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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

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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

Bachelor's in counseling

  • Arizona State University Logo

    Counseling and Applied Psychological Science Arizona State University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 30,634 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, May, August
    Show more details about Counseling and Applied Psychological Science
  • Southeast Missouri State University Logo

    Counseling Southeast Missouri State University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 13,155 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Counseling
  • Midway University Logo

    Psychology (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling) Midway University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 24,500 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Psychology (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling)
  • LeTourneau University Logo

    Counseling Psychology LeTourneau University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 29,630 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Counseling Psychology
  • Mount Aloysius College Logo

    Psychology (Counseling Specialization) Mount Aloysius College, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 23,110 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, September
    Show more details about Psychology (Counseling Specialization)
See all bachelor's degrees in counseling

Certificate in counseling

  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Logo

    Mental Health Counseling (Non-Teaching) Certification Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 0 USD
    • Program type Undergraduate certificate
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Mental Health Counseling (Non-Teaching) Certification
See all undergraduate certificates in counseling

Counseling graduate programs

Master's in counseling

  • Arizona State University Logo

    Counseling Arizona State University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 29,718 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date August
    Show more details about Counseling
  • University of Wyoming Logo

    Higher Education Administration University of Wyoming, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 15,500 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date May, September
    Show more details about Higher Education Administration
  • Texas State University Logo

    Professional Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling Texas State University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 15,034 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Professional Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Western Washington University Logo

    Clinical Mental Health Counseling Western Washington University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 23,588 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date
    Show more details about Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • University of Southern Mississippi Logo

    Counseling Psychology University of Southern Mississippi, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 10,770 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Counseling Psychology
See all master's degrees in counseling

Doctorate in counseling

  • University of Southern Mississippi Logo

    Psychology (Counseling) University of Southern Mississippi, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 10,770 USD
    • Program type Doctorate
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, August
    Show more details about Psychology (Counseling)
  • University of Central Arkansas Logo

    Psychology - Counseling Psychology University of Central Arkansas, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 6,866 USD
    • Program type Doctorate
    • Duration 3 years
    • Start date January, May, August
    Show more details about Psychology - Counseling Psychology
  • Neumann University Logo

    Pastoral Counseling Neumann University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 21,900 USD
    • Program type Doctorate
    • Duration 3 years
    • Start date January, September
    Show more details about Pastoral Counseling
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