The graduate application process is competitive. At the point of applying to the M.Ed. Counselling program, applicants must have already accumulated the equivalent of two years of full-time, paid, relevant experience following completion of their four-year undergraduate degree. The two full-time equivalent (FTE) years may be accumulated over a period of longer than two years. Relevant work experience for those applying to the School Counselling stream includes teaching and/or other related work. Relevant work experience for those applying to the Agency stream is 'helping-focused' employment in social services areas (that calls for strong interpersonal and communication skills). Relevant volunteer work in addition to the two FTE years will be considered an asset. Please note that study cannot be counted as a related experience.
If you do not meet the B (73-76%) average requirement in the courses taken in your last two years (or 60 credit hours) of university study your application will be considered under the following conditions:
- a) You document a minimum of 8 years of work experience since graduation, in a field related to counselling
- b) You submit your score (that meets or exceeds the mean) on the Verbal Reasoning component of the Graduate Records Exam (GRE)with your application.
The minimum eligibility requirement is the successful completion of 120 credit hours of university study. Typically this requirement is met by completion of a 4-year undergraduate degree. This criterion also may be met by other degree combinations that add up to at least 120 credit hours. For example, you might hold a 3-year undergraduate degree plus a Bachelor of Education degree, or a 3-year undergraduate degree plus a master’s degree. As long as the total credit hours earned across the degrees equates to or exceeds 120, this criterion will be satisfied.
If you hold a 3-year degree only (90 credit hours), and so do not meet the 120 credit-hour requirement for acceptance into Graduate Studies, you can establish an equivalent standing by successfully completing an extra 30 credit hours of university courses prior to applying. Although there are no specifications for the additional coursework, you are encouraged to complete courses in the social sciences such as anthropology, communication studies, psychology, public health, and sociology. Alternatively, if you have a minimum of 8 years of work experience since graduation, you may submit your score on the Verbal Reasoning component of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with your application in lieu of additional coursework. A university transcript for a 3-year degree (90 credit hours), plus a GRE Verbal Reasoning score of 150 or higher (the score range is 130-170), will confer eligibility for the MEd Counselling program.
The M.Ed. Counselling program does not approve deferrals. Students that do not accept an offer must reapply in subsequent years.
The M.Ed. Counselling program (both full-time and part-time) is not offered exclusively online due to the nature of the core courses in Counselling and the associated Regional/National Certification Requirements.
Each year, based on the regional requests and the available human resources, a decision is made whether to offer a part-time cohort in Counselling. The nature and location of the cohort are part of this decision-making process as the needs of the Counselling community vary widely and the faculty cannot possibly respond to all requests. It is best to check with the Counselling faculty or the Graduate Coordinator in early fall before applying to a part-time cohort.
The letter of intent should outline your motivations and expectations in reference to the counselling program. It should also include a discussion of relevant academic study and professional experience related to your program interests. There is no particular format or length required in your letter of intent; the point of the application is to make a compelling argument that you are prepared for graduate studies.
Practicum is scheduled in the fall semester for part-time cohorts and in the winter semester for full-time cohorts. Students are at the practicum site Monday through Friday. Because of supervision requirements established by external regulation, all practicum experiences must be undertaken concurrently with registration in EDUC 5066, which is a practicum course offered in the form of group supervision. Classes are held on weekends (typically two classes per weekend over six weekends). During the four-month practicum period, students accrue professional experience at their practicum site and receive supervision both from the site supervisor and in their group supervision class. Students are required to be at the practicum site full-time for four months and to attend all classes for the practicum course in person. Given that Nova Scotia is a small, predominantly rural province, students will require a vehicle and should be prepared to commute to a practicum site. Practicum placement likely will not be in Wolfville given the limited availability of sites and appropriate supervisors, and so students must be prepared for placement outside of the Annapolis Valley and Kings County reach.
The M.Ed. in Counselling is an intensive 48-credit-hour program requiring students in the full-time cohort to take courses during the daytime as well as some evenings over a 14-month period. Students cannot maintain a full-time job and participate at the level required in the program. Part-time work should not exceed 12 hours per week. In circumstances where a student works part-time, it is not permissible to miss any class time or practicum time due to work commitments.
