The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). The School Counseling program is also approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education.
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 six credits in psychology or behavioral sciences on the upper-division undergraduate or graduate level. [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. 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 commitment to multiculturalism, attitudes, communication skills, and compatibility of the candidate’s values with the values of the counseling profession. This interview will be conducted after receipt of the Statement of Purpose and 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.
Students must apply for Practicum II before the end of the semester prior to when they register for the class. They will not be required to re-submit an application each semester in which they register. Notification of approval/denial of Practicum II 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. Students must remain registered in 1 hour of Practicum II until they have completed all requirements, regardless of whether or not they have registered for the number of credits required for graduation. The student must register for this credit each semester until the course requirements are met and a grade has been issued.
Students must apply for 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 each semester in which they register. To register for Internship, a minimum of 27 credits must be completed for School Counseling, and 48 credits for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 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. Notification of approval/denial of Internship application will be done in writing by the Graduate Enrollment Counselor. Students must remain registered in 1 hour of Internship until they have completed all requirements, regardless of whether or not they have registered for the number of credits required for graduation. The student must register for this credit each semester until the course requirements are met and a grade has been issued.
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 Practicum or Internship must have the following qualifications:
- A minimum of a master’s degree in counseling or a related profession with equivalent qualification, including appropriate certifications and/or licenses.
- A minimum of two years of pertinent professional experience in the program area in which the student is enrolled.
- Knowledge of the program’s expectations, requirements, and evaluation procedures for students.
- Relevant training in counseling supervision.
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 the the American Counseling Association or American School Counselor Association and liability coverage, which is offered free to student members via either association.
- Admission Approval: Receive approval for Admission to Candidacy from the Counseling Programs Council.
To graduate from a Master of Science program in counseling, a candidate must complete all university and School of Education and Psychology graduation requirements. In addition, the candidate must complete the following requirements:
- Comprehensive Exam/Thesis Defense: Pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) as dictated by the department policy, or successfully defend a Master’s thesis. The CPCE is administered in October and March of each year. Students must apply one month prior to the announced exam dates.
- Program Portfolio: Obtain a score of proficient or better on all sections of the program portfolio.