[ skip to content ]

Toggle Mobile Menu

Department of Counseling & Human Services:M.S.Ed. in Counseling

More Information about this image

All hands together in a circle

The master's program in counseling requires 60 credits, which includes a 100-hour practicum, a 600 hour internship, and a comprehensive examination. The program faculty are particularly committed to educating students who are dedicated to reducing disparities in society based on race, gender, class, and sexual orientation, and other social group membership.

Please note that a criminal record may significantly impede your success in practicum and internship site placements, matriculation toward graduation, and future job opportunities as a professional counselor or counselor educator.

Specializations

Two specializations are available in the program. All master's degree students complete a core curriculum that prepares counselors for professional practice in all settings. The core course work in the master's program covers a range of counseling and human development issues including approaches to individual and group counseling; ethical and professional issues in counseling; fundamentals of the counseling profession; counseling ethics; measurement and evaluation in counseling; lifespan and career development; research in counseling; and social and cultural issues.

In addition, students select one of two specializations:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling

Preparation for specialized practice in counseling includes four unique courses important for particular specializations and a 600 hour internship in a setting appropriate for the specialization chosen.

Program Overview

The School Counseling master's degree at Old Dominion University prepares students to practice as professional school counselors in K-12 educational settings and meets the school counseling licensing requirements in Virginia. Come learn, grow, and make a difference. Why school counseling?

School Counseling students are exposed to Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) training standards and the American School Counselor Association National Model.

Students can elect to take courses in our School Counseling program as a full-time or part-time student. Our courses are offered in the late-afternoons and evenings to accommodate students with multiple responsibilities.

Interested students may have the opportunity to work as graduate assistants for the program faculty, engaging in both research and instructional support. Student graduate assistantships include tuition waivers and a stipend.

Prospective students have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with our nationally-recognized faculty, including Dr. Christopher Sink, Dr. Tim Grothaus, and Dr. Emily Goodman-Scott. These school counseling faculty bring a wide-array of experiences and expertise in school counseling and school counselor leadership nationally and in the state of Virginia, such as journal editor of the American School Counselor Association's Professional School Counseling journal, president and board member of the Virginia School Counselor Association, as well as author of several school counseling textbooks and journal articles, as well as presentations at national and state conferences. Further, they collaborate with school districts and school counseling supervisors at the state and district level as well as national school counseling leaders. Faculty enjoy teaching and partnering with students to present at conferences, conduct research, and write professional articles and book chapters.

While attending the School Counseling program, student will have the opportunity to attend Study Abroad programs internationally and within the U.S. as part of their coursework. Previous programs have included institutes in New York City, Italy and Ireland.

ODU school counseling students who wish to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Virginia may take courses required to achieve this license. Three additional courses are typically required to meet the LPC coursework requirement in Virginia, in addition to the school counselor requirements: (1) COUN 685: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning Mental Health Counseling; (2) COUN 691: Family Systems and Family Development; and (3) COUN 647: Addictive Disorders.

For students interested in pursuing doctoral studies after their master's in School Counseling, ODU offers a nationally known Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Counseling. School counseling master's and doctoral students have held positions as school counselors, district wide school counseling supervisors, head of testing and assessment, faculty members, and much more.

Related Experiences

The School Counseling master's program offers a variety of experiences, including:

  • 60 semester hours of coursework including 9 in Practicum and Internship.
  • Two 300-hour internships in K-12 school settings (total of 600 hours of internship)
  • Five specified school counseling courses
  • Opportunities for graduate assistantships
  • Enrollment as a full or part-time student
  • Opportunities for unique study experiences such as in Italy and Ireland. These opportunities may substitute for a required course.
  • Funding opportunities for conferences
  • Opportunities to attend local, state, and national conferences and professional development
  • Possibilities to collaborate with nationally-known faculty and doctoral students, including national presentations, research studies, journal articles, and textbook chapters
  • Several course observations and activities in local K-12 settings
  • As part of the School Counseling curriculum, complete the majority of courses required toward becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia, with the option of taking the final three courses as electives
  • Chance for membership in ODU's chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society
  • Chance to take the National Counselor Exam before graduation

Classes & Requirements

The 60 credit hour, CACREP-accredited master's degree in counseling offers students two tracks: School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in both tracks take foundational counseling courses, then five school counseling courses and 600 hours of internship. All counseling master's students must complete coursework in the following core areas:

COUN 601: Professional Orientation and Ethics

COUN 633: Counseling Techniques

COUN 650: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy

COUN 634: Advanced Counseling Techniques

COUN 644: Group Counseling

COUN 648: Career Development (possible as study abroad)

COUN 631: Lifespan Development

COUN 655: Social & Cultural Diversity (possible as study abroad)

COUN 645: Testing and Assessment

FOUN 611: Introduction to Research Methods in Education

COUN 669: Counseling Practicum

Specific school counseling courses include the following:

COUN 642 Structured Counseling Groups: This course is designed to prepare students to facilitate structured counseling groups for children and adolescents primarily in the K-12 school setting.

