A private, nonprofit, accredited educational institution, founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP).

M.A. Counseling Admissions

Areas of Emphasis:
   -Marriage, Family, and Child (MFT)
   -Clinical Mental Health (LPCC)

Palo Alto · San Mateo · Monterey Bay · Online

Palo Alto University admits students on a rolling basis to its Master's degree programs in counseling and psychology.

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Quick Application Checklist


Where to Send Documents

The student's full legal name, mailing address and email address should be included on all supporting documents. Electronic submissions are preferred when possible.

Paper Documents

Mail to:
Palo Alto University
Office of Admissions
1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Digital Documents

PDF, Microsoft Word or other e-documents may be emailed to the Office of Admissions, admissions@paloaltou.edu.

Online Payment

Application fees and tuition deposits can be paid online.
Go to online payment page.


Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution, or the international equivalent.

Admission Recommendations

A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended. For those whose undergraduate major was not psychology, four additional courses are recommended, but not required, for the M.A. Counseling program: 

  • Developmental psychology
  • Physiological or biological psychology
  • Personality or abnormal psychology
  • Statistics

GRE scores are not required for admission to Master's degree programs. Applicants who have taken the GRE may submit their scores as an additional consideration with their application.

English is the language of instruction for Palo Alto University Master's degree programs and proficiency in English is required. TOEFL scores may be required from students whose first language is not English.

Application Deadlines

The M.A. Counseling program admits students on a rolling basis. Applications are reviewed and admissions interviews are scheduled as soon as the application is complete. Applicants are typically notified of their admissions decision within a few weeks after applying.  The deadlines listed below are final deadlines, but applicants are encouraged to apply early for early consideration.


  • On-Campus Blended programs admit students in Fall and Winter quarter only.
  • Online formats admit students every quarter.

Fall Quarter Admission (September Start) -- Palo Alto, San Mateo, Monterey Bay, and Online

  • June 30: Priority Deadline for admissions and early acceptance eligibility.  Applicants will be notified of acceptance by July 15 and receive priority enrollment for available slots.
  • July 31: Regular Deadline
  • August 31: Rolling Admissions on a space-available basis.

Winter Quarter Admission (January Start) -- Palo Alto and Online only

  • November 30: Final Deadline

Spring Quarter Admission (April Start) -- Palo Alto and Online only

  • February 28: Final Deadline

Summer Quarter Admission (June Start) -- Palo Alto, San Mateo, Monterey Bay, and Online

  • May 31: Final Deadline

Application Details

1.  Online Application

Applicants must complete the online application for their degree, emphasis and format of choice.

2.  Application Fee

A nonrefundable application fee of $40.00 must be paid to complete the application. This fee can be paid online or by mail at the address above. Checks should be made payable to Palo Alto University.

3.  Official Transcripts

College transcripts verifying a Bachelor's degree are required. Only official, sealed transcripts from the Registrar's office of each institution are acceptable.

Admissions decisions based on unofficial transcripts are provisional until official transcripts are received. International transcripts must be translated through the World Education Service website, www.wes.org. It is the student's responsibility to have transcripts translated before applying. Contact the PAU Admissions Office, admissions@paloaltou.edu, with any questions before incurring the expense of translating documents.

Official transcripts should be mailed by the issuing institution directly to the address given above.

4.  Resume or Curriculum Vitae

The resume or CV should list professional and academic experience, education, awards, publications, etc.

5.  Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation from two academic or professional references should be mailed by the  recommenders directly to the PAU admissions office at the address above.

Each recommender must complete the Graduate Admissions Recommendation Form and include it with their personal letter. This form is necessary for processing the application and must be returned with each letter of recommendation.

6.  Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose serves as a sample of the applicant's ability to write in an academic and professional manner. It should be no longer than two 1.5- line-spaced pages and should represent the highest quality of expression and scholarship.

Points to cover:

  • A brief autobiographical sketch/background, including what led to an interest in counseling.
  • Details of goals and purpose in applying to Palo Alto University and how this applies to future career goals.
  • Strengths and accomplishments thus far that demonstrate preparation for graduate psychology education.
  • Personal and professional qualities that will be important assets as a practicing clinical counselor or therapist.


After applications are received, applicants who satisfy admission requirements are selected for interviews with the Program Director via videoconference.

Acceptance and Enrollment

Students accepted into the M.A. Counseling program receive an official acceptance letter by e-mail and mail. To enroll in the program, students who have been accepted must submit a $250 tuition deposit within two weeks after receiving their acceptance letter to secure their place. The tuition deposit can be submitted online, or mailed to the address above.

Transferring Units In

Students can request to transfer up to 15 units of prior graduate work.  Prior coursework cannot be more than 5 years old.  Transfer coursework is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Students must submit a course description and supporting documentation (e.g. a comprehensive syllabus) for each transfer course.  A Palo Alto University faculty member then reviews the documentation, and either accepts or rejects the course for transfer credit.

Financial Aid

For students who wish to secure financial aid, it is important to begin that process as soon as possible after being accepted into the program by completing the FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is complete, the PAU Financial Aid office will send the student a PAU financial aid application.

Admissions Contacts

Application questions

Contact the Master's Programs Admissions Office at (650) 417-2034.

Financial aid questions

Contact a Financial Aid counselor, financialaid@paloaltou.edu.

Questions about academics, locations and formats

Email or call one of the Master's Program Contacts.


Contact Us

1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: (800) 818-6136 Fax: (650) 433-3888