The masters of arts program in counseling is designed to prepare professional counselors to work in a variety of employment settings, including clinical mental health agencies, schools, crisis centers, residential facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and private practice. Program graduates become skilled in individual and group counseling, consultation and training, treatment planning, program development, outcomes assessment and leadership facilitation.

Consistent with the School of Education's mission, scholarship, professionalism, social responsibility and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity, are integral to the preparation of candidates for the counseling profession. Field experience includes a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship.

The counseling program includes two programs of study:

*School Counseling program also provides eligibility to take the National Counseling Exam and apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in Illinois. 

Field Experiences

Students are required to complete a practicum (100 hours) in an approved field placement and a 600-hour internship.

Practicum and internship sites must be approved by the Chair of the Counseling Program. Supervision is provided at practicum and internship sites and through on-campus supervisors.

Evaluation of Counseling Students

Evaluation of student/candidate performance is an on-going process. In addition to evaluations of student performance in course work conducted by the course instructor, counseling faculty convene regularly to assess student/candidate overall academic progress and professional dispositions.

Academic progress and professional dispositions are assessed informally on a biweekly basis at program faculty meetings. If it is determined that follow-up with the student is warranted, the course instructor and/or the faculty adviser will meet with the student to express the concern and support the student with a plan of action that will help to ensure success.

Formal assessment of academic progress occurs a the end of fall term, and serves to identify students who are struggling with regard to academics and/or dispositions.

Graduate students with a GPA of less than 3.0 are placed on academic probation. The Program Chair informs the student in writing of changes in academic status and invites them to schedule a meeting to discuss a plan of action. Any student who remains on academic probation for two consecutive terms (including summer term) is dismissed from the program. Dismissed students who apply for readmission to the program shall follow student program admission procedures. Dismissed students may not be reinstated for one academic year.

Professional dispositions are assessed by program faculty annually in December. This process begins with each faculty member conducting an assessment of their advisees. Assessment results are then shared among the faculty at a program retreat. Faculty members collaborate on a formative dispositional assessment for each student. When it is determined that a student needs improvement in multiple areas of assessment, they are invited to meet with their faculty adviser to discuss the assessment results. When dispositional concerns persist, program faculty will meet as a group with the student to formulate an intervention plan.

All evaluations serve to ensure that the student will be successful in their academic goals and will also be encouraged to develop a sense of professional identity that is informed by ethical codes and standards of practice.

Counseling Candidates' Advancement Process

Candidates who complete the application and interview processes successfully will be admitted to the counseling program and assigned a faculty advisor. The candidate is required to work closely with his or her advisor to establish and maintain a program plan, and to monitor academic success and interpersonal growth and development. Successful completion (a grade of B or better) of the following courses is required to advance to candidacy:

Successful completion of 36 hours of program coursework (including the four courses listed above) and a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 is prerequisite to application for practicum or internship.

School Counseling (60 credit hours)

*Field experience includes a 100-hour school counseling practicum, a 600-hour school counseling internship .

The State of Illinois also requires the following additional coursework for Professional Educator Licensure - School Counseling:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credit hours)

*Field experience includes a 100-hour clinical counseling practicum, a 600-hour clinical counseling internship