Counseling, M.A.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Counseling Program is selective and competitive. Admission decisions for all program applicants are rooted in the specific standards of the Marshall University Graduate College and the minimum standards of the Counseling program. Students are admitted to an area of emphasis and must indicate their preferences during the admission application process.

Graduate College

Applicants should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission.

Counseling Program

Multiple criteria are used in making decisions to admit students to the degree program. Each applicant is evaluated using the following criteria (all material should be submitted directly to Graduate Admissions):

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. (Transcript required from degree-granting institution only.)
  2. Evidence of academic aptitude for graduate-level study by the following:
    1. A 2.75 overall Undergraduate GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale on the final degree transcript, or
    2. A Graduate GPA of 3.0 on any previously completed advanced degree.
  3. International student applicants must demonstrate English proficiency according to university standards. See the Admissions section for information.
  4. A writing sample expressing career goals and estimation of personal suitability for the profession of counseling. This should follow the Guidelines for the Written Statement found on the program website, or you may contact the program for a copy to be sent to you.
  5. Two written references (from current or former professors, if possible). These should be completed by professionals with knowledge of the applicant’s suitability for graduate work (e.g., supervisors, undergraduate professors) in helping professions. They should be completed using the program-specific reference form found on the program website, or you may contact the program for a copy to be sent to you.

Conditional Admission

The Counseling program may admit applicants conditionally for one term, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program.

Provisional Admission

The Counseling program may admit applicants provisionally on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program.

Applicants may submit their application materials at any time, but the program cannot guarantee that applications will be considered for the desired semester when submitted less than 14 days prior to the beginning of that semester. Applications too late to be considered for admission may be rolled to the following semester.

Candidacy Requirements

Applicants who successfully meet the above five criteria are granted admission based on the conditional, provisional, or full status noted above. At the end of the first 9 hours of prescribed coursework all students will undergo a candidacy review:

COUN 574Social & Cultural Found3
COUN 600Professional Orientation3
COUN 602Human Devel and Adjustment3
EDF 621Educ Research & Writing3
Or advisor-approved course substitutions

Faculty will complete and review student performance evaluations to determine each student’s appropriateness for continuance in the program. Faculty will notify students when they have been granted candidacy status upon a successful program review of the application.

Professional Development Admission

Applicants not intending to complete an entire degree program, but who wish to take courses for licensure, certification, or to be admitted to the certificate program (VoLT) need to follow the following guidelines for admission. Note that bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees are required where applicable.

Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Violence, Loss and Trauma Counseling VoLT certificate

Applicants who have obtained a master’s degree in behavioral health disciplines (counseling, psychology, school psychology, social work, etc.) or who are concurrently enrolled in one of these programs are eligible to apply for the VoLT certificate. They must follow one of the following routes:

  • Students concurrently enrolled at Marshall University need only submit a Secondary Program Request form once they have completed the interview with counseling program faculty.
  • Master’s students at universities other than Marshall University may apply in the same way as one would apply for the full degree with the exception of designating “Professional Development - Certificate in Violence, Loss, and Trauma” as their intended program of study. They will submit the following materials:
    • an application
    • an application fee
    • a transcript from their current university
    • two (2) references
    • a written statement of goals which speaks to their desire to work with trauma victims (see the Guidelines for Written Statement on the Program website)
    • a letter from their program chair or director as evidence of their good standing in their current degree program.
  • Applicants who completed their degree in Counseling or a related Behavioral Health field at Marshall University may apply designating the “Professional Development - Certificate in Violence, Loss, and Trauma” and need to submit:
    • an application
    • an application fee
    • a written statement of goals which speaks to their desire to work with trauma victims (see the Guidelines for Written Statement on the Program website).
      (Note: Official MU transcripts will be obtained through the Banner system.)
  • Applicants who have completed their degree outside of Marshall University and wish to take the Certificate courses must apply in the same way as one would apply for the full degree with the exception of designating “Professional Development - Certificate in Violence, Loss, and Trauma” as their intended program of study.
    • an application
    • an application fee
    • a transcript from the university where they completed their master’s degree
    • two (2) references
    • a written statement of goals which speaks to their desire to work with trauma victims (see the Guidelines for Written Statement on the program website).

Licensure/Certification

Applicants who wish to take a limited number of courses to complete the requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor or for their School Counseling certification will submit the following materials:

Licensed Professional Counselor Applicants

Applicants who need to take graduate coursework to complete the education requirements for the LPC in West Virginia are invited to apply as non-degree students (see Admission Classifications under the Admissions Information section in the Graduate Catalog for more information). These students will submit:

  • an application
  • an application fee
  • a transcript from the university where they completed their master’s degree.
  • a statement of intent stating what courses they are being directed by the WVBEC or other state board to take

School Counseling Certification Applicants

Applicants who wish to obtain the School Counseling Certification after having completed a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling are invited to apply as non-degree students as well. However, the courses specified for completing the school certification will be determined by a transcript review completed by program faculty. The students will submit:

  • an application
  • an application fee
  • a transcript from the university where they completed their master’s degree.
  • a statement of intent that designates the School Counseling certification as their purpose for taking courses

Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Violence, Loss and Trauma Counseling

Note: Professional Continuing Education coursework offered in the certificate program will be eligible for continuing education units by the Counseling Board of Examiners.

