Counselling Psychology MA, M.Ed
Are you interested in becoming a counsellor?
Would you like to work as a school counsellor or as a professional counsellor in a community agency or post-secondary setting?
Become a school counsellor or a professional counsellor in a community agency or post-secondary setting. Explore the possibilities!
Our Counselling Psychology programs prepare individuals for careers as professional counsellors in community and educational settings.
Graduates find rewarding careers providing counselling services (individual, group, personal, and career counselling and psycho-educational services) to adults and children in a variety of settings, including public schools, university and college counselling centres, and community-based social service agencies.
The Counselling Psychology M.Ed. and MA programs are highly sequenced, with almost all courses offered only once per year. The program structure and sequence is guided by two key principles:
1. Effective counselling practice is guided by coherent theoretical frameworks, a working knowledge of assessment procedures, and a keen awareness of ethical principles and issues.
2. Counselling skills and strategies are best learned through a series of structured experiences that allow students to refine their skills while becoming increasingly independent and confident in their clinical skills and judgment.
Difference between Master of Arts and Master of Education Programs
Our Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree is a professional graduate degree designed for students who wish to practice counselling in educational settings such as the K-12 public school system or college and university counselling centers. An M.Ed. degree requires the completion of a comprehensive examination covering professional practice and ethics in counselling and a required course on counselling in educational settings. Students in the M.Ed. program typically complete their Counselling Practicum in an educational setting (K-12 or post-secondary). The M.Ed. degree does not prepare students for a dissertation based doctoral program.
Our Master of Arts (MA) degree is suitable for students who wish to practice counselling in community or educational settings and who wish to conduct original research (in the form of a thesis) as part of their graduate studies. Students who are interested in pursuing a PhD in Counselling Psychology should consider the MA degree because most doctoral programs include a dissertation and accept applicants who have completed a thesis at the Masters level. In order to support a student's research for their thesis, an additional course in research is often required. Students in the MA program may complete their Counselling Practicum in either an educational or a community setting.
Key Features of M.Ed and MA Programs
Both the M.Ed. and the MA provide the same amount and quality of clinical training. Students in both the MA and the M.Ed. complete their first supervised counselling experience (the Supervised Clinic courses) together at the SFU Surrey Counselling Centre (SCC).
The SFU SCC, housed in a secondary school in Surrey, BC, is the training centre associated with the program. While at the centre, students provide counselling, under close supervision by program faculty, to a small number of clients (ranging from elementary school aged children through adults depending on students’ interests and experience). Students in both versions of the program then complete two terms of Counselling Practicum.
During the Practicum terms, MA and M.Ed. students spend 2-3 days per week at a practicum site (e.g., community counselling agency, public school, college or university counselling centre) and attend a weekly evening seminar together on campus.
The MA and the M.Ed. require the same time to complete and require the same amount of work on the part of students. Students in the MA and M.Ed. take similar courses from the same instructors, and often classes are blended with both MA and M.Ed. students. Employers typically make no distinction between the M.Ed. and the MA when hiring counsellors.
Are you interested in becoming a school counsellor in the public K-12 system in BC?
If you are interested in becoming a school counsellor in the public K-12 education system in BC, the first step is to become qualified as a teacher. All school counselors in the BC public school system are qualified teachers. After achieving certification as a teacher and gaining experience in the classroom, the next step is to pursue a Master’s degree in counselling psychology. If you are already a teacher, see the section "Are you a certified teacher?" above.
Are you interested in seeking certification as a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) or as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC)?
Many of our graduates successfully seek certification by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association as Certified Canadian Counsellors or by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors as a Registered Clinical Counsellors. More information about certification by these professional associations can be found on their websites.
Learn more about the Faculty of Education Graduate Student Funding Policy.
Information about financial support is available from the Dean of Graduate Studies Office.