Graduate programs

Master of Science, Counseling

Graduate Counseling Faculty:

Robert Paul Maddox, Program Coordinator, Counseling
Park Central Office Building, Room 129
Phone 417-836-8708;

Joseph Hulgus, EdS Advisor
Park Central Office Building, Room 128
Phone 417-836-6522;

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

Amelia Chenoweth
Park Central Office Building, Room 100C
Phone 417-836-8466;

Jeffrey Cornelius-White
Park Central Office Building, Room 123
Phone 417-836-6517;

Marci Dowdy
Park Central Office Building, Room 131
Phone 417-836-8809;

Taryne Mingo
Park Central Office Building, Room 131
Phone 417-836-8526;

Rebecca Smotherman, Practicum/Internship Coordinator
Park Central Office Building, Room 117
Phone 417-836-6516;

Program description

The Counseling program grants the Master of Science degree in Counseling with options in elementary school counseling, secondary school counseling and 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 elementary (EL) and secondary (SE) school counseling option program requirements fulfill the professional counseling course requirements for permanent school counselor certification in the State of Missouri. The mental health (MH) 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 may elect to complete either the ELE or SEC school counseling program and also quality for LPC licensure by completing additional electives.

Ten components of the Counseling Knowledge Base:

  1. Orientation. Knowledge of personal attributes (self-understanding) and professional identity and issues.
  2. Foundations. Knowledge of psychological and educational foundations of the profession.
  3. Assessment. Competence in measuring, assessing, and diagnosing psychological and educational attributes.
  4. Information. Knowledge about personal-social and educational-career issues, research and resources.
  5. Facilitation. Competence in interpersonal communication, counseling, educating, and consulting with individuals and groups.
  6. Intervention. Competencies in the counseling process.
  7. Diversity. Knowledge about differences in cultures, competence in working with diverse clients.
  8. Management. Competence in planning, developing and implementing counseling programs.
  9. Technology. Knowledge of technological resources and competence in their use.
  10. Ethics. Knowledge, understanding and practice of ethical standards for the profession.

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.

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).
  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, after which 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 within their specified option area. 

There are two admission reviews annually, one in the Spring for admission in the Summer/Fall semester; one in the Fall for admission in the Spring semester.  Approximately 30-40 new students will be selected for admission each semester, distributed among the three option areas.  Students who do not meet the minimum admission standards may still apply, and if ranked highly, may be admitted conditionally, at the discretion of the department.

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:  Open to diversity, non-judgmental, comfortable with ambiguity, open to feedback, open to change, self-aware, and empathetic.  Though subjective, the small group interview interactions provide opportunities for this assessment.

Early in the program, and before 14 hours have been completed, students should submit a completed Program of Study to the department for approval.  An advisor will review the student’s academic record, performance in the program, and plan of study, and recommend approval of the Program of Study to the Graduate College.

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 department, college and university grievance procedure.

To enroll in Practicum courses, students must apply for and receive Departmental approval and permission.  Upon completion of prerequisites (COU 705, COU 702 or COU 703, COU 710 and COU 711, COU 714, and COU 708 or COU 751), students may apply for approval to enroll in Practicum (COU 780 or COU 782 or COU 784).  This 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, by permission only.  Students are also required to obtain and maintain their own professional liability insurance while enrolled in Practicum and during Internships.

Beginning early in the program, students should start saving all course work products (papers, exams, tapes, transcripts, projects, logs, evaluations).  These will become the basis for the creation of a required Professional Portfolio, to be completed before graduation.  Information is available in COU 765 and on the Counseling program webpage (http://education/ 

All students are required to complete a 27 hour professional counseling core.  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 Elementary School Counseling option requirements, and add one course (COU 781), which may be completed during or after the masters degree program itself.  School Counseling option students who also wish to be eligible for national NBCC counselor certification and Missouri LPC licensure should add COU 785 Internship (3) as an elective to their programs.  

Total required hours for each option area are:

Elementary School Counseling 48 hrs
Secondary School Counseling 48 hrs
Mental Health Counseling 60 hrs

Counseling Core

Course Code
Course Title
Credit Hours
COU 701 Tests and Measurements for Counselors 3 hrs
COU 705 Orientation to Personal and Professional Development 3 hrs
COU 707 Human Development and Personality 3 hrs
COU 710 The Helping Relationship 2 hrs
COU 711 The Helping Relationship Lab 1 hr
COU 714 Diversity and Multicultural Issues in Counseling 3 hrs
COU 752 Career Development 3 hrs
COU 756
COU 757
Group Counseling
Elementary Group Counseling Through Play
3 hrs
COU 794 Introduction to Research in Counseling 3 hrs
COU 765 Research Seminar in Counseling 3 hrs
  Total 27 hrs

Elementary School Counseling option

Course Code
Course Title
Credit Hours
  Core Credit Hours 27 hrs
COU 702 School Counseling Foundations and Ethics 3 hrs
COU 708 Child Counseling Theories and Techniques 3 hrs
COU 733 Couple and Family Counseling 3 hrs
COU 753 Analysis of Childhood Learning and Adjustment 3 hrs
COU 782 Elementary School Counseling Practicum 3 hrs
COU 783 Elementary School Counseling Internship 6 hrs
  Total 48 hrs

Secondary School Counseling option

Course Code
Course Title
Credit Hours
  Core Credit Hours 27 hrs
COU 702 School Counseling Foundations and Ethics 3 hrs
COU 724 Appraisal and Clinical Interviewing              3 hrs
COU 733 Couple and Family Counseling 3 hrs
COU 751 Theories and Techniques of Counseling          3 hrs
COU 780 Secondary School Counseling Practicum    3 hrs
COU 781 Secondary School Counseling Internship 6 hrs
  Total 48 hrs

Mental Health Counseling option

Course Code
Course Title
Credit Hours
  Core Credit Hours 27 hrs
COU 703 Mental Health Counseling Foundations and Ethics         3 hrs
COU 724 Appraisal and Clinical Interviewing              3 hrs
COU 733 Couple and Family Counseling                      3 hrs
COU 751 Theories and Techniques of Counseling          3 hrs
COU 784   Mental Health Counseling Practicum 3 hrs
COU 785   Mental Health  Counseling Internship 6 hrs
  Electives 12 hrs
  Total 60 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 Seminar in Counseling), which shall require an extensive paper or major creative work, or COU 799 (Thesis).

Portfolio Requirement

The Portfolio requirement will be met upon completion of the student's curricular experiences and comps, when the portfolio will be assembled and submitted to the student's advisor for approval.

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 8 content areas 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.  In addition to the Comprehensive Exam, the student will complete a portfolio as described above.