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Contact Information

Bldg 41, Suite 405
202.274.5194 | 202.274.5589  |

College Administration
Dean April Massey, Ph.D.
Associate Dean Academic Affairs - Lena Walton, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Students - James Maiden, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Development, Outreach, Partnerships and Communication - Ms. Kemmell Watson
Office Manager - Ms. Wilma Thompson
Staff Assistant - Mr. Terry D. Best

Department of Counseling

The Department of Counseling offers the Master of Science Degree in Counseling and the Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation.  The Master of Science Degree in Counseling offers concentrations in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling which is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). The mission of the Department of Counseling is tantamount to the mission of the University: to train culturally diverse nontraditional students to become counseling professionals to meet the human services and occupational needs of the District of Columbia and to provide continuing education opportunities that foster the development of professional counselors. Graduate programs in Counseling are continuously reviewed and the Department reserves the right to make changes to maintain quality programs that reflect national and state credentialing requirements.

Please download the Graduate Student Handbook for more detailed info. | PDF Version | HTML Version

Admissions | Graduation Requirements | Program Descriptions and Objectives | Curriculum | Courses | Practicum and Internship | Academic Advising | Contact Info

Requirements for Admission

To be considered for admittance to graduate study in counseling, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Although a variety of majors may be considered appropriate background for graduate study in counseling, the successful applicant generally has a major in education or the social sciences. Students entering without the recommended preparation may be required to complete preparatory coursework at the undergraduate level. 
  2. Submit am official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate schools. Applicants must have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.8 or higher to enter the Master of Science Degree.  For graduate studies in Rehabilitation Counseling, the student must have a minimum of 2.5 grade point average.
  3. Submit official scores from a recent administration of Graduate Record Exam: Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning Tests, and the analytical writing subtest. Students can take the exam on-line at several Washington Metropolitan sites. Application packages are not considered complete until test results have been received. Although the GRE is not the only measure used to determine suitability for the program, if combined verbal and quantitative scores reflect a significant weakness, students may be required to meet additional requirements, i.e. repeat the exam, admissions interview, or enroll in preparatory courses at the undergraduate level, etc. Writing proficiency is a required admittance criterion.    The student may satisfy the writing proficiency requirement by scoring above a cut-off score on the essay section of the GRE or by enrolling in the Writing Proficiency Course during the first semester in the program. Credit for this course will not be counted as part of the credit-hour requirements for completion of a graduate program.
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation.  It is recommended that one letter should be from an individual familiar with the applicant’s academic preparation; one should address the applicant’s suitability for the counseling profession: relating to clients, professionalism, integrity and personal attributes.  Letters of recommendation weigh significantly in determining the student’s suitability for the program.
  5. Students must submit a 500-word essay demonstrating their familiarity with the counseling profession and explaining the reason they have chosen the counseling field. The essay must be typewritten and double-spaced.  Students must follow guidelines for writing the essay or the application will be considered incomplete.
  6. A formal interview may be required if there is an indication of significant weaknesses or questionable suitability for the program.  An interview does not guarantee admissions.

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Graduation Requirements

Students must satisfy one of the following requirements to exit their graduate program in counseling: 

MS Counseling

  1. 48 semester hours, thesis (6 additional semester hours) and the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam.
  2. 42 semester hours of core and basic requirements, 12 semester hours of electives that include a special project with a seminar paper and the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam.
  3. The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam is a standardized assessment provided by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). The exam fee is determined by NBCC. The Department faculty may elect to administer a comprehensive program exam in lieu of the national standardized exam.

MA Counseling (Rehabilitation)

  1. 48 semester hours
  2. Pass a comprehensive exam

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Program Description and Objectives

The graduate programs in counseling prepare individuals to function professionally as school, community, and rehabilitation counselors; as treatment providers in mental health agencies, substance abuse facilities, employee assistance programs, career counseling, and in employment centers, therapeutic group homes, and   rehabilitation centers. All Department graduate students are required to have knowledge and basic skills of Microsoft Office software.

