Counseling and Special Education

M.Ed. college student development and counseling concentration

A group of master's students pose at a national conference.

The mission of the college student development and counseling concentration of the VCU Department of Counseling and Special Education’s M.Ed. program is to prepare critically reflective counselors with specialized knowledge and skills required for placement in higher education institutions (i.e., college, universities).

Through coursework and clinical experiences, students graduate having a knowledge of basic counseling theory and practice, competencies in essential counseling services, skills necessary to evaluate evidence-based research and implement it in practice, and a dedication to continuing professional development. Their professional identity as a professional counselor as a leader and advocate comes from applying this knowledge in diverse settings with diverse populations of adult learners in higher education.


Program core (36 credit hours)

  • CLED 600 – Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice in Counseling
  • CLED 601 – Theories of Counseling
  • CLED 602 – Techniques of Counseling
  • CLED 603 – Group Procedures in Counseling
  • CLED 605 – Career Information and Exploration
  • CLED 606 – Assessment Techniques for Counselors
  • CLED 607 – Multicultural Counseling in Education
  • CLED 608 – Practicum: College Student Development and Counseling
  • CLED 612 – Seminar in Counseling
  • CLED 620 – Student Development Services in Higher Education
  • CLED 672 – Internship: College Student Development and Counseling (six credits)

Foundation of Education courses (nine credit hours)

  • CLED/EDUS 615 – Lifespan Development: A Gender Perspective
  • EDUS/CLED 631 – American Colleges and Universities
  • EDUS 660 – Research Methods in Education


  • Three credit hours of approved electives

Full-time and Part-time student schedules

There are part-time and full-time course schedule options that begin in the summer and fall semesters. Please see the most recent M.Ed. in Counselor Education Handbook for these course schedules.


Comprehensive Exam

A final, comprehensive examination is required of all degree candidates. In order to be eligible to take the comprehensive exam, students must have completed CLED/EDUS 615 and EDUS 660 and all counseling core courses (excluding Practicum and Internship). Students are exempt from these requirements if they are graduating in the semester in which the exam is given. Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they take the exam.

The comprehensive exam is a nationally standardized exam for counselors-in-training. It consists of 160 questions. There are 20 items in each of the following areas:

  • Human growth and development: studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.
  • Social and cultural foundations: studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.
  • Helping relationships: studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes (Theories and Techniques).
  • Group work: studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.
  • Career and lifestyle development: studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors.
  • Appraisal: studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.
  • Research and program evaluation: studies that provide an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research.
  • Professional orientation and ethics: studies that provide an understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing (based on the ACA Code of Ethics)

The comprehensive exam is given two times per year: on the first Saturday in October and on the third Saturday in March. (Dates are subject to change if there is a conflict with University holidays.) Students must apply to take the exam at least one week prior to the exam date. Students will be notified about registering for the exam via email.

Graduation application information