Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 500

Program Student Orientation (Revision 3)


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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 (GCAP)! 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 GCAP, your program and courses, and the resources available to support you and your success. We have designed the GCAP 500 Student Orientation course with three primary purposes in mind:

  1. We provide a brief orientation to the professions of counselling and counselling psychology, and we will introduce the outcomes and competencies that you can expect to attain through your active engagement in the learning processes throughout your program. The course gives you a sense of how your program is structured to provide you with the foundation you need to move into a professional role and also a heads up on the choices available to you to tailor your program to meet your learning and professional goals.
  2. We highlight the strengths of the program delivery model. One difference between on-site and distance learning is online communication. This orientation familiarizes you with the tools, resources, and procedures that you can 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 be more confident in this virtual academic environment and be ready to begin your first GCAP program course.
  3. We introduce you to what it means to be a graduate student. 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. This orientation is an opportunity to get a sense of what we mean by professional writing. We support you to become proficient in these skills incrementally over the first year of your program.


GCAP is designed for self-study, enabling you to complete the learning activities at your own pace over a period of five weeks. During the course, you can connect in various ways with other new students, as you test out some of the communication tools you may use throughout your program. The course may also include an opportunity for synchronous video connection to members of the GCAP team, although, if you are unable to participate in real time, these will be recorded.

Course Evaluation

There is no credit assigned to GCAP 500. Students are assigned a pass/fail evaluation based on a multiple choice quiz. Students can repeat the quiz until they attain a passing grade. Students are required to complete and obtain a pass in the course prior to taking any other GCAP courses.

Course Materials

Course Texts

Collins, S. (2020). Professional Writing in the Health Disciplines. Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University.

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

Faculty of Health Disciplines. (2020). Master of Counselling Student Handbook.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Accessibility Services 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 3, June 26, 2020.

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