Upon completion of a master’s degree in counseling each student shall fulfill the following objectives:

Professional Orientation & Identity
Upon completing the program each student will have knowledge and understanding of the professional role of a counselor and the diverse work environments. They will have knowledge of the organization and administration of counseling in schools and in community-based agencies and organizations. Students will have a familiarity with professional organizations, Ethical Standards of the American Counseling Association and to be able to contrast and compare the role of counselors to other helping professionals.

Social and Cultural Competence
Upon completing the program each student will have a familiarity with the multicultural paradigm and the diverse needs of a linguistically and ethnically diverse urban community such as the District of Columbia. Students will know how to engage systems to affect change that will embrace the authenticity of micro cultures in urban settings. Students will be familiar with counseling models and demonstrate counseling skills that are effective when working with culturally diverse clients.

Human Growth and Life Span Development
Upon completion of the program each student will have knowledge of theories of development across the life span and how to integrate that knowledge in the application of counseling in schools and in agencies. Students will be familiar with cultural relevant assessments of normalcy and pathology across domains.

Career Development & Career Counseling
Upon completion of the degree students will have knowledge of career theories and counseling models. Students will be familiar with assessment tools, the integration of technology and the career development resources. Students will have a knowledge of laws that support and protect individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

Helping Relationships
Upon completion of the degree students will have developed a personal style of counseling through self-assessments, personal reflections, professional and personal growth activities and application of theory into practice. Students will be able to demonstrate effective counseling skills, cross-cultural counseling competencies and the ability to work with diverse populations. Students will understand the importance of self-care, life-long learning in maintaining a knowledge of effective practices, continuous skill development and affiliation with professional associations. Each student shall provide direct services to clients in the specialized area of interest.

Group Work
Upon completion of the degree students will have knowledge of group work, types of groups, and theories of group counseling. Upon completion of the degree students will have experienced participating in a group and leading a group session.

Upon completion of the degree students will be familiar with appraisal techniques for counseling and have an understanding of measurement principles and statistical concepts. Students will have knowledge of various standardized and non-standardized assessment methods. Students will be able to select, administer and interpret tests and write assessment reports.

Research & Program Evaluation
Upon completion of the program each student will be able to conceptualize a research project, conduct a research study and integrate technology into research practices.  Students must  complete the Course Research and Evaluation within the first year of their program.  One of the learning objectives include demonstration of competency in the utilization of technology i.e., computer-based assessments, blackboard discussions, and on-line research of scholarly publications.   Students will have a knowledge of ethical concerns in research and principles of program evaluations.

Career Orientation
Upon completion of the program each student will have identified a specialization area and have in-depth knowledge in a specialized area of interest and population. They will be familiar with professional organizations, ethical standards and membership benefits.

School Counseling Program

The purpose of the School Counseling Program is a nationally accredited program. It prepares competent school counselors who will meet the certification requirements of the District of Columbia Public School System and adjacent states. Students entering the school counseling specialization are expected to complete field experience requirements for elementary and middle school or high school endorsement. Field placements for the school specialization are available during the Fall and Spring semesters only. Students must commit a minimum of 20 hours weekly on site. Upon completion of the Master’s of Science Degree in School Counseling, students will be able to

  • Demonstrate history, philosophy, and current trends in school counseling and educational systems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge principles and practices that foster the academic success of linguistically and culturally diverse student populations.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of leadership strategies that enhance the learning environment of schools.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge local, state and federal policies and processes of collaboration, with teachers, parents and support personnel that facilitate successful student development and achievement.
  • Promote individual and group guidance activities in school environments that enhance school climate.
  • Demonstrate competencies in prevention and crisis intervention.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in recognizing students who may be affected by the exposure to or use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Demonstrate methods of consulting with teachers, support staff, parents and administration.
  • Design, implement and evaluate a supportive service program to enhance student academic, social, emotional, career and other developmental needs.
  • Prepare counseling schedules that interface with academic activities.

