School Counseling (MA in Professional School Counseling)

Master of Arts in Professional School Counseling

Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling
Reich College of Education

Leroy Baruth, Chair and Professor

Elizabeth Graves, Graduate Program Director and Assistant Professor

The Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling offers the Master of Arts in Professional School Counseling (Major Code: 427A/13.1101)[T]

In addition, the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling offers the Master of Arts in College Student Development, the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, and Graduate Certificates in Addiction Counseling, Expressive Arts Therapy, and Systemic Multicultural Counseling. These programs are detailed under separate headings in this bulletin. A student proposing to major in any of the degree programs or to seek licensure through the Department must be fully admitted as degree seeking.

The department also provides group methods, human relations, and other human development courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels for the Reich College of Education and the University. These courses are valuable for majors in other departments. A course in life and career planning and courses in leadership development are offered for undergraduate students. The department offers a variety of summer institutes to enhance the learning of both graduate students and practitioners seeking continuing education opportunities in human service fields.

All courses are taught from a multicultural perspective, which emphasizes the differing experiences, cultures, histories, and perspectives of people from a variety of ethnic, gender, racial, and social class backgrounds.

The Professional School Counseling program is designed to meet North Carolina licensure requirements and to prepare counselors for elementary, middle, and secondary schools.

Accreditation: The master's degree program in Professional School Counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body. Graduates are immediately eligible to take the examination of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc., to become National Certified Counselors (NCC). The Professional School Counseling program is also accredited/approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

Master Of Arts Program Requirements/Options: The basic requirements for the program are listed below. In addition to the curriculum listed under each program, the following items apply:

  • A first master's degree in Professional School Counseling requires completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours of approved courses.
  • A second master's degree requires meeting all program course requirements with a minimum of 39 semester hours.
  • Students in CACREP approved programs in the department must meet for a minimum of 10 clock hours in a planned group activity intended to provide direct experiences as a participant in a small group. This requirement is met during HPC 5790 and/or HPC 6720.
  • On an individual basis, students may be required to receive professional counseling to aid them in their personal growth.
  • The Handbook of Policies and Procedures available in the HPC office provides information on liability insurance, academic appeals, retention policy, personal endorsement policy, admissions policies, and placement services.
  • Permission forms to take practica and internships are available in the HPC office and must be completed prior to registration.
  • Applicants for Professional School Counseling are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and have an interview.


Admission Requirements: Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university; complete application to the Graduate School; official general GRE exam scores; completed Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling questionnaire; interview.

To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the criteria for admission to the Graduate School. Meeting this condition does not guarantee admission.

Location: On Campus

 Course Requirements for the Master of Arts in Professional School Counseling (Code: 427A)
Semester Hours Required (minimum): 60
Required Courses

Students should pay particular attention to the prerequisites listed in each course description; the curriculum is carefully structured to ensure that students have the necessary prerequisite knowledge before enrolling in courses.

  • RES 5000: Research Methods (3)
  • HPC 5110: Multicultural Counseling (3)
  • HPC 5140: Psychological and Educational Testing (3)
  • HPC 5210: Life and Career Planning (3)
  • HPC 5220: Counseling Theory and Techniques (3)
  • HPC 5225: The Helping Relationship (3)
  • HPC 5272: Individual and Family Development (3)
  • HPC 5310: Introduction to Professional School Counseling (3)
  • HPC 5754: Legal and Ethical Issues in Professional School Counseling (3)
  • HPC 5790: Group Methods and Processes (3)
  • HPC 5900: Practicum in Counseling (3)
  • HPC 6290: Child and Adolescent Therapy (3)
  • HPC 6452: Seminar in Professional School Counseling (3)
  • HPC 6620: School-Based Consultation (3)
  • HPC 6900: Internship in Professional School Counseling (6)
Thesis Option (CHOOSE ONE)

With Thesis:

  • HPC 5999: Thesis (4)
  • 8 s.h. of approved graduate electives; specific elective courses chosen for this concentration must be approved by the graduate advisor in advance

Without Thesis

  • 12 s.h. of approved graduate electives; specific elective courses chosen for this concentration must be approved by the graduate advisor in advance

Other Requirements for the MA in Professional School Counseling:

  • Thesis: Optional
  • Proficiency: Not required
  • Candidacy: Not required
  • Comprehensive: Required; students should take the required courses (excluding the Internship) prior to taking the comprehensive exam.
  • Product of Learning: Not required


Completion of the above program leads to eligibility for licensure in North Carolina on the condition that minimum PRAXIS test requirements are met.

Endorsement for professional school counseling licensure from Appalachian requires that applicants complete a master's degree program in professional school counseling. Applicants with a master's degree in fields other than professional school counseling must complete a second master's degree after following the regular admissions process through the Graduate School. Graduates from another HPC Master's degree program will be considered on an individual basis.

Internship: The internship (HPC 6900) is designed to be a full-time experience engaging in all of the activities of a counselor in a public school. These placements are arranged through consultation with the student's advisor. Part-time students already employed as school counselors may, with permission, complete their internship within the context of their job setting.

Students will need to receive clearance on a criminal background check and have a TB test prior to beginning practicum and internship placements.

In both required courses and electives, students are required to become familiar with the special needs and problems of the exceptional child and with methods of assisting youth with special needs.

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