M.A. Program Admission FAQ

Counseling Psychology Program Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an undergraduate degree in psychology?

An undergraduate degree is required, but it does not need to be a degree in psychology.

Are there any prerequisite courses?

There are no prerequisite courses.

Do I have to take the GRE general test?

The GRE is not required.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

Yes. A minimum overall undergraduate or graduate school grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement may still be accepted under exceptional circumstances. Appeals for waiver of this requirement should be made through our online application. All aspects of each application (essays, letters of recommendation, coursework, clinical experience, volunteerism and/or work experience) are considered during the decision making process, and all applications are given full consideration with the GPA as one factor.

What other materials are required to complete my application?

A full list and description of required application materials can be viewed here.

Do you offer application fee waivers?

Application fee waivers are available for participants or alumni in good standing of the following service organizations: McNair Scholars, Gates Millennial Scholars, and Peace Corps in-country volunteers, as well as for applicants facing financial barriers. To request a fee waiver, please contact admissions@wi.edu before you submit payment or submit your application.

What transcripts will I need in order to apply?

The Wright Institute Admissions Department requires unofficial transcripts from each accredited college or university where you earned credit, even if you did not earn a degree. We do not require official transcripts during the application process. A certificate of completion or diploma will not take the place of a transcript, which must include a detailed list of all courses taken. We do not require separate transcripts from study abroad programs if the credits are listed on the transcript from the school where you earned your degree. Degrees received outside the United States or Canada must be verified and evaluated for academic equivalence.

Do I have to send all of my transcripts and letters of recommendation in at one time?

No. You may submit your application before we receive your transcripts and letters of recommendation. However, applications will not be forwarded to the admissions committee until all required materials have been received and processed. Please review transcript requirements here.

Should I sent transcripts and documents through the mail?

To expedite the processing of your application, please upload all materials to your online application. Official transcripts sent through the regular mail will delay the processing of your application. Individual documents (transcripts and letters of recommendation) that are not uploaded in the online application will be kept in a file with your name on it until you submit your online application. At that time, all application materials on file will be processed by scanning them into our system, allowing you to see what we have on file in real time through your online account at wi.edu/applicants.

Can I send additional materials in support of my application?

Please do not send us publications, certificates unrelated to your degree, or other materials not specifically requested. They will not be forwarded to the admissions committee for review.

What is the status of my application?

You may check the current status of your application at any time using your online application account at wi.edu/applicants. Please allow one business day for your status to be updated once you have finalized and submitted your application. Follow-up status emails are sent as necessary.

How will I know when my application is complete?

You will be notified by email as soon as all application materials are received and processed. Your completed status is also viewable online in your applicant account at wi.edu/applicants.

When will I know if I am invited to an interview?

If you are selected for an interview, you will be sent an email after the admissions deadline inviting you to schedule a convenient time using our online scheduling system.

If I am from out of state or out of the country, do I need to interview in person?

All interviews will be held online via Zoom until further notice.

When will I find out if I am accepted?

For the priority deadline, interviews will take place in February and decisions will be released in March. For the standard deadline, interviews will be held in May and decisions will be released in June.

What happens if I am accepted for admission?

You will be notified by email and given a deadline to respond. Those who accept our offer of admission must submit a nonrefundable deposit by credit card (preferred), check, or money order payable to the Wright Institute in the amount of $500. This deposit will be credited toward your first-semester tuition, and is not refundable should you decide not to matriculate.

Why wasn't I accepted?

The Institute regrets that the complexity of the evaluation process makes it impossible for an unsuccessful applicant to be informed of the reasons for the admission committee's decision.

Can I reapply to the Wright Institute?

Yes. If you already have an online Wright Institute application account, you may log back in using your existing email address and password (if your email address has changed or you are unable to reset your password using our automated system, please contact admissions, do not create a new account). Application materials for unsuccessful applicants are kept on file for two years before they are destroyed. Transcripts can be reused if nothing has changed since you last applied.

What is the average size of each cohort?

Cohorts range in size from 15-21 students. We typically admit 2 cohorts to the daytime format and 2 cohorts to the weekend format each year. Students take all classes with their cohort, with the exception of the Professional Development Seminar, which ranges in size from 8-12 students. Students will take a handful of courses with the full group of 30-40 students who are enrolled in their schedule format (e.g. both daytime cohorts combined or both weekend cohorts combined).

Is the program accredited?

The Wright Institute is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The Wright Institute's Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program is approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to meet the requirements of the Business and Professions Code (BPC) 4980.36 for the practice of marriage and family therapy. Our program also prepares students for licensure as a Professional Clinical Counselor under BPC 4999.33.

Do you accept transfer credits?

The maximum number of credit hours or courses eligible for transfer is six (6) semester credit hours or two (2) courses. Transfer courses must be graduate level and taken for credit at a regionally accredited college or university. No more than five years may have elapsed between the course and a student's application to the Wright. Students must have earned a grade of "B" or better for any course to be eligible, and eligible courses must be equivalent in content and units to the course for which a waiver is requested. There is no transfer credit for military service, credit by examination, credit by correspondence, or credit for life experience. Official transcripts are required for transfer credit to be considered. Students are required to provide a copy of the catalog description and/or the course syllabus from the institution where the credit was awarded to validate that the course satisfies the transfer credit criteria. Please note: evaluations of prior coursework will only be done if an applicant is admitted to our program.

