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Graduate programs

Master of Science, Counseling

Graduate Counseling Faculty:

Karrie Swan, Program Director, MS, Counseling
Park Central Office Building Room 132
Phone 417-836-8526;

A. Leslie Anderson
Park Central Office Building, Room 132
Phone 417-836-6519;

Bonni Behrend
Park Central Office Building Office Room 129
Phone 417-836-8526;

Amelia Chenoweth. Practicum and Internship Coordinator
Park Central Office Building, Room 117
Phone 417-836-4918;

Jeffrey Cornelius-White
Park Central Office Building, Room 122
Phone 417-836-6517;

Kelly Lettieri
Park Central Office Building
Phone 417-836-5392;

Charles Myers
Park Central Office Building Office Room 114
Phone 417-878-5256;

Ximena Uribe-Zarain, Program Director, EDS, Special Education and Assessment
Park Central Office Building, Room 104;
Phone 417-836-5880;

Program description

The Counseling program grants the Master of Science degree in Counseling with options in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. Students interested in public school settings must either have a valid Missouri teaching certificate, or complete additional teaching course work, to be eligible for state certification as professional school counselors. The School Counseling (SC) option requirements fulfill the professional counseling course requirements for K-12 school counselor certification in the State of Missouri. The Clinical Mental Health (CMHC) counseling option requirements fulfill the professional counseling course work requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Missouri (The LPC also requires 3000 hours of additional post-master’s supervised experience). Students who elect to complete either the School Counseling option may also meet the education requirements to apply for LPC licensure.

In accordance with standards set forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the foundational knowledge required of counselors is arranged in the following eight common core areas:

  1. Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
  2. Social and Cultural Diversity
  3. Human Growth and Development
  4. Career Development
  5. Counseling and Helping Relationships
  6. Group Counseling and Group Work
  7. Assessment and Testing
  8. Research and Program Evaluation

The graduate programs in Counseling further the public affairs mission of Missouri State University in many ways. Some examples include: providing over a dozen intentional activities to foster cultural competence, including several cross-cultural experiences; engaging the community through service-learning practicums in the City Center Counseling Clinic, internships and other means; and offering courses in ethics and leadership and opportunities for leadership roles.

Graduate Counseling Program Admission requirements

Admission to the Counseling program is selective. Minimum admission requirements and application materials include the following.

  1. Completed Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher, or 3.00 for the last 60 hours of course work.
  3. Completed Application for Graduate Admission.
  4. Completed Counseling Admission Application.
  5. Official MAT or GRE test score reports (no cutoff scores) - waived if undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or higher; or a Master's degree.
  6. Three letters of reference, on department forms.
  7. Two official copies of transcripts showing your bachelor’s degree and any course work taken since then (transcripts must include the last 60 hours of credit).

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of faculty, and a subset of applicants, selected upon the basis of credentials and references, will be invited for an interview on campus, after which applicants will be selected for admission. Applicants will be ranked by the admissions committee and selected applicants will be invited for admission into either the CMHE or SC program options.

We have moved to a cohort system to allow students to progress through the program more smoothly and predictably. This means that Fall admissions are the primary (but not sole) time to admit students to the program. Students are encouraged to select either the full-time cohort or the part-time cohort, depending on their needs and desires. Approximately 60-70 students will be selected for admission each year, distributed among the two option areas.

Selection for admission is not based solely on academic credentials, but also upon the faculty’s assessment of candidates’ personal development, interpersonal relationship skills, emotional and psychological maturity, and potential for professional growth and success. These include the following professional dispositions: Openness to diverse others, being non-judgmental, comfort with ambiguity, openness to feedback, openness to change, self-awareness, and empathy. The small group interview interactions provide opportunities for this assessment, and allow potential candidates to assess their goodness of fit with the Counseling profession and our programs.

Retention requirements

All Counseling students must obtain a 3.00 GPA in all courses required for the Master of Science degree in Counseling. In addition to academic standards, students are expected to conform to the professional and ethical standards of the profession throughout their programs. Each student’s academic and professional performance and progress in the program will be reviewed periodically by the faculty, who will provide feedback to the student. Students whose performance or progress is unsatisfactory may be allowed to continue under a remedial, probationary status, or dismissed from the program. Students may appeal unsatisfactory review outcomes or dismissal through the school, college and university grievance procedure.

To enroll in Practicum (COU 777) students must apply for and receive School approval and permission. Upon completion of prerequisites (COU 703, COU 705, COU 708, or COU 710 and COU 711, COU 714, and/or COU 751), students may apply for approval to enroll in the Counseling Practicum course (COU 777). Practicum is a  review of progress checkpoint, during which faculty will review each student's performance in prerequisites, and determine his/her readiness to take Practicum.  If students are not considered to be ready, faculty will provide specific feedback concerning what is needed to further prepare them.  Upon approval, students may enroll in Practicum (COU 777), by permission only. 

