The Counselor Education program is driven by the belief that learning takes place in an open, empowering, and collaborative atmosphere. The faculty supports an educational process that encourages students to attain maximum achievement in knowledge, skill development, clarification of values, self-knowledge, and ethics.
Graduate study in the program is designed to help the student develop his/her unique potential as a professional counselor. The faculty works to identify and enhance the knowledge and skills needed for professional licensure. The goal is to assist students in the development of their professional, personal, and social identity.
The Counselor Education Program was established in 1966 as part of the School of Education. It is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the North Central Association (NCA), and is an approved program for school counselor licensure by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI).
Students admitted into the program work toward a Master of Science in Education degree. All students begin the program in the academic track. Students who gain clinical approval may take courses in the clinical tracks. The clinical tracks are school counseling, community counseling, and student services in higher education. The clinical track prepares students to be eligible for a school counselor license. The community track prepares students to work in human service settings. The student services track prepares students to work on college and university campuses in a variety of roles.
Students take a number of courses in common, including the core courses, research and writing courses, and electives. Students with clinical approval may take clinical track courses.
All courses necessary to achieve a degree are offered at least once during the academic year and/or summer session. The program can be completed on a part- or full-time basis. A minimum of 42 credits is required for a single Clinical Track. Students who want preparation in more than one Clinical Track must add 12-18 credits for each additional Clinical Track. Students who complete 48 credits may waive the seminar or thesis requirement. No more than 9 credits may be taken each semester during the academic year and no more than 6 credits may be taken during the summer session. With these limits, a student may complete the 42-credit program in a minimum of two years (including two summer sessions). Each clinical track consists of a didactic course, Practicum I and Practicum II. The didactic course is designed to introduce students to the basic knowledge of how to function as a professional in that setting. Practicum I is designed so that the student may experience a variety of programs, counselors and sites, becoming involved in basic supervised interventions. During Practicum II the student becomes actively involved iin all aspects of the profession at a single site, or multiple sites, depending on the track(s).
Prospective students must meet the general admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies and have completed at least 12 undergraduate credit hours in courses related to behavioral sciences. Students whose preparation is judged deficient in behavioral sciences will be required to make up such deficiencies.
Counselors must possess personal characteristics that will foster trust with clientele. As evidence of those characteristics and skills, prospective students must have at least a 2.75 undergraduate grade point average, have an appropriate background, and strong communication skills. Prospective students must submit a résumé that speaks to their educational-employment-experiential background and have a personal interview with at least two program faculty members. Preference will be given to those who have had two years or more of full-time employment in a human service field. Admission numbers are limited to available counselor education resources. Students who have received a master's degree from another counselor education program and wish to certify in an additional track must sign a release to permit communication with faculty in that program and previous practicum on-site supervisors. Prospective students who hold "emergency" licenses as school counselors at any time before being enrolled in the clinical courses will not be admitted.
The Graduate Council requires that each student seek admission to candidacy after nine credits and before the end of the next semester. A student must be approved by the Counselor Education Program faculty to qualify for admission to candidacy. The application for admission to candidacy can be obtained from the Counselor Education Program office.
A student must have Counselor Education Program faculty approval to enroll in any Clinical Track course work. The faculty will consider the student's demonstrated communication skills, appropriate personality characteristics, behavioral characteristics, and ability to establish counseling relationships.
Elective courses must be in the behavioral sciences. They will vary according to the track chosen and the interests of a particular student. Electives must be selected with the approval of a student's advisor and in the case of transfer credits, the Counselor Education Program faculty. Behavioral science topics may include such areas as philosophy, professional education, sociology, psychology, and criminal justice.
Each student will produce papers indicating familiarity with the process of reviewing research literature and designing studies. The American Psychological Association Publication Manual standards are applied to course papers, seminar papers, and theses unless otherwise indicated. The writing requirement may be satisfied by doing one of the following:
If the student selects the seminar paper option or the completion of six additional approved course credits option, he or she must take the master's comprehensive examination in the last semester of study. If the student selects the thesis option, he or she must orally defend the thesis. Students should explore the implications of each option with their advisor. Students are required to submit an approved research paper proposal before enrolling for either COUNSLED 7920, Seminar Paper Research or COUNSLED 7990, Thesis Research.
Students who wish to be certified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction should work closely with their advisor to ensure meeting Wisconsin standards. The School Counseling track coordinator will assist all eligible students in the license application process at the appropriate time.