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

Get all the information you need to apply for the Counselling Psychology MA/MEd program.

Admission Requirements

SFU Requirements

A bachelor's degree from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0/4.33 (B), or a grade point average of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) based on the last 60 units of undergraduate/graduate courses will normally be required for admission. Academic equivalency by country.

Program Requirements

Experience Prerequisite

Applicants require a minimum of approximately two years (or 400 hours) of volunteer or paid experience working in a helping related position. Any human service work would be acceptable. Typically, it is met through crisis line work or applied behavioural education support, as those are the most accessible opportunities for our applicants. Other occupations that apply include, but are not limited to teaching activities, working one-on-one advising or guiding others or working in health care, etc.

Academic Prerequisites

We consider applicants from diverse academic backgrounds.

Our minimum requirement for admissions is a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0/4.33 (B), or a grade point average of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) based on the last 60 credits of courses.

You will need the following specific prerequisite courses:

  • EDUC 323 (or equivalent) which is an undergraduate course in counselling theories
  • EDUC 423 (or equivalent) which is an undergraduate course in counselling skills
  • 1 course in developmental psychology
  • 1 course in research methods
  • 1 course in cognitive psychology or educational psychology
  • 1 other (or additional) relevant course in any 
    • social psychology,
    • multicultural counselling or education,
    • personality theory,
    • psychopathology or 
    • abnormal psychology.  
    • A course in sociology, cultural anthropology, or women’s studies that is relevant to counselling psychology will also satisfy this requirement.

Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to applying to the program.  Applications must include transcripts that show grades in all prerequisite courses.

Additional information about prerequisites

Courses listed as prerequisites for entry to the Counselling Psychology Master's program may have undergraduate prerequisites. Determine and complete any undergraduate prerequisite courses that may be required by your home institution before completing the required courses.

You will need the following:

  • EDUC 323 (or equivalent) which is an undergraduate course in counselling theories
  • EDUC 423 (or equivalent) which is an undergraduate course in counselling skills
  • 1 course in developmental psychology
  • 1 course in research methods
  • 1 course in cognitive psychology or educational psychology
  • 1 course in any of the following:
    • Social psychology
    • Multicultural counselling or education
    • Personality theory
    • Psychopathology
    • Abnormal psychology
    • A course in sociology, cultural anthropology, or women’s studies that is relevant to counselling psychology

See below for more details.

Help assessing and choosing your undergraduate courses

Counselling Skills Requirement:

SFU EDUC 423 (Helping Relationships) or equivalent course. To be equivalent, the course must cover basic counselling skills and must include an experiential component in which students practice counselling skills, evaluate and reflect on their use of counselling skills, and receive feedback from an instructor on their use of counselling skills (usually through the recording and transcribing mock counselling sessions with classmates).

Counselling Theories Requirement:

SFU EDUC 323 (Theories of Counselling) or equivalent course. Any course that is entirely devoted to a survey of theories of counselling and psychotherapy is a suitable equivalent.

Developmental Psychology Requirement:

Any course that provides an overview of developmental psychology or that is devoted to particular topics in developmental psychology (e.g., cognitive development, social development, developmental psychopathology) or to looking at a particular stage from the perspective of developmental psychology (e.g., infant development, childhood development, adolescent development, adulthood and aging). SFU EDUC 322 (Social Lives of School Children) and SFU EDUC 464 (Early Childhood Education) are suitable for this requirement.

Research Methods Requirement:

Any course that covers research methods (quantitative or qualitative) or design in the social sciences (including courses in statistics or data analysis).

Cognitive Psychology/Educational Psychology Requirement:

Suitable courses include those in learning disabilities, educational psychology, the psychology of memory, cognitive psychology, or learning theory.

Other Relevant Course Requirement:

At a minimum, all applicants must have courses in counselling skills, counselling theories, research methods, developmental psychology, and cognitive or educational psychology plus one additional relevant course. The additional course may be drawn from any one of the following areas: social psychology, multicultural counselling or education, personality theory, psychopathology or abnormal psychology.  A course in cultural anthropology, sociology, or women’s studies that is relevant to counselling psychology will also satisfy this requirement.

Programs that meet these prerequisities

Profile of a typical applicant

In addition to the general minimum admission requirements listed, successful applicants typically possess a GPA of at least 3.3 (B+) in the last 60 units of their undergraduate degree and have often achieved even higher grades in the courses that are prerequisites for the program.

