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Online Master of Arts in Counseling: Curriculum

Curriculum Details

48–60 total credits required

The MA in Counseling curriculum was developed to meet standards established by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs (CACREP).

Through 48–60 credits in 2.5–3.5 years, you will develop the basic competencies you need to become a professional counselor and focus your education in one of three areas: school counseling, clinical mental health counseling or clinical rehabilitation counseling. Each specialization includes internship and practicum requirements to enhance your learning through hands-on work experience.

Most classes are asynchronous, meaning you can learn on your own schedule, and there is no on-campus residency required.

*School Counseling only
**Clinical Mental Health and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling only

Counseling Core Courses

Explore major theories and techniques of professional counseling. Evidence-based counseling strategies and techniques will be stressed as you develop your own personal model of counseling.

Explore the process and stages of human intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development from prenatal origins through geriatric maturity including theories of individual and family development, learning, and personality development.

You’ll learn impacts on human development, such as systemic, environmental, crisis, trauma, or differing abilities, as well as ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development and wellness across the lifespan.

Examine counseling-related research techniques, methodologies, and practices including basic statistical and qualitative analysis, outcome measures, program evaluation, data analysis, application, and evidence-based practices.

The development of knowledge, skills, and approaches for effective cross-cultural counseling such as: cultural identity development, multicultural counseling competencies, social justice and advocacy, including studies of change, ethnic groups, gender studies, family systems, urban and rural societies, population patterns, cultural patterns, spiritual beliefs, the effects of power and privilege, and differing life styles.

Explore career counseling development, theories of career choice, and career counseling issues throughout the lifespan. You’ll also examine use of occupational testing and computer-assisted guidance systems, sources of educational and occupational information, career decision-making processes, and services provided in schools and agencies.

Explore the legal and ethical considerations when making a decision specific to clinical mental health and school counseling, including record keeping, documentation, third-party reimbursement, business law, family law, state education codes, state LPC Board rules, appropriate use of technology, privileged communication, and informed consent processes.

An introduction to measurement theory including standardization of test administration and scoring procedures, assessment of test reliability and validity, norm- and criterion-referenced assessments. Review of commonly used individual and group administered instruments that measure attitudes, aptitudes, achievements, interests, and personal characteristics. Students will also understand ethical and legal issues related to assessment and testing.

Gain an understanding of dysfunction in human behavior or social disorganization, including etiology, nomenclature, treatment, referral, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders.

Explore characteristics, risk factors, and warning signs of clients at risk for mental health and behavioral disorders, including suicide risk assessment, and the impacts of crisis, trauma, and abuse.

Pre-requisite for COUN 8370.

School Counseling Specialization Courses

An introduction to the field of professional school counseling and the role and responsibilities of school counselors regarding comprehensive school counseling programs including: the history and emergence of school counseling, approaches to school counseling, current issues, advocacy, consultation, collaboration, certification and ethical and legal standards.

Gain a comprehensive study of contemporary practices of leadership, advocacy, and accountability in the counseling profession. This course includes an in-depth study of the TEA model and the ASCA National model. You’ll complete activities for each of the four delivery components: system support, individual planning, responsive services, and guidance curriculum.

Learn counseling approaches and skills appropriate to children and adolescents, including strategies to help children and adolescent clients clarify problems, set goals, explore options, and implement change. You’ll also explore the characteristics of youth impacted by familial substance abuse.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization Courses

Be introduced to the history and development of the counseling profession, including its professional standards, codes of ethics, credentials, professional organizations, areas of specialization, and program evaluation. You’ll also review the counselor’s consultative role and identity in multidisciplinary teams and advocacy.

Explore theoretical foundations and skill development for counseling couples and families while providing key concepts, techniques, strengths-based approaches, therapeutic process, and consultation skills with families and parents.

Review mental health service delivery modalities within the continuum of care such as inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment, and aftercare. You’ll explore evidence-based strategies and interventions, including psychopharmacological approaches indicated in the treatment of mental disorders.

Understand physiological, emotional, social, and physical factors related to addictions, while exploring counseling treatment strategies and biopsychosocial interventions applicable to the issues related to addictions such as gambling, sex, eating, alcohol, or drugs.

Learn counseling approaches and skills appropriate to children and adolescents, including strategies to help children and adolescent clients clarify problems, set goals, explore options, and implement change. You’ll also explore the characteristics of youth impacted by familial substance abuse.

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Specialization Courses

Be introduced to the history and development of the counseling profession, including its professional standards, codes of ethics, credentials, professional organizations, areas of specialization, and program evaluation. You’ll also review the counselor’s consultative role and identity in multidisciplinary teams and advocacy.

