Maggie Jacome, Director
The Master of Science in Counseling program prepares students for the counseling profession, which involves the application of the developmental and social sciences in assisting children and adults with psychological growth, relationship concerns, and social adjustment problems. Counselors work in schools, community agencies, churches, hospitals, industry and private practice. The SMU M.S. in Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Students acquire knowledge in the disciplines that underlie counseling, including education, psychology, human development, sociology, learning and social change. They develop clinical skills in counseling and assessment and become familiar with the legal, ethical and clinical considerations confronting practitioners. Repeated practice and role-play with feedback and strategic modification are critical to mastery of the skills and are, consequently, an essential part of the program.
The Counseling program offers three accredited specialty areas of study including Clinical Mental Health; Marriage, Couple and Family; and School Counseling. In addition, students may pursue elective concentrations in Addiction, Child and Adolescent, Expressive Arts Therapies, and LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy.
Successful graduates are able to pursue state licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and/or Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors, as well as obtain the Certified School Counselor credential, depending on designated specialization and electives. Students who have completed the requisite coursework and clinical experience requirements may also pursue credentials as Registered Play Therapists or Registered Expressive Arts Therapists.
Prospective students applying to the master’s program must attend a group interview and submit a background check. Program applicants must also submit the following through the online application process:
- A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
- Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- A 250-word essay explaining why the applicant wants to study counseling.
- An acceptable GRE graduate school entry exam score for an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale).
Applicant must also pay a $75 application fee.
English Proficiency Requirements. If English is not your native language, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and submit your score with the online application.
Requirements for the Degree
The Master of Science degree in counseling is a 63 credit-hour degree that includes a common core curriculum of 54 credit hours across all three specialties.
Common Core Curriculum
Applicable to all:
Clinical Mental Health Specialty
This Specialty fulfills the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. Students must take three elective courses. Elective courses may be taken according to student interest, or may be taken to concentrate in particular areas. Students should be aware that some courses that count as electives may be required in order to work with certain populations in the Center for Family Counseling. Electives for the Clinical Mental Health Specialty should be chosen from the following list:
Marriage, Couple and Family Specialty
The Marriage, Couple and Family (MCF) Specialty fulfills the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) as well as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) licensure in the state of Texas. In addition to the common core curriculum, students following the Marriage, Couple and Family Specialty will also need to complete the following courses for a total of 63 credit hours:
School Counseling Specialty
The School Counseling Specialty prepares students to pursue certification as elementary or secondary School Counselors. The School Counseling Specialty also fulfills the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Texas. Students considering this specialty must have teaching experience prior to starting the program. In addition to the common core curriculum, students following the School Counseling Specialty will need to complete two of the three courses listed below plus one additional class from the list of electives for a total of 63 credit hours:
During the summer term, students may earn credit toward the master’s degree program by completing Dispute Resolution coursework at off-site venues such as Italy and Croatia. In addition, students may complete one-week intensive courses on a Disney Cruise, in Australia or at the University’s campus in Taos, New Mexico.