Counselling Psychology Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

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


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

  • 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 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 as 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. Therefore, it is important that students who feel they may be lacking in this area consider gaining such experience at the undergraduate level, simultaneously at the graduate level, or post-graduation before applying. Such students will also be required 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.

How is the pandemic affecting internships for those students enrolled in the MA Counselling Professional/Internship Concentration?

  • All MA students, with no exceptions, were successfully placed into the internship sites they were matched with. Most sites offer a combination of telehealth and face-to-face model (where possible and appropriate processes were established). The sites also consistently demonstrated flexibility in accommodating students in special circumstances (e.g., allowing working exclusively remotely).

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

  • The MA Professional/Internship concentration is licensed at the Provincial level in Quebec by the OCCOQ. The PhD program is accredited by the CPA in Canada, and 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.


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 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.

Can the program be completed online?

  • Our department does not offer distance learning programs. During the pandemic our courses were offered remotely, however in-person courses will recommence in Fall 2021.

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. Funding, however 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 federal fellowships such as SSHRC and CIHR, for which many of our current students have been successful.
  • 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.

I did not complete a BA in Psychology. How do I obtain the necessary Psychology pre-requisite courses?

  • Potential applicants who do not have the pre-requisite psychology courses can register as an independent student in the Psychology department of any accredited university. Please note that our department does not offer these courses.

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 [at] (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?

  • 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 PhD 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 accommodate 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 can create two independent applications. Can I apply to both the Professional/Internship and Research Project programs?

  • Yes. Note that the application requirements are different, and if you use the same referees they will need to submit two reference letters.

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 programs potentially different application deadlines. 



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