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Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology - MEd, MS, PhD

Degree Programs

Master’s Degree Programs (MEd/MS)

Master’s programs in counselor education with areas of specialization in clinical mental health counseling and in school counseling prepare students for entry-level professional positions as counselors in a variety of human service agencies such as public schools, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and university counseling centers. These programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The master’s degree program in school counseling also is approved by the Alabama State Board of Education (ALSBE). The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Application to the master’s programs includes: meeting Graduate School requirements for admission, submission of the departmental application and all undergraduate transcripts, a GPA of at least a 2.75 on undergraduate coursework, and three letters of recommendation. In addition, admission requirements for the master’s program in school counseling are in compliance with those established by the Alabama State Board of Education, including clear background check and a passing score on each of the Basic Skills Assessments (Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Writing). All applications for admission are reviewed by program faculty with admission decisions occurring in the spring semester; initial enrollment usually only occurs in the fall semester.

Degree requirements for master’s-level programs in clinical mental health counseling and in school counseling include a minimum of 60 semester hours.

Students in all master’s-level programs must pass a comprehensive graduation exam which currently consists of the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) and complete other assigned work and/ or examinations designed to evaluate students’ skills in areas related to program goals. All master’s programs require extensive extramural practicum and internships in placements related to the area of professional preparation.

Program requirements for the master’s degree in school counseling are in compliance with regulations established by the ALSBE. In addition to the requirements noted above, students must earn a passing score on the appropriate Praxis II subject assessment and may be subject to other components of the State testing program depending on prior professional educator certification. In accordance with State regulations, effective for students unconditionally admitted to the school counseling certification program prior to July 1, 2017, a minimum GPA of 3.00 is required on all courses used to meet master's-level certification program requirements. Effective for students unconditionally admitted to certification programs July 1, 2017 and after, a minimum GPA of 3.25 will be required on all courses used to meet master's-level certification program requirements.

Individuals completing the State-approved master's degree program in school counseling are eligible to apply for Alabama Class A certification. Individuals seeking certification in states other than Alabama are responsible for contacting those state certification offices to obtain their application form and requirements. The State of Alabama signs the National Association of State Directors of Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement which facilitates the applications of program graduates when they apply for certification in other states.

Doctoral Degree Programs (PhD)

Doctoral programs are offered in counseling psychology and counselor education. These programs provide advanced preparation in the delivery of counseling and psychological services and prepare students for education, supervisory and leadership roles in schools, universities, hospitals, VA facilities, human service agencies, and private mental health practices. The doctoral programs also require that students demonstrate skills to independently conduct research through the dissertation. The PhD in counseling psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA); the PhD in counselor education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Applicants to the PhD programs must satisfy the Graduate School’s admission requirements. For counselor education, doctoral applicants must have completed an approved master’s degree program prior to enrollment. For counseling psychology, doctoral applicants may apply with a bachelor’s degree, some graduate coursework, a master’s degree, or a doctoral degree (the latter in the case of respecialization). To apply for admission to doctoral level programs in counseling psychology or counselor education prospective students must submit an application to the Graduate School and the program application form. This application includes submission of ALL transcripts from previous graduate and undergraduate coursework, scores from the GRE, and at least THREE letters of reference. Note: It is recommended that at least two of these letters speak to the individual’s academic abilities.

Provided that general Graduate School admission requirements are met, program admissions committees consider all submitted materials and determine whether to issue an invitation for an interview. Admission decisions occur in the spring semester; initial enrollment usually only occurs in the fall semester.

The number of hours required for the two doctoral programs varies. For counseling psychology, a student entering with no previous graduate coursework would be required to complete a minimum of 97 credit hours. Prior to obtaining doctoral candidacy status, all doctoral students must satisfactorily complete a psychotherapy project and a general written and oral examination. Doctoral students must register for at least 10 semester hours of doctoral research while completing a dissertation (included in the credit hours described above). The program takes five years to complete (four years of coursework and research and one year of full-time internship consistent with the requirements of APA-accredited internship sites).

The number of hours required for the doctoral degree in counselor education is 61 (+48 master’s credit hours that must be completed prior to admission to the program). This program of study is accredited by CACREP. Prior to obtaining doctoral candidacy status, all doctoral students must satisfactorily complete a general written and oral examination. The written exam consists of a doctoral level portfolio integrating professional skill and competence development. Doctoral students must register for at least 10 semester hours of doctoral research while completing a dissertation (included in the credit hours described above). The program incorporates a focus on the development of research, teaching, supervision, and advanced counseling skills. The program also requires extensive preparatory work in practicums and internship. Practicums will be completed in teaching, supervision and counseling practice. Typically the program takes a minimum of three years, full-time academic enrollment, to complete (two years of coursework and one year of internship and dissertation research).

Additional Information

Detailed admission and program requirements for the department’s multiple areas of graduate study are available on the College of Education’s website, Academics (http://www.education.auburn.edu/academics/).