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Non-psychology degree pursuing PhD in Counselling Psych (in Canada)?

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Hi everyone! :) 

I'm reaching out on this forum in hopes that someone has been/currently is in the same boat as me, and has advice to provide. I recently graduated with a general BSc, and have been working as an RA in addictions research and was previously a support worker, since completing my coursework. After my experiences I'm strongly leaning towards pursuing counselling psychology as a career. However, it's rare to find a program in Canada that does not require you to have a bachelors in psychology to apply to their programs (and as much as I would love to look into clinical psychology, options for non-psych majors are nonexistent and EXTREMELY competitive); I am considering going back to university to get my psych degree, and hopefully whatever and however many psychology courses I took during my first undergrad will transfer over to this new degree (does anyone know how that would work?). However, I also understand that having work experience in the field (which I am currently obtaining) is valuable for an application. The options I see myself having are:

-Applying for a second degree in psychology and going back to school full-time

-Staying at my job as an RA and gaining more experience--but will very likely have to take online/evening courses to boost my GPA to a competitive level, as admissions to counselling psych are competitive

-Pursuing a research masters in psychology (if any are available w/o the requirement of having a psych undergrad) and switching over to a PhD in counselling psych (is this even possible??)

Any opinions would be appreciated! I've been trying to decide between the options above and can't figure out the best way to pursue what I want  :unsure: Also, if anyone is currently is in Counselling Psychology, your opinion on the program and job outlook for a Counselling Psychologist would be very much appreciated as well! 

Apologies for the long ramble!

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Hey, I'm not sure where in Canada you are, but I don't think it's that rare to find a program that doesn't require a psychology degree. Take a look at the Masters in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy at OISE for example - the requirements only ask for a 4 year program, of any discipline: http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/aphd/Home/Future_Students/Master_s_Degrees/MEd_Counselling_Psychotherapy/index.html

Even if you're not in Toronto, you should connect with the graduate programs to see whether your experience will allow for your application to be considered.



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Hi! Thank you for your response, it's very much appreciated :) 

I am open to moving anywhere in Canada, so the location isn't so much of an issue! I have briefly looked into that program, and I'll take a closer look. However, the jobs that I would like to have in the distant future tend to require a PhD in psychology, and to be a registered psychologist--therefore I figured that to get there, I'd have to complete an MA and then a PhD in counselling psych. Unless I am mistaken, and I could pursue an MEd? I unfortunately don't have too much knowledge of the MEd stream, so any more insight would be very helpful.

Thanks again for your help!

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Hi there!

I was in a similar boat as you, applying to counselling psych with BSc in biology. 

Now, not all programs in Canada require an undergrad in psychology, though many of them do. To my recollection, UVic, SFU, UBC (all in BC) don't as well as McGill (though they do require 42 credits in undergrad psych courses...which is similar to a bachelors anyways). There might be more, so take a look at the accredited list and look into them one by one. 

UBC/SFU/Uvic have similar course requirements. But given that you did your undergrad in general sciences, chances are, you will have to take extra courses to fulfill their prerequisite courses, which probably will take about a year. If you want to go into a phd, you need to apply to a program with a thesis (usually called MA, but calgary calls it MSc). So make sure you have research experience as well, especially in psychology (try to attend conferences, get grands, maybe even try for a publication). And like you said, relevant work experience (crisis line, peer support etc.) are important. 

P.S. I think you need an MA in counselling psych in order to apply for phd in counselling psych. 

Good luck!

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