Mental Health Counseling Program and the Rehabilitation Program

The mental health and the rehabilitation specializations are designed to prepare students for licensure as a professional counselor or certification as a rehabilitative counselor. Students who complete the specialization course work are competitive applicants for careers in community agencies or government entities. Students must complete field experiences related to the specialization.  Students  have the option of extending their field experience during the summer sessions with the approval of the clinical faculty. Students interested in professional licensure or clinical certification should obtain copies of the licensure and certification standards from the state office or the appropriate professional association. Upon completion of the degree in the mental health or the rehabilitative  specialization students will be able to

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history and the philosophy of the counseling profession and the scope of practice in rehabilitative counseling.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients; the value of consumer empowerment, choice and personal responsibility.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Develop competencies in conducting clinical interviews, mental status evaluations, mental health histories, psychological and psychosexual assessments.
  • Differentiate between psychosocial, medical and mental health aspects of maladaptive functioning.
  • Demonstrate best practices in treatment strategies; disability systems; job analysis and placement for individuals with disabilities and other career related functions.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with ethical and legislative issues related to counseling including individuals with disabilities.
  • Write treatment plans that reflect individual philosophies for those with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate consultations and advocacy skills that promote the well being of clients.
  • Demonstrate competencies in working with special populations.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of case management principles and practices.

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Graduate-level coursework in counseling includes theoretical and applied training in several course areas: philosophy and practice, life span development, career theories, and development, appraisal, social and cultural foundations, research and evaluation, counseling techniques and ethical/legal/professional issues. In addition, students are required to complete 9 hours of supervised clinical experience in counseling. 

Graduates of the program are employed in schools, educational, judicial, mental health and drug treatment facilities, as well as in government and corporate settings throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  Many graduates have been licensed, certified and/or have entered advanced training programs. Many have completed doctoral programs.

The master’s degree in mental health counseling includes a curriculum of 54 semester hours with theoretical and applied training in several core areas: philosophy, life span development, career theories and development, appraisal, social and cultural foundations, research and evaluation, counseling techniques and ethical/legal/professional issues. This includes 12 hours of elective coursework (6 credit hours for individuals completing a thesis) and 9 credit hours of supervised clinical experience in counseling. The master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling is 48 credit hours. However, an increase in credit hours is anticipated.

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Upon completion of 21 credit hours, it is the responsibility of  students to submit a request to advance to candidacy. Students who complete more than 21 credit hours prior to advancement to candidacy are not guaranteed that the additional credits will be accepted toward the degree and may be required to repeat the courses once candidacy status is confirmed. Evaluation of students’ readiness to advance to candidacy includes the completion of a comprehensive exam and cumulative grade point average. Students must register for the exam at least one semester prior to the last semester of course work.  The exam is administered once annually. Students must request forms to register for the comprehensive written exam from the faculty advisor.

Core Requirements Mental Health and School Counseling
  509Counseling Philosophy3 credits
  532Introduction to Research & Program Evaluation3 credits
 514Theories of Counseling3 credits
Program Requirements
 557Human Growth & Development3 credits
 519Appraisal Techniques of Counseling3 credits
531Ethics, Legal and Legislative Issues3 credits
 530Techniques of Counseling3 credits
 510Group Counseling3 credits
 517Career Theories & Development3 credits
 513Cultural Diversity Issues & Multicultural Counseling3 credits
Practicum & Internship
 518Practicum3 credits
 521Internship I3 credits
 522Internship II3 credits
Thesis Project Options
 545Graduate Thesis6 credits
 545Graduate Project3 credits
Specialization Courses:
 504Psychopathology3 credits
 528Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment3 credits
 529Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction3 credits
 533Crisis Intervention3 credits
 538Mental Health Treatment Techniques3 credits
 543Addiction Disorders3 credits
 544Family Counseling3 credits
 545Independent Research StudyVC
 546Counseling Children and Adolescents3 credits
 549Test in Counseling3 credits
 555Counseling the Elderly3 credits
 556Seminar in School Counseling3 credits
 557Seminar in Mental Health Counseling3 credits
 558Seminar in  Higher Education Administration3 credits
 596Special Topics in Counseling3 credits
 507Grief Counseling3 credits
 508Organization and Administration of Counseling3 credits
 556Seminar in School Counseling3 credits
 500Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling3 credits
 501Psycho-social & Medical Aspect of
Disability in Rehabilitation
3 credits
 502Career Counseling and Job Development & Placement in Rehabilitation3 credits
 503Introduction to Assistive Technology in
Rehabilitation Counseling
3 credits
 504Principles and Practices of Case Management in Rehabilitation3 credits
 505Directed Readings in RehabilitationVC

