Master of Arts, Master of Education

MA, MEd in Counselling Psychology

Method of delivery:
In-person
Applications open:
November 1, 2022
Applications close:
January 15, 2023
Next start date:
September 2023

Interested in becoming a counsellor? We designed the Counselling Psychology program to prepare you for a career as a professional counsellor in the community or an educational setting, such as a school or university.

Program Overview

Designed For

Those wishing to pursue a career as a professional counsellor in community and educational settings.

Become a B.C. K-12 School Counsellor

All school counselors in the B.C. 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.

Become a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) or a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC)

Our graduates successfully seek certification by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association as Certified Canadian Counsellors or by the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors as a Registered Clinical Counsellors.  More information about certification by these professional associations can be found on their websites.

Program Structure

  • Complete an MEd or an MA (with faculty approval)
  • In-person classes typically held at the Surrey or Burnaby campus
  • Clinic-based courses at the SFU Surrey Counselling Centre
  • Designed for working professionals with classes held in the late afternoon/early evening

Intake Schedule

This program typically accepts applications on an annual basis. There will be no intake in Fall 2022.

Next Start Terms
Fall 2023
Fall 2024

Program Design & Courses

Program Design

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.  

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).

MEd vs MA

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.

Note: In order to be a school counsellor within the B.C. K-12 system, you must have a B.C. 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 MEd and MA 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.

Schedule & Courses

You can complete the program in two calendar years and two terms (a minimum of eight terms).

Year 1

The program begins with courses which help students to develop in-depth understandings of theories of counselling and become familiar with assessment procedures. This is followed by a practical component of Counselling Psychology training (EDUC 874) in which students learn and practice advanced counselling skills with peers while receiving detailed feedback from program faculty.  Students also usually take a course in ethics, and may take other required or elective courses.

Year 1: Fall

  • EDUC 862-3 INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT IN COUNSELLING

    Assessment procedures used in educational and community counselling settings, including intake assessment, case conceptualization, observational procedures, diagnostic categories, ethics, bias and multicultural and diversity issues. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the MA/MEd counselling psychology program or permission of instructor. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.

  • EDUC 870-3 THEORIES OF COUNSELLING

    Students examine analytic, phenomenological, existential, behavioral and cognitive approaches to counselling, and the philosophical and personality theories upon which they are based. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the MA/MEd counselling psychology program or permission of instructor. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.

Year 1: Spring

  • EDUC 874-5 COUNSELLING SKILLS AND STRATEGIES

    Counselling skills and strategies are analysed, practiced, and critically examined. Counsellor decision-making, counselling effectiveness, and professionalism in counselling are also considered. Prerequisite: EDUC 870.

  • EDUC 872-3 ETHICS IN COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY

    Issues related to foundational ethical principles and systems, professional and legal standards for counselling psychology, review of ethics codes, ethical decision-making, and other topics including professional boundaries, competence, service across cultures, social justice, consulting and private practice, and ethical guidelines around evaluation, assessment, supervision, and research.

Year 1: Summer

  • EDUC 877-4 CONTEMPORARY SCHOOL COUNSELLING

    An examination of contemporary approaches to school counselling. Program development, consultation skills, counselling interventions in school counselling are considered.

    This is a core course for MEd students.

  • Elective (MA) such as EDUC 863, 864, or 866*

    MA students may also wish to enroll in their thesis course, EDUC 898, if they are starting their research in this term.

    Note: Continuous enrollment in the thesis is expected once a student begins working on it.

MA students are encouraged to begin exploring thesis ideas and meeting with their senior supervisor to discuss research ideas as early as possible in the program.

*MA students are also required to complete a research methods/design course chosen in collaboration with their thesis supervisor. This course is usually completed during Year 1 or early in Year 2 to facilitate work on the thesis (EDUC 863, EDUC 864 or EDUC 866).

Year 2

Students usually complete two supervised counselling clinics (EDUC 799 and EDUC 800) at the SFU Surrey Counselling Centre, where they participate in their first supervised clinical experience. While at the Centre, students see a small number of clients under very close supervision. Supervisors are able to watch students conduct counselling sessions, join students in their sessions with clients, and review recordings of students’ counselling sessions. In addition to the Supervised Clinic courses, students also complete other required or elective courses.

Year 2: Fall

  • EDUC 799-3 SUPERVISED COUNSELLING CLINIC I

    An initial clinical course where students develop their basic and beginning counselling skills and increase their conceptual understanding of theoretical perspectives of counselling through practice, including counselling processes and case conceptualizations. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: EDUC 870, 874. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.

  • EDUC 873-3* CAREER COUNSELLING
    MA/MED STUDENTS COMPLETE ONE OF EDUC 871 OR EDUC 873.

    An examination of contemporary approaches to career counselling.
    * This elective availability may change from year to year.

Year 2: Spring

  • EDUC 800-3 SUPERVISED COUNSELLING CLINIC II

    An advanced clinical courses where students further develop their counselling skills and increase their conceptual understanding of theoretical perspectives of counselling through practice, including counselling processes and case conceptualizations. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: EDUC 799. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.

