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Master's in Counseling Admissions

Master of Arts in Counseling students sitting around a table posing for a photo at Palo Alto University in Palo Alto, CA


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Quick Application Checklist

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

International students are eligible to apply for the online Masters in Counseling program if they intend to remain in their home country while enrolled in the program.

International students currently living in the U.S. in F-1 status, and students who would need to receive an F-1 visa in order to study in the United States, are not eligible to apply for PAU Masters in Counseling on-campus format.

Application Deadlines

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

Spring (April Start)
  • March 5, 2021: Regular Deadline

Fall (September Start)
  • August 14, 2020: Regular Deadline

Where to Send Documents

PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center

P.O. Box 9138

Watertown, MA 02471


Online Payment

Application fees can be paid when submitting the application form, and tuition deposits can be paid online in the applicant portal.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution, or the international equivalent. For applicants to the MA in Counseling Online program, you must be located in a state in which we are authorized to provide online education. 

Recommended Qualifications

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 PAU master's degree programs. Applicants who have taken the GRE may submit their scores as an additional consideration with their application.

For international applicants remaining in their home country and applying to the online format, and those whose undergraduate studies were in a language other than English, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required. Scores can be submitted through PSYCAS. For international students who earned their bachelor's degree in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries, these exams are not required.  

Application Details

1.  Online Application

Applicants must complete the online application for the M.A. in Counseling in PSYCAS. If you plan to apply for the online program, before applying, please make sure you are located in a state in which we are authorized to provide online education. 

2.  Application Fee

A nonrefundable application fee must be paid to complete the application. In PSYCAS, the first application fee is $50, and subsequent application fees for additional programs are $35 each. The APA offers a fee waiver opportunity for students who qualify.  

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. Official transcripts should be mailed by the issuing institution directly to the PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center. Instructions for submitting transcripts can be found on the PSYCAS website.

After enolling in the program, students may send final transcripts directly to PAU at admissions@paloaltou.edu.

International Applicants

If you attended an institution outside of the US, PAU requires that your transcript be evaluated and, if applicable, translated. You may select any vendor that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Please visit www.naces.org/members for a complete list of members. Your course-by-course evaluation should be sent directly to PSYCAS.

Palo Alto University has partnered with the following agencies to provide applicants with convenient ordering sites and direct delivery of evaluations to the Office of Admission. Applicants specifically using either service listed should access their site directly from the links below.

International Education Evaluations, LLC SpanTran: The Evaluation Company
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 three academic or professional references are required. Letters are requested and submitted through the PSYCAS system. Applicants will electronically submit the names and email addresses of their recommenders who will receive a request to complete the recommendation form. Three letters are required.

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 counseling 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 faculty via video conference.


Acceptance and Enrollment

Students accepted into the M.A. Counseling program receive an official acceptance letter by e-mail. To enroll in the program, students who have been accepted must submit a $350 tuition deposit after receiving their acceptance letter to secure their place. The tuition deposit should be submitted online through the student portal.


Transferring Units In

Students can request to transfer up to 15 units of prior graduate work after they are admitted into the program. 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 by completing the FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is complete, the PAU Financial Aid office will send the student a PAU financial aid application.


Contact Us

Application Questions

Contact the Office of Admission at 800-818-6136 or admissions@paloaltou.edu.

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.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017