The Master of Science degree program in Counseling provides academic, clinical, and dispositional training related to professional counseling. This program prepares students for professional counseling careers in a variety of diverse settings including community mental health agencies, hospitals, private practices, churches/ministries, human and social service agencies, college/student counseling centers, and addiction/substance abuse treatment centers. Graduates of this program are eligible to pursue licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) or Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) in most states. Specifically, this degree was designed to meet the educational requirements for licensure (LPC) in the state of Arkansas. The M.S. in Counseling can be paired with emphases in specialized therapies, including Marriage & Family Therapy, Play Therapy, and Adventure Therapy.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students will demonstrate an understanding of a spiritual/religious/Christian worldview as it relates to counseling practice (Christ-centered).
Students will identify, develop, and demonstrate personal and professional counseling dispositions (Personal Development).
Students will demonstrate mastery of core counseling knowledge (Academic Excellence).
Students will synthesize and apply core clinical skills with diverse populations and problems (Clinical Competency).
Professional Development Gates
The Department of Graduate Counseling performs summative evaluations of student learning, performance, and development across five extracurricular Professional Development Gates. These “gates” are scheduled checkpoints throughout the counseling program where key areas of student functioning are evaluated by Department of Graduate Counseling faculty. The entire gate evaluation process serves to help identify trainee development, competency level, and possible deficiencies across multiple points in the program.
Gate 1 - Admissions
This gate evaluates knowledge and disposition of program applicants as follows:
- Knowledge - undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher OR GRE score of 290 or higher with a minimum verbal score of 145.
- Disposition - disposition quotient of 3 or higher on the PDCA-RA with no areas of concern noted as rated by Department of Graduate Counseling faculty based on admissions interview.
Gate 2 - Upon completion of 12 credit hours of DGC coursework
This gate evaluates knowledge and disposition of Department of Graduate Counseling students upon completion of 12 credits in graduate counseling coursework as follows:
- Knowledge - cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher across first 12 credits in Department of Graduate Counseling courses with no areas of academic concern as noted by Department of Graduate Counseling faculty.
- Disposition - disposition quotient of 3 or higher on the PDCA-RA across first 12 credits in Department of Graduate Counseling courses with no areas of concern as noted by Department of Graduate Counseling faculty.
Gate 3 - Pre-Practicum
This gate evaluates knowledge, skills, and disposition of Department of Graduate Counseling students prior to beginning entry-level clinical work (Practicum) as follows:
- Knowledge/Skills/Disposition - KPIs across Practicum pre-requisites must receive a “meet expectation” rating or higher with no areas of concern noted by Department of Graduate Counseling faculty.
Gate 4 - Pre-Graduation
Students in their last semester of the counseling program are evaluated for their “readiness” (knowledge, skills, and disposition) to graduate and begin post-graduate clinical work as follows:
- Knowledge/Skills/Disposition - KPIs across entire program must receive a “meet expectation” rating or higher with no areas of concern noted by Department of Graduate Counseling faculty.
- Knowledge - pass Comprehensive Exam.
Students must take all courses in their final semester within the Department of Graduate Counseling to ensure that final key performance and dispositional indicators can be assessed by program faculty.
Department of Graduate Counseling faculty will provide each student with an “Approved”, “Approved with Conditions”, or “Denied” evaluation rating at each gate. Students receiving an “Approved” rating successfully pass through a gate and may continue in the program in good standing. Students receiving an “Approved with Conditions” rating will be allowed to pass through a gate contingent upon engaging/completing the conditions outlined by the Department of Graduate Counseling faculty. Students receiving a “Denied” rating will be referred for Student Remediation and not be allowed to enroll in or matriculate through Department of Graduate Counseling coursework until the remedial plan has been successfully completed. Results of Professional Development Gates evaluations are provided to students in writing and considered academic decisions. To this end, students may appeal results of a formal Professional Development Gates evaluation/academic decision at any gate by following the Academic Grievance Policy.
The faculty and staff are committed to providing curricular, clinical, and remedial opportunities for students to develop professional competencies throughout the counseling degree program. The Department of Graduate Counseling faculty, staff, site supervisors, and program constituents retain the right to intervene with students and recommend remediation or dismissal from the Department of Graduate Counseling at any point in the counseling degree program.
Student Remediation is a process where Department of Graduate Counseling faculty assist students in addressing and overcoming issues, concerns, or deficiencies related to student’s professional behavior and functioning. Student Remediation is not a punitive process, but an opportunity for students to develop and demonstrate growth related to their personal and professional functioning as a counselor-in-training. Student remediation is a faculty-driven process in accordance with the ACA Ethical Codes governing gatekeeping/remediation.
Details on the student remediation process can be found in the Department of Graduate Counseling Handbook .
Satisfactory completion of all required course work with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and all CNL courses must have a grade of B- (Satisfactory) or better.
Satisfactory completion of all required Professional Development and/or Student Remediation Plans demonstrating evidence of growth and development as a counselor trainee and readiness to enter professional practice as outlined in the Department of Graduate Counseling Handbook .
- Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive exam (CPCE) with a passing score as outlined in the Department of Graduate Counseling Handbook .
Requirements for the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Counseling