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Master of Counselling

Master's Degree Programme

Fulfil the aspirations for further specialised education in counselling and to stay relevant and robust in the field.

Master of Counselling

Applications may close earlier due to overwhelming responses and successful applicants may be offered a reserved place for future intake instead.


Register for our programme briefing session at the SUSS e-Open House on 31 Aug 2024 (Sat) to have your queries answered by our faculty. You can also watch our programme briefing video at your own time and attend enrichment talks by industry experts.

[ Register now! ]

The counselling field has grown in tandem with changes in our society as we respond to the challenges of Singapore's economic growth and development. Singapore University of Social Sciences launched its bachelor degree counselling programme, the first offered by a local university, in 2007.

Since then, there has been a clarion call for more advanced training, at the graduate level. To fulfil the aspirations for further specialised education in counselling and to stay relevant and robust in the field. The University has started offering the Master of Counselling (MCOU) since 2010.

Unique Features of the Programme

  • Emphasises a balance of skills-based/practice orientation and academic rigour while allowing specialisation in different areas of counselling and training in supervisory skills to enable our graduates to take on leadership roles or become domain experts.
  • Offers flexibility in entry and exit points to suit different academic needs. Pre-requisite courses will help those without prior counselling training to be initiated into the programme.
  • Our Master of Counselling programme is recognised and accredited by the Singapore Association of Counselling (SAC).

The programme offers a specialisation track in Couple and Family Therapy. The track will focus on achieving a higher quality of training and clinical competency of its therapists. The programme will equip graduates with clinical skills that will effectively address, manage and treat relationship problems in couples, as well as parent-child issues, arising from childhood developmental problems.

Admission Requirements

Refer to general admission criteria for graduate programmes.

This programme is open to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, as well as international students.

Applicants to the MCOU programme need to fulfil the following criteria for admission:

  • Jul 2025 intake: Personal statement (of not more than 500 words), online Psychological Test, in addition to Entrance test in English, two Reference Letters and Group interview.
Click here for instructions for Personal statement and reference letters.

Financial Assistance

The University offers course fee concession for selected graduate programmes. Please click here for more details.

Programme Structure

Students are required to complete a total of 70 credit units (cu) with a minimum CGPA of 3.0 to graduate.

For Master of Counselling, the breakdown of cu to be completed is:

  • 30 cu of Core Courses
  • 10 CU of compulsory Supervised Practicum 1
  • 20 cu of Elective courses
  • 10 cu of Applied Research Project (can be replaced with two elective courses)

For Master of Counselling Specialising in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT), the breakdown of cu to be completed is:

  • 30 cu of Core Courses
  • 10 CU of compulsory Supervised Practicum 1
  • 20 cu of CFT courses
  • 10 cu of CFT elective courses

Supervised Practice Requirements

  • All students are expected to complete a supervised practicum of 180 hours (10 cu).

Pre-Requisite Courses (PRCOU)

  • Students without prior training in counselling are required to complete pre-requisite courses (PRCOU) before they are allowed to begin MCOU.
  • PRCOU students have only 1 year candidature period to complete their courses in one semester.
  • Applicants can apply for course recognition or exemption if they have already attended any of the above PRCOU courses at undergraduate or post-graduate level or equivalent by providing the salient documentary proof during application. Course recognition or exemption is approved by the Head of Programme on a case-by-case basis.
All MCOU/PRCOU courses requires 100% attendance. Exceptions are given only to cases with evidence (e.g., medical certification of self and immediate family). Family holidays and work-related travels would not be considered. Students who fail to provide a valid certification or reasons for their absence will be penalised.

This programme is for professionals who aspire to enhance their counselling competencies with a balance of academic rigour and skills-based practice. Specialisation in different areas of counselling and training in supervisory skills are encouraged to empower graduates to take on leadership roles and become domain experts. The CFT specialisation track aims to target at professionals both counsellors and social workers who are seeking to enhance their career as couple and family therapists. Individuals interested in clinical work with couples, children and their families are welcome to apply.

Graduates from the Master of Counselling who complete 600 hours of face-to-face counselling and 60 hours of clinical supervision can apply for membership with the Singapore Association of Counselling (SAC) as registered counsellors and look forward to career opportunities in Family Service Centres, Social Service Agencies, hospitals, and schools and private clinics, helping families and children with behavioural and/or developmental issues.

  1. How many intakes are there in a year for Master of Counselling (MCOU)?
    We have only one intake a year, every July.

  2. What is the duration to complete the programme?
    Approximately 2 years for those with relevant qualifications and training in counselling. For those without the relevant requirements, they need to complete 3 pre-requite courses (PRCOU) and start their 180-hour practicum prior to the programme. The pre-requisite courses begin every January, and students will take 2.5 years to complete the entire MCOU programme.

  3. What is the maximum candidature to complete the programme?
    The maximum candidature period is 4 years.

  4. How many courses do students take in each semester?
    Students are recommended to complete 3 courses per semester.

  5. What is the assessment structure?
    There will be one on-going assessment (either a group-based project or an individual essay paper), and an examination for every course. Students need to achieve a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least 3.0 to be awarded the Master of Counselling and will be terminated when the CGPA falls below 3.0 during the course of study.

  6. When are the lessons scheduled?
    Lessons are scheduled on four Saturdays per course from 8.30am to 5.30pm, with a lunch break of an hour.

  7. Currently, I'm holding a full-time job. How should I go about completing the supervised practicum sessions?
    The 180-hour supervised practicum over a period of 10 months is mandatory for all MCOU students. Students are expected to commit their time to fulfil the practicum requirements. Some practicum sites operate after regular office hours and/or over the weekends. Due to the dynamic matching processes, we cannot guarantee a match between our carefully selected practicum sites, supervisors, and the students expressed interest. Students may be interviewed or selected by the sites according to their requirements. Students are not allowed to find their sites or supervisors and would not be allowed to carry out their supervised practicum at their workplaces due to learning and teaching purposes and ethical considerations.

  8. When do we need to start the supervised practicum?
    All MCOU students are required to fulfil 180 hours of supervised practicum with 100 hours of direct supervised counselling sessions, and another 80 hours of indirect counselling activities such as case management, meeting, training, documentation etc. Students can begin their practicum after they have completed the pre-requisite courses (where applicable) and at least three compulsory courses.

  9. Will Singapore University of Social Sciences help to source for practicum sites or must the student self-source the practicum sites?
    The University will provide a list practicum sites for students to indicate their interest. However, students may propose practicum sites to the programme, which are subjected to further screening and negotiation with the agencies concerned by the programme for future students.

  10. What is required under the Mandatory Personal Development?
    To support the personal and professional growth, students must receive at least three personal development sessions at our in-house C-three Counselling during their practicum before they graduate. They would not be allowed to graduate without completing at least three sessions of personal development.

  11. What happens if I do not complete the graduate programmes (e.g. Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master) within the candidature period? Can I apply to take the remaining courses via CET pathway?
    Students who have not completed their graduate programmes within the stipulated candidature period will not be eligible for the award of the qualification for such graduate programmes. Such students however may apply to take, via the CET pathway, the remaining courses which they did not complete under their graduate programmes as part of their personal learning and development. Such application will be subjected to the CET admission requirement. However, as such students have exceeded the candidature period for their graduate programmes, they will not be awarded the qualification for such graduate programmes even after taking and completing the remaining courses via the CET pathway (“Condition”).


  1. What if I fail my practicum?
    Students who fail their supervised practicum will have to repeat COU608, as with other MCOU and SUSS courses, to graduate.
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