Master's in Counseling Admissions

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

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

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

International students currently living in the U.S. in F-1 status, and students who would need to receive and 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 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.

Fall (September Start)
  • 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.
Spring (April Start)
  • Jan 31: Priority Deadline for admissions and early acceptance eligibility.
  • Feb 28: Regular Deadline
  • March 21: Rolling admissions on a space-available basis until full.


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.


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 to apply for the online format of the program, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required, and scores can be sumitted 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 in PSYCAS for their degree and format of choice.

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.

International transcripts must be translated and evaluated through the World Education Service website, It is the student's responsibility to have transcripts translated and evaluated before applying. Contact the PAU Admissions Office,, with any questions before incurring the expense of translating and evaluating documents.

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

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 can be 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 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 $350 tuition deposit within two weeks 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. 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.



Contact Us

Application Questions

Contact the admissions staff at (650) 433-3828, or

Financial aid questions

Contact a Financial Aid counselor,

Questions about Academics, Locations and Formats

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