Counseling – Master of Arts

The graduate program in counseling prepares candidates as school counselors at the master's and educational specialist levels. At the master's level, students acquire core knowledge and clinical skills, which enable them to enter the profession of school counseling. Graduates in the educational specialist programs develop advanced skills in clinical work and research. Though our 100% online programs, we strive to create a rigorous scholarly and supportive atmosphere for students to develop intellectually with a deep sense of social consciousness, professional ethics and self-awareness. We value teaching, scholarship and service, which contribute to the mission of the College of Education at MSU.

Successful completion of the requirements of the M.A. in Counseling leads to a Kentucky Provisional School Counseling Certificate grades P-12.

Admission Requirements

  1. General admission to graduate study (for criteria, refer to "Admission to Graduate Study").
  2. A GRE score of 286 (verbal and quantitative) with a minimum verbal score of 143 or a raw score of 33 (385-390 Scaled Score) on the Miller Analogies Test is required.
    1. The department chair may waive the testing requirement for students who have at least a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA after having completed 12 graduate hours within the program.
    2. The department chair will waive the testing requirement for students who have already completed a master's degree.
  3. TOEFL 525 (197 computer-based) or 74 on English Language Instruction Test of the University of Michigan, for international students.

Program Competencies

  1. Knowledge of the major contemporary theories, which form the foundation for the current practice of professional counseling (EDGC 619, EDGC 620, EDGC 656 and EDGC 666).
  2. Knowledge of basic research techniques and methodologies sufficient to function as informed consumers of professional literature and to conduct applied and action research projects (EDF 600).
  3. Knowledge of the organization and administration of school counseling and guidance services consistent with current professional standards and Commonwealth of Kentucky statutes and regulations (EDGC 620, EDGC 656, EDGC 665 and EDGC 669).
  4. Knowledge of fundamental psycho-educational assessment theory and practice. Knowledge of legal and ethical issues in assessment and testing. Knowledge of how to (1) select standardized tests, (2) interpret scores to students, parents, and school personnel (EDGC 661).
  5. Knowledge of human development, learning, and behavior required to function as entry-level professional school counselors (EDF 610, EDGC 620, 656 and 666).
  6. Knowledge of legal and ethical issues in counseling (EDGC 656, EDGC 668, EDGC 620, EDGC 661, EDGC 669).

Clinical Competencies

  1. Demonstrate the ability to use various theoretical formulations, interview techniques and appropriate psycho-educational instruments (EDGC 619, 661, 666, 667, 671 and 669).
  2. Demonstrate the ability to select and apply a variety of interventions in the conduct of professional counseling with a variety of clients and client problems (EDGC 619, 620, 665, 666, 667, 671 and 669).
  3. Demonstrate the ability to select, administer, score and interpret a variety of psycho-educational instruments appropriate for entry-level professional counselors (EDGC 661).
  4. Demonstrate the ability to design and execute applied and action research projects for study in the field of counseling (EDF 600, EDGC 661).
  5. Demonstrate appropriate, ethical, and professional interpersonal skills for both individual and group counseling as well as for consultation settings (EDGC 620, 656, 665, 666, 667, 668, 669 and 671).

*Academic and clinical competencies are aligned with the Kentucky EPSB New and Experienced Counselor Standards.


Students in their final semester of study in the program are required to successfully complete a comprehensive and objective written final exit exam. Students who fail to achieve the minimum passing score may retake the written examination after consultation with their advisor. Failing to perform adequately on the second exit examination will result in the opportunity to take and pass an oral exam. If the student does not pass the oral exam, a remediation plan for the student will be developed by the program faculty. If after the remediation plan is completed and the student is unsuccessful in the third attempt at the exam, the student will be dismissed from the counseling program.

NOTE: Persons doing counseling outside of schools - pastors, social workers and others - are expected to apply for the Ed.S in counseling program. The Ed.S program does not qualify the candidate for certification as a counselor in the public schools or lead to a rank change.

This program provides strong leadership training for candidates who choose to serve as classroom teachers throughout their professional careers. The TL program allows candidates to hone skills to serve as resource teachers, consultants, committee chairs and instructional leaders among their peers in their schools and districts. For those seeking to be leaders in their own schools and districts, the program prepares candidates to pursue opportunities beyond their own classroom and to focus on skills needed to leverage both internal and external resources that influence student achievement. An underlying philosophy of the program is that student learning is enhanced when schools are filled with instructional leaders who understand and model effective teaching and learning practices and who are able to mentor others to become more effective leaders.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Satisfy the general degree requirements.
  2. If a student has not been unconditionally admitted after completing 12 graduate hours, he/she will not be allowed to register for additional hours.
  3. All graduate students pursuing programs of study in the Department of Foundational and Graduate Studies in Education must maintain a 3.0 graduate GPA. Students falling below a 3.0 will be placed on a one semester period of probation. Students failing to achieve a graduate GPA of at least 3.0 at the end of the probation semester will be dropped from their respective program. Any student who received grades of "C" in more than two graduate courses will be immediately dropped from his/her respective program.
  4. Students are expected to adhere to the ethical standards and guidelines of the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, and/or the American Mental Health Counselors Association. Breach of ethical practices will result in dismissal from the program.
  5. Students in practicum and advanced practicum are required to have personal liability coverage. Previously students have been allowed to use their professional association liability coverage (through KEA) in practicum and advanced practicum. This will no longer be allowed as these policies only cover their members in their regular work duties and not specifically as a student counselor. The department will accept any personal professional liability insurance that specifically states it covers student counselors/counselors in training in their role as a student counselor. An example of this would be Health Care Providers Service Organizations ( If you have any questions, contact any faculty member in the Counseling unit.
  6. Students must complete the following:

Program Requirements

Counseling Core

EDGC 619Career Counseling


EDGC 620Psycho-Social and Multicultural Factors in Counseling


EDGC 656Introduction to Counseling


EDGC 664Theories of Counseling


EDGC 665Philosophy and Practice of School Counseling


EDGC 667Group Counseling


EDGC 668Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling


EDGC 669Practicum in Counseling


EDGC 671Practices and Techniques in Counseling


Total Credit Hours:27

EDGC 664: (formerly EDGC 666)

Professional Education Core

EDF 600Research Methods in Education


EDF 610Advanced Human Growth and Development


EDGC 661Measurement Principles and Techniques


Total Credit Hours:9

Total Credit Hours: 36