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Counseling: The UDC Edge

Located in the heart of the nation’s capitol, the University of the District of Columbia is an affordable and high quality educational option, attentive to your needs and committed to your success.

At UDC, a shared multicultural perspective among students and faculty shapes the learning environment. Our students are acutely aware of the impact of health care disparities among lower income, minority populations. To that end, they often commit their careers to working with clients from underserved and underrepresented populations. Our students and faculty also embrace the approach of healing the whole person, their family and the community at large.

Master of Science in Counseling: School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling

The Counseling program offers the Master of Science Degree in Counseling. The Master of Science Degree in Counseling offers concentrations in school counseling (accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) (CACREP) and clinical mental health counseling. The mission of the graduate programs in counseling is to provide opportunities for graduate level education that will prepare clinical mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and school counselors to meet the needs of a culturally diverse community and increase the number of well-trained, competent counseling professionals. The Counseling Unit, which embraces the core values of the institution, will fulfill its mission by providing students with an education that integrates theory and practice while maintaining excellence in teaching, supporting faculty development and ensuring that the curriculum reflects the changing needs of a highly technological and multiethnic society.

Program of Study

Course Descriptions

Admissions | Graduation Requirements | Program Descriptions Master of Science in Counseling | Program Description Master of Arts Rehabilitation Counseling  | Student Outcome | Practicum and Internship | Academic Advising | 

Master of Science in Counseling: (School Concentration)

Program Objectives

The School Counseling Concentration is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). 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 both the elementary and secondary setting. 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 to satisfy field experience requirements.

Upon completion of a Master’s of Science degree in counseling all students must complete the following objectives:

Professional Orientation & Identity
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the professional role of a counselor and the diverse work environments. Demonstrate knowledge of the organization and administration of counseling in schools and in community-based agencies and organizations. Have a familiarity with professional organizations and their ethical standards. To be able to contrast and compare the role of counselors to other helping professionals.

Social and Cultural Competence
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the multicultural paradigm and the diverse needs of a linguistically and ethnically diverse urban community such as the District of Columbia. Have the ability to engage systems to affect change that will embrace the authenticity of micro cultures in urban settings. Demonstrate knowledge of counseling models and the ability to use counseling skills that are effective when working with culturally diverse clients.

Human Growth and Life Span Development
Demonstrate 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. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cultural relevant assessments of normalcy and pathology across domains.

Career Development & Career Counseling
Demonstrate knowledge of career theories and career counseling models.  Demonstrate ability to use assessment tools, the integration of technology and the career development resources. Demonstrate knowledge of laws that support and protect individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

Helping Relationships
Develop a personal style of counseling through self-assessments, personal reflections, professional and personal growth activities and application of theory into practice. Demonstrate effective counseling skills, cross-cultural counseling competencies and the ability to work with diverse populations. Have an understanding of the importance of self-care, life-long learning in maintaining a knowledge of effective practices, continuous skill development and affiliation with professional associations. Demonstrate the ability to provide direct services to clients in the specialized area of interest.

Group Work
Demonstrate knowledge of group work, types of groups, and theories of group counseling. Students will have experienced participating in a group and leading a group session.

Assessment
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of appraisal techniques for counseling and have an understanding of measurement principles and statistical concepts. Demonstrate knowledge of various standardized and non-standardized assessment methods. Demonstrate the ability to select, administer and interpret tests and write assessment reports.

Research & Program Evaluation
Demonstrate the ability 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.  Demonstrate competency in the utilization of technology i.e., computer-based assessments, Internet blackboard discussions, and on-line research of scholarly publications.   Demonstrate knowledge of ethical concerns in research and principles of program evaluations.

Career Orientation
Identification of a specialization area and have in-depth knowledge in a specialized area of interest and population including familiarity with professional organizations, ethical standards and membership benefits.

Additional Objectives required for School Counseling Concentration that reflect CACREP standards:

Demonstrate the professional knowledge and skills that promote the academic, career, and social development of all P–12 students.

  • Demonstrate the ability to function as consultants to families, school personnel and community agencies.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with college readiness best practices.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of school emergency management plans, crises, disasters and trauma.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify risk factors and warning signs of students at risk for mental health and behavioral disorders.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of common medications that affect learning, behavior, and mood in children and adolescents.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify signs and symptoms of substance abuse in children and adolescents as well as the signs and symptoms of living in a home where substance use occurs.
  • Demonstrate skills to critically examine the connections between social, familial, emotional, and behavior problems and academic achievement.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use data to inform decision making.

UDC School Counseling (Concentration) Program Outcomes Report 

Three students graduated last year from our CACREP-accredited school counseling concentration, and our program has a current enrollment of 19.

Since June, 2010, 86% of admitted students have graduated from the program in the expected time period, with more than half achieving passing rates on the national Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (NCPCE). Our graduates have been very successful in obtaining employment in school settings, with a 100% placement rate.


Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration

Program Objectives

The clinical mental health concentration is designed to prepare students for state licensure as a licensed professional counselor and as a national certified counselor. Students who complete the clinical mental health counseling concentration are competitive applicants for careers in community agencies, government entities and can prepare for state licensure as mental health practitioners. Students must complete field experiences related to the specialization.  Students are expected to complete field experience requirements in settings that provide opportunities to deliver clinical mental health services. Field placements are available during the summer session with the approval of the advisor, and students must commit a minimum of 20 hours weekly on site to satisfy field experience requirements. Students interested in professional licensure or clinical certification should obtain copies of the licensure and certification standards from the appropriate state licensure board or the appropriate professional association.

