Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 500

Program Student Orientation (Revision 2)


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Delivery Mode: Self-study; online

Credits: 0 (This course will appear on the transcript as a zero credit course)

Prerequisite: None

This course is available only to new students once they have been admitted to the program. You do not need to register in this course. Access will be provided automatically as part of the admission process.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

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Welcome to the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology! We are extremely pleased with the quality of students admitted and look forward to working with you throughout your program. Before you begin your program, it is important to learn more about the programs and about the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology (GCAP) courses. We have designed the GCAP 500 Student Orientation course with two primary purposes in mind:

  1. One difference between on-site and distance learning is online communication. This orientation will familiarize you with the tools, resources, and procedures that you will draw on throughout your graduate program, as well as the roles and expectations of both students and program staff. We recognize that distance learning and online communication are new to many of you, and we trust that, by the end of this course, you will feel more confident in this virtual academic environment and be ready to begin your first GCAP program course.
  2. One of the key differences between graduate and undergraduate education is the focus on professional writing at the graduate level. Writing at the professional level involves developing your own voice, analyzing critically, synthesizing the professional literature to support your arguments, operating with scholarly integrity, and meeting most of the specific criteria required by the American Psychological Association (APA) format. You aren’t expected to master these skills in this course. This orientation is an opportunity to get a sense of what we mean by professional writing. We will support you to master these skills incrementally over the first year of your program. By the end of the orientation you will have a sense of your strengths and weakness in professional writing and will create a learning plan to carry forward with you into your first program course.


  • Lesson 1: Foundations of the GCAP Graduate Experience
  • Lesson 2: Becoming a Graduate Student
  • Lesson 3: Joining Your Graduate Community
  • Lesson 4: Preparing for your Graduate Course Work
  • Lesson 5: You're on the Home Stretch
  • Lesson 6: Ready, Set, Go!

Course Evaluation

There is no credit assigned to GCAP 500. Students will be assigned a pass/fail evaluation based solely on completing the tasks involved in the various study units. Students are required to complete the course prior to taking any other GCAP courses.

Course Materials

Course Texts

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Students are required to purchase this text prior to the orientation and must use it to support their writing in all GCAP courses.

Collins, S. (2016). Professional Writing in the Health Disciplines [e-book]. Athabasca, AB: Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University. Retrieved from

This e-book is available as an open education resource at the link provided above.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Disability Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the course coordinator that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice.

Opened in Revision 2, June 16, 2017.

View previous syllabus