Notification of M.Ed. Counselling program admission decisions generally will take place three to four months after the application deadline. Applications are processed one cohort at a time, beginning with the full-time cohort. First, applications are reviewed and assessed by the School of Education faculty. Shortlisted applicants then are invited to participate in an interview. All of the components of the application process are considered in admission recommendations: letter of intent, résumé or CV, letters of reference, transcripts, and interview. Applicants will receive written notification as to whether they are being offered admission, are on a waitlist (this applies whether or not an applicant was interviewed), or will not be considered for that intake period either because an admission criterion has not been met (e.g., minimum of four years of university studies, B average or higher in the most recent two FTE years of study, minimum of two years of FTE post-degree employment experience) or the application was completed after the deadline.
Waitlists remain active until June 30 of the intake year. Please be assured that applicants will be notified of their application status as soon as that information is available. Given the high volume of applications being processed, we ask that applicants refrain from contacting the School of Education or Research and Graduate Studies to seek updates.
Students in the full-time and part-time cohorts commence the M.Ed. Counselling program with a three-week on-campus Summer Institute that typically begins on the first weekday following the July 1 holiday. During these three weeks, students will attend an Orientation Day and will complete two courses in daily morning and afternoon classes.
All aspects of the admissions process are conducted separately/independently for the full-time and part-time cohorts, including review and shortlisting of applications, interviews, and admissions decisions. Therefore, applicants are asked to identify the cohort model that best meets their graduate study needs and/or preferences and make their application accordingly, to one cohort only.
The M.Ed. Counselling program operates on a cohort model, which means that students stay with the same group from the beginning of their program through to graduation. Students who are admitted into a part-time cohort and wish to transfer to a full-time cohort must apply in writing to the Coordinator of Graduate Programs in Education by December 1st in order to be considered for transfer in the next academic year. The request for transfer will be considered along with all other full-time applications for the next intake period. Students who transfer to the full-time cohort will have to register in a sufficient number of courses in the following fall and winter semesters to be considered full-time students.
Students who are admitted into a full-time cohort and wish to transfer to a part-time cohort may do so only if they have completed EDUC 5033 and EDUC 5133 during the first summer of their program of studies, and if there is room available in the cohort to which they are applying. This request also must be made in writing to the Coordinator of Graduate Programs in Education.
Given that the degree is a generalist M.Ed. Counselling (and no stream is indicated on the transcript or diploma), with considerable overlap of at least 36 credit hours of common coursework, there is latitude in subsequent employment possibilities. Prospective students who contemplate working as a school counsellor in the public school system at some point are advised to verify the requirements in the provinces, territories, or countries of interest. Generally, eligibility criteria include having earned both a B.Ed. degree and an M.Ed. Counselling degree. Employers may also require, or favour, completion of a school-based practicum and the EDUC 50C3 School Counselling Programs course.
Graduates of the School Counselling stream are permitted to work in agency settings (referring to any setting other than P-12 school settings), including private practice. Like their colleagues who graduate from the Agency Counselling stream, there will be an ethical expectation that they document and demonstrate competency in the areas of practice pursued, by virtue of their education and supervised experience. Competencies may be developed within and subsequent to the period of graduate study.
Due to the volume of applications to the M.Ed. Counselling program each year, faculty are not able to follow up admission decisions with individual meetings or phone or email conversations. Each M.Ed. Counselling program cohort is capped at 20, representing a blend of School Counselling stream and Agency Counselling stream admissions. The admissions process is highly competitive and generally, there is a significant surplus of applications from well-qualified applicants, relative to the number of seats in a program cohort. Ultimately, the outcome of an application comes down to the nature and composition of an applicant pool in a given year. For this reason, it is difficult to offer specific advice related to improving an applicant’s chances of future admission.
All of the components of the application process are considered in final determinations: letter of intent, résumé or CV, letters of reference, transcripts, and interview. Sometimes it can be helpful for applicants to gain additional relevant volunteer or paid employment experience or to complete additional university coursework to boost GPA. If not admitted in the year of initial application, some applicants opt to register with Acadia as an “Independent” or non-program student. There are a few graduate counselling-related courses that are available to Independent students. Although successful completion of these courses does not guarantee future admission, up to 12 credit hours may be counted toward the M.Ed. Counselling degree if the student is subsequently admitted to the M.Ed. Counselling program.
The full-time Counselling Program is 14 months in duration, beginning the first week of July upon entry into the program, and ending the second week of August the following summer.