Goal and Objectives
The goal of the Master of Science in counseling program is to facilitate the comprehensive development of counselors as servant leaders in their communities. This goal is further realized by providing opportunities for candidates to become effective in the following roles: (a) a caring person, (b) an informed facilitator of learning, (c) a reflective decision-maker, and (d) a committed professional.
The objectives of the Master of Science in counseling program are to:
- Provide students with a thorough and comprehensive knowledge base in those areas of the social/behavioral sciences applicable to the profession of counseling. This includes emphasis on the multidimensional personal, familial, and societal issues that affect development throughout the human lifespan.
- Aid students in the acquisition of counseling and related skills, such as individual counseling, couples and family counseling, supervision of counseling activities, testing, consulting, group work, interviewing, diagnosis, and assessment.
- Provide students with knowledge of the organization and administration of human service agencies or educational institutions, as well as clarity regarding the role of the professional counselor within these settings.
- Educate students regarding research and evaluation tools relevant to the delivery of helping services in various settings.
- Introduce students to the wide scope of diverse populations they will encounter in their work settings, and aid them in developing sensitivity to differences and the skills to address differences appropriately.
Admission to the Program
In addition to Southern and School of Education and Psychology admission requirements for graduate study, a candidate for the Master of Science program with emphases in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling must comply with the following requirements in order to be admitted in regular standing:
- Prerequisite Coursework: The completion of a minimum of 6 credits in psychology or behavioral sciences on the upper-division undergraduate or graduate level plus one class in research and/or statistics is required. [Note: If taken at the graduate level, these courses will not be counted as part of the graduate program.]
- Recommendations: Three letters of recommendation, including one academic and one professional, from recent sources, are required. Letters are required and additional recommendation forms (to be attached to letters) are available from the Graduate Studies Office.
- Interview: An interview by Counseling area faculty to assess the candidate’s values, commitment to multiculturalism, attitudes, and communication skills. This interview will be conducted prior to the candidate’s regular admission.
- Dispositions Assessment: Obtain from the area of emphasis coordinator an evaluation of each of the core areas identified on the Dispositions Assessment form.
- Personality Test: Results from the 16 PF must be on record prior to completion of faculty interview.
Progression in the program may be inhibited by a variety of circumstances. Regular evaluations of students’ personal and professional dispositions are conducted by the program faculty, Practicum/Internship supervisors, course instructors, assistantship supervisors, and/or others involved with students’ training. Student academic standing is also monitored regularly via course grades and GPA.
Should any aspect of an evaluation indicate that a student needs improvement in a given area, the student is subject to advisement and consideration regarding program progression. Additional information regarding student evaluations and due process can be found in the Counseling Student Handbook, available from the School of Education and Psychology. The School of Education and Psychology reserves the right to deny or revoke admission should a candidate be deemed inappropriate for a counseling degree.
Admission to Candidacy
MS in Counseling students cannot progress to Clinical Internship without being admitted to candidacy. MS in Counseling students must complete the following requirements for admission to candidacy.
- Application: Submit an application to candidacy.
- GPA: Maintain a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.00.
- Self-Assessment: Submit a completed Candidacy Admission Self-Assessment of the proficiencies embedded in the Conceptual Framework. This form is available from the School of Education and Psychology.
- Program Survey: Submit a completed Program Survey. This form is available from the School of Education and Psychology.
- Dispositions Assessment: Obtain from the area of emphasis coordinator an evaluation of proficient or higher on each of the core areas identified on the Dispositions Assessment form.
- Professional Membership: Present documentation of membership in a professional organization.
- Admission Approval: Receive approval for Admission to Candidacy from the Counseling Programs Council.
Students must apply for Practicum II and Internship before the end of the semester prior to when they register for the class. (They will not be required to re-submit an application to Internship for each semester in which they register.) Notification of approval/denial of Practicum II/Internship application will be done in writing by the chair of the Graduate Enrollment Counselor.
Students must complete Practicum II prior to registering for and/or accruing hours for Internship. No counseling students can accumulate clinical internship hours unless they have received written notification of approval from the SEP Graduate Council, are registered for internship, and have received corresponding approval from the faculty supervisor. If students need to extend sessions with clients and have completed the necessary Practicum II requirements and prerequisites for Internship, they may, however, register for 1 credit of Internship and begin collecting hours toward completion of Internship, provided that the appropriate supervision is available.
To register for internship, a minimum of 29 credits must be completed for School Counseling, and 42 credits for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. A student who is seeking a double-emphasis degree must complete separate fieldwork (e.g., Practicum II and Internship) settings for each emphasis.
To graduate from a Master of Science program in counseling, a candidate must complete all Southern and School of Education and Psychology graduation requirements. In addition, the candidate must complete the following requirements:
- Comprehensive Exam/Thesis Defense: Pass a written comprehensive examination designed by the faculty, or successfully defend a Master’s thesis. If a comprehensive exam, the responses will be evaluated in terms of accuracy of information, breadth and depth of knowledge, and written communication skills. Note: All comprehensive exams must be written on-campus, as scheduled (once each semester). Students with a double emphasis will need to perform two sittings of the comprehensive—one for each area of emphasis.
- Field Experience Diversity (School Counseling candidates only): Submit a completed Field Experience Diversity form. This form is available from the School of Education and Psychology.
- Case Study: Receive a passing score on the MS Counseling case study.
- Praxis Exam (School Counseling licensure candidates only): Successfully complete the Praxis Series Specialty Test: School Guidance and Counseling.