MA in Counseling Program Palo Alto University

MA in Counseling Program Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA
student ratio
total students
Tuition Cost $51,894
average amount to complete degree
June 30
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
2 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Master of Arts in Counseling at Palo Alto University

The Master of Arts in Counseling at Palo Alto University prepares students for licensure as marriage and family therapists (MFT), professional clinical counselors (PCC), or both. It enables professionals to retool and fortify their career paths, and it allows recent graduates to increase their career options.

The program's hybrid format involves approximately two classes per quarter on campus and one class per quarter online. Students can take an extra class online if necessary. They progress through the program as a cohort. This allows them to study together, assist each other, discuss difficult issues and personal experiences, and attain a higher level of learning.

The two years three months Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling has 93 quarter-units of coursework including a capstone project, fieldwork, intensives, and workshops. The program has two areas of emphasis: marriage, family, and child, and clinical mental health. The marriage, family, and child emphasis meets the state of California's requirements for MFT or dual MFT/PCC licensure. The clinical mental health emphasis is designed to meet the requirements for LPCC licensure in most US states and territories.

Meeting social goals in a supportive environment

The program focuses on culture, families, and social justice. As a result, students develop an understanding of various cultures, gain insight about the psychological and social implications of socioeconomic position, and learn how poverty and societal stress can negatively impact people's mental health and recovery.

It also fosters a diverse student body in which every student's aspirations are supported. Students learn in a respectful, cooperative environment that promotes critical debate about important ideas. When relevant, courses address the implications of cultural and ethnic factors on assessing and treating patients. In addition, students are encouraged to experience the diversity within the student body as well as in their home communities and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Clinical practicums

Clinical practicums, which begin in the second year of study, allow students to gain experience as clinical counselors. Over a 9 to 12 month timeframe, they complete at least 700 hours of counseling-related tasks including 280 hours of direct counseling during their practicum. Upon completing the program, students continue collecting their hours as interns for a total of 3000hrs.

Common types of placements include community and county mental health agencies, non-profit counseling centers, and school-based mental health centers. Palo Alto University works with a wide-range of mental health agencies in Alameda, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties as well as with organizations like the Salvation Army and YMCA.

Faculty members

Faculty members are practitioners and scholars who have expertise in many disciplines including the following:

- Child/adolescent development

- Clinical practice

- Counselor education

- Family therapy

Program Director Dr. William Snow brings a wealth of experience both in the field and in academia. As a colonel in the Army National Guard Medical Department, Dr. Snow supervised health assessment and health promotion programs for more than 16,000 individuals.  He served in peace keeping operations in Kosovo and worked with Partnership for Peace in Nigeria, Ukraine, and Thailand. He has devoted over 25 years to academic research focused on health promotion and the impact of leader decision making on the wellbeing of individuals and organizations. is the program director Dr. Snow has been instrumental in bringing CACREP Accreditation to Palo Alto University and building an outstanding faculty for the MA Counseling emphasis in Marriage, Family & Child and Clinical Mental Health.

Timothy Baima, PhD is the clinical training director for the MA in Counseling program. His clinical work has focused on providing home-based couple, family, and individual therapy in low-income communities. He currently has a private practice, and he contracts with community-based mental health organizations. He draws upon several therapeutic models to study the intersections of interpersonal relationships, loss, oppression, and trauma.

Admissions requirements

The admissions process for the MA in Counseling program at Palo Alto University includes the following items:

- Online application

- Application fee

- Curriculum vitae or resume

- Letters of recommendation

- Statement of purpose

- Transcripts

Applicants must have baccalaureate degrees from regionally-accredited institutions or the international equivalent. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is recommended. Applicants who don't have undergraduate degrees in psychology are encouraged to take four additional courses:

- Developmental psychology

- Personality or abnormal psychology

- Physiological or biological psychology

- Statistics

GRE scores are not required, but applicants who've taken the GRE can submit their scores for additional consideration.

Financial aid

Costs to enroll in the MA in Counseling program at Palo Alto University include tuition, fees, textbooks, computer equipment, and parking passes. Financial aid includes assistantships, loans, and scholarships.

Employment outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists will grow 19% from 2014 to 2024. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Students in the MA in Counseling program at Palo Alto University graduate prepared to help couples, families, groups, and individuals overcome the mental, relational, and societal problems that diminish quality of life.

Palo Alto University

Palo Alto University (PAU), a private, not-for-profit educational institution, was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. It has accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It's dedicated to the following principles:

- Providing education that emphasizes the social and behavioral sciences

- Promoting future leaders and innovators for the benefit of society

- Generating knowledge through the highest level of research

- Using science and scholarship to provide community services

The university has several international collaborations including support of clinical training in China and Latin America for students in the online MA in Counseling program. Plus, it has partnerships with numerous community organizations including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Medical Center, and Stanford School of Medicine. It's also affiliated with the Gronowski Center, which provides low-cost mental health services and serves as a field placement site for graduate students.


Palo Alto University's two main campuses are located in Palo Alto and Los Altos in the state of California, which is situated in the western region of the United States. It partners with the Stanford University School of Medicine and four community colleges to provide convenient locations for its programs and class offerings.

Location & Contact

MA in Counseling Program

Palo Alto University

1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
United States

Dr. William Snow

Director of Counseling

Phone: 831-246-2440

Mrs. Yukti Singh

Director of Admissions

Phone: 650-417-2055

Request More Info

Degrees & Awards

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Clinical Mental Health Master of Arts (MA) [Clinical Psychology ]
    • Marriage, Family And Child Master of Arts (MA) [Marriage and Family Therapy ]
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 110
    • 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 Capstone project
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


74% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 167
    • Accepted 124
    • Acceptance Rate 74
    • Enrolled 80
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $50
    • Application Fee - International $50
    • 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 Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline March 21st March 21st Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's Degreesundergraduate degree in psychology with minimum GPA of 3.3
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & Fees$51,894
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsNot Reported
    • Types of financial support availableFederal Work-Study

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students289
    • Female Percentage84%
    • Male Percentage16%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students289
    • Part-time Percentage45%
    • Full-time Percentage55%
  • Race/Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino15%
    • Black / African American3%
    • White / Caucasian42%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian12%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races10%
    • Unknown or International Student18%


  • Faculty Breakdown
    • Total Faculty11
    • Full-time Percentage55%
    • Part-time Percentage45%
    • Female Percentage73%
    • Male Percentage27%



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