Mission, Goal and Objectives
The mission of the Master of Science in Counseling program is to facilitate the comprehensive development of counselors as servant leaders in their communities. Articulated in the language of the program’s conceptual framework, the goal is to provide opportunities for candidates to become effective as caring persons, as informed facilitators, as reflective decision makers, and as committed professionals. Within this framework, the objectives of the Master of Science in Counseling program are to prepare graduates who demonstrate the following:
· Evidence of personal and professional dispositions essential for counseling practice;
· Evidence of the knowledge, skills, and practices necessary to implement ACA and/or ASCA professional standards for counseling practice in a multicultural and pluralistic society;
· Evidence that they actively identify with the counseling profession and have knowledge of current developments in the counseling field.
Admission to the Program
In addition to Southern and School of Education and Psychology admission requirements for graduate study, a candidate for the Master of Science program with emphases in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling must comply with the following requirements in order to be admitted in regular standing:
- Prerequisite Coursework: The completion of a minimum of 6 credits in psychology or behavioral sciences on the upper-division undergraduate or graduate level plus one class in research and/or statistics is required. [Note: If taken at the graduate level, these courses will not be counted as part of the graduate program.]
- Recommendations: Three letters of recommendation, including one academic and one professional, from recent sources, are required. Letters are required and additional recommendation forms (to be attached to letters) are available from the Graduate Studies Office or online at southern.edu/graduatestudies.
- Interview: An interview by Counseling area faculty to assess the candidate’s values, commitment to multiculturalism, attitudes, and communication skills. This interview will be conducted prior to the candidate’s regular admission.
- Personality Test: Results from the 16 PF personality test must be on record prior to completion of faculty interview. Contact the School of Education and Psychology Graduate Enrollment Counselor for instructions.
Progression in the program may be inhibited by a variety of circumstances. Regular evaluations of students’ personal and professional dispositions are conducted by the program faculty, Practicum/Internship supervisors, course instructors, assistantship supervisors, and/or others involved with students’ training. Student academic standing is also monitored regularly via course grades and GPA.
Should any aspect of an evaluation indicate that a student needs improvement in a given area, the student is subject to advisement and consideration regarding program progression. Personal counseling is available free of charge to enrolled students via the university’s Student Success Center. Student may call Counseling Services at 423.236.2782 for more information or for appointments. Additional information regarding student evaluations and due process can be found in the Counseling Student Handbook, available from the School of Education and Psychology. The School of Education and Psychology reserves the right to deny or revoke admission should a candidate be deemed inappropriate for a counseling degree.
Admission to Candidacy
MS in Counseling students cannot progress to Clinical Internship without being admitted to candidacy. MS in Counseling students must complete the following requirements for admission to candidacy.
- Application: Submit an application to candidacy.
- GPA: Maintain a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.00.
- Program Survey: Submit a completed Program Survey. This form is available from the School of Education and Psychology.
- Dispositions Assessment: Obtain from the area of emphasis coordinator an evaluation of proficient or higher on each of the core areas identified on the Dispositions Assessment form.
- Professional Membership: Present documentation of membership in a professional organization.
- Admission Approval: Receive approval for Admission to Candidacy from the Counseling Programs Council.
Students must apply for Practicum II and Internship before the end of the semester prior to when they register for the class. (They will not be required to re-submit an application to Internship for each semester in which they register.) Notification of approval/denial of Practicum II/Internship application will be done in writing by the Graduate Enrollment Counselor.
Students must complete Practicum II prior to registering for and/or accruing hours for Internship. No counseling student can accumulate Clinical Internship hours unless they have received written notification of approval from the Counseling Programs Council, are registered for Internship, and have received corresponding approval from the faculty supervisor. If students need to extend sessions with clients and have completed the necessary Practicum II requirements and prerequisites for Internship, they may, however, register for 1 credit of Internship and begin collecting hours toward completion of Internship, provided that the appropriate supervision is available.
To register for Internship, a minimum of 38 credits must be completed for School Counseling, and 44 credits for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. A student who is seeking a double-emphasis degree must complete separate fieldwork (e.g., Practicum II and Internship) settings for each emphasis. External supervisors of internship or practicum must meet the following criteria: (a) three years experience in current position (b) licensure in respective area, and (c) recommendation by the school or agency administration.
To graduate from a Master of Science program in counseling, a candidate must complete all Southern and School of Education and Psychology graduation requirements. In addition, the candidate must complete the following requirements:
- Comprehensive Exam/Thesis Defense: Pass all components of a comprehensive examination as dictated by the department policy, or successfully defend a Master’s thesis.
- Field Experience Diversity (School Counseling candidates only): Submit a completed Field Experience Diversity form. This form is available from the School of Education and Psychology.
- Program Portfolio: Obtain a score of proficient or better on all sections of the program portfolio.
- Praxis Exam (School Counseling licensure candidates only): Successfully complete the Praxis Series Specialty Test: Professional School Counselor.