Master of Science in Counseling: School Counseling

UDC Ranked #1 - Top Value Counseling Master's Degrees in Washington, DCThe counseling program offers the Master of Science Degree in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling that is accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).  The mission of the graduate program in school counseling is to provide a graduate education that will prepare students to meet the needs of a culturally diverse school community and increase the number of well-trained, competent counseling professionals that are able to serve students in grades k-12.  At UDC, a shared multicultural perspective among students and faculty shapes the learning environment.  Students are acutely aware of the diverse needs of students in k-12.  To that end, they are committed to using the ASCA National Model to support student’s academic, career, and social/emotional development.  Students and faculty also embrace the approach of healing the whole person, the family, and the community at large.  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, by 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 | Student Outcome | Practicum and Internship | Academic Advising | Annual Reports

Master of Science in Counseling: (School Concentration)

The School Counseling Specialization 

The School Counseling Specialization is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). It prepares school counselors who will meet the certification requirements of the District of Columbia Public School System and surrounding states. Students entering the school counseling specialization are expected to complete field experience requirements in early childhood, elementary, middle, or high schools. 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 of Science Degree in Counseling, (School Specialization) 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 knowledge of leadership strategies that enhance the learning environment of schools
  • Demonstrate knowledge of 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 and culture
  • 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, by using the ASCA model as a framework.

Accreditation Status


School Counseling Program/Student Outcomes

The School Counseling Program has been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) since June 2010. In accordance with the requirements set forth by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the program provides information to the public on its performance, including student graduation rates, accreditation status, and student achievement to provide public awareness. The graduate program in School Counseling is housed within the Division of Education, Health and Social Work.

Student outcomes are evaluated every year using the District of Columbia, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) approved academic assessment, the Professional School Counselor Praxis, and the successful acquisition of employment three to six months following graduation.

School Counseling Program Student Outcome Rates – Academic Year 2018-2019

(Summer 2018, Fall 2018, and Spring 2019)

Number of Graduates 6
School Counseling Program Completion Rate 100%
School Counseling Licensing Exam Pass Rate
(Professional School Counselor Praxis -5421)
100%
Job Placement Rate 100%

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 and government entities, and can pursue 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 are expected to 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, as well as community-based agencies and organizations. Demonstrate familiarity with professional organizations and their ethical standards. Compare and contrast the role of counselors to other helping professionals.

Social and Cultural Competence
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the multicultural paradigm and the needs of a linguistically and ethnically diverse urban community such as the District of Columbia. Effectively engage systems to cause 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 integrate that knowledge in the application of counseling in schools and in agencies. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of culturally 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. Demonstrate understanding of the importance of self-care, life-long learning in maintaining 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 the Clinical Mental Health Concentration 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 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 and certification exams, or have entered advanced training programs. Many have completed doctoral programs.

The Master of Science degree in Counseling includes a curriculum of 60 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 Counselors (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) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Membership in ACA and ASCA 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. Sadiqa Long  (Director, School Counseling) | T: 202.274.6037 | E: sadiqa.long@udc.edu

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