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Counselor Education Academic Overview

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The Counseling and Human Development program offers graduate education leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree for students interested in becoming professional counselors and working in elementary, middle and secondary schools, colleges and universities, community counseling centers, hospitals, agencies or clinics.

Two programs in the department were nationally accredited in 1996 and reaccredited in 2004 by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Accredited programs currently include clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. The program is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (2004) and the Virginia Department of Education (2004). These certification and accreditation achievements certify that the department offers the highest quality professional education available in the counseling professions.

Academic Forms

Comprehensive Examinations

A written comprehensive examination, scheduled in the fall or spring semester, is required of all students who do not elect to write a thesis. Students are eligible to take the examination during the semester in which they complete all required core course work. Additionally, all who register must have an approved letter of candidacy and have a signed copy of their program of study on file with the Graduate College. A student must complete the examination no later than two weeks prior to graduation. The comprehensive examination is a written examination and typically includes essay and objective examination questions.

Thesis Option

Students may elect to write a master’s thesis instead of taking the comprehensive examination. The master’s thesis is directed by graduate faculty in the department. Students who choose this option should begin designing their research and planning the thesis during their first year in the program. A thesis grade is recorded “Pass” or “Fail.”

National Certification

Counselors in both concentrations can earn the national certification from the National Board of Certified Counselor (NBCC) by successfully passing the National Counselors Examination (NCE) offered upon completion of the program.