COUN 676 Professional Issues in School Counseling K-12: A professional seminar that emphasizes the contemporary role of the school counselor as leader and advocate in delivering school counseling programs to all students. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to negotiate the cultural, educational, and contextual forces that impact the lives and academic achievement of students in a pluralistic society. Twenty hours of observation in a school is required. Completion of a background check is required prior to commencing the field placement.

COUN 677 School Culture, Learning, and Classroom Management: School counselor's role in contributing to a safe, equitable, and culturally responsive school culture; promoting student learning and achievement; and the practice of effective teaching and classroom management. Cultural, political, economic, ethical, and legal issues are addressed. Ten hours of observation in a school is required. Completion of a background check is required prior to commencing the field placement.

COUN 678 Counseling Children and Adolescents in School Settings: This course will provide an overview of theories and techniques of counseling children and adolescents in school settings. Emphasis will be placed upon the counselor's role as a facilitator of normal developmental processes to promote academic success.

COUN 679 School Counseling Program Development K-12: This course is designed as a capstone experience that synthesizes graduate course work into a practical school counseling program manual. Emphasis is placed on assessment, data collection and analysis, design and development, implementation and evaluation of systemic school counseling programs K-12. Specific emphasis is given to the integration of assessed needs, the National Standards for School Counseling Programs and the Virginia Standards of Learning.

COUN 668 Internship in School Counseling (600 hours minimum): This internship is designed to provide individual students with a planned program of advanced on-the-job professional experience in a school setting. A university instructor will coordinate internship assignments. An experienced professional in the school setting will provide direct supervision. Available for pass/fail grading only. Completion of a background check is required prior to commencing the field placement.

Past Students’ Perspectives

Student perspectives gathered over the years consistently endorse the program and their experiences.

For example, our graduates have said:

"I had high expectations entering the school counseling program at ODU... The program exceeded my expectations. The counseling program at ODU has shaped both my professional and personal aspirations through its paramount curriculum, dedicated professors, and extensive resources. The opportunities in the school counseling program have been unbounded." -2014 graduate

"The most meaningful part of ODU's school counseling graduate program was having the opportunity to bond with professors. I felt like my professors and mentors genuinely cared about my experience in the graduate program. Without them, I would not be the school counselor that I am today!" -2015 graduate

"As a high school counselor] I know every day that I'm doing something meaningful. You can't change every student's life and you certainly cannot do it quickly. However, having a student know that you genuinely believe in them, even when they don't believe in themselves, makes a difference over time."

-2014 graduate

"I really appreciated the professors who pushed me to take on new challenges (like presenting at VSCA [the state school counseling conference]) and talking about topics outside of my comfort zone. I think ODU is unique in that we're exposed to a very low income population, so as a counseling student, you quickly learn what that looks like and how to handle those student circumstances. That's a very attractive quality to employers." -2014 graduate

"[Being enrolled in this school counseling program] was worth all of the time, hard work and money spent on this program. My eyes have been opened to many issues important to me surrounding the education system, mental health, multicultural issues and advocacy. Throughout the program I have also valued the emphasis on self-awareness and reflection and in doing so I have learned much about myself- how to be an effective parent, a better listener, an effective communicator and so much more. Most importantly, I have built my confidence up and acquired the competence to help others which has always been my passion. I truly feel this program has been the perfect fit for me and I am sincerely thankful to have been accepted." -2016 graduate

"I think my experience at ODU prepared me as much as possible for the real world of school counseling. School counseling is a learn-by-doing profession. My graduate experience provided a solid foundation on which to begin my career. The biggest thing I learned from this program is to never be afraid of asking questions or seeking answers because we always have room for growth." -2015 graduate

Careers

Our School Counseling master's graduates go on to work a variety of settings, including:

  • School counselors in elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Directors of school counseling departments
  • District-level school counseling supervisors and leaders
  • Enroll in counseling doctoral programs

Program Overview

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling master's at Old Dominion University prepares students to practice as Licensed Professional Counselors in diverse contexts. The nationally-recognized faculty bring a wide-array of clinical expertise to the training students receive in the program, both in terms of standard competencies as well as new and emerging areas of counseling practice. The professional relationships which the faculty have help students find exciting placements for practicum and internship experiences throughout the Hampton Roads region, and our students go on to work in community mental health agencies, college counseling centers, military-affiliated counseling programs, hospitals, and in private practice. As a nationally-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, the coursework is aligned with both the requirements for the LPC in Virginia and with training standards recognized around the United States at both the state and federal level. Interested students may have the opportunity to work as graduate assistants for the program faculty, engaging in both research and instructional support. As part of the overall counseling program community, Clinical Mental Health Counseling students are exposed to CACREP training standards, professional identity development and advocacy, and multicultural-social justice principles. Our students can expect to be challenged, supported, and encouraged to excel throughout their learning experience toward earning their master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and begin their residency towards the LPC.

