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Study counseling abroad

An in-depth guide to studying counseling as an international student.

Counseling degrees abroad

Counseling is a type of therapy, centered around talking through problems, thoughts and relationships. It is popular as a treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Studying counseling abroad may also involve studying psychotherapy or psychology. In general, a counselor provides short-term treatment and psychotherapy is generally considered a longer term treatment.

Counseling degrees abroad will vary depending on which university you are studying at, and the country the university is in. Counseling qualifications may be aligned or accredited by a country’s counseling board, for example the BPS or BACP in the UK.

Counseling program structure

Counseling programs may offer practical and professional experience through placements, work experience, or internships with counseling services.

You will need to complete written exams as well as practical assessments, and some programs will require you to undertake research.

A counseling degree abroad will cover a wide range of areas, including some within the subjects of psychology and psychotherapy. On counseling degree programs it is likely you will be able to choose areas of study. Universities will offer counseling teaching from a wide range of modules such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Why study counseling abroad

Understanding and experiencing a different culture will help you become a more effective counselor if you choose to go into the profession. Studying abroad for your counseling qualification gives you experience of a different country and widens your understanding of people’s problems.

You will also find that some countries are more progressive and advanced with their practices of counseling than others. It may even be more commonplace in society to have experience of counseling depending on the society.

Where to study counseling abroad

When deciding where to study counseling abroad, it’s important to consider the following things:

  • The counseling program

    your personal goals and interests will help determine which university is right for you to study counseling at. There may be a specific area you are interested in specializing in, that not all universities will offer enough of a focus on. Read through course options thoroughly to determine if it’s what you want.

  • Where you want to work after graduation

    Whether you want to carry on your career in your host country or back at home, this will determine the type of program you do. If you want to qualify as a counselor you need to know the requirements for the country you want to work in, or how to convert that qualification.

  • What university experience you want

    The university itself will be your living and learning environment for up to four years, so it’s important you get what you need from it. If you want a quiet and relaxed atmosphere then some smaller universities may suit you better. If you have an activity or sport you want to be playing alongside your studies, that may also determine where you should go.

Best countries to study counseling

Some of the best countries to study counseling include the UK, the US, Canada, Norway and Sweden. These are the countries that tend to have the best counseling funding and research and also offer the best career opportunities after graduation.

The importance placed on mental health varies across the globe, and looking at a country’s mental health services can give you a good indication of the quality of counseling courses its universities offer.

Best universities to study counseling

The best university for studying counseling will depend on your needs. When you’re considering which university is right for you, it’s important to think about the following areas for guidance:

  • What the university’s program covers, including the structure and year by year break down
  • Whether the university has counseling internships, year abroad or placements included in the course
  • What the university offers in terms of extra-curricular activities
  • The facilities of the university - does it have everything you’d want?
See all universities offering counseling programs

How to study counseling abroad

  1. Universities & programs

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations

  2. Application assistance

    Be guided through your application process

  3. Visa & embassy guidance

    Maximise your chances of being granted a visa

  4. Enrollment & travel advice

    Get support all the way to your first day at university

Speak to a personal advisor (free service)

Counseling study abroad programs

Counseling bachelor’s programs often fall under the classification of a bachelor of science (BSc). At undergraduate level you can also study for a diploma or certificate to prove your abilities and knowledge in counseling, or a particular specialism of counseling.

In the US, or at universities that follow a liberal arts structure, you may be able to major in counseling or have it as a minor, rather than an entire bachelor’s degree focused on one subject.

At postgraduate level you are able to study specialist areas of counseling and therapy at master’s or PhD levels.

Counseling undergraduate programs

Associate in counseling

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    Substance Use Disorder Counseling - AASc Fox Valley Technical College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    6,600 USD
    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about
See all associate degrees in counseling

Bachelor's in counseling

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    Counseling and Applied Psychological Science - BSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,634 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about
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    Counseling - BA Southeast Missouri State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    13,155 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
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    Psychology (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling) - BA Midway University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    24,500 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
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    Psychology (Counseling Specialization) - BA Mount Aloysius College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    23,110 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about
See all bachelor's degrees in counseling

Certificate in counseling

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    Mental Health Counseling (Non-Teaching) Certification - Cert Florida A&M University, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    0 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
See all undergraduate certificates in counseling

Counseling graduate programs

Master's in counseling

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    Clinical Art Therapy and Counseling - MA Long Island University Post, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    44,100 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about
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    Counseling - MCouns Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,718 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about
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    Counseling - MSc University of Wyoming, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    15,500 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
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    Professional Counseling - Marriage & Family Counseling - MA Texas State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    15,034 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
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    Clinical Mental Health Counseling - MSc Western Washington University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    23,588 USD
    Start date
    -
    Show program overview about
See all master's degrees in counseling

Doctorate in counseling

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    Psychology (Counseling) - PhD University of Southern Mississippi, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    10,770 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
See all doctorates in counseling

Entry requirements to study counseling abroad

If you haven’t studied therapy or psychology before then you will still find programs available to you for studying counseling. You will be required to prove your English language proficiency if you are studying in English and it isn’t your first language.

The exact requirements for being admitted to a counseling program will depend on the country and level of study. In general, these are the requirements you may need to meet to study counseling abroad:

  • Completion of high school education
  • Educational transcripts
  • English language proficiency test (IELTS/TOEFL)
  • Proof of funds to support yourself while studying
  • Professional experience
  • Personal statement
  • References

Future counseling careers

A degree in counseling can lead to using your skills in a number of areas. Knowing how to effectively talk to people, helping them through difficulties, and knowing about psychology can all be valuable skills in many organizations.

Some of the most common career paths taken by counseling students lead to the following roles:

  • Family therapist
  • Marriage counselor
  • Career counselor
  • School counselor
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Mental health counselor