Explore theoretical foundations and skill development for counseling couples and families while providing key concepts, techniques, strengths-based approaches, therapeutic process, and consultation skills with families and parents.

Explore the legislative, historical, and philosophical roots of rehabilitation counseling including professional organizations, preparation standards, credentials, roles, and settings of rehabilitation counselors.

You’ll learn the etiology and terminology relevant to rehabilitation, screening, and assessment instruments for individuals with disabilities, the relationship between clinical rehab counseling and medical professionals including interdisciplinary treatment teams, and more.

Examine medical aspects of major disabilities and their effects upon social, vocational, personal, and economic adjustment including the impact of biological and neurological mechanisms on disability, the impact of discrimination and cultural factors relevant to those with disabilities, and more.

You’ll also dig into environmental, attitudinal, and individual barriers, along with assistive technology to reduce and eliminate barriers.

Review mental health service delivery modalities within the continuum of care such as inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment, and aftercare. You’ll explore evidence-based strategies and interventions, including psychopharmacological approaches indicated in the treatment of mental disorders.

Understand physiological, emotional, social, and physical factors related to addictions, while exploring counseling treatment strategies and biopsychosocial interventions applicable to the issues related to addictions such as gambling, sex, eating, alcohol, or drugs.

Address the delivery of rehabilitation services across settings such as state/federal vocational rehabilitation, psychiatric rehabilitation, transition from school to work, private for-profit rehabilitation, forensic rehabilitation, substance abuse rehabilitation, and veterans’ rehabilitation. You’ll also learn the roles and functions of rehabilitation counselors in each of the different settings.

Electives (Clinical Mental Health Only)

Explore crisis, trauma, and grief counseling in response to natural or man-made crises, disasters, or loss. You’ll also learn crisis counseling theory, multidisciplinary team responses, and the cognitive, effective, and behavioral impacts of trauma, along with different approaches to treatment.

An introduction to the history and basic principles that guide child-centered play therapy sessions using directive and nondirective experiential activities. Major theories of play therapy and the utilization of play modalities will be explored.

An introduction to the field of professional school counseling and the role and responsibilities of school counselors regarding comprehensive school counseling programs including: the history and emergence of school counseling, approaches to school counseling, current issues, advocacy, consultation, collaboration, certification and ethical and legal standards.

Gain a comprehensive study of contemporary practices of leadership, advocacy, and accountability in the counseling profession. This course includes an in-depth study of the TEA model and the ASCA National model. You’ll complete activities for each of the four delivery components: system support, individual planning, responsive services, and guidance curriculum.

Clinical Internship & Practicum Courses

Understand the theoretical foundations of group counseling including group dynamics and development, factors contributing to group effectiveness, group leadership characteristics, group formation, types of groups, ethics, and cultural considerations. Participation in online synchronous small group activities for a minimum of 10 hours is required.

Develop methods or techniques used to provide counseling treatment intervention for individual clients, including the practice of counseling skills and guidance curriculum to help clients set and attain challenging educational, career, personal, and social goals.

A closely supervised experience in the practical application and integration of principles and techniques specific to clinical mental health counseling at an approved site. Students gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical mental health counselor. Required synchronous groups supervision supplements the site experience. This course requires a minimum of 40 direct service hours and 100 total hours.

A closely supervised experience in the practical application and integration of principles and techniques specific to clinical mental health counseling in an approved site. Students build on the skills they developed in practicum and gain a more in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical mental health counselor. Required synchronous group supervision supplements the site experience.

A closely supervised experience in the practical application and integration of principles and techniques specific to clinical mental health counseling in an approved site. Students build on the skills they developed in practicum and gain a more in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical mental health counselor. Required synchronous group supervision supplements the site experience.

A closely supervised experience in the practical application and integration of principles and techniques specific to clinical mental health counseling in an approved site. Students build on the skills they developed in practicum and gain a more in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical mental health counselor. Required synchronous group supervision supplements the site experience.

Apply and integrate principles and techniques at an approved, supervised site. You’ll build on the skills you developed in the practicum and gain a more in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical counselor. You must complete a total of 600 hours in your internship.

Apply and integrate principles and techniques at an approved, supervised site. You’ll build on the skills you developed in the practicum and gain a more in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical counselor. You must complete a total of 600 hours in your internship.

Apply and integrate principles and techniques at an approved, supervised site. You’ll build on the skills you developed in the practicum and gain a more in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the clinical counselor. You must complete a total of 600 hours in your internship.

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