The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Counseling Psychology Program, located in Southwest Wisconsin and serving the tri-state region, provides the opportunity for graduate study in school counseling, mental health, and student services in higher education. Graduate study in the program is designed to help the student develop his/her unique potential as a professional. The faculty works to identify and enhance the knowledge and skills needed for professional licensure. The faculty also emphasizes providing a structure and environment that facilitate students’ growth in their ability to think critically, reflect with personal insight, and integrate feelings and thoughts. The goal is to assist students in the development of their professional, personal and social identity.
The Counseling Psychology 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 (DPI).
Students admitted into the program work toward a Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) in Counseling Psychology degree. All students begin the program by taking core courses in the curriculum. Students who gain clinical approval may take courses in the clinical tracks. The three clinical tracks are school counseling, mental health, and student services in higher education. The school track prepares students to be certified and eligible for a school counselor license (PK-12). The mental health track prepares students to work in human services settings. The student services in higher education track prepares students to work in roles within the college and university setting.
Courses are offered in late afternoons and evenings (4-7 and 7-10 p.m.) in the fall and spring semesters with occasional classes from 1-4p.m. Day and evening courses are offered during the summer semester. All courses necessary to achieve the competencies for the degree are offered during the academic year. The program can be completed on a part- or full-time basis. Students must complete their program within a seven year timeframe.
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 prior to admission in the program.
Students who have received a master’s degree from another counseling psychology program and wish to be certified 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 may not be admitted. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Counseling Psychology faculty does not endorse emergency certification of counselors; however, students who hold such certifications will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Prospective students must have at least a 2.75 undergraduate grade point average with a minimum of 12 credits in the area of behavioral sciences. Individuals must possess personal characteristics that will foster trust with clientele, which requires strong communication skills. Persons must also have prior experience in education, human services settings, or other appropriate background in working with others.
During the first year, all students complete a series of academic core courses. The second year involves clinical study, including track courses, practica, and electives.
A minimum of 48 credits is required for a single track. School Counseling students are required to complete 51 credits. Students wanting certification in more than one specialty must add nine credits for each specialty, and may waive the seminar or thesis requirement. A nine credit load or less is recommended for fall and spring semesters. A six or less credit load is recommended for the summer semester. A student wishing to take an overload will have to acquire special permission from the Counseling Psychology department. Within these limits, a student can complete the 48 credit program in a minimum of five course semesters plus one summer.
Each clinical track consists of a Practicum I, Practicum II, and a didactic course. The didactic course is designed to introduce students to the role and responsibilities of a professional counselor in a school or mental health setting. Practicum I is designed to provide breadth so that the student may experience a variety of programs, counselor models, sites, and basic supervised interventions. During Practicum II, the student becomes actively involved in all aspects of counseling interventions at a single site.
The Graduate Council requires that each student seek admission to candidacy after nine credits and before the end of the following semester. Candidacy is the departmental approval that allows a student to pursue a master's degree. The application for admission to candidacy can be obtained from the Counselor Education Program office.
A student must have Counseling Psychology program faculty approval to enroll in any Clinical Track coursework (Practicum I, Practicum II, etc.). The faculty will consider the student’s demonstrated counseling skills, communication skills, appropriate personality characteristics, behavioral characteristics, and ability to establish counseling relationships and professionalism in making their decision.
The student must first check with the department program assistant to ensure that he/she has been admitted to candidacy. He/she can then request to have his/her advisor bring him/her up for consideration for clinical work at a faculty meeting. After the meeting, the student can check with the department program assistant to ensure that he/she has been approved for the clinical portion of the program.
The student may then pick up a Practicum I and/or a Practicum II approval card prior to registering. These cards are available from the department program assistant once the student has been approved. This card needs to be signed by the instructor and one other faculty member in order to be processed.
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 Counseling Psychology 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 COUNSPSY 7920, Seminar Paper Research or COUNSPSY 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.