Core Requirements Rehabilitation Counseling: RHCN
 500Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling3 credits
 507Career Counseling in Rehabilitation3 credits
 508Rehabilitation Counseling Theories3 credits
505Principles and Practices of Case management3 credits
506Psychosocial and Medical Aspects of Disabilities6 credits
522Application of Rehabilitation Counseling in a Field Based Setting3 credits
509Introduction to Rehabilitation Research3 credits
513Job Development and Placement in Rehabilitation3 credits
Practicum & Internship
510Practicum3 credits
511Internship I3 credits
512Internship II3 credits
 Additional  elective options are found in the catalog 

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Practicum and Internship

Students are required to complete 9 semester hours of practicum and internship experience. Students enrolled in the master of science degree program must first complete 1315 518 Supervised Practicum that requires 100 clock hours in the field and in related training activities (40 hours must be direct service with clients).  Students pursuing the Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling must complete RHCN 510 Practicum in Rehabilitation Counseling. Students are also provided with weekly individual and group supervision. Upon completion of the supervised practicum and other prerequisite courses, students are eligible to enroll in their 600 hour field experience courses: Internship I and II requiring a cumulative of 600 clock hours of supervised experience in the field (240 hours must be direct service with clients).

The clinical experience facilitates the application of theory and classroom learning to professional settings. Students become familiar with various work settings, professional tasks and receive clinical supervision on site.  Students will also have the opportunity to experience other professional activities related to the counseling field. Under supervision, students perform responsibilities expected of a professional counselor such as application of professional career materials, appraisal activities, working directly with client population, collaborating with other professionals in the field and functioning as a valuable member of the organization/professional environment. Involvement in other activities related to the profession such as national, regional and state conferences is strongly encouraged.
The guidelines for the Practicum in Rehabilitation Counseling (RC) are somewhat flexible, recognizing that each situation will vary, depending upon the unique nature of the student, field-site supervisor, caseload, and program where the Practicum experience is taking place. However, students must complete a 100-hour practicum experience where students assume the functions of beginning counselors in a human service program working with individuals with disabilities that may include, physical, mental, or academic which includes 40 hours of direct service to clients. The primary objective of the Practicum experience is to provide students with an opportunity to develop further their skills in clinical counseling, case recording, case management, job placement, and to experience the practical application of treatment policy, client services, and counseling philosophy in a human service program. The primary goal is to prepare a new clinical counselor, with a specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling, for the counseling profession. The RC Practicum is the last training segment in the RC curriculum and is a field-based experience in a community-based health, mental health, or substance abuse program providing counseling services for individuals with disabilities. The RC Practicum is designed to provide opportunities for students to focus on the integration and application of assessment, counseling theory and techniques, knowledge of disabilities, and all other course work in the curriculum.

The RC Practicum includes 100-hours of clinical field experience (15-week semester of 8-hours a week work experience) in a field-site providing services to actual clients with rehabilitation and clinical mental health disorders. The intern expected to participate in all counseling services appropriate for a new beginning professional counselor.

Roles and Responsibilities

Internship-600 hours

Student Role

While completing hours with the on-site agency/institution, students are expected to follow the agency policies and regulations. This includes but is not limited to policies regarding professional behavior, dress, confidentiality, attendance, absences, and follow through with assigned duties. In this way, students are learning to adopt a professional colleague identity. Students are expected to participate and attend (1) all practicum supervision meetings (group and individual supervision), (2) all agency case conferences/staff meetings scheduled by the field site, (3) at least one professional development activity during the semester, such as a state or local meeting or conference, (4) and at least one consumer-oriented activity, such as a disability support group, AA meeting, disability advocacy activity, or any other activity that provides direct student contact with persons in the community who have disabilities. Being exposed to and encouraged to participate in these experiences will assist the student further solidify and define his/her role as a developing rehabilitation counselor.