The graduate certificate program of Advanced Studies in Violence, Loss, and Trauma Counseling (VoLT) is completed in one of two ways:

  1. First, the student may be accepted into the Counseling program and take the certification courses in conjunction with the required degree courses and graduate with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling in addition to a graduate certificate denoting this area of specialty.
  2. Second, for those holding master’s degrees in counseling or related fields, the certificate coursework may be taken as a stand-alone program to be completed in one to two years.

This program is currently the state’s only graduate level initiative providing a sequential, specialized professional development opportunity for mental health professionals who contribute to the identification of and interventions in these specialty areas.

Admission Requirements

Students already enrolled in the Counseling program, in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling area of emphasis, should submit to Graduate Admissions a Secondary Program Request form: www.marshall.edu/graduate/secondary-program-request-form.

Prospective certificate-only students should apply for admission to Marshall University as a Certificate/Professional Development student and select on the application form the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Violence, Loss, and Trauma Counseling (VoLT).

It is expected that enrollees of this program will generally be engaged in clinical practice or some support aspect of direct client service and/or intervention where family violence, bereavement, or trauma have been identified or suspected.

Admission requirements for the certificate program include the following:

  • Concurrent enrollment in a Master’s degree in counseling, social work, psychology, or related field, or
  • A master’s degree in counseling, social work, psychology, or related field, or
  • Departmental approval.

Program Requirements

It is the responsibility of all admitted students to meet with their advisors prior to the beginning of coursework. Each student must complete an advisor-approved Plan of Study prior to registering for courses. A minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0 in all degree courses is required prior to enrollment in the practicum, internship, and for graduation.

Core Courses

All 45 hours of core courses are offered on both the South Charleston and Huntington campuses. Please note that internship courses are specific to emphasis areas.

Core Curriculum

The Master of Arts degree in Counseling is a 60 hour planned program of study designed to meet the necessary competencies of professional counselors. The curricular elements consist of core courses required of all counseling students and emphasis courses specific to Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling.

Comprehensive Exam

All students will take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) prior to graduation. Students must apply to sit for the exam no later than two (2) weeks prior to the exam date. Payment for the exam is expected when checking in on exam day. Students should plan to take the exam one semester prior to their expected final semester. Detailed information regarding this will be distributed to students each semester.

Plan of Study

Core Curriculum

The following 45 semester hours of core courses are required of all students:

Core Courses
COUN 574Social & Cultural Found3
COUN 575Prev & Treat of Addict3
COUN 600Professional Orientation3
COUN 602Human Devel and Adjustment3
EDF 621Educ Research & Writing3
COUN 603Counseling Theories3
COUN 604Group Coun & Tech3
COUN 605Theory Prac Human Appr3
COUN 607Coun Tech & Human Relat3
COUN 631Diag & Treatment Planning3
COUN 632Intro Mar/Coup & Fam Coun3
COUN 606Career & Lifestyle Develop3
COUN 608Practicum3
COUN 691Intern Mental Health Coun3
COUN 698Internship in School Coun3
Total Credit Hours45

Please check course prerequisites prior to registration.

All emphases (60 hours) satisfy the curricular requirements for professional counselor licensure in the State of West Virginia.

Areas of Emphasis

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

In addition to the core courses, students specializing in Clinical Mental Health Counseling must complete the following emphasis courses:

COUN 555Crisis Int & Conf Res3
COUN 630Intro to Ment Health Coun3
Advisor-Approved Electives9
Total Credit Hours15

Total credit hours (including core) - 60

School Counseling

The School Counseling curriculum meets the State Department of Education certification standards. An alternative school counseling program is available for students without a teacher education background to qualify for West Virginia certification as school counselors. In addition to the core courses, students specializing in School Counseling must complete the following emphasis courses:

COUN 670Interv Current Issues Sch3
COUN 672Org & Admin of Sch Coun Prog3
COUN 673Coun Child Adol Parents3
COUN 675Leg/Ethical Issues for Coun3
Advisor-Approved Elective3
Total Credit Hours15

Total credit hours (including core) - 60

Certification Requirements for School Counselors

Students in School Counseling must meet certification requirements established by the West Virginia Department of Education. All students must pass the Praxis II: Specialty Area Test (formerly the National Teachers Examination) in School Counseling prior to applying for certification. Applications for certification are available in the central offices of the county school systems. An alternative school counseling program certification is available for students without a teacher education background to qualify for West Virginia certification as elementary or secondary school counselors.

Students who do not hold a valid West Virginia teaching certificate (non-education majors) must submit passing scores on the Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) prior to enrollment in courses leading to certification.

Non-education majors must also complete 6 hours of additional coursework from the following:

Alternative Certification Courses
EDF 665Sociology of Amer Schools3
CISP 521Child w Exceptionalities (check with advisor)3
Total Credit Hours6

Total credit hours with Alternative Certification (including core) - 66

Elective Course Options
Select 15 hours of the following:15
Crisis Int & Conf Res
Death & Grief Counseling
Stress Management Counseling
Pharmacology in Counseling
Special Topics
Special Topics
Special Topics
Special Topics
Independent Study
Independent Study
Seminar in Counseling
Workshop in Counseling
Family Violence
Coun Victims Dom Violence
Tr in Trauma Recovery
Psychophys of Trauma
Treating Complex Trauma & Loss
Military Cult & Treat Vets
Trauma and Suffering
Total Credit Hours15