Master Of Counselling

Master Of Counselling
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 now offers the Master of Counselling (MCOU) programme.

Unique features of the programme:
  • • Emphasis on 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. Bridging 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.

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.
Applicants should be Singapore citizens, permanent residents or residents in Singapore.

In addition, you will need to meet these minimum requirements:
• An undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification from a recognised institution
• Good communication skills (written and spoken English)
• At least two years of work experience
• 21 years and above

Applicants must complete and submit an online application to Singapore University of Social Sciences by the specified deadline.

Shortlisted candidates may be required to undergo one or more interviews and/or take such written admission or other evaluation tests as may be prescribed by Singapore University of Social Sciences. The offer of admission is dependent on the number of places available in individual programmes.

The decision of the Admissions Committee of Singapore University of Social Sciences is final and binding. Singapore University of Social Sciences reserves the right to refuse admission and is not obliged to offer an explanation for the non-admission of unsuccessful candidates.
Students are required to complete a total of 60 credit units (cu) with a minimum CGPA of 3.0 to graduate with a Master of Counselling. The breakdown of the cu to be completed is:
• 30 cu of Core Courses
• 20 cu of Electives courses
• 10 cu of Applied Research Project (can be replaced with two elective courses)

Students are required to complete a total of 60 credit units (cu) with a minimum CGPA of 3.0 to graduate with a Master of Counselling Specialising in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT). The breakdown of the cu to be completed is:
• 30 cu of Core courses
• 20 cu of CFT core courses
• 10 cu of CFT elective courses

Students without prior training in counselling are required to complete three bridging courses (Foundation Studies) to prepare them for the intensive MCOU curriculum. In addition, there will be a supervised practicum of 180 hours, a requirement for foundation students that equips students with practical counselling experience. The practicum may be completed during the course of the MCOU programme.
Next Available Intake
July 2019

Application Closing Date
31 March 2019

Tuition Fee
​For cur​rent tuition fee, click here.

Concession/ Sponsorship

The University offers course fee concession for some master's programmes. Please click here​ for more details.​

FAQ (Master of Counselling)

  1. 1. How many intake(s) are there in a year for Master of Counselling (MCOU)?
We have only one intake a year, in every July.
  1. 2. What is the duration to complete the MCOU?
Approximately 2 years for those with relevant qualifications and training in counselling. For those without the relevant requirements, they will need to complete six months of Foundation Studies (3 compulsory courses in basic counselling) prior to the programme. The Foundation Studies begin every January, and students will take 2.5 years to complete the entire MCOU programme.
  1. 3. What is the maximum candidature to complete the MCOU?
The maximum candidature period is 4 years.
  1. 4. How many courses do students take in each semester?
Students are recommended to complete 3 courses per semester.
  1. 5. What is the assessment structure?
There will be two assignments and an examination for every course. Student will need to achieve a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least 3.0 to be awarded the Master of Counselling.
  1. 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.
  1. 7. Is there any attendance requirement?
The MCOU programme is accredited by Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC), and attendance is compulsory. Students are to complete 3 mandatory personal development sessions at C-three Counselling Centre before graduation.
  1. 8. If I do not have a counselling-related degree, when should I submit an admission e-application?
Please submit an admission e-application by 30 September in the current year. Students who do not have a counselling-related degree are required to complete the Foundation Studies, which will commence in January of the following year.
  1. 9. When do we need to start the supervised practicum?
Students are required to fulfill 180 hours of supervised practicum with 100 hours of face-to-face counselling sessions. The practicum will start after students have completed the Foundation Studies and the first two courses in the Professional Studies. i.e. COU501 Clinical Assessment in Counselling and COU503 Ethics and Skills in Multicultural Counselling.
  1. 10. Currently I'm holding a full-time job. How should I go about completing the supervised practicum sessions?
The supervised practicum is a mandatory course for all Foundation Studies students. Students are required to commit their time to fulfil the hours. There are practicum sites that operate outside office hours and weekends. However, due to limited resources in terms of practicum sites, Singapore University of Social Sciences cannot guarantee a perfect match between the practicum site and the student's expressed interest.
  1. 11. Will Singapore University of Social Sciences help to source for practicum sites or must the student self-source the practicum sites?
The University will assist to source practicum sites for students. However, students may also propose their preferred self-sourced practicum sites, which are subjected to screening and approval.
  1. 12. How long does it take to complete the supervised practicum?
Foundations Studies students are given one year to complete the supervised practicum.
 MCOU students who do not have to take the practicum have to be clinically active throughout the programme (with clinical supervision), if they are to be competent counsellors upon graduation

FAQ (Master of Counselling Specialising in Couple and Family Therapy)

  1. 1. How does the Master of Counselling specialising in Couple and Family Therapy (MCOU-CFT) enhance a career in counselling or social work?
Prospective graduate students contemplating a MCOU-CFT degree are probably practising counsellors, or social workers involved in counselling work. Having acquired this Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) specialisation, it will broaden their repertoire of clinical skills needed to treat couples and families with emotional and relational issues. Couple and family therapy skills are higher form of clinical skill set, ideal for counsellors/social workers/clinicians who already possess individual counselling skills. Thus, CFT graduates will be in a much better position to train and supervise other counsellors/social workers, equipping them with the necessary therapeutic skills to address and treat individuals, and members of the family from a systemic perspective. These CFT graduates may also take up managerial, supervisory and clinical leadership role in their agencies/organisations.
  1. 2. Is there a need for couple and family therapists? Why?
We are social beings, and we cannot but communicate. In our communication, we often hold different views and opinions about a given situation, which may give rise to certain misunderstanding and disagreements, especially among those in close relationship, like couples and family members. Given the stresses of work, social and family demands, couples do face different challenges/difficulties in their relationship. Hence, they may need a CFT therapist specially trained in clinical and relational skills to help them better manage those challenges/difficulties.