Related Experiences

  • 60 semester hours of coursework including 9 in Practicum and Internship.
  • 100 hours of Practicum and 600 of Internship in clinical mental health counseling settings required as part of the degree.
  • Opportunities for study abroad in Italy and Ireland to count for select classes.
  • Chance for membership in Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society.
  • Possibilities for graduate assistantships.
  • Chance to take the National Counselor Exam before you graduate.
  • Opportunities for research collaboration with nationally-known counseling faculty.

Classes & Requirements

The 60 credit hour, CACREP-accredited master's degree in counseling offers students two tracks: School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in both tracks take foundational counseling courses, then five school counseling courses and 600 hours of internship. All counseling master's students must complete coursework in the following core areas:

COUN 601: Professional Orientation and Ethics

COUN 633: Counseling Techniques

COUN 650: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy

COUN 634: Advanced Counseling Techniques

COUN 644: Group Counseling

COUN 648: Career Development (possible as study abroad)

COUN 631: Lifespan Development

COUN 655: Social & Cultural Diversity (possible as study abroad)

COUN 645: Testing and Assessment

FOUN 611: Introduction to Research Methods in Education

COUN 669: Counseling Practicum

Specific school counseling courses include the following:

COUN 642 Structured Counseling Groups: This course is designed to prepare students to facilitate structured counseling groups for children and adolescents primarily in the K-12 school setting.

COUN 676 Professional Issues in School Counseling K-12: A professional seminar that emphasizes the contemporary role of the school counselor as leader and advocate in delivering school counseling programs to all students. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to negotiate the cultural, educational, and contextual forces that impact the lives and academic achievement of students in a pluralistic society. Twenty hours of observation in a school is required. Completion of a background check is required prior to commencing the field placement.

COUN 677 School Culture, Learning, and Classroom Management: School counselor's role in contributing to a safe, equitable, and culturally responsive school culture; promoting student learning and achievement; and the practice of effective teaching and classroom management. Cultural, political, economic, ethical, and legal issues are addressed. Ten hours of observation in a school is required. Completion of a background check is required prior to commencing the field placement.

COUN 678 Counseling Children and Adolescents in School Settings: This course will provide an overview of theories and techniques of counseling children and adolescents in school settings. Emphasis will be placed upon the counselor's role as a facilitator of normal developmental processes to promote academic success.

COUN 679 School Counseling Program Development K-12: This course is designed as a capstone experience that synthesizes graduate course work into a practical school counseling program manual. Emphasis is placed on assessment, data collection and analysis, design and development, implementation and evaluation of systemic school counseling programs K-12. Specific emphasis is given to the integration of assessed needs, the National Standards for School Counseling Programs and the Virginia Standards of Learning.

COUN 668 Internship in School Counseling (600 hours minimum): This internship is designed to provide individual students with a planned program of advanced on-the-job professional experience in a school setting. A university instructor will coordinate internship assignments. An experienced professional in the school setting will provide direct supervision. Available for pass/fail grading only. Completion of a background check is required prior to commencing the field placement.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling students, and those seeking their LPC credential, must complete coursework in the following:

COUN 680: Orientation to Mental Health Counseling

COUN 647: Addictions

COUN 691: Family Dynamics

COUN 685: Diagnosis & Treatment

COUN 670: Clinical Supervision

COUN 667: Internship in Mental Health Counseling

All counseling master's students have access to on-campus recording and lab facilities.

Careers

Our clinical mental health counseling master's graduates go on to work a variety of settings, including:

  • Community Service Boards and other mental health agencies.
  • Private treatment programs and private practices.
  • College Counseling centers.
  • Intensive in-patient and crisis response programs
  • Military and veteran-affiliated mental health care settings.



Internship Information



Master's Student Resources


In compliance with federal disclosure regulations, The Old Dominion University Counseling master's program provides all prospective students with information in the online handbook regarding licensure. As licensure can vary state-to-state, prospective and current students must check with the Boards of Counseling and Department of Education for specific educational requirements in the respective state(s) in which they desire to practice.

More information is available at the American Counseling Association site and the U.S. Department of Education.