If your overall GPA in your Bachelor’s degree is 3.0 or less but you have better grades later in your degree (or in courses you’ve taken after completing your degree):

  • Successful applicants usually have GPAs of at least 3.3 (B+) in the last two years of their degree even if their overall GPA is lower. The admissions committee places an emphasis on recent (last 60 units) coursework and on coursework that is related to counselling psychology.
  • Applicants who have taken additional courses outside of their undergraduate degree (especially courses taken to meet admission criteria for the counselling program) may apply to have these courses considered as part of the application process.

NOTE: Admissions to these programs does NOT require the submission of a GRE result.

Tuition & Costs

Tuition (2022/23)

  • $2,025.60 (per term)

*Subject to estimated 2% fee increase each September.

SFU Ancillary Fees

Simon Fraser University assesses the Student Services fee, the graduate student activity fee, the U-Pass BC fee and the mandatory supplementary course fee to all eligible students in each term of enrollment.

More Information

How to Apply

Admission to the Counselling Psychology program is very competitive. We receive approximately 250-300 applications each year, competing for a maximum of 12 spaces. Read the information on admission requirements carefully before applying. 

Before Applying (Admission Requirements and Documents)


Review the following to ensure you meet SFU’s admission requirements, the academic requirements by country, and have all required documents ready before starting the application process.

Check that you meet all the admission requirements for SFU and your program

Have a valid credit card to pay the application fee (Visa or Mastercard)

If you do not have either of these credit cards, email the program assistant for the program before starting your online application.

Collect the contact information for three references, including their email addresses

Reference letters must be specific to this application. At least TWO should be written by referees who are able to comment on your academic competence and to make an informed judgment about your likelihood of success in graduate study (e.g., professors).

  • The following form provides an example of the specific questions that your referees will be asked to answer. You may download this form and send it to them for their reference: Blank Reference Report form.
  • The deadline for referees to submit their reference is January 15th. Insert this date of return on the form to guide the referees.

Gather the required supporting documents, including transcripts

After you submit the online application and pay the application fee you will be required to upload the following PDF documents:

  • Unofficial transcripts for each post-secondary institution attended
  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Letter of Intent
  • Research Statement (MA Applicants only)
  • Summary of Qualifications Form

If applicable, you will also need to submit your IELTS/TOEFL test results.

Step 1: Apply online

Complete the Online Application for Graduate Studies at SFU

Apply Here

Important notes about the online application system/process:

  • Can take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
  • You do not have to wait until you have all your supporting documents ready before applying. Graduate programs can be competitive, therefore is it recommended that you begin your application early to complete the online sections and being preparing and collecting the required documents.  
  • Referee information will be entered into the online application and reference requests automatically sent out.
  • The online application system will allow you to partially complete the process, save, and return later.
  • The online application system is only available while applications are being accepted for each program.

Step 2: Pay application fee

Once you complete and submit Step 1 of the online application, you wil need to pay the non-refundable application fee:

  • $90 CAN (applicants with Canadian transcripts only)
  • $125 CAN (students with one or more international transcripts)

Payment must be made by credit card (Mastercard or Visa). Once the payment is approved, you will receive an email confirming that your payment was successful and inviting you to proceed to Uploading Documents (checklist).

Step 3: Upload Supporting Documents

You will only be able to upload the required documents to complete your application after your application fee has been processed.

Upload the following required documents before the application deadline:

Transcripts

You must upload a transcript (scanned, saved, etc.) for each post-secondary institution you have attended (institutions you listed in Step 3, in your online application). Ensure all pages are uploaded, including the grading scale (typically located on the back of the page or a separate sheet).

Official transcripts will only be required if you receive an offer of admission.

More info about transcripts

Letter of Intent (PDF)

In one single-­spaced page (12 pt font, 1-inch margins), outline your reasons for pursuing graduate studies and for choosing counselling as a profession. Insert your last name and first initial in the header of your document. Organize your letter of intent using the following headings:

  • Personal motivations for pursuing a degree in counselling, including signify life experience (if any) that contributed to your choice to pursue a career in counselling.
  • Goals and Plans. Describe the competences you expect to have developed by the end of your program and your plans post-degree (e.g. in what kind of settings and with what populations do you plan to work immediately after completion of the program? Five years later?)
  • Any other topics you would like the admissions committee to consider when evaluating your application.

SHORT ESSAY QUESTION RESPONSE (PDF)

Applicants must write one single-spaced page (12 pt. font, 1-inch margins) on the topic: Communication Process in Counselling Practice. Insert your last name and first initial in the header of your document. The admissions committee uses this to assess applicants’ academic writing ability.