Upon the successful completion of the Counseling Practicum (COU 777), School Counseling students complete K-12 School Counseling Internship (COU 791).  Clinical Mental Health Counseling students complete Mental Health Counseling Internship (COU 785).  Students are also required to obtain and maintain their own professional liability insurance while enrolled in all Practicum courses and during Internships.

All students are required to complete a 48 hour professional counseling core and a minimum of 12 credit hours in one of two counseling options: (a) School Counseling or (b) Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in each option will complete additional requirements as specified below and may complete additional courses as electives. Students interested in K-12 School Counseling certification should complete the School Counseling option.

Total required hours for each option area are:

  • School Counseling: 60 hrs
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: 60 hrs

Counseling core

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
COU 701 Assessment and Testing for Counselors 3 hrs
COU 703 Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice in School and Mental Health Counseling 3 hrs
COU 705 Orientation to Personal and Professional Development in Mental Health and School Counseling 1 hr
COU 707 Human Growth and Development 3 hrs
COU 708 Play Therapy and Child Counseling Techniques 3 hrs
COU 710 Counseling and Helping Relationships 2 hrs
COU 711 Counseling and Helping Relationships Lab 1 hr
COU 714 Social-Cultural Diversity in Counseling 3 hrs
COU 716 Adolescent and Young Adult Counseling in School and Mental Health Settings 1 hr
COU 720 Substance Abuse and Addiction Issues in Counseling 3 hrs
COU 724 Assessment and Diagnosis 3 hrs
COU 733 Couples and Family Counseling 3 hrs
COU 751 Theories and Techniques in Counseling 3 hrs
COU 752
COU 754
Career Development
Counseling for Postsecondary and Career Readiness K-12
3 hrs
COU 756
COU 757
Group Counseling and Group Work
Group Counseling Through Play
3 hrs
COU 768 Crisis Counseling and Disaster Mental Health Response 3 hrs
COU 777 Counseling Practicum 3 hrs
COU 794 Introduction to Research and Program Evaluation in Counseling 2 hrs
COU 765 Research and Program Evaluation Seminar in Counseling 2 hrs
Total 48 hrs

School Counseling option

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
  Core Credit Hours 48 hrs
COU 704 Introduction to School Counseling 3 hrs
COU 781


COU 783


COU 791
Secondary School Counseling Internship (3 hrs)


Elementary School Counseling Internship (3 hrs)


K-12 School Counseling Internship (6 hrs)

6 hrs
  Counseling Electives 3 hrs
Total 60 hrs

Clinical Mental Health Counseling option

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
  Core Credit Hours 48 hrs
COU 709 Introduction to Mental Health Counseling 3 hrs
COU 785 Mental Health Counseling Internship 6 hrs
  Counseling Electives 3 hrs
Total 60 hrs

Courses that students may choose from to get to the 3-4 credit hours of required electives can include:

  • Any course in the two counseling option tracks
  • Any course in EdS, Special Education and Assessment degree not otherwise listed above
  • COU 700 - Problems in Counseling (1-3 hrs)
  • COU 753 - Analysis of Childhood Learning and Adjustment (3 hrs)
  • COU 766 - Psychopharmacology for Counselors (3 hrs)
  • COU 787 - Advanced Play Therapy Practicum (3 hrs)
  • COU 789 - Advanced Level: Play Therapy Supervisor (3 hrs)
  • COU 795 - Topics in Counseling (1-3 hrs)
  • COU 799 - Thesis (1-6 hrs)

For students interested in school counselor certification who do not have a teaching degree and certificate, additional course work in teaching will be required in the following areas: Psychology of the Exceptional Child, Teaching Methods/Practices and Classroom Management. These courses are not part of the degree program, but are required for certification in Missouri.

Degree Requirements

Research Requirement

The research requirement is met through completion of either COU 765 (Research and Program Evaluation Seminar in Counseling), which shall require an extensive paper or major creative work, or COU 799 (Thesis).

Comprehensive Requirements

A four-hour, standardized, national Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination must be passed before a degree will be granted. Students should have completed the majority of course work, and all courses in the eight CACREP common counseling core content areas previously specified, prior to taking the exam. The Counseling Program will determine passing scores, based on national and local norms, for each administration. If permission is obtained, students who fail the exam may retake it when next offered. Students failing the comprehensive examination three times may be dismissed from the program, upon a vote of the program faculty.