Counseling Graduate Program
- Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
- Thesis and Non-Thesis Options
- Departmental Mission
- Program Mission
- Student Success
- Program Goals
- Program Objectives
- Program Outcomes
- Counseling Jobs Help Source
The Master of Science (M.S.) in counseling psychology is a 48-semester-credit-hour program designed for students who do not intend to pursue a doctoral degree and would like to work for profit or nonprofit mental health agencies, mental health and mental retardation centers or hospitals, or in rehabilitation settings, academia or private counseling settings.
Periodic modifications are made in the counseling program, depending on licensing board rules and practicum site demands and availability. The two state licensing boards are the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.
The M.S. program in counseling psychology provides the pre-master educational requirements for licensure as a licensed psychological associate (LPA) and/or a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of Texas (Note: licensure requirements for LPC include additional post-degree supervised experience, and requirements vary across states).
Typically, full-time students can complete the program in two years. For students who may decide to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, the program provides opportunities for research experience through participation in ongoing research projects and/or by initiating individual research projects via a specialized research course or a master’s thesis.
Students have the option of completing the master’s degree program with or without a thesis. Students in the non-thesis option must complete a Comprehensive Exam (see the Graduate Study Handbook for details). Students in the thesis option complete six semester credit hours of thesis work and must pass a comprehensive oral exam over their completed degree work.
The mission of the department is to engage students in the discovery of knowledge in the social and behavioral sciences. The graduate programs in psychology build on the foundation of scientific discoveries in the core areas of the field and focus on the development of professional insights and skills necessary for becoming effective and productive practitioners, researchers and instructors.
The purpose of the M.S. in counseling psychology program is to educate competent, responsible and ethical future counselors, who have an understanding of the scientific principles of counseling psychology and the skills necessary to apply those principles in the mental health field. The program is committed to helping students understand and appreciate all aspects of diversity in counseling situations, including among individuals and in intervention approaches.
Because of the nature of the discipline, we attract students who want to be “healers and helpers.” Successful students in counseling psychology are usually personable, sensitive, warm, empathic and more mature than other people their age. They are expected to deal with ambiguity, because their training requires that they appreciate the gray areas in all types of human behavior. They should be good listeners and solution-oriented.
Since counseling requires two-way communication, our counseling students are expected to have good communication skills. Even though their main training is in counseling theory and techniques, they also have the opportunity to develop great research skills by taking research (PSY 6391) and thesis (PSY 6699) courses.
One of the major emphases in our counseling training program is to foster greater student personal responsibility. Therefore, our students are expected to be responsible human beings first, before they can be responsible counselors. Our training, high expectations and quality of students have resulted in a 100 percent pass rate since 2005 on the National Counselor Examination (required for LPC license in Texas).
The mission, philosophy and values of the program are represented in these goals:
- To provide students with a broad understanding of general counseling theory and practice.
- To provide educational opportunities so that students will also develop their knowledge of research and theory in the basic domains of scientific psychology, including social, developmental, vocational and health psychology, thus providing a holistic approach to counseling.
- To facilitate students’ acquisition of counseling skills through exposure to educational and practical experiences.
- To provide the basic training and experiences necessary for students to pursue becoming licensed professional counselors or licensed psychological associates in the state of Texas. (Although the educational requirements of many states can be met through the M.S. in counseling psychology program, it is each student’s responsibility to determine his/her state’s requirements and plan an educational experience to meet those requirements.)
- To endow graduates with counseling competencies in diverse settings and with diverse populations – and to train students who are socially responsible and ethical in professional practice, and who demonstrate their knowledge of the role of diversity in all areas of counseling psychology practice.
Upon completion of the program, graduates should be able to:
- Demonstrate entry-level knowledge of core theoretical principles of counseling.
- Distinguish between the practice of individual and group therapeutic interventions and demonstrate entry-level skills needed for both.
- Demonstrate entry-level knowledge of marriage and family therapy models.
- Evidence an awareness of multicultural issues in the therapeutic environment.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the stages of human growth and development.
- Evidence the skills necessary to assess psychopathologies according to the current DSM taxonomy, and understand professional strengths and limitations in working with particular psychopathologies (demonstrate knowledge of when and how to refer to other professionals).
- Demonstrate knowledge and practice of a variety of psychological assessment techniques.
- Assimilate the codes of professional counseling ethics by showing commitment to the ethical and legal standards of the profession, including sensitivity to individual, gender and cultural differences.
- Demonstrate an entry-level understanding of major theoretical frameworks for career development.
- Demonstrate competencies with a variety of individual and group counseling approaches in supervised internships.
The M.S. in counseling psychology is subject to certain academic and personal requirements. In addition to the general requirements of the College of Graduate Studies, degree candidates must:
- Show evidence of a level of personal maturity and stability that is needed in counseling-related vocations.
- Complete all courses in the prescribed M.S. in counseling psychology curriculum with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
- Demonstrate entry-level expertise in the diagnosis of mental disorders.
- Demonstrate entry-level expertise in the development of treatment plans.
- Demonstrate entry-level expertise in the implementation of treatment plans.
- Demonstrate professional integrity and conduct based on legal and ethical standards with clients and staff.
- Demonstrate entry-level competence in case presentations, oral reports and written reports.
- Demonstrate competency in multicultural awareness and diversity as it pertains to counseling situations of assessment and treatment.
- Demonstrate competency in knowledge of human development (child, adolescent and adult).
- Demonstrate entry-level competency in a broad range of counseling orientations and therapies.