Research Statement (PDF) - MA Applicants Only

Write a paragraph or two on each of the following (maximum one single-spaced page, 12 pt. font, 1-inch margins). Insert your last name and first initial in the header of your document. Within your research statement please:

  • Include your research interests and specific topic areas you may wish to investigate in your thesis work;
  • Specify how your research interests match your proposed supervisors' research interests and expertise;
  • Include the kind of research methodology you would like to use to conduct your research.

Summary of Qualifications Form (PDF)

Download and fill out Summary of Qualification Form. Once completed, upload as a PDF.

  • Your research interests and the specific topic areas you may wish to investigate in your thesis work. Specify how your research interests match your proposed supervisors’ research interests and expertise.
  • The kind of research methodology you would like to use to conduct your research

IELTS/TOEFL Test Results (If Applicable)

Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies. Applicants applying to programs conducted entirely in French will be exempt from this requirement. International applicants will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language.

More information about English Language Requirements and test score submission

Application Review Timeline

From the close of the application period, reviewing submitted applications takes approximately 8-12 weeks.

After the intial review, we spend a few more weeks to develop a shortlist. Once the shortlist is finalized, we will let those who were not successful know, and then invite the shortlisted candidates to participate in an interview.

Those who are succesful, will receive an emailed offer of admission from SFU Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Frequently asked questions

Do you admit students without an undergraduate or masters degree?

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee.

I have an undergraduate degree, but my early grades were not very high. Will this affect my application?

The minimum university requirement for admission to a master’s program is a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0/4.33 (B), or a grade point average of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications, but with extensive experience deemed significant to the proposed area of research. 

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted to the MEd EP program with an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.0. For more information see MEd EP Additional Requirements.

I have been out of university for a long time and do not have any recent academic references. Are three professional referees acceptable? 

Anyone who can comment on your academic competence (e.g., department head, school principal, academic coordinator, manager/supervisor, etc.). What we look for from referees is confirmation that the applicant has the capacity to pursue a graduate degree – i.e. understands academic writing, reading, and has the intellect, academic preparation and skills (e.g. time management, ability to work and study etc.) to be successful. Applicants should prepare referees to speak to these qualities and capacities, and reference highlights of the applicant’s CV, describe projects, leadership, initiatives, professional experience that reflect qualities and skills that are relevant to academic achievement. For Counselling Psychology program applicants, please refer to the program website for more complete details about references.

If in doubt, contact the Program Assistant for confirmation.

How do I submit transcripts?

You must upload an unofficial transcript (scanned, saved, etc.) for each post-secondary institution you have attended when you are uploading documents to your application. You cannot upload these documents until your application has been submitted, and your application fee has been paid and processed.

If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to submit an official transcript for each post-secondary institution. More information.

Note: Applicants who completed their former degrees at SFU are not required to submit an official SFU transcript, as these records can be accessed. More information on transcripts.

What is the selection committee looking for in the short essay question response?

Applicants must write one single‐spaced page (12 pt. font, 1-inch margins) on the topic: Communication Process in Counselling Practice. Insert your last name and first initial in the header of your document. The admissions committee uses this to assess applicants’ academic writing ability. This writing sample remains the property of SFU.

When will I know the selection committee’s decision regarding my application?

Applicants to MEd, MA, MSc programs will receive notification in April. Applicants to Community Graduate MEd programs and Field Programs' MEd EP programs will receive notification approximately 6-8 weeks after the application deadline.

All applicants will receive an email letter from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Students will also receive a letter in the mail shortly after.

How long will it take to complete a Counselling Psychology Master's degree?

The shortest time in which the program may be completed is 8 terms. SFU operates 3 terms per calendar year, so the shortest time in which the program may be completed is 2 calendar years plus 2 terms. SFU graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment throughout their program.

Is there a minimum fee for the master’s program?

The minimum fee for a master’s program is six full-time research term fee units (excluding the International Program and the MEd EP program). However, the minimum fee rule may be waived for students who complete all degree requirements in less than six terms of continuous full-time enrolment. Contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for information.

Students who enroll on leave are not eligible for the waiver of the minimum fee requirements.

A master’s student who has completed six terms of enrolment (excluding on leave enrolment) pays a continuing fee in subsequent terms equal to one half of the regular fee.

Is there a difference between community-based MEd cohorts and the on-campus MEd degree in terms of TQS (Teacher Qualification Service) guidelines for going up a category in pay?

There is no difference in the credential (Master of Education) no matter what program it is awarded through. It is the student’s responsibility to review any criteria set out by their employer for pay increases, such as the Teacher Qualification Service. See more detailed information.

