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The M.S. program emphasizes counseling in community and agency settings, including university and college counseling centers. The master's degree emphasizes service delivery, and its practica/internship components reflect that emphasis. The curriculum stresses knowledge and development of skills in individual and group counseling, consultation, research, ethics, multiculturalism, social justice, and vocational psychology. Supervised practicum experiences are available through the training clinic, university counseling centers, community mental health centers, and numerous other campus units and community agencies. Students are prepared to work predominantly as practitioners in community agencies, post-secondary educational institutions, business and industry. The program fulfills academic requirements to become a licensed professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin.

The sequence of required courses combined with lab and field experiences can be planned on either a full- or part-time basis, but care must be taken in proper sequencing of courses for those attending part-time. Those students enrolling on a full-time basis typically complete the program in two years, including summer classes. For more information, visit the program website.

Fall Deadline January 5
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Admissions Decisions

Admission to the program is highly competitive. Approximately 150 master's applications are received each year, and the department enrolls 10–12 new master's students per year. The Department of Counseling Psychology accepts applications for fall enrollment between early September and January 5th for the M.S. in Counseling program. There is no option for spring or summer initial enrollment in the department.  The applicant is responsible for collecting, assembling, and submitting all the pieces of the application by the January 5 deadline.  Applicants should submit their materials in electronic form.

Requirements

In addition to acquired academic competencies and counseling skills, the counseling profession requires a high level of ethical behavior, self-awareness and personal maturity. All are considered in assessing a student's fitness for a career as a professional counselor. The applicant will be expected to meet minimum requirements for admission set by the Graduate School. Department requirements are more rigorous. An undergraduate degree is required for the master's program.

Applicants should have 3 credit hours of introductory psychology and 3 credit hours in statistics or measurement/psychometrics/test construction.  If the applicant has not completed the necessary requirements at the time of application, he or she may be admitted with deficiencies and complete the course work in addition to the program requirements. Prior volunteer or paid work experience in community agencies is important for placement in community agencies for practicum.

Informational Meetings

A number of informational meetings are held each fall by our department. A list of these meetings can be found on our Information for Prospective M.S. Applicants page.

Application Procedure

Up-to-date information and requirements regarding applying to our M.S. program can be found on our Information for Prospective M.S. Applicants page.

Questions can be directed to the Student Services Coordinator. See the People tab for contact information.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Fellowships

  • Students may be eligible for an Ed-GRS fellowship. Ed-GRS is a community of first generation students and ethnically underrepresented students who are receiving an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF) in the School of Education. In addition to tuition remission, monthly stipend, and heath care benefits, the program strives to assist our fellows with first-year transition, community building, and professional development opportunities. To be eligible for AOF, a student must be a US citizen or US Permanent Resident, and be admitted to or enrolled in a graduate department. Preference is given to Wisconsin residents; students also must identify with one of the following groups: African American; Native American; Hispanic: Mexican Americans, Chicano/as, Puerto Ricans; Southeast Asians: Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and  Vietnamese; OR McNair Students (students who participated in a McNair Program) OR Wisconsin residents who are first generation to complete a Bachelors degree and who participated in a TRIO Program (Upward Bound, Talent Search, or Educational). The Graduate School administers this fellowship through Graduate Research Scholar Communities (GRS). AOF includes a stipend with remission of tuition (Fall and Spring semesters) and health insurance.  Both M.S. and Ph.D. applicants are eligible for the AOF.  The department nominates top eligible candidates for Ed-GRS automatically—no additional application materials are needed from the applicant. More information about AOFs can be found at https://grad.wisc.edu/currentstudents/academics/grs/.
  • Students interested in becoming a Residence Hall House Fellow should view the information available at https://www.housing.wisc.edu/residencehalls-life-staff.htm
  • Racial and ethnic minority students are encouraged to apply for the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program. Information is available at http://www.apa.org/pi/mfp/contact.aspx.

