school settings.

Duration: This degree requires two years (four semesters) and one summer term of full-time study.

Careers & Professional Practice: This program qualifies graduates for membership into the Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d'orientation du Québec (OCCOQ). Regarding specific requirements for professional practice, students are advised to consult with the licensing bodies of the province, territory, or state where they wish to practice after their studies. For students planning on remaining in Quebec, please consult the Accreditation section of our website for links on the various accrediting bodies of Counselling Psychology for more information on licensing and professional activities in the field of mental health and human relations for psychologists and counsellors in Quebec. Graduates typically enter the workforce as counsellors after successful completion of this stream.

Progressing to a PhD: Students who wish to proceed from this stream to the McGill PhD in Counselling Psychology have to demonstrate substantial competence in research.

Admission requirements

Academic Background

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure they satisfy the admission requirements of this program, including the completion of the required prerequisite undergraduate coursework prior to admission. To be eligible applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree consisting of 18 credits of core courses in specific Psychology domains and 24 credits in related disciplines in the social sciences. Consult the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist - Professional/Internship [.doc] for a detailed overview of academic requirements. Consult the Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide [.pdf] to determine how to categorize courses when evaluating your academic background in the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist.

IMPORTANT NOTES: 

  • Due to our high volume of applicants, Departmental Faculty and Staff do not review an applicant's academic history in order to help the applicant complete the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. Applicants are asked to thoroughly consult the Pre-Admission Academic Domain Guide (link above) and use course descriptions and other course materials from completed courses, to complete the checklist to the best of their abilities. Successful applicants who are offered admission will be advised of any conditions of acceptance on their letter of admission (which may include fulfilling any pre-requisite course requirements). 
  • At the time of application, applicants can be missing up to 6-credits of courses from their Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. However, are required to have all Pre-Admission course requirements completed by the beginning of their degree (i.e. their first term, Fall year 1, of study).

    CGPA Requirements

    All candidates must have a minimum CGPA of 3.2 out of 4.0 over the final two years of full-time study. This CGPA requirement, along with the successful completion of a Bachelor's degree, is a minimum requirement only and does not guarantee acceptance. The average CGPA of all students admitted into the MA in Counselling Psychology in past years has averaged 3.65-3.70 out of 4.0.

    Project concentration

    Program overview

    The aim of the MA in Counselling Psychology - Project concentration (non-thesis) is to produce graduates with introductory academic preparation for research or clinical careers in counselling psychology.

    Training is provided in the research domain through coursework in data analysis and a research project. Clinical preparation is initiated in the program through coursework in ethics, intervention, assessment, psychological testing, and multicultural issues, and through a practicum.

    The MA Project concentration program produces graduates who are trained in the major academic areas of counselling psychology and have sufficient research ability to evaluate and conduct research in counselling. This program provides them with the foundation for doctoral studies that have an emphasis on research.

    Duration: This degree is typically completed in four semesters over two years.

    Careers & Professional Practice: The degree alone does not fulfill the requirements of the Quebec Professional Order of Guidance Counsellors (OCCOQ) or the Quebec Order of Psychologists (OPQ). Graduates of this program will need a supplementary internship experience if they wish to fulfill the requirements for membership in the OCCOQ. Students are admitted to an internship only with approval of the program and contingent on the availability of supervisory staff.

    Progressing to a PhD: Graduates of this stream typically enter a doctoral program.

    Admission requirements

    It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure they satisfy the admission requirements of their program, including the completion of the required coursework prior to admission. Prospective applicants should ensure that they have taken the appropriate courses before beginning their application.

    Academic Background

    To be eligible applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree consisting of 42 credits of core courses in specific Psychology domains. Consult the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist - Project [.doc] for a detailed overview of academic requirements. Prospective applicants should ensure they have taken the appropriate courses before beginning their application. Consult the Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide [.pdf] to determine how to categorize courses when completing the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist.