Students are also required to maintain a log of his/her practicum activities, which by signature or initials, the site supervisor will verify. This log will document the following:

  • cumulative number of hours spent in practicum activities
  • cumulative number of hours spent supervision meetings, both group and individual
  • cumulative number of direct consumer contact hours
  • the total number of hours (not to exceed 10) in attendance at a professional meeting or conference
  • a summary description daily of the actual field site activities performed, including observation and training activities.
  • a summary of how student applied or might have applied the information covered in the assigned readings from text(s) for that week to their work as a rehabilitation counselor on their internship site or a similar site

Activity Logs are maintained up-to-date weekly. At the end of the practicum assignment, the practicum student will submit the practicum log and a critique of the practicum experience to the practicum professor.

Lastly, students are required to submit at least three (3) taped (audio or video) sessions with critique. Each critique must include the intent of the session, what took place during the session, self-assessment, and plans for the next session. Students are responsible for security and erasure must have the consumer sign the informed consent form prior to recording counseling sessions. This form must remain in consumer file. To protect consumer's privacy, students are urged to use only first names in their taped sessions and to only use the day and time of appointment to identify tape.

Students are required to purchase personal professional liability insurance and provide a Certificate of Insurance to the faculty supervisor before practicum/internship experiences begin. Such insurance is required to be maintained and current during the Practicum and Internship I & II courses.


 The counseling practicum students in the counseling Counseling program spend 8 hours a week (one day or two half days) in the field (total of 100 hours for the semester), with site and university supervision while also attending a 3 s.h. seminar on campus. The Counseling  Practicum Manual describes the details of this clinical field experience. See the “Student   Resources” section of the department’s website for the Manual.

Internship (Capstone Requirement)

 The 600-hour internship will occur in the last semester of the student's program and will reflect the comprehensive work experience of a professional addictions and/or clinical mental health counselor. The Internship Manual describes the details of this clinical field experience.  See the “Student Resources” section of the Department’s website ( for the Counseling Internship manual. All practicum hours must be completed prior to the start of Internship.

As students prepare for their internship and practicum experiences, it is important to:

  • Set up the field site early. Students should begin securing a practicum and internship site the semester before they are planning to start. Students must consult their advisor, Practicum Instructor, or Internship Coordinator prior to contacting a potential internship site. A pre- internship meeting is required of all interns prior to beginning this clinical field experience.
  • Obtain health insurance. Students must maintain and provide proof of their own health insurance. East Carolina University is not responsible for health care or treatment of any disease/accident or disorder associated with educational, clinical or other contacts.
  • Obtain a criminal background check. If a clinical setting requires a criminal background check or other requirements (e.g. CPR Training, drug testing) for placement, the student is responsible for the expense and securing of the required information.
  • Obtain professional liability insurance. Students must be covered by professional liability insurance and provide proof of coverage prior to participating in their practicum and internship experiences.

Guidelines for Evaluating Student Progress and Suitability for the Program

Students may be terminated from the Program for academic failure, ethical violations, and/or personal unsuitability for the counseling profession.

Students will be evaluated annually by the entire faculty.  The focus will be on clinical, professional, interpersonal and academic functioning. If there is a concern, the student will be informed orally and in writing. A signed copy of the evaluation will be placed in the student’s file. If the student receives a warning or is placed on probation, the student will be monitored and given an opportunity to respond to the concerns.  The student will be advised of possible consequences of failure.

If the decision of the faculty is to terminate the student, the student will be notified in writing. The document will contain the basis for termination.

The student may choose to comply with the recommendation to exit the program or use the appeals process established by the University.   

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Academic Advising

Faculty advisors are available during registration periods and office hours to assist students with course selection. Advisors are also available to respond to concerns relative to personal and professional development.  Office hours are posted on office doors and can be found on in the course syllabus.  Students are encouraged to make appointments for comprehensive academic advising or counseling. Registration periods are extremely busy and generally used for course selection with
limited  time to discuss program requirements and academic problems.

Although the faculty is available to provide assistance, it is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with Program requirements, completing required courses and following academic policies and procedures.  If evaluations indicate that the program is not appropriate for a student, the student will be advised to pursue another field. The faculty member is encouraged to assist the student with the transition from the Program. The faculty also reserves the right to make Program changes that reflect compliance with university policies and state credentialing requirements.

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For more information, please contact:

Dr. Philicia Jefferson
Graduate Counseling Program Director
Department of Psychology and Counseling
Bldg. 44, Room 200-35
4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: 202.274.5439

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The department reserves the right to make changes in its programs without prior notification.