Upon completion of a master’s of science degree in counseling all students must complete the following objectives:

Professional Orientation & Identity
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the professional role of a counselor and the diverse work environments. Demonstrate knowledge of the organization and administration of counseling in schools and in community-based agencies and organizations. Have a familiarity with professional organizations and their ethical standards. To be able to contrast and compare the role of counselors to other helping professionals.

Social and Cultural Competence
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the multicultural paradigm and the diverse needs of a linguistically and ethnically diverse urban community such as the District of Columbia. Have the ability to engage systems to affect change that will embrace the authenticity of micro cultures in urban settings. Demonstrate knowledge of counseling models and the ability to use counseling skills that are effective when working with culturally diverse clients.

Human Growth and Life Span Development
Demonstrate 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. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cultural relevant assessments of normalcy and pathology across domains.

Career Development & Career Counseling
Demonstrate knowledge of career theories and career counseling models.  Demonstrate ability to use assessment tools, the integration of technology and the career development resources. Demonstrate knowledge of laws that support and protect individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

Helping Relationships
Develop a personal style of counseling through self-assessments, personal reflections, professional and personal growth activities and application of theory into practice. Demonstrate effective counseling skills, cross-cultural counseling competencies and the ability to work with diverse populations. Have an understanding of the importance of self-care, life-long learning in maintaining a knowledge of effective practices, continuous skill development and affiliation with professional associations. Demonstrate the ability to provide direct services to clients in the specialized area of interest.

Group Work
Demonstrate knowledge of group work, types of groups, and theories of group counseling. Students will have experienced participating in a group and leading a group session.

Assessment
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of appraisal techniques for counseling and have an understanding of measurement principles and statistical concepts. Demonstrate knowledge of various standardized and non-standardized assessment methods. Demonstrate the ability to select, administer and interpret tests and write assessment reports.

Research & Program Evaluation
Demonstrate the ability 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.  Demonstrate competency in the utilization of technology i.e., computer-based assessments, blackboard discussions, and on-line research of scholarly publications.   Demonstrate knowledge of ethical concerns in research and principles of program evaluations.

Career Orientation
Identification of a specialization area and have in-depth knowledge in a specialized area of interest and population including familiarity with professional organizations, ethical standards and membership benefits.

Additional Objectives required for the Clinical Mental Health Concentration that reflect CACREP standards:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history and development of clinical mental health counseling
  • Demonstrate knowledge of principles, models, and documentation formats of bio-psychosocial case conceptualization and treatment planning
  • Demonstrate knowledge of neurobiological and medical foundation and etiology of addiction and co-occurring disorders
  • Demonstrate ability to use psychological tests and assessments specific to clinical mental health counseling
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the roles and settings of clinical mental health counselors
  • Demonstrate knowledge of etiology, nomenclature, treatment, referral, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders
  • Demonstrate an understanding of mental health service delivery modalities within the continuum of care, such as inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment and aftercare, and the mental health counseling services networks
  • Demonstrate the skills to use the diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis and the use of current diagnostic classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications for appropriate medical referral and consultation

Related:

Curriculum

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 credit 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 successfully passed state license board exams, certification exams and/or have entered advanced training programs. Many have completed doctoral programs.

The Master of Science degree in Counseling includes a curriculum of 54 semester hours for the school counseling concentration and 60 semester hours for the clinical mental health counseling. The degree requirements also include a thesis option (6 credits) or a thesis project option (3 credits).

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Counseling Program

  • The Graduate Counseling Club organizes activities designed to enhance the professional identity of students as professional counselors, including Licensure Professional Counseling (LCP) post-graduate exam preparation, career planning and leadership opportunities.
  • Chi Sigma Iota is an international honor society for qualified graduate students, professional counselors and counselor educators that promotes scholarship, research, professionalism, leadership, advocacy and excellence in counseling.
  • Students are encouraged to become student members of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Membership in ACA offers professional development and leadership opportunities as a professional counselor.
  • With faculty support and mentorship, you may seek internships at area schools and treatment facilities or pursue research projects.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Counseling Program

Career Pathways and Prospects

Over the past decade, students completing the master’s degree in counseling have taken one of several pathways:

  • Pursued licensure in professional counseling (LPC) in order to develop their own professional counseling practice
  • Received employment as a school counselor in the Washington, D.C. area
  • Entered a Ph.D. program in counseling, clinical psychology or school administration
  • Received a promotion within their current federal, state or private sector organization

Other settings where graduates may seek employment include:

  • Mental health agencies
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Substance abuse facilities
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Employment centers
  • Therapeutic group homes
  • Rehabilitation centers

Contact info:

 Dr. Nancy Carlson (School Counseling) | T: 202.274.7398 | E: nancy.carlson@udc.edu

Dr. Benson Cooke (Mental Health Counseling)| T: 202.274.6439 | E: bcooke@udc.edu

Dr. Philicia Jefferson (Director, Rehabilitation Counseling) | T: 202.274.5439 | E: philicia.jefferson@udc.edu