    IMPORTANT NOTES: 

    • Due to our high volume of applicants, Departmental Faculty and Staff do not review an applicant's academic history in order to help the applicant complete the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. Applicants are asked to thoroughly consult the Pre-Admission Academic Domain Guide (link above) and use course descriptions and other course materials from completed courses, to complete the checklist to the best of their abilities. Successful applicants who are offered admission will be advised of any conditions of acceptance on their letter of admission (which may include fulfilling any pre-requisite course requirements). 
    • At the time of application, applicants can be missing up to 6-credits of courses from their Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. However, are required to have all Pre-Admission course requirements completed by the beginning of their degree (i.e. their first term, Fall year 1, of study).

    CGPA Requirements

    All candidates must have a minimum CGPA of 3.2 out of 4.0 over the final two years of full-time study at the undergraduate level. This CGPA requirement, along with the successful completion of a Bachelor's degree, is a minimum requirement only and does not guarantee acceptance. The average CGPA of all students admitted into the MA in Counselling Psychology in past years has averaged 3.70 out of 4.0.

    International students

    CGPA Equivalence

    If you are an international applicant and wish to find out whether you qualify under McGill University's CGPA Guidelines for Graduate Admissions, visit International CGPA Equivalency.

    Proficiency in English

    Applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English and who have not obtained (or are about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized institution in Canada or the US (anglophone or francophone), must submit documented proof of proficiency in oral and written English.

    Appropriate exam results must be submitted prior to the application deadline and submitted directly from the language testing proficiency office to McGill. For more information on test requirements, submission of scores, and possible exemptions, visit the McGill Future Graduate Students English Language Proficiency page.

    In each case, you must ensure that the official test results are sent directly to McGill (McGill Institution Code: 0935) by the testing service. Applications will not be considered if test results are not available.  Note: TOEFL results are only valid for two years from the date the test was written.

    Applicants whose mother tongue is not English may be asked to demonstrate an English-language proficiency beyond the submission of the language proficiency test scores.

    Please read the program’s admission requirements fully. View prospective student FAQs below.


    Applying

    The deadline for online submission of your completed uApply application and uploaded supporting documents is December 15 annually (Fall admission only). Click below for application process and required supporting information.

    uApply Online Application

    STEP 1. Complete uApply Online Application

    • Complete an online McGill uApply application for admission. Applicants should review the abovementioned program eligibility requirements prior to starting their online application. Applicants should review the GPS step-by-step Applying and Admissions Help Site before starting their application. Note: in order to finalize and submit your uApply application, a non-refundable application fee is required. 
    • Built into the uApply online application are numerous questions requiring personal information specific to every applicant. Program specific requirements within the application are as follows:
      • Letters of Reference: Within the online application, applicants must provide valid institutional e-mail addresses for three (3) referees. McGill University will send an email to each referee applicants identify on the application form, asking for a reference in support of their application to be admitted. Referees will be invited to login to a secure portion of the McGill website where they will be required to answer questions about the applicant and will be given the ability to 1) input (via text box) a reference letter either by typing it in directly or by cut-and-paste from an existing document or 2) to upload a letter of reference in PDF format.
        NOTE: The Selection Committee prefers that at least one of the letters relate to clinical work/training and one relate to academic or research training. The nature of the third letter is at your discretion. If you cannot supply a reference in both clinical and academic categories, the Committee will accept three letters in the same category. 
      • PROJECT CONCENTRATION ONLY: Statement of Research Interest and Preferred Supervisor(s): Within the online application, applicants to the Project Concentration are required to concisely outline their proposed area(s) of research interest should they be admitted to this program  (1100 character or approximately 250 word maximum). Applicants will also be required to list the name(s) of one (1) or more ECP Counselling program faculty member(s), in order of preference, who they would like to supervise their area of research interest(s). Applicants should ensure their preferred supervisor has listed expertise in their chosen area of research interest. Consult the following website to review the list of ECP Faculty members and their program areas of expertise: Counselling Psychology faculty members.