  • EDUC 878-5 GROUP COUNSELLING

    An examination of contemporary approaches to group counselling. Students with credit for EDUC 720 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: EDUC 874.

Year 2: Summer

  • EDUC 871-3* FAMILY COUNSELLING
    MA, MED STUDENTS COMPLETE ONE OF EDUC 871 OR EDUC 873

    Students discuss models of family dynamics and instructional interventions applicable by school personnel in family counselling interactions. Concepts and techniques will be explicated through discussion and simulation. Prerequisite: EDUC 870.
    * This elective availablility may change from year to year.

    MA students: Continued discussions with your thesis supervisor; completion of thesis proposal; ethics approval for thesis research. Data collection usually begins before the end of 2nd year.

    In Year 2, MA and MEd students secure practicum placements for the fall & spring of Year 3. Placements begin in January and are completed in June. The first practicum will begin in September, and the second in January the following year.

Year 3

All MA and MEd students complete their culminating supervised clinical experience: 2 practicum terms (September through April). During the practicums, students are placed in a community-based social service agency, a public school, or a university or college counselling centre where they see clients under the supervision of an on-site supervisor. The on-site supervisor is a fully qualified counsellor who works at the practicum site. Supervision during the practicum is based on supervisors and students reviewing recordings of the students’ counselling sessions and discussing sessions and cases. Students also attend an on-campus seminar (led by a faculty member from the program) with other students in the practicum. The seminar includes group supervision and case consultation. In addition, MEd students are required to register in the comprehensive exam course (EDUC 883) in their final term. Typically students complete all remaining degree requirements (course work, comprehensive examination, thesis examination) during this period.

Year 3: Fall

  • EDUC 801-1.5 COUNSELLING PRACTICUM I

    Supervised clinical experience for students enrolled in the MEd or MA Counselling Psychology Program. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: EDUC 800. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.

  • EDUC 864-5 RESEARCH DESIGNS IN EDUCATION

    Designing and interpreting research about education. Introduction to survey techniques, correlational designs, classic experimental and evaluation designs for investigating causal relations, case study methods, interpretive approaches to research. Students with credit for EDUC 814 may not take this course for further credit. Equivalent Courses: EDUC814 EDUC 864 is sometimes offered in other terms and may be completed in a different term or year if this works with program requirements and the student's schedule.

Year 3: Spring

  • EDUC 802-1.5 COUNSELLING PRACTICUM II

    Advanced supervised clinical experience for students enrolled in the MEd or MA Counselling Psychology Program. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: EDUC 801. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.

  • EDUC 883-5 MED COMPREHENSIVE EXAM

    The examination is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Year 3: Summer

  • EDUC 898-10 MASTER'S THESIS

    The thesis is a research investigation designed to generate and/or examine critically new knowledge in the theory and/or practice of education. The thesis should normally be completed and approved in three terms. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

    MEd students prepare for and complete the Comprehensive Examination in the final term.

    MA students continue to work on their thesis throughout Year 3. Upon completion of the thesis to the satisfaction of the supervisory committee (8th term or later), MA students proceed to a Thesis Examination.

Locations

At SFU, campus life is rich with opportunities to engage with people, ideas and activities that contribute to personal development and a better world.

Burnaby

Perched atop Burnaby Mountain, Simon Fraser University's original Arthur Erickson-designed campus includes more than three dozen academic buildings and a flourishing sustainable residential community.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations, on which SFU Burnaby is located.

Surrey

Our Surrey campus is a vibrant community hub in the heart of one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. With easy access to transit, the modern campus is conveniently situated between Metro Vancouver and communities south of the Fraser River.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories, including the Semiahmoo, Katzie, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen Nations, on which SFU Surrey is located.

SFU Surrey Community Counselling Centre

All counselling is provided by Counsellor Trainees in the SFU Master's program in Counselling Psychology under the close supervision of the program’s instructional team.

Learn more about the SFU Surrey Community Counselling Centre

Faculty

Faculty members are recognized for their work in developing, advancing and enacting knowledge that makes a difference in public education. We follow a rigorous research program to investigate theory and provide innovative leadership in issues of educational pedagogy.

Faculty who provide senior supervision for MA thesis work in Counselling Psychology:

Future Pathways

Where can this program take you? The world is changing rapidly and so is the full range of career and academic opportunities that await.

Occupations

Graduates find rewarding careers providing individual, group, personal, and career counselling and psycho-educational counselling services to adults and children in a variety of settings, including:

  • Public schools
  • University and college counselling centres
  • Community-organizations

 

Student Experiences

Meet some Counselling Psychology MEd/MA students and alumni.

  • "I chose the Counseling Psychology Program within the Faculty of Education at SFU because of the high quality of instruction and training I would receive. I knew studying at SFU would help me pursue my goal of becoming a counsellor and conducting research."

  • "My time at the Faculty of Education changed my life, partly by facilitating my recognition of new competencies and interests within myself."

  • "I chose SFU because it feels like home to me."

"I chose the Counseling Psychology Program within the Faculty of Education at SFU because of the high quality of instruction and training I would receive."

Cheryl Inkster, 2017 Graduate

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