MA in Counseling Program Palo Alto University

MA in Counseling Program Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA
student ratio
total students
average amount to complete degree
June 30
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
1 Degree Offered
degrees offered


The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program at Palo Alto University

The M.A. in Counseling Psychology degree program at Palo Alto University trains students for careers as licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed professional clinical counselors in the state of California.

The program, which emphasizes culture, families, and social justice, combines scientific research and intensive clinical training. As a result, students become clinicians capable of building science-based practices, serving individuals from diverse backgrounds, and practicing at the highest professional standards.

The program's curriculum includes lectures, discussions, and evidence-based training materials, as well as internships that allow students to put theory into practice. It can be completed at the university's campuses in Los Altos, San Mateo, or Scotts Valley in California.

M.A. in Counseling Psychology Program Format

The M.A. degree program in counseling psychology consists of 9 quarters of coursework that can be completed in a minimum of 2 years and 3 months. It is based on the cohort model, which allows students to support each other and build relationships as they progress through the program as a group.

Classes are held on weekday evenings and online, enabling students to work full-time during their 1st year of the program. However, the 2nd year involves a practicum that usually cannot be completed during the evenings or on weekends. The program is also offered in a weekend and online format at the Los Altos campus.

Individuals may enroll in the program in September at all campuses, or January at the Los Altos or Scotts Valley campuses.

M.A. in Counseling Psychology Program Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree program at Palo Alto University consists of 90 quarter-units for the marriage and family therapy (MFT) track and 93 quarter-units for the professional clinical counseling (PCC) track.

Courses include "Counseling Theory," "Child and Adolescent Development," and "Clinical Interviewing." Other courses are "Multicultural Counseling Theories and Techniques," "Advanced Marital and Family Therapy," and "Career Development Theories and Techniques."

The curriculum also includes practicum, a capstone project, and workshops on a number of topics including child abuse and reporting, aging and long-term care, law and ethics, and crisis intervention.

Clinical Placements

Palo Alto University collaborates with mental health agencies, counseling centers, social service organizations, school districts, and groups that serve specific communities to provide clinical experiences that match students' practice interests.

Clinical sites are located throughout Alameda, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.

The practicum is a 9 to 12 month supervised clinical placement that generally begins in the 2nd year of study. It consists of a minimum of 225 client hours for the MFT track and 280 client hours for the PCC track, as well as clinical supervision, training, and other related hours.

Faculty Members

Professors are experts in their fields who teach counseling and psychology from a global perspective. As a result, students acquire the training needed to help children, families, and individuals, including underserved populations throughout the world.

Professor Timothy Baima has provided home-based therapy to couples, families, and individuals in economically disadvantaged communities. He currently works with clients in private practice and through the Family Mosaic Project in San Francisco, California.

Professor William Snow is also the director of counseling psychology, North America. His research focuses on how leader decision making and actions impact individuals' and organizations' well-being.

Costs and Financial Aid at Palo Alto University

Program costs include tuition, fees, textbooks, and related expenses such as housing and transportation. Palo Alto University has a tuition stabilization program, thus tuition and fees are not raised in subsequent years of study. Financial aid for graduate students includes federal loans, and some teaching and student assistantships.

Career Opportunities in Counseling Professions

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for marriage and family therapists will grow 41% from 2010 to 2020 and jobs for mental health counselors is projected to increase 36% during this same timeframe. This demand places graduates of the M.A. in Counseling Psychology program in an ideal position to secure employment in a variety of organizations.

After graduation, students complete 104 weeks of supervision that totals 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. Then, they take the written licensing exams for marriage and family therapy or professional clinical counseling.

Upon passing, they are licensed to practice in California and possibly several other states and some foreign countries.

Palo Alto University

Established in 1975, Palo Alto University is a private institution that aims to reduce suffering and improve lives through education and research. It is committed to providing educational programs that emphasize research, clinical training and practice for diverse cultures, and service to communities around the world.

In the past 10 years, PAU has quadrupled student enrollment and increased its degree programs from 1 to 7. Currently, it serves approximately 1,000 students from 25 countries.

In addition, PAU is part of a consortium -- with Stanford University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences -- that offers a clinical doctoral program (Psy.D.). In 2015, the Consortium also plans to begin offering an M.S. Psychology program entirely online.

Campus Location

Palo Alto University's main campus is situated in the foothills of Palo Alto, California on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula in the western region of the United States.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its cultural diversity; arts, cultural, entertainment, recreation, and shopping venues; educational institutions; and employment opportunities. The region, which has a mild climate, offers many scenic outdoor attractions including mountains, foothills, and beaches. Thus, students can enjoy outdoor recreation throughout the year.

Location & Contact

MA in Counseling Program

Palo Alto University

935 East Meadow Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94303-4232
United States

Dr. William Snow

Director of Counseling

Phone: 831-246-2440

Mrs. Deanna Berger

Assistant Director of Admissions

Phone: 650-417-2023

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Counseling Psychology Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 31
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Yes
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? Yes
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


95% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 122
    • Accepted 116
    • Acceptance Rate 95
    • Enrolled 82
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $40
    • Application Fee - International $40
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline June 30th June 30th Yes
    • Winter deadline December 1st December 1st Not Reported
    • Spring deadline March 1st March 1st Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesUndergraduate degree in Psychology, with a minimum GPA of 3.30. If undergraduate degree was in a different field, there are 4 prerequisite courses for the program.
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & Fees$42,660
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsJanuary 15
    • Types of financial support availableFederal Work-Study, Scholarship and/or loans

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students264
    • Female Percentage81%
    • Male Percentage19%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students264
    • Part-time Percentage31%
    • Full-time Percentage69%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino18%
    • Black / African American5%
    • White / Caucasian35%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian16%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander1%
    • Two or more races3%
    • Unknown22%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty34
    • Full-time Percentage9%
    • Part-time Percentage91%
    • Female Percentage59%
    • Male Percentage41%





Forgot Your Password?

To reset your password, simply enter your email address in the field below and click the Reset Password button. You will receive an email with a link and instructions to reset your password.

Check your email.

Please check your email and click on the link provided in the message to reset your password.