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Practicums and Internships for Direct Counseling Experience

As you progress through the MA in Counseling program, you will gain critical hands-on experience through an on-site practicum in a community organization.

The program requires a minimum of 700 hours, including a minimum of 280 face-to-face client hours with the student working in the role of Counselor Trainee or Therapist Trainee, over a minimum of three academic quarters (typically 9-12 months). A portion of these hours come from class time.

Supervision occurs at your practicum site and with PAU faculty online. All students will meet online on Tuesday evenings.

Finding Your Fieldwork Site

PAU will help you find an ideal practicum or internship placement in your community that matches your specific interests – and support you throughout your field experience.

We work closely with mental health agencies in San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties. PAU students have completed practicums at: 

  • School districts
  • Teen counseling centers
  • Adult psychological service agencies
  • Aging senior counseling centers
  • Non-profit and faith-based organizations, such as the Salvation Army and the YMCA.

If you live outside the San Francisco Bay Area, we will work with you to find practicum and internship sites near your home community.

Watch our most recent MA in Counseling practicum and internship webinar.

Program Details

Online Format

Choose Your Learning Environment

When you enroll in PAU’s distance learning courses, you will attend all classes online. 

In addition, you will take part in attend two residential training experiences at the PAU campus locations. These residencies provide an opportunity to meet professors and classmates face-to-face, and to work on clinical skills development.

Online Format


This MA in Counseling program is an academically rigorous program consisting of 93 quarter-units as well as mandatory fieldwork, workshops and intensives. The curriculum is progressive and designed to prepare students for fieldwork culminating in a capstone project.

Palo Alto University is on the quarter-unit system:

  • Fall quarter: September to December
  • Winter quarter: January to March
  • Spring quarter: April to June
  • Summer quarter: June to August

More information


Quick Application Checklist

  1. Online application
  2. Application fee
  3. Official Transcripts
  4. Resume or CV
  5. Letters of Recommendation
  6. Statement of Purpose

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