Counseling and Special Education

M.Ed. school counseling concentration

M.Ed. students celebrate school counseling week

The M.Ed. in counselor education with a concentration in school counseling is a 48-credit-hour program designed to prepare counselors for elementary, middle and high schools. The school counseling concentration leads to school counseling licensure and preparation for advanced graduate work at the post-master’s level. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) and requires a minimum of two years of study to complete.

The school counseling concentration prepares students for positions as professional school counselors. Students who successfully complete the program are eligible for licensure or provisional licensure as school counselors in pk-12 settings. In addition to meeting the academic requirements delineated below, students in the school counseling Track must meet the technology standards approved by the Virginia Board of Education and supply proof of Child Abuse Recognition and Intervention Training.

In 2016, Drs. Donna Gibson and Laron Scott (Department of Counseling and Special Education faculty) were awarded a Federal Grant for School Counseling. For five years, they will recruit and train school counseling students to provide related services specific to transition planning for students receiving PK-12 special education in public schools. The next recruitment cycle will begin in 2017-2018 for students who are applying for the counselor education program-school counseling track that begins in Summer 2018.


Program core (39 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 604 – Practicum: School Counseling
  • CLED 605 – Career Information and Exploration
  • CLED 606 – Assessment Techniques for Counselors
  • CLED 607 – Multicultural Counseling in Education
  • CLED 612 – Seminar in Counseling
  • CLED 613 – Data Driven Comprehensive School Counseling
  • CLED 622 – School Counseling Services
  • CLED 672 – Internship: pk-12 School Counseling (six credits)

Foundation of Education courses (nine credit hours)

  • CLED/EDUS 615 – Lifespan Development: A Gender Perspective
  • EDUS 660 – Research Methods in Education
  • EDUS 673 – Seminar on Educational Issues, Ethics and Policy

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