Assistantships

The Department of Counseling Psychology has a limited number of Project and Teaching Assistantships. Although master’s students occasionally receive assistantships in the department, assistantships within the department are primarily awarded to doctoral students. Master's students are encouraged to seek other forms of financial assistance. Other departments on campus do offer assistantships at the master's level and occasionally to students from outside their individual department; you may inquire to other departments directly.

Financial Aid

Information and application materials for financial aid, loans, scholarships, and student employment may be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Financial Aid at 333 East Campus Mall, Room 9701, Madison, WI 53706, 608-262-3060. International applicants are encouraged to seek other forms of financial assistance as international students are not eligible for loans and scholarships.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 60 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (30 credits out of 60 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students are required to attain a minimum course grade of B for all coursework that fulfills the 60-credit requirement.
Assessments and Examinations The Professional Integration Exercise (PIE) is a capstone experience for all master’s students, where they have the opportunity to pull together their learning and skills and their overall professional identity. Through this oral clinical case conceptualization, they have the opportunity to demonstrate to the faculty their readiness as a master’s-level clinician. The PIE will be conducted in late spring during students’ second year of training.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

The M.S. degree in counseling requires that students satisfactorily complete coursework, practica experiences, and a professional integration experience. Students earn a minimum of 60 graduate credits. Coursework beyond the 60- credit minimum may be required of students entering with course deficiencies, as enumerated in their letters of admission. Students seeking licensure or certification out of state should check with those states’ particular requirements.

The curriculum has been revised in accordance with changes in Wisconsin State licensing requirements with courses only offered once each year. The master’s program is a two-year plan that students should follow. The offering of courses is designed for students following the course sequence. In cases where there may be departures from the recommended course sequence, students who depart from the course sequence may be delayed in completing the program and need to consult with their advisors to determine the best course sequence. Students are expected to complete any program deficiencies before they begin the program or during the first semester, at the latest.

The following is an outline of the required courses:

COUN PSY 700 Practicum Activities (1 credit fall; 1 credit spring)2
COUN PSY/​ED PSYCH  723 Developmental Processes Across the Life Span3
COUN PSY/​RP & SE  730 Professional Counseling Orientation3
COUN PSY 740 Abnormal Behavior and Psychopathology3
COUN PSY 745 Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning for Counselors3
COUN PSY 777 Crisis and Trauma Counseling3
COUN PSY 791 Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling3
COUN PSY 800 Theories of Counseling3
COUN PSY 802 Group Dynamics Processing and Counseling3
COUN PSY 805 Helping Relationships and Techniques3
COUN PSY 806 Supervised Practicum in Counseling3
COUN PSY 808 Supervised Internship in Counseling (take in fall and spring)2-5
COUN PSY 825 Counseling Psychology Techniques With Families3
COUN PSY 860 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling3
COUN PSY 865 Lifestyle and Career Development3
COUN PSY 810 Professional Development and Clinical Practice (if needed for additional internship hours)1-6
RP & SE 700 Research Methods in Rehabilitation, Mental Health, & Special Education (Research and Evaluation)3
RP & SE 720 Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling - Assessment3
RP & SE 721 Addictions Counseling3

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions towards the 60-credit minimum requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Coursework taken as part of a student's undergraduate program of study will not be counted towards the 60-credit requirement.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

When concerns arise about a student’s performance which warrants immediate attention, a non-routine review will be initiated. Concerns that would prompt a non-routine review include: academic proficiency (e.g., grade of BC or lower in a required course); clinical competence and/or termination from a practicum placement; interpersonal functioning; and/or unethical behaviors and/or interactions. The student will be notified of the concern by his/her advisor or the training director. The Master’s Training Committee will discuss the matter to determine whether the concern will be taken to the full faculty for consultation and/or decision. An ad hoc committee will work with the student to create a "development plan" or a "remediation plan" (i.e., student is under probation), depending on the seriousness of the issue(s). If the concern persists after the remediation plan or the issue(s) are deemed irremediable, the committee may recommend dismissal from the program to the full faculty. If the full faculty vote is in agreement with the recommendation for dismissal, the student will be dismissed from the program.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Upon admission to the master’s program, students will be assigned a faculty advisor to facilitate their entry to the program. The faculty advisor has several responsibilities, which include: assisting students with course selection; guiding students’ clinical and professional development; guiding students’ research, including master’s thesis (optional); and giving final approval for master’s work. The advisor is also available to answer other questions and concerns that may arise regarding departmental procedures, licensure issues and practicum placement.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

