Counselling Psychology MA, MEd


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?

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 settings (e.g., public schools, university and college counselling centres, community-organizations). Graduates are eligible to register with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), and/or the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).

The Counselling Psychology MA and MEd 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.  


  • Trina Zindler 
    Admissions & Administrative Enquiries

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Difference between Master of Arts and Master of Education Programs

Both our Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Education (MEd) degrees are suitable for students who wish to practice counselling in various professional settings.

Our MA is suited for those 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 required. Students in the MA program may complete their Counselling Practicum in a wide range of professional settings.

Our MEd 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 MEd program may also complete their Counselling Practicum in a wide range of professional settings.

Please note that in order to be a school counsellor within the BC K-12 system, you must have a BC teaching qualification.

Employers typically make no distinction between the MA and the MEd when hiring counsellors. The MA and the MEd require the same time to complete and require the same amount of work on the part of students. Students in the MA and MEd take similar courses from the same instructors, and classes are often blended with both groups of students.

Key Features of MA and MEd Programs

Both the MA and the MEd provide the same amount and quality of clinical training.  Students in both programs complete their first supervised counselling experience (the Supervised Clinic courses) together at the SFU Surrey Counselling Centre (SCC)

The SFU SCC 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). Upon successful completion of the two terms of clinics, students in both versions of the program then complete two terms of Counselling Practicum. 

During the Practicum terms, MA and MEd 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.

Are you interested in becoming a school counsellor in the public K-12 system in BC?

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 Admission Requirements page.

Are you interested in seeking certification as a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) or as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC)?

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.

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Information about financial support is available from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.
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