     STEP 2. Uploading supporting documents via uApply

    • Within uApply, applicants must upload (in PDF format) the following supporting documentation by the December 15 application deadline. (More details on the uploading process can be viewed on the uApply Help Site). 
    1. Transcripts: An unofficial copy of your complete university-level academic record to date must be uploaded through uApply - including any McGill transcripts. (Quebec residents: CEGEP transcripts are not required). All transcripts received via the upload process are considered unofficial.  If you are offered admission, you will also need to provide official transcripts (sent to us by mail in a sealed envelope directly from the institution). Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. Please do not send these official records until we request them from you. 
    2. Curriculum Vitae (CV): A completed curriculum vitae using the ECP Curriculum Vitae Form [.doc] must be uploaded through uApply.
    3. Personal Statement: A statement NO LONGER than 500 words must be uploaded through uApply. Please write the words 'PERSONAL STATEMENT' as well as your first and last name at the top of the page of your pdf document. The personal statement should briefly describe your previous experience (research, educational, extracurricular, work), career goals and any special circumstances that should be taken into consideration for your application. Please note that admissions committee members will read only the first 500 words of any uploaded personal statement.
    4. Pre-Admission Academic Checklist: Complete and upload through uApply, one of the following checklist forms specific to the concentration for which you are applying:Pre-Admission Academic Checklist - Professional/Internship [.doc], Pre-Admission Academic Checklist - Project [.doc]. Consult the Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide [.pdf] to determine how to categorize courses when completing the checklist.
    5. International applicants: Submission of English language proficiency, if applicable, as described in Overview & Admissions section above.

    Review Process, Notification & Confirmation of Acceptance

    1. Selected candidates will be contacted for a preliminary interview, which typically take place in mid to late March of each year.
    2. By April 1st of each year, candidates offered potential positions in the program will receive by email a "Recommendation of Acceptance" sent to the email address they provided in uApply. This letter serves to inform the candidate that the Admissions Review Committee has agreed to recommend them into the program and that their application is being transmitted to McGill's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) for final review and acceptance. In most cases, this review takes approximately 7-10 days.
    3. After review by GPS, successful candidates will be contacted by GPS with an official "Offer of Admission".
    4. Candidates are then required to respond to their offer of admission on-line using your uApply account.

     


    Tuition & fees

    Information about application fees can be found on the Students Accounts website.

    See the Fee Calculator to determine your Graduate Tuition & Fees information.

    Additional fees apply to certain cohorts of Counselling Psychology students due the use of the Assessment Materials Resource Centre (AMRC). User fees for particular courses may be viewed on the AMRC page.

     


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Below you will find frequently asked admissions questions that apply specifically to Counselling Psychology programs. For a more general FAQ with for all of our graduate programs (including uploading and application questions), please see Admissions FAQ page (found in the Prospective Students page).

    Concentrations & careers

    I'm having trouble deciding which program is for me. What are the main differences between the MA Professional/Internship and Research Project programs?

    • The MA Professional/Internship and Research Project concentrations are very different degrees. Successful graduates of the MA Professional/Internship concentration will be able to practice as Counsellors in Quebec as the program is accredited by the Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d'orientation du Québec (OCCOQ). Students who are interested in studying for two years and then entering the workforce upon graduation should apply to this program.
    • Successful graduates of the MA Research Project concentration typically pursue Doctoral studies in the PhD program in Counselling Psychology here at McGill University, after which they graduate as Psychologists, licensable by the CPA, APA, and OPQ. Graduates of the MA Research Project concentration who do not go on to pursue PhD studies do not qualify to receive accreditation as a Counsellor or a Psychologist.

    I'm interested in applying for the MA Professional/Internship concentration but may want to pursue a PhD degree in Counselling Psychology at McGill afterward. Is this possible?

    • MA Professional/Internship students can apply and will be considered for a position in the PhD program here at McGill. However, research experience is a very important component of a successful PhD application and so it is important that students who feel they may be lacking in this area will need to consider gaining such experience previously at the undergraduate level, simultaneously at the graduate level, or post-graduation before applying. As well, such students will need to make up a number of courses upon entry to the PhD program as incoming students are expected to have degrees equivalent to the MA Project concentration.

    I am from ______ Province/State/Country. Will I be able to practice as a Counsellor/Counselling Psychologist back home?

