[ skip to content ]

Master's Degree in Counseling (M.S.Ed.)

The Master's Program in Counseling requires 60 credits, a 100-hour practicum, a 600 hour internship, and a comprehensive examination. The program faculty are particularly committed to educating students who are dedicated to reducing disparities in society based on race, gender, class, and sexual orientation, and other social group membership.

Please note that a criminal record may significantly impede your success in practicum and internship site placements, matriculation toward graduation, and future job opportunities as a professional counselor or counselor educator.


The Three Specializations

Three specializations are available in the program. All master's degree students complete a core curriculum that prepares counselors for professional practice in all settings. The core course work in the master's program covers a range of counseling and human development issues including approaches to individual and group counseling; ethical and professional issues in counseling; fundamentals of the counseling profession; counseling ethics; measurement and evaluation in counseling; lifespan and career development; research in counseling; and social and cultural issues.

In addition, students select one of three specializations:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • College Counseling
  • School Counseling

Preparation for specialized practice in counseling includes four unique courses important for particular specializations and a 600 hour internship in a setting appropriate for the specialization chosen.

The College Counseling specialization prepares counselors to work as counselors in positions in institutions of higher education including technical colleges, community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. Counselors are employed in higher education institutions in a number of offices including counseling centers, career centers, offices for services for students with disabilities, international student offices, and programs for special populations of students including minority students, more mature students returning to college, women students, or student athletes. Individuals who wish to work as student services administrators, rather than counselors, in colleges or universities should consider the ODU master's degree program in higher education described at http://education.odu.edu/efl/academics/highered/msed/higher_education_msed.shtml.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization prepares students to work in all settings where counselors are hired outside of preK-12 schools and institutions of higher education. Counselors who choose this specialization often work in community mental health programs, hospitals, substance abuse treatment programs, programs for youth, social services agencies, and private counseling practices.

The School Counseling specialization leads to licensure by the Virginia State Department of Education as a School Counselor. School counselors work in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Most schools require that counselors they hire be licensed or certified as school counselors by the state in which they are employed. School counselors are members of the team of educators within schools and provide counseling services to students.

National Accreditation

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling, College Counseling, and School Counseling specializations are accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP). The school counselor certification program is also approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Virginia.