Department of School, Family and Mental Health Professions
Program of Study
The master’s degree in Counseling first trains students to become professional counselors. Professional counseling is the application of mental health, psychological and human development principles. Professional counselors prevent, diagnose and treat mental, emotional or behavioral disorders and provide services when clients experience life stresses that interfere with mental health. Some goals of counseling interventions are:
- To promote optimal development throughout the lifespan
- To apply preventative interventions that decrease the potential for future problems by providing clients with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to work constructively with life challenges
- To provide services that promote wellness, personal growth, career development, lifelong learning and planning for life transitions as well as services that address mental health problems or concerns.
Professional counselors serve at all levels of schools and universities, in hospitals, mental health agencies, rehabilitation facilities, business and industry, correctional institutions, religious organizations, community centers and private practice. They work with people of all ages, races, cultural backgrounds, and circumstances to help them maximize their potential, make positive changes in their lives, and achieve their goals. You may wish to visit the American Counseling Association for additional information.
Our school counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Students in the School Counseling specialization plan to be school counselors in elementary, middle and high school settings or to work with agencies serving K-12 children and their families. Students have knowledge and skills in student advocacy as well as in the design, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive, results-based guidance and counseling programs. The School Counseling Specialization also stresses the development of leadership skills in transforming school counseling. The requirements for the California Pupil Personnel Services Credential with emphasis in School Counseling can be met as part of this degree program. You may wish to visit the American School Counselors Association and the California Association for School Counselors for more information on a career in school counseling.
- To create a supportive and collaborative learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds and cultures to acquire knowledge, attitudes, and skills essential in the practice of counseling.
- To help students become exemplary in applying essential counseling knowledge and skills in a variety of settings with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
- To promote, model, and develop our students to become leaders and advocates for ethical practice of counseling.
At SOLES, all master's and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally.
For many students, this experience will include a one- to two-week, faculty-led course abroad. For students who prefer to stay in southern California, this experience may be fulfilled through research or coursework on international issues. Service trips and site visits across the border in Tijuana are offered regularly.
Counseling courses with an international component include:
- Multicultural Counseling in Costa Rica (Summer 2012)
- Career Counseling Across the Lifespan in Costa Rica (Summer 2012)
- Multicultural Counseling in Jamaica (Summer 2013)
- Multicultural Counseling in Spain (Summer 2013)
- Introduction to Family Counseling in the Bahamas (Fall 2013)
I. Core Courses (27 units)
|COUN 507||Professional Orientation and Law and Ethics in School Counseling||3|
|COUN 505||Human Development||3|
|COUN 508||Research Methods in Counseling||3|
|COUN 510||Career Development Across the Lifespan||3|
|COUN 515||Multicultural Counseling||3|
|COUN 520||Counseling Psychology: Theory and Practice||3|
|COUN 526||Group Counseling||3|
|COUN 530||Assessment Techniques in Counseling||3|
|COUN 532||Counseling Skills||3|
II. School Counseling Specialization (18 units)
|COUN 509||Action Research in School Counseling||3|
|COUN 518||Organization of Student Support Programs||3|
|COUN 536||Applied Theory and Techniques in School Counseling||3|
|COUN 537||Consultation, Crisis Intervention, and Trauma Counseling in Schools||3|
|COUN 588P||School-Based Practicum||3|
|COUN 590F||Fieldwork in School Settings (Minimum of 2 semesters required)||3|
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will the program take me?
Full-time students complete their degree in 2 years. Part-time students complete their degree in 2.5-3 years.
How many units are included?
This program consists of 48 Graduate Units.
When are classes scheduled?
Each class typically meets once per week at 4:00 or 7:00 p.m. for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Some classes are offered at 1:00 p.m. Most students take 2-3 classes per semester. Summer and intersession classes typically hold more frequent class meetings.
Students also participate in practicum and fieldwork experiences that take place during the school day.
Can I work while completing this program?
It is difficult to work full-time while completing this program. Though classes typically take place late in the day, students also complete field experiences that are during the daytime hours.
Some students choose to hold part-time jobs on- or off-campus while completing the program.
Is this program offered online?
No, this program is offered on campus at the University of San Diego only. There is no online, hybrid, or distance learning option available.