Counselling psychology applications

The information on this page is for applying to the project-based and thesis-based master's programs. If you have further questions about these programs, make sure to check our FAQs!

Application deadline: December 1

The application deadline for the September 2024 program has passed, and late applications are not being accepted. The next application deadline will be December 1, 2024 for the September 2025 program. 

This program will be open for online application beginning September 1, until 11:59 p.m. on the date of the application deadline. 

For this program, there is only one entry point, in September each year. It is not possible to start at any other time of year. We do not accept late applications.

Am I eligible? 

To determine if you are eligible for the program, please carefully go through each of the admission requirements below. We cannot evaluate your application for you before you apply; it is up to each applicant to review the admissions criteria and determine their own eligibility.

Admission requirements

Each year the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies receives a considerable number of applications for entry into the graduate counselling program, thus, the admissions process is a competitive one. Meeting admission requirements does not guarantee entry to the program.

Recommendations for admissions are for a particular program and start date, and cannot be deferred. Applicants declining an offer of admission must re-apply. 

Candidates seeking admission should normally be able to satisfy the entrance requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies as listed in the academic calendar. Further to these requirements, the Department of Educational and Leadership Studies requires the following: 

Baccalaureate degree requirement and Grade Point Average (GPA)

In order to apply for the program, you must have completed a four-year baccalaureate degree (or equivalent degree from another country) from a recognized institution by the program start date. Your degree may be in any discipline. If you are pursuing the thesis-based program, completing an undergraduate thesis (honours level) is not required, but it will make your application more competitive. 

In your online application, make sure to submit unofficial transcripts for ALL post-secondary institutions at which you registered for courses. 

The minimum required entrance GPA is a B+ average over the last 30.0 UVic units or equivalent (approx. 2 years) of your degree. A higher GPA will be considered more competitive. Non-graded (pass-fail) courses, credit granted on the basis of life or work experience, or credit earned at institutions not recognized by the university will not be used in determining an applicant's grade point average or units completed. 300- or 400-level courses taken after your degree can sometimes be factored in to the GPA calculation. Learn about Calculating GPA for graduate admission.

International students must meet the minimum degree type, degree length and GPA by country

Prerequisite courses

To be submitted as part of your online application. 

Applicants must fill out the list of required counselling prerequisite courses pdf with the following courses or approved equivalents: 
  1. ED-D 414 Group Processes* with minimum B+
  2. ED-D 417 Skills for Effective Interpersonal Communication* with minimum B+
  3. ED-D 418 Introduction to Theories of Counselling* with minimum B+
  4. An upper level course in the area of developmental psychology (i.e. child/adolescent development)
  5. An upper level course in the area of abnormal psychology/behaviour disorders
  6. An upper level statistics course (thesis-based applications only)

*All three ED-D courses must have been completed within seven years of the application deadline. ED-D 417 and ED-D 418 must be completed by December 31 of the year prior to program start. If you have not completed ED-D 417 or ED-D 418 by December 31, or if you obtain a B or lower in any of these three ED-D courses, your application will not be processed. 

Do all prerequisites need to be complete by the time I apply?

ED-D 417 and 418 must be completed by December 31st of the year prior to program start. If they are not, then your application will not be considered.

Having the other "upper-level" psych/stats prerequisite courses also completed at the time of applying is strongly recommended, as it will make your application more competitive, but it is possible to apply while they are still in progress or registered for spring term.

Knowing ED-D 414 is hard to find outside of UVic, you can apply without it and it won’t make your application any less competitive. If you are offered a spot in the program, then you will be required to take ED-D 414 at UVic in the summer term before the program starts.

If your prerequisites are in progress when you apply

If you are taking prerequisite courses in Sept-Dec term, you can apply by the December 1 application deadline with your transcript that shows the courses as in progress. Once you receive your final grades in late December or early January, please log back in to your application and upload an updated transcript showing the grades. 

ED-D course equivalency

To request equivalency to an ED-D course for courses taken at another university or department, or for examples of accepted courses, please see the Prerequisite equivalency request guide. You must submit an equivalency request for every course that you are using as equivalent to an ED-D prerequisite, whether or not it is listed in the guide. The syllabus can change from year to year, so even if a course is listed in the guide, it may not always be accepted. 

You may request equivalency for a course before or after you take the course. 

Because we consider work experience as one of our main criteria for adjudication, we do not accept work experience or practica to substitute for prerequisite courses or any other requirement. 

What is an “upper level” course in developmental or abnormal psychology? 

Upper level means 300- or 400-level, except in exceptional circumstances where approval is granted by the Graduate Advisor for specific 200-level cores. An upper level course in developmental psychology should cover childhood and/or adolescent development. An upper level course in abnormal psychology/behaviour disorders should cover the diagnostic criteria for most common disorders listed in the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). 

For examples of accepted UVic courses, see the Prerequisite equivalency request guide

Upper-level Statistics

Only required for applications to the thesis-based option.

The statistics course should be 300- or 400-level. We are looking for course that covers descriptive statistics and inferential statistics including univariate and regression analyses. 200-level courses are not usually accepted, only in exceptional cases and they must cover all these topics. If your course fits these requirements, you can send us the syllabus and we can evaluate it for equivalency.

For examples of accepted UVic courses, see the Prerequisite equivalency request guide

A significant number of counselling-related hours

Applicants must document their counselling-related experience(s) in a resumé and field experience charts (FECs).

Field experience chart 

To be submitted as part of your online application. 

For every counselling-related position held, fill out a field experience chart.

Counselling-related experience is defined as working1 with “vulnerable populations”2 in a position where the applicant’s main role was to help individuals or groups with personally meaningful goals or needs. Such experience should involve person-to-person and/or group helping relationships in which (a) you play a facilitative role in learning, personal and emotional growth, and/or psychological development and (b) are required to demonstrate professional and ethical behaviours, effective interpersonal skills and personal awareness. It must also include supervision involving evaluative feedback from a professional of a higher administrative position (i.e., not peer consultation) with clearly stated roles and responsibilities for the individual and the supervisor. This requirement can be met through volunteer work experience; although, preference may be given to you if you have sustained relevant, paid work experience.

Examples of counselling-related experience include teaching, leading youth groups, support work, socail work, group homes, at-risk youth/community outreach, addictions services, victim support services, volunteer counselling, crisis lines, big brother/sister, or hospice, among others. Please note that self-employed work can be included on your resume as professional experience, but does not count towards your counselling-related work experience requirement. 

If your job involved some hours of direct work with clients and some hours of administrative tasks, case management, training, or other tasks not eligible as counselling hours, you can differentiate between “Total # of hours worked on the job” and “# of hours of direct helping experience” on the field experience chart. 

Please record your hours as a total number of hours, not as hours per week, number of weeks or a date range. 

1 Volunteer and/or paid work experience.

2 While it is arguable that the human condition renders us all vulnerable, by vulnerable populations we refer to persons/populations more-than-ordinarily vulnerable than typical adult-aged persons of the general population. Children and youth are a vulnerable population (which is why volunteers and service personal require criminal record checks).


To be submitted as part of your online application. 

In the resumé please document all work experience and include a brief statement about what was gained or learned from each experience. Whether the candidate was working or not, all gaps in the history should be included and explained. The purpose of the experience requirement is; in part, to show involvement and interest in people-oriented work. Please include on the first page: current date, name, address, phone number and email address.

Two counselling skills evaluations

Counselling Skills Evaluation (fillable PDF)

Due January 1.

The purpose of the counselling skills evaluations (CSEs) is to provide a detailed qualitative assessment of your counselling skills and professional characteristics.

All applicants must get two counselling skills evaluations filled in. One must be from your instructor of ED-D 417 or pre-approved equivalent course. The other should be from a supervisor from a counselling-related setting. These two referees should be different from the two referees who fill in your assessment reports.

Applicants must send the blank CSE to their referees. Each referee will email the completed CSE directly to the Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies Graduate Programs Office ( by Jan. 1. 

