Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the project-based and thesis-based counselling program?

Thesis-based programs are meant for individuals wanting to pursue doctoral level degrees upon completion of their MA.

A thesis is an independent research project of substantive involvement requiring a supervisory committee and external examination at the University level.

A project is a major paper or proposal that is completed in collaboration with your academic advisor. A comprehensive exam is all part of the project-based program.

How much will the program cost?

Tuition and fees information, including dates, payment options and a link to the current tuition and fees schedule, can be found on the Graduate Studies website.

You can also use the tuition fee estimator tool to calculate the approximate cost per term. The project-based program is intended to be completed in two years (6 terms). The thesis-based program often takes up to three years (8-9 terms).

What awards and funding opportunities are there?

There are various scholarships, bursaries, and employment opportunities available for EPLS students. Apply for bursaries and scholarships as early as possible, and continue to compete for awards, such as coveted SSHRC awards, throughout your academic career.

Check out our funding opportunities and donor awards pages for more information.

What makes a competitive application?

Competition is relative to the year in which application is made. Some years are more competitive than others and, as such, there is no ongoing bar to measure competitiveness in an application. Suffice to say, those applications with the highest GPA’s, the highest grades in ED-D 417, 418 and 414, the most number of hours worked in a helping capacity, the highest skills evaluations, the highest academic assessments and that are fully complete are the most competitive applications year in and year out.

Do all prerequisite courses have to be done at time of application?

No. However, the more courses you have complete by the time we review your files, the stronger your application will be.

ED-D 417 and ED-D 418 must be completed by the end of the calendar year (December 31) prior to the entry point year you apply to.

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 before the program starts.

Applications are reviewed in the following order:

  1. Completed applications;
  2. Applications missing one non-counselling prerequisite course (i.e., developmental psychology, abnormal psychology/behavioural disorders or statistics for thesis applicants only) that is currently being completed by the applicant;
  3. Applications missing no more than two non-counselling prerequisite courses that are currently being completed by the applicant.

If your prerequisites are in progress during the fall term 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.

I think I have taken the required prerequisite courses. How do I know they will meet the requirements?

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.

Can I come to UVic just to take the prerequisites?

In order to take these courses at UVic, you must first apply to become a non-degree student. Once you are offered admission as a student, then you can register for classes. To apply as a non-degree undergraduate student and complete your prerequisites, you will go through the regular undergraduate admissions process (not continuing studies): Apply online. As part of the online application process, you will indicate that "I already have a degree and want to take additional courses (but not another undergraduate degree)." Please select "Social Sciences - non-degree" as your program.

Undergraduate non-degree applicants follow the standard undergraduate application deadlines. You will be required to pay an application fee online at the time of application.

Usually, the three required ED-D courses are offered each term (September, January and May terms). These courses all fill up quickly. 

Please find a list of UVic courses that are accepted as the required upper level psychology courses in the Prerequisite equivalency request guide. Upper level psychology courses at UVic all have lower level prerequisites, which are listed on each course's page in the academic calendar. If you have no background courses in psychology, you may find it easier to take the upper level psychology courses at an online institution such as Athabasca University or Thompson Rivers University as they allow students to take upper level psychology courses without lower level prerequisites.

If you have questions about the non-degree undergraduate admissions process, please contact or 250-721-8121.

I don't live in Victoria, how do I get the required prerequisite courses?

ED-D 418 is offered online each term.

For the other prerequisites, there may be equivalent courses at other universities.

For ED-D equivalents, please review the Prerequisite equivalency request guide (please make sure you read the document carefully to see what we are looking for). Note that ED-D 417 and 418 (or approved equivalents) must be completed by December 31st of the year prior to program start. 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. Having the other "upper-level" prerequisite courses also completed at the time of applying will make your application more competitive, but it is possible to apply while they are still in progress. 

For the upper level psychology courses in 1) Developmental Psychology and 2) Abnormal/Psychopathology: Typically these are found in the Psychology department in any major university/college. Learn more about accepted courses in the Prerequisite equivalency request guide.

I can't find an equivalent to ED-D 414. Can I apply without it?

Yes, you can apply without it. However, it is best to complete it by the end of the calendar year (December 31st) prior to the entry point year you apply to.

We typically offer ED-D 414 in August before the program starts, so if you are given conditional acceptance to the program, you would be required to take this course and obtain a B+ or higher in order to keep your spot.

Can the 7 years requirement on the ED-D courses be waived if I am working in the counselling field?

No. Because we consider work experience as one of our main criteria for adjudication, we do not use work experience to substitute for any other requirement.

What are some examples of the type of field experience you are looking for, and where can I get this experience?

We require people to have experience in working with “vulnerable populations” in a supervised position where the applicant’s main role was to help individuals or groups with personally meaningful goals or needs. This would include such areas as teaching, leading youth groups, support 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 you are looking for volunteer opportunities, you may find it helpful to browse volunteer hub sites. For example, you could check Volunteer Victoria or other similar sites for your local area. 

How many hours is considered significant in relation to the field experience requirement?

Typically, successful applicants have 600-800 counselling related hours. However, all hours are not created equally, so it really depends on where they are. A minimum might be around 300 hours, if those hours are very counselling related like being a youth support worker. It also depends on how competitive the other applications are in a given year, so this is just a rough guide.

Where are typical practicum placements in Victoria?

Community agencies, health authorities, and schools.

What is the job outlook once I have completed this program?

Our graduates find work very quickly when they finish their degrees as they are already working in their internship placements two to three days a week before graduating. We provide a lot of hands-on professional experience during the degree, which makes finding work easier than purely academic degrees.

Read testimonials.

Graduates of our program are eligible and qualified for certification with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). For registration with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), you may have to take some additional courses outside of the Counselling Psychology MA program; please see their website for an up-to-date list of their requirements. 

I am currently enrolled in a Master's program. Can I transfer into the Counselling Psychology MA program?

We do not allow direct “transfers” into the program. Instead, you would apply to the program along with all other applicants. If you are accepted into the program you could then apply for transfer credit for some of the courses you have taken, either as a specific core course in the program or as an elective. You can read about Transfer of academic credit in the Academic Calendar. You can see a list of the courses that make up the MA program under Project or thesis based. Course descriptions are also available in the Academic Calendar under Courses.

When you apply, you will still need to meet all the standard admissions requirements