    • As described above and elsewhere, the MA Professional/Internship concentration is licensed at the Provincial level in Quebec by the OCCOQ, while the PhD program is accredited by the APA in the United States and CPA in Canada, while graduates are OPQ-eligible for licensing in Quebec. For questions on particular local bodies' licensing, you must refer to your respective body's eligibility requirements and verify whether our programs meet them.

    I am very interested in working with children. Will I be able to do so in this program?

    • The Counselling Psychology program is not geared towards counselling, therapy, or assessment of children though some training in these areas will be a part of your program. Students can seek out an internship site that focuses on adolescents and use their elective credits to gain experience in this area but this is up to the individual and not the primary focus of the program's curriculum.
    • If you would like to focus mainly/exclusively on working or researching children in a clinical or research setting, you are likely to be more interested in the School/Applied Child Psychology program. As well, the Human Development program has opportunities in researching children's development, both typical and atypical, that might be of interest to you.

    What is the difference between a Counselling Psychologist and a Clinical Psychologist?

    • This is a question that is too difficult to answer in a short format as this, however there is a page dedicated to just that on the APA's Division 17 section of their website that will help answer that for you: Society of Counselling Psychology - Division 17.

    General program questions

    How long does it take to complete the program?

    • Both MA Concentrations take two years to complete on a full-time basis. 

    Can I pursue my studies on a part-time basis?

    • No. Students can only be registered on a full-time basis. Only students registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities can be registered as a part-time student in these programs.

    Can I pursue my studies while working?

    • This is possible but not recommended due to the structured and challenging nature of the program. Further, courses are offered almost exclusively during the day time, so studies cannot be pursued during the evening while working during the day.

    English is not my first language; can I successfully complete this program?

    • While students for whom English is not their first language have graduated from our program in the past (and done very well), courses are administered in English only and being able to communicate, both verbally and in written format, at a level of proficiency necessary to interact with clients, professors, and classmates effectively is absolutely integral to your success.

    Will I be eligible to receive funding in the program?

    • For the MA Internship concentration, students should be prepared to fully fund their studies as the availability of fellowships and grants is limited. Students in both programs can apply for Teaching Assistant positions, Research Assistant positions, and may qualify for smaller travel or conference awards, however none of these can be expected to offset the costs of studying in full.
    • For the MA Project concentration, incoming fellowships are awarded based on academic merit and most students are likely to work in their supervisor's lab as a Research Assistant upon acceptance however funding can vary from year-to-year and supervisor-to-supervisor. Being a research-based program, students in this concentration are eligible to apply for external fellowships such as SSHRC, FQRSC, FRSQ, and CIHR, amongst others, which many of our current students do and have been very successful in achieving.
    • Regardless of the program you are interested in, all McGill students can apply for loans and bursaries through the Scholarship and Student Aid Office. Students are also encouraged to seek out non-traditional sources of funding, including those offered by local provincial or federal governments, student or professional organizations, and private firms.

    Pre-Admissions Academic Checklist

    I'm missing some of the courses listed in the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. Can I still apply?

    • You may still apply on the following conditions:

      a) For the MA Professional/Internship concentrations you must have at least 12 of the 18 credits on the checklist completed by the end of the Fall semester in which you are applying. Without these 12 credits, we cannot make an accurate assessment of your abilities in Psychology.

      b) For both the MA Research Project and MA Professional/Internship concentrations, you cannot apply to the program with more than 6 credits needing to be completed on this checklist. Additionally, students who are missing 3 to 6 credits at the time of application must complete these credits before beginning their degree. Students cannot begin the program while still missing Pre-Admission Academic Checklist courses. It is important to note that these requirements are over and above the program's requirements and cannot be used as electives or transferred credits.

    Can I take these courses online?

    • Some of these courses can be taken online only at approved, accredited institutions. Students should contact the Department via counsellingpsych [dot] education [at] mcgill [dot] ca (email) before registering to receive approval of the requested institution.

    I'm not sure if a course fits into a particular domain on your checklist. Is there a way to figure this out?

