Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 695

Specialization Seminar - Knowledge Transfer (Revision 1)


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

Centre: Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology

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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 product 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.

Essential core competencies demonstrated by students for successful completion of this seminar include:

  • Communication of Knowledge involves dissemination and an interchange and exchange of ideas, opinions, and information at a professional level adhering to APA writing standards. This competency addresses numerous dimensions of communication, which includes written, verbal, non-verbal, working alliance skills, and computer literacy skills. It includes effective integration of information from a wide variety of resources (e.g., literature, research, key stakeholders) for communication in professional practice, scholarship, community audiences, or for media purposes. It includes the ability to provide appropriate information to different audiences for various purposes.
  • Analysis, Integration, and Critical Synthesis involves the ability to collect, assess, analyze, critique, apply information (literature, research, data, facts, concepts, and theories) and utilize reflective practitioner skills. These abilities are required to make evidence-based decisions, write manuscripts for publication, review and critique manuscripts for peer review, prepare budgets and reports, develop programs, develop or adjudicate proposals for funding, conduct investigations, and make recommendations for policy and program development. This competency includes the ability to identify relevant and appropriate sources of information, including community resources, key stakeholders, and informants who add contextually relevant knowledge and experience. It involves analysis of information to determine appropriate implications, uses, gaps, strengths, and limitations. It includes the ability to determine the meaning of information, consider the current ethical, empirical, political, socio-cultural, and economic contexts. This competency involves proficiency to recommend, in writing, specific directions for future actions based on the analysis.
  • Professional Ethics in Scholarship and Beyond involves awareness of and adherence to copyright legislation and intellectual property guidelines. Decisions about authorship credit and authorship order should be based on ethical principles and APA guidelines. This competency also includes respectful conduct within peer review processes and development of collegial and collaborative partnerships within a professional context. Each of these components reflect professional practice standards, which involve accountability and implementation of high ethical standards.
  • Advocacy involves the ability to influence and work with others to improve individual and societal well-being through the pursuit of a common goal. Advocacy may or may not include partnerships and collaborations with others and optimizing opportunities through shared resources and responsibilities. Advocacy refers to speaking, writing, or acting in favor of a particular individual's situation, cause, policy, or group of people and often aims to reduce inequities, injustices, or calls attention to gaps in knowledge and/or awareness within the literature, research, policies, systems, and/or professional practice.
  • Diversity and Inclusivity reinforces the socio-cultural competencies required to interact effectively with diverse individuals, groups, and communities. It is the embodiment of knowledge, attitudes, and practices that result in both self-awareness and inclusive behaviors, practices, programs, research, and policies. It includes the ability to apply culturally relevant and appropriate methods, approaches, and interventions with individuals from diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds and persons of all ages, genders, mental and physical health status, sexual orientations, and abilities.


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 / 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: Poster 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
Participation in Online Discussions P/F
Manuscript Outline P/F
Manuscript Reviews (2) P/F
Response to Reviews P/F
Poster Presentation P/F
Journal Article and Cover Letter Pass with No Revisions
Pass with Minor Revisions
Fail will No Possibility of Resubmission

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 Revision 1, January 2009.