M.A. Counseling Psychology

Program Format

The M.A. Counseling Psychology program is designed for working professionals and parents who desire to "re-tool" their career paths, or for recent graduates who would like to expand their career options. Although the program can be completed in two years and three months, some students prefer to take a full three years to complete the program.



•  Program Duration:  The M.A. Counseling Psychology program requires nine quarters of coursework over a minimum of 2 years and 3 months of study.

•  Residential Blended Program:  This is a blended program requiring students to take approximately two courses “live and in-class” and one course “on-line” each quarter. This format allows students to take three classes per quarter, but to only attend course sessions two evenings a week, or beginning in Fall 2014, the option for all day Saturdays will also be offered at the Palo Alto campus.

•  Evening Schedule of Courses: Palo Alto University (PAU) is currently offering classes at the PAU campuses in Palo Alto, San Mateo and Monterey Bay on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 9:30. Beginning Fall 2014, the program will also offer the option to take courses all day on Saturday at the Palo Alto campus.

•  Work and School Scheduling: During the first year most students can maintain full-time employment during the day, and study in the evenings and on weekends. During the second year students should be aware that evening and weekend practicum placements are extremely hard to find. Most students will need to adjust their schedules in order to spend two days during the normal workweek to complete their practicum experience.

•  Practicum:  The practicum, a 9-12 month supervised clinical placement, comprises another major training component of the program. Students typically begin their practicum work after one full year in the program. Students are required to have 225 client contact hours for those in the MFT track, and 280 client contact hours for those in the PCC track at practicum sites. 

•  Fall and Winter Enrollment:  Enrollment into this residential program occurs semi-annually in either September (Fall quarter) or January (Winter quarter).  If students wish to enroll in April (Spring quarter) or June (Summer quarter), they can enroll in PAU’s Global Online Counseling Program or take classes online, but PAU cannot guarantee that they will be part of a Cohort Model.

•  Cohort Model: The M.A. Counseling Psychology program uses a cohort system (for those who enroll in September or January) in which all entering students are grouped together and given the same schedule of courses for the entire program. The advantage of this system is the support and openness it creates. The cohort becomes a valuable resource for several reasons. Students study together. They encourage and assist one another when needed. They also become comfortable with one another to the point of being able to discuss tough issues and share personal accounts. Since a higher level of openness is attainable, a higher level of learning can also be reached. Some courses are conducted in a campus setting and other courses are implemented online. All skill based clinical work is done in an appropriate clinical or classroom setting.


1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(800) 818-6136
(650) 433-3888 FAX