Do you have a distance-learning program?

No, all classes are held at the Institute.

As an international student, do I need to provide proof that I have the financial resources to attend the Wright Institute?

International students admitted to the program who cannot be supported by American funding agencies must complete a Wright Institute Verification of Finances form (available for download here) and provide documentation verifying source/s of funding.

How long does it take to complete the Counseling program?

The Counseling program is designed to be completed in two years. If the practicum hours in the second year are not completed concurrently with coursework, then the program may extend into a third year.

When are classes held?

Weekend cohorts attend classes 14 weekends per year (approximately one weekend per month) and, in the first year only, one evening per week. Each weekend class includes Friday from 6pm-10pm, Saturday 9am-6:45pm, and Sunday 9am-5:45pm, with breaks built in throughout the weekend. The weekly evening class in the first year of the program is held from 6pm-9pm on Wednesdays.

Daytime cohorts attend classes two days per week from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with breaks during the day.

To view full academic calendars, visit: http://www.wi.edu/ma-class-schedule

How long are the classes on the weekends?

In both the daytime and weekend schedule formats, each semester unit is the equivalent of 15 hours of class time. Typically in the weekend format, a three unit course takes place over two weekends with three or four weeks in between each class weekend. As described above, classes are held on Friday night for 4 hours, Saturday for 9.75 hours, and Sunday for 8.75 hours, totaling 22.5 hours per weekend. The total amount of class time is the same as the daytime schedule format, but is distributed differently.

How much can I expect to pay for books per year?

You should budget $1,300 to $1,600 per year for textbooks and readers.

How long is the comprehensive exam?

The comprehensive exam is taken at the end of the second year after completion of all coursework. It is an in-class examination consisting of 150 multiple choice questions that address specific clinical problems, theory, multi-cultural issues, a general knowledge of counseling psychology, and other areas covered through coursework. A score of 75% is required for passing.

How many practicum hours do I need to complete in order to graduate?

In order to graduate, you need to accrue a minimum of 500 hours of supervised clinical experience, including 280 direct client hours.

Where can I get more information about MFT or PCC licensure?

For additional information, refer to the Board of Behavioral Sciences' website at www.bbs.ca.gov.

How much will my total tuition per semester be?

Total tuition cost per semester varies based on the number of classes you take. More detailed information can be found on the tuition and financial aid page.

Do you have financial aid, scholarships, or grants?

The Wright offers financial aid in the form of Direct Federal Unubsidized loan and Direct Federal Graduate PLUS loan. Federal eligibility for Unsubsidized loan is up to $20,500. The PLUS loan eligibility is up to the school's maximum. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (510) 841-9230 ext. 137 or email: financialaid@wi.edu. Please also visit www.fafsa.ed.gov for additional information.

Are there any discounts/options for student work for reduced tuition?

Not at this time.

Can I work a full-time job while I'm in the program?

It is possible to work full time during the first year. However, students complete practicum (20-24 hours per week of supervised clinical work) during the second year in addition to a full-time course load. Most students quit their job or significantly scale back at work during their second year. Students who need to or want to continue working full time throughout the program may defer practicum to a third year.

Do you have job placement services?

We do not offer job placement services. However, the Counseling Field Placement Office does maintain a list of current Master's level job postings.

What happens if I cannot/do not complete the program? Is there a time frame for course completion? Can I put financial aid on hold?

You are able to defer your classes for up to one year. However, financial aid assistance requires that you have no more than six months without continuous study before you will begin to incur your payments.

How is coursework evaluated? How are the practicum hours tracked?

Students receive a letter grade and an evaluation of professional conduct for each course. Practicum hours are tracked by the student and the agency and reported to the Wright Institute. Students receive credit or no credit for practicum based on the number of hours completed and the supervisor's formal evaluation of the student's progress.

Where do I do my practicum?

Available sites include, but are not limited to, state, county, and community mental health facilities, outpatient clinics, psychiatric hospitals, schools, residential treatment programs, day treatment facilities, chemical dependency treatment programs, rehabilitation programs, and forensic programs. Practicum sites are available throughout the Bay Area and other regions of California. Sites vary by the populations they serve as well as the treatment modality and clinical specialty implemented by the site.

Do I have to work with families or children?

Yes, the BBS requires that each MFT licensee attain "not less than 500 total hours of experience in diagnosing and treating couples, families, and children." The remainder of your 3,000 hours for licensure are not required to be with couples, families, or children.

Can I use my job for my practicum?

No, unless the Wright Institute approves the site and there is a demonstrated need.

Can I collect practicum hours in a private practice?

No, a "trainee" (pre-MA degree) may not earn hours in a private practice setting.

Should I seek my own counseling?

Yes, we strongly encourage it.