If you are thinking of applying in future, you can ask your ED-D 417 instructor to complete the CSE for you and send it to us right away, and we will keep it on file until you apply. 

Applicants must indicate on their personal statement who has been asked to submit these evaluations.

Two assessment reports

Due January 1.

Assessment reports are required from two academic or professional references. The counselling admissions committee would prefer to see at least one academic reference.

These two referees should be different from the two referees who fill in your counselling skills evaluations.

You will provide the names and email addresses of your chosen assessors as part of your online application. UVic will email the assessment report link directly to your referees after you submit your application. It is important that you contact your referees prior to listing them here, to confirm their willingness to provide you with an assessment.

You can log in your application and return to the assessment section check whether the assessment reports have been completed by your referees, make changes to your referee information, or re-send an assessment request if necessary.

Personal statement

To be submitted as part of your online application. 

Please provide a concise personal statement (3 pages is sufficient) that addresses the following questions.

  1. Please include on the first page: current date, name, address, phone number and email address.
  2. Indicate the names and email addresses of the two people who have been asked to submit your Counselling Skills Evaluations.
  3. Indicate why you want to enter a graduate counselling psychology program.
  4. Tell us about an interpersonal conflict you experienced and how you dealt with it.
  5. Explain what role you see personal change playing in your education and professional identity as a counsellor.

You are advised to use the above headings in abbreviated form to facilitate the reading of material. The personal statement should be typed, double spaced, with normal margins and should be no longer than five pages (3 pages is sufficient). 

Research statement (Thesis-based applicants only)

To be submitted as part of your online application. 

The research statement must include a description of previous experience with research projects or courses, as well as a brief description of present interests in counselling research areas. It needs to be typed, double spaced, with normal margins and no longer than two pages. On the first page, please include the current date, name, address, phone number and email address. 

Please note: The number of thesis-based students admitted each year varies, dependent upon the availability of faculty members for supervision. Thesis-based applicants will be selected based on availability of supervisors and on the match between applicant research interests and faculty interest and/or background in that particular area. 

English language requirement

Due January 1.

If your first language is not English, you must provide proof of English language proficiency, in the form of a TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB test result (some students may be exempt from this requirement; please see the link below). No other tests are accepted. We do not accept Duolingo. 

Official test score reports must be sent directly to the University of Victoria by the testing agency (due January 1). Scores older than two years are not acceptable. 

Minimum scores 

Given that the counselling profession requires an excellent command of the English language including emotion-based vocabulary and subtle understanding of nuance communications, minimum scores for general University of Victoria graduate admissions are not sufficient for entrance to the counselling psychology program. Visit the following page for details on minimum required scores for this program: EPLS English proficiency requirements


This page also provides a list of exemptions such as for specific countries or students whose prior degree was instructed in English: EPLS English proficiency requirements


If you are considering re-applying to the program, we advise you to contact the Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies Graduate Programs Office ( for feedback and any questions about the re-application process.

In addition to submitting a new application with all required documents, you must provide the following:

  1. An in-depth letter must be submitted showing the actions taken to strengthen their new application over the previous one. It needs to be typed, double spaced, with normal margins and should be no longer than 2 pages.
  2. Updated documents are also required to reflect the actions taken to strengthen the application (i.e., field experience chart(s), resumé, new transcript).

Criminal Records Check

Only required if you are offered admission. 

As a condition of admission to all Counselling Psychology programs, students must undergo a Criminal Record Check in compliance with the BC Criminal Records Review Act. Full admittance to the program requires a successful criminal record check. Await department instructions before proceeding.

PLEASE NOTE: The EPLS department requires higher language proficiency scores than those required by Graduate Admissions and Records. See the EPLS English language proficiency requirement for more information.

Apply now! 

Online applications for this program will open on September 1. Once you have started your online application, you can save your progress and return to it later. You can submit your application until 11:59 p.m. on the date of the application deadline.

Still have questions about your application? 

Be sure to check our FAQs!