    • The Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide (see link in e-application above) outlines eligible course topics that could fit into each domain. You should consult this guide and compare with your university's academic calendar for course descriptions along with course syllabi to determine where this course fits. It is the student's responsibility to adequately fill out this form and if there are doubts about the validity of where a course should be categorized you may be asked to provide proof via the calendar or syllabus.

    I really want to make sure I fill out this checklist properly. Can you give me any tips?

    • Certainly. To begin, properly understanding what constitutes a 'Cognitive-Affective' and what constitutes a 'Neurobiological' domain course is important, so you should first be familiar with the classifications in the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist Domains Guide. Here are some further tips that should help:

      - Adequately slotting a course into a particular domain is more important than trying to list only the courses you performed better in. This form is used to assess success completion of a course in a particular competency, not as a highlight of academic achievement. For example, if you scored a B- in Abnormal Psychology but would rather list your A in Issues and Factors Amongst At-Risk Teenagers, it is not to your benefit to list a course that is only questionably within that domain's topic-area. Transcripts are reviewed separately and all grades are taken into consideration; assessing achievement is not the purpose of this form.

      - You may list more than one course in a domain if you are unsure whether a particular course satisfies that domain.
      -Complete the form 'bottom-up' instead of 'top-down'. What we mean by that is, if you have higher-level courses (particularly graduate-level courses) it is more beneficial to begin by listing your lower/undergraduate courses and only resorting to graduate courses if absolutely necessary. This tip is most relevant for applicants to the Ph.D. program but useful for MA Research Project students.

      - Similarly, for domains that require senior undergraduate-level courses (such as 6 credits in the Social-Cultural domain), 3 of these credits can be from 'junior' courses, such as a 200-level course 'Intro do Social Psychology.' Here, again, it is more beneficial to list courses that adequately fit the content area of the domain than higher-level courses.

      - If you are preparing an application with enough time to do so, it is recommended to try and find courses that satisfy the History and Systems of Psychology and Psychological Measurement and Assessment domains as these have proven, traditionally, to be the ones most infrequently offered across universities and, subsequently, the most difficult to make-up if accepted into the program missing these credits.

    Applying to the program

    How many people apply (and are accepted) to the MA in Counselling Psychology?

    • While these numbers can vary from year to year, we receive approximately 300 applications to both programs and admit approximately 30-35 students. From these numbers, the Professional/Internship concentration receives approximately 250 applications per year and admits 25. The Research Project concentration receives approximately 50-75 applications per year and admits 5-10.

    What program do I select from the drop-down menu on the application form/I cannot find your program on the online application form?

    • The Counselling Psychology Master's and PhD programs are part of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and are in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology; we are not in the Faculty or Department of Psychology. Every year some applicants select a program in the Psychology department when they intend to apply to the Counselling Psychology program and, as a result, risk not having their application reviewed or it being considered late and paying for a second application fee. While we will do our best to accomodate such errors, we are not responsible for applicants applying to an incorrect program and cannot guarantee consideration in the event of such an error. As well, there is no way to 'transfer' an application; a new application must be submitted, including supporting documents (with new letters of references from referees), and the application fee paid again.

    With one application fee you have two choices of Degrees/Programs. Can I apply to both the Professional/Internship and Research Project programs?

    • Yes, you can list a second program as a second option. Most commonly, students will apply to the MA in Counselling Psychology: Research Project Stream and list the MA: Professional/Internship Stream as a second choice. It should be noted, however, that acceptance into one of the programs cannot be used as a means to transfer into the other program. If you are accepted into the Research Project Stream, for example, and want to transfer into the Professional/Internship Stream, you would be required to submit a formal application and be considered with all applicants for that given application period.

    I am interested in a second program that is not Counselling Psychology. Can I still apply to both programs?

    • Yes, you can submit up to two applications to different programs for one application fee through uApply. Please be mindful of the program's different application deadlines. If you are interested in the School/Applied Child Psychology program, for example, the application deadline for that program is January 15th. If you apply in January for that program and list a Counselling Psychology as one of your alternate choices you will not be considered for the Counselling Psychology program as it will be considered a late application. In such a case, you should apply with Counselling Psychology as a first choice, meeting the December 15th deadline, and your other program be listed as the second choice.