Furthermore, with the rise in childhood developmental issues (e.g., ADHD, ADD, behavioural and emotional problems, like depression and self-harm), these have to be treated more effectively by systemic couple and family therapists. These therapists are trained to engage and get parent(s) to support and assist in the treatment process of the child, especially when the child is at home. Thus, CFT therapists possess those relational and clinical skills to effectively engage parents to better manage/handle their child with developmental issue(s).

  1. 3. What is taught in this MCOU-CFT programme?
The trainee therapists have to complete 6 CFT courses, which consists of Advanced Couple and Family Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples, Minuchin Family Therapy, CFT Supervision for Practice, Narrative Therapy, Medical Family Therapy, or Gottman Couples Therapy.

In the initial years, this programme hopes to invite known CFT experts from Hong Kong, Taiwan, S. Korea, Japan, Australia, as well as the United States to conduct some of these courses at Singapore University of Social Sciences, so as to enhance the clinical competency of its CFT graduates.

  1. 4. What are the evidence-based practices in this programme?
Evidence-based practices refer to the process of using research to inform clinical work with clients. The MCOU-CFT programme will employ evidence-based practices, where research findings as well as practical experience are used to inform the clinical decisions that best addresses the needs of the couples and families in therapy. Over the years, the research findings of John Gottman, Sue Johnson and colleagues in couple relationship are incorporated in Gottman Couples Therapy, and Emotion-Focused Therapy for Couples respectively. Likewise, the rich clinical experiences and research work on families by Salvador Minuchin, Lee Wai-Yung and colleagues are weaved into Minuchin Family Therapy. The “Person-of-the-Therapist” (POTT) training model developed by Harry Aponte to systematically train the self of the therapist is being introduced into the programme, especially in the training of CFT therapists at SUSS.
  1. 5. Could you give examples of specific things students need to know to be a couple or family therapist?
A couple and family therapist needs to appreciate the complexity of working with couples and family from a systemic perspective. Has a good understanding of her/his own family-of-origin influences on her/ his therapeutic work so as to avoid counter-transference in therapy, be culturally sensitive to the different couples and families coming for help, understand that relationship issues/problems are often challenging and demanding (no quick solution since the problem often originated years ago, and it will take more than one or two therapy sessions to resolve), and there is always "more than meet the eyes", e.g., extra-marital affair, co-parenting responsibilities, personality and gender differences, where hearing from one spouse is only 50% of the reality regarding a given situation.
  1. 6. What are the key differences between couple and family therapy and other forms of therapy?
Couple and family therapists are experts in relational issues, skilled in facilitating the healing process for distressed couples and families from a systemic perspective. These systemic CFT therapists have a sound working knowledge of couple relationship and issues including family interactions/dynamics. Couple and family therapy is short-term systemic therapy, usually it takes about 4-8 sessions. Relational issues or problems in couples and families are interconnected and interrelated. Therefore, to treat these issues/problems, couple and family therapist addresses those who are influenced and are affected by the distressed individual(s). Emotional wounds are often caused by individuals in relationship, therefore those individuals need to help heal each other's wounds along the therapeutic process. And the healing of these wounds may begin in the therapy session, and hopefully continues beyond the therapy room. The CFT therapist will facilitate this healing process, which happen "here and now" in the therapy room.
  1. 7. What kind of students are you looking for, in terms of personal attributes and goals?
Trainee couple and family therapists must enjoy working with couples, children and their families, despite the many challenges and difficulties in relationship issues. Able to hold the couple/family in moment of doubts and emotional struggles, and create a "safe place" for therapy/healing to happen, as well as instil hope in couples and families. Have a good sense of oneself, as in the "person-of-the-therapist", acknowledging one's abilities, strengths and limitations. Have the ability for work and capacity to love, including not taking oneself too seriously in this work, trusting that individuals, couples and families have the inner strengths and resources to help themselves.
  1. 8. Can those with full-time jobs also take up this course?
The Master of Counselling (MCOU), and MCOU specialising in Couple & Family Therapy (MCOU-CFT) are designed for full-time working professionals, who are willing to spend one day a week (whole day of Saturday) over a period of 2 years. Thus, these programmes are meant for all full-time working professionals, who desire to pursue this challenging but enriching graduate studies at Singapore University of Social Sciences, for their career advancement and clinical service to the wider community in Singapore.
For Application and Admission Enquiries

(Graduate Programmes & Part-time Undergraduate Programmes):

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Telephone: +65 6248 9777
Fax : +65 6763 9077
Email : [email protected]