Will there be a new student orientation?

Yes. Before the start of the Fall term, SFU's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office schedules a general orientation for all SFU graduate students. The Faculty of Education also hosts a New Graduate Student Orientation that is usually scheduled during the first month of the Fall term. The Education Graduate Student Orientation Handbook will be distributed to new students. This publication outlines the administrative structure of the program and provides information on specific logistics such as parking, computer access, housing, registration, etc.

Is it possible to continue working during the day while completing the program?

For most of the program, it is possible to continue working full-time or nearly full-time during the day. Courses in the program usually begin at 16:30 and meet once per week. Students usually take no more than 2 courses per term. In addition to time spent in class, students must expect to spend about twice as much time out of class reading and preparing assignments.

During the 2nd year of the program, students enroll in the Supervised Clinic courses (EDUC 799 in the fall and EDUC 800 in the spring) at the SFU Surrey Counselling Centre. These courses are also scheduled in the evening, however, due to the nature of the course activities, students must also spend some additional time outside class during the day at the Centre. 

During the 3rd year of the program, students usually complete the practicum courses (EDUC 801 and EDUC 802), which take place over two consecutive terms, from September through April. The practicum requires a minimum 2 full weekday commitment and also involves a weekly evening seminar on campus. Given the demands of the practicum, it is feasible to work half time at most during these terms.

I HAVE COMPLETED VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S PROVINCIAL INSTRUCTOR DIPLOMA PROGRAM (PIDP). CAN I LADDER INTO THE MED PROGRAM?

The prerequisite for entry into a SFU Masters program is a Bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 from a recognized university, or the equivalent. For applicants who do not hold a Bachelor’s degree, if they have completed the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program (PIDP) and have extensive professional experience in an educational or professional setting, they may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate. After one year of coursework (12 units minimum) and a CGPA of 3.0, students may transfer into the MEd program.

DO I NEED TO SUBMIT ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST RESULTS?

Students whose native primary language is not English must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies in the chosen field. Applicants applying to programs conducted entirely in French will be exempt from this requirement. English language requirements.

Are there online graduate programs offered by the Faculty of Education?

Generally, all our programs are offered face-to-face. Students are expected to attend all classes in person. Please review each program website to determine the delivery method for your program of interested.

Are there any scholarships available? What about for international applicants?

Various forms of financial assistance are available for graduate students in Education. Admission to SFU does not imply financial support. As a consequence of not being able to guarantee funding for all graduate students, the Faculty of Education stresses to all applicants, and particularly those from overseas, that they are responsible for supporting their graduate study at this institution for a minimum of two years and funding should be arranged before arriving in Canada.

Would you recommend a Faculty of Education graduate program for international students?

International students face specific challenges no matter what program they may take outside their home country, for example: obtaining study permit, finances, academic writing and working in Anglo-dominant institutions, finding suitable accommodation, childcare, and sustaining oneself during the program.

Outside of these challenges, we recommend that international students applying to a graduate program should have work experience in a field related to the program (including volunteer experience), and have a specific topic or area of interest in which their learning in the program can be applied (in their home country or other location).  Unless otherwise stated on the program website, the tuition rate is the same for domestic and international students.

What is expected from the academic writing sample?

The purpose of the academic writing sample is for the admissions committee to assess a candidate’s ability to be successful in a fundamental scholarly skill: scholarly writing. Scholarly writing is evidence-based, well cited, rooted in scholarly literature, and clear, concise, and coherent in its prose. While we expect students to develop these skills once they are in the program, the academic writing sample allows us to see where the starting point for any applicant would be. Most applicants submit a recently written university level course paper (written within the past 5 years); other applicants choose an older paper but rewrite it for the purposes of the application; and others still might choose a more recent writing sample that is not necessarily academic but demonstrates these skills.

Counselling Psychology applicants: Write one single‐spaced page (12 pt. font, 1-inch margins) on the topic: Communication Process in Counselling Practice.

Since the program is designed for students who also work full time, how many hours per week will courses be? How many hours per week should I budget to dedicate to my studies?

This will depend on the number of courses your program requires you to enroll in each term. In addition to the 4-5 hours of class time once per week, students should be prepared to be spending additional time per week doing course readings (approximately 50-100 pages per week, sometimes more, sometimes less); library research; assignments for class; and additional hours doing research and writing academic papers for their courses. We would advise that students budget at minimum 15-20 hours per week to devote to their studies.

Questions?