Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 695

Specialization Seminar - Knowledge Transfer


Delivery Mode: Paced study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite or Corequisites: Normally, completion of all other program requirements. May not be completed at the same time as GCAP 685.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

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Not all counsellors will conduct original research or publish in academic journals; however, it is necessary for all counsellors to master professional writing so that they can be informed critical consumers of research and literature. In addition, counsellors may require skills to determine need, obtain funding, or attract community support for a service delivery initiative within a specific context.

Up to this point, students have been focused on writing course assignments. This seminar allows students to demonstrate core competencies developed throughout the program by focusing on communication and transference of knowledge through writing for a wider and more public audience. GCAP 695 is designed as a 13 week, paced, self-study seminar, graded on a pass/fail basis. The written product developed by the student will reflect original work and demonstrate transference of knowledge: a manuscript for publication (e.g., comprehensive literature review).

Master of Counselling students may opt into the seminar as their third Specialization Option to complete their program requirements. Students are expected to tailor the focus of the manuscript in the seminar to their specialization interests. This seminar is intended as the final course that students will complete in the program. We do not recommend that students who are working full-time take this course in conjunction with other courses due to the intensity of the writing required for completion of the seminar. However, students who feel they have the time to commit to this process may complete a final elective or the second half of counselling practicum concurrent with GCAP 695: Specialization Seminar: Knowledge Transfer. Students are strongly encouraged to ensure they gather the majority of the resources required for the writing process prior to the course start date.


At this final stage of the Master of Counselling program, students have developed the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for ethical and competent professional practice as counsellors. Students are expected to demonstrate the competencies already obtained throughout their graduate program by developing a written product that integrates these competencies and reflects their ability to transfer knowledge and skills. The seminar facilitator's role is to mentor or coach rather than instruct. Students’ progress through the seminar in charge of their own learning and collaborate, interact, and discuss with peers and the facilitator at key points in the seminar to maximize the experience.

To pass the seminar, students are expected to develop a publication-ready manuscript that reflects original work. The manuscript must be at a standard that reflects the transdisciplinary program outcomes of the Master of Counselling degree. Students must demonstrate ethical scholarship by integrating empirical and scholarly literature, evidence-based practices, and personal and sociocultural awareness relevant to the field of counselling. In most cases, manuscripts will involve a comprehensive literature review as the foundation for an article presenting a theoretical analysis, a synthesis of existing literature, a theoretical foundation for program development, or an applied practice model.


The course is divided into 6 units, distributed over 13 weeks, and structured as follows.

Unit 1: Introduction, Orientation, and Ethics of Scholarship

Unit 2: Background Preparation, Identifying a Target Journal, Developing a Manuscript Outline

Unit 3: Writing the Manuscript - First Draft

Unit 4: Writing the Manuscript - Peer Review and Revision

Unit 5: Completing the Manuscript

Unit 6: Knowledge Translation Presentation and Wrap Up

Course Evaluation

Students who select this program route must pass the Specialization Seminar to graduate with the Master of Counselling degree. Students who fail the Specialization Seminar will have one opportunity to retake the course at a later time. However, they cannot re-use the paper produced in the first enrolment; they must select a new topic and thesis for their writing. Students who fail a second time will be withdrawn from the program.

To pass the course, students are expected to develop a document that reflects original work. Previously submitted course assignments (e.g., a literature review or a group therapy program) or documents written for an agency (e.g., a funding application or a research study proposal) may not be submitted as the document for this seminar. Students are encouraged to build towards this culminating experience throughout their program by tailoring course assignments to gather the resources required to create this document. However, they may not simply copy and paste sections of previous assignments into their final document. They may draw ideas, concepts, or background information from their previous course work. However, no more than 50% of the final document should be derived directly from these earlier works, and the new and original thesis of the final document should drive the substantive reworking of this content. Guidelines for how to appropriately integrate contributions from early course-work will be provided.

The assessment structure for GCAP 695 is based on the following course activities. All activities in the course are graded on a pass / fail basis. Every requirement listed below will be graded as a pass based on satisfactory task completion except for the actual manuscript you submit. You must pass all components of the course to be awarded an overall passing grade.

Course Activity Weight
Thesis Statement and Outline of Key Arguments P/F
Manuscript Reviews (2) P/F
Response to Reviews P/F
Knowledge Translation Presentation P/F
Journal Article and Cover Letter Pass (meets or exceeds all standards of competencies) Fail (below standards of competencies)

Course Materials

All course materials are available online.

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 instructor 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 January 2009.