If students have been absent for five or more years they must petition the counseling psychology faculty, in writing, for readmission. If successful, they must file a new Graduate School application for admission and submit it with a new application fee. Master’s students who do not enroll for a period of five or more years are required to retake some or all Program coursework. All coursework, including deficiencies, must be completed within eight years of admission to the program.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Any student who feels that they have been treated unfairly by a faculty or staff member has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing of the grievance, following these grievance procedures. The complaint may concern course grades, classroom treatment, program admission, or other issues. To insure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect both the rights of the student and the person at whom the complaint is addressed, the procedures below are used in the School of Education.

The person whom the complaint is directed against must be an employee of the School of Education. Any student or potential student may use these procedures unless the complaint is covered by other campus rules or contracts. The following steps are available within the School of Education when a student has a grievance:

  1. The student should first talk with the person against whom the grievance is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. If the complaint is directed against a teaching assistant, and the student is not satisfied, the next step would be to talk to the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. If the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, the student may continue to step 2.
  2. If the complaint does not involve an academic department, the procedure outlined in Step 4 below should be followed. If the complaint involves an academic department, the student should contact the chair of the department. The chair will attempt to resolve the problem informally. If this cannot be done to the student's satisfaction, the student may submit the grievance to the chair in writing. This must be done within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  3. On receipt of a written complaint, the chair will refer the matter to a departmental committee, which will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed. This response shall be shared with the person filing the grievance. The chair will provide a timely written decision to the student on the action taken by the committee.
  4. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the department, they have five working days from receipt of the decision to contact the dean's office (at the number below), indicating the intention to appeal. If the complaint does not involve an academic department in the school, the student must contact the dean's office within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  5. In either case, there will be an attempt to resolve the issue informally by the associate dean. If this cannot be done, the complaint can be filed in writing with the dean's office. This must be done within 10 working days of the time the appealing party was notified that informal resolution was unsuccessful.
  6. On receipt of such a written complaint, the associate dean will convene a subcommittee of the school's Equity & Diversity Committee. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and may hold a hearing at which both parties will be asked to speak separately. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the dean of the School of Education who will render a decision. Unless a longer time is negotiated, this written decision shall be made within 20 working days from the date when the grievance was filed with the dean's office.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.

State law contains additional provisions regarding discrimination and harassment. Wisconsin Statutes 36.12 reads, in part: "No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the system or its institutions or center because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status." In addition, UW–System prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Students have the right to file discrimination and harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, 361 Bascom Hall, 608-265-6018, uwcomplianceoffice@wisc.edu.

Other

n/a

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Develop knowledge foundational to the practice of mental health counseling including normative and nonnormative human development; individual, group, and couples/family counseling; cultural and social diversity. measurement and evaluation; and exposure to crisis, trauma, and stress.
  2. Develop skills for effective individual, family, and group counseling for mental health concerns and well-being as well as effective consultation, evaluation and progress monitoring.
  3. Apply principles associated with multiculturalism, polyculturalism, and social justice.
  4. Develop understanding, identification with and comportment with the profession of mental health counseling including standards of care, moral and ethical principles, professional identity, professional relationships, professional demeanor, self-reflection, and awareness of impact on others.

Faculty:  Professors Quintana (Chair), Hoyt, Gloria, and Thompson; Associate Professors Budge and Wright; Assistant Professors Frost and Goldberg; Faculty Associate Lotta; Clinical Associate Professor Graham; Clinical Assistant Professors Ramírez Stege and Her

Student Services Coordinator: Andrea Burdick.

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:

The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin

The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Not applicable

The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming; District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands