Professional Counseling

Program Contact Information
M. Alan Saginak
Department Chair and Program Coordinator
Office: Nursing/ Education 1
Telephone: (920) 424-1475
Web Site:

I. Faculty


II. Purpose

The graduate program in counseling is designed to prepare counseling professionals for schools (K 12), higher education settings and clinical mental health counseling agencies. 

III. Degree
Completion of the program will lead to the degree: Master of Science in Education (MSE).

IV. Additional Admissions Requirements Information

Admission to the Professional Counseling program is a two-part process:


A. Admission to Graduate Studies

Please refer to the Office of Graduate Studies admission requirements outlined in the first section of this Bulletin.  The Graduate Studies office forwards completed applications to the department.


B. Admission to the Professional Counseling Program

1. Applicants submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • Resume - A current, typewritten resume outlining previous work experience, volunteer service and educational activity that support the applicant’s desire to enter the counseling profession.

  • A Miller Analogies Test (MAT) score report


2. The Professional Counseling Admissions Committee reviews applicant files and invites those applicants selected to campus for on-campus interviews.

3. Applicants who are selected to proceed in the admissions process are notified of the dates and times for required on-campus interviews. Those who are not selected are notified in writing by the Office of Graduate Studies that they have not been admitted to the program.

4. Within two weeks of the on-campus interviews, the department notifies applicants in writing whether they have been granted or denied admission.

5. When admitted, students have one calendar year from the date of acceptance to begin their coursework. Students who do not begin coursework within one year must reapply.


Admission Standards

1. Grade-Point Average

The department seeks applicants with a minimum, undergraduate grade-point average of 3.00 overall, or 3.25 in the last one-half of their undergraduate program. If an applicant’s grade-point average is below 3.00, then the department may require additional supporting documentation. Such documentation can include: 

  • Graduate Record Exam scores
  • Summary of educational achievements and goals not reflected in grade-point-average. 
  • Two additional letters of reference from individuals who attest to the applicant's ability to successfully complete graduate work. 
  • Official documentation of grades of B or higher in counseling-related graduate courses. 


2. Application Supplement

The department seeks applicants whose supplements:

  • Clearly articulate professional goals that are compatible with the degree being sought.
  • Demonstrate an ability to meaningfully reflect on—and grow from—life experiences.
  • Convey a commitment to graduate study.
  • Reveal writing skills commensurate with graduate study.


3. References

The department seeks applicants with at least 2 letters of reference from individuals who have direct knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications. Letters should address:

  • Professional experience, skills and attitudes.
  • Academic ability and potential for graduate study.
  • Interpersonal skills that may indicate success in counselor-training program.
  • Professional Counselor dispositions.


4. Resume

The department seeks applicants with two years (or equivalent) experience in human services. This experience may be in the form of professional employment, volunteer service or internship experiences.


5. The Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

6. On-Campus Interviews

The department seeks applicants who demonstrate the following during the on-campus interviews:

  • Understanding of the counseling profession.
  • Awareness of the demands of graduate study.
  • Professional demeanor.
  • Compatibility with professional counseling values and ethics, including support for a diversity of lifestyles and belief systems.
  • Indicators of flexibility in the above.


Application Deadlines

The deadline for applications and ALL supporting admission documentation is January 15. A complete application is one that provides the materials submitted by the applicant and includes all required materials provided by other sources. Applications received or completed after the deadline will be considered for the next application cycle. 


An application is considered complete when ALL of the following materials are received in the Office of Graduate Studies by January 15:

  • Office of Graduate Studies electronic application for admission

  • Application for admission fee ($56)

  • All undergraduate transcript(s)

  • Two (2) letters of reference

  • Professional Counseling Department Application Supplement

  • COEHS Disclosure Statement

  • Resume

  • The Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

V. Summary

A. Structure
The department offers three emphases: Clinical Mental Health Counseling School Counseling Student Affairs and College Counselor Within each emphasis area, students complete core, emphasis-specific and elective courses.

B. Academic Plans of Study
The following are the descriptions for the Professional Counseling plan(s) of study: Counseling (school) Counseling (clinical mental health) Counseling (student affairs and college counseling)

C. Minimum Unit (Cr.) Requirements
All emphases require 48 graduate credits except Clinical Mental Health Counseling which requires 60 graduate credits.

D. Admission to Candidacy
Students must satisfy fully the Office of Graduate Studies requirements for advancement to candidacy as stated in the first section of this Bulletin. Students must meet with their program coordinator to plan and receive program approval for their admission to candidacy. The Office of Graduate Studies gives final approval to Admission to Candidacy. In addition, students must complete a minimum of 15 credits and no more than 24 credits before applying for candidacy. Completed credits must include the following courses:
  • 701, Theoretical Foundations in Counseling (with a grade of 3.0 (B) or higher)
  • 702, Counseling Process (with a grade of 3.0 (B) or higher)
  • 731, Group Counseling Process (with a grade of B 3.0 or higher)
Transfer credits cannot be used to fulfill the 15 credits needed to apply for candidacy. Students must be admitted to candidacy in order to progress beyond 24 credits in the department and prior to enrolling in 794, Counseling Practicum. The department grants or denies candidacy through a full-faculty vote after close review of students' progress. Additional criteria are outlined in the department's student handbook.

E. Graduation Requirements
Candidates must satisfy all program and Office of Graduate Studies academic, culminating and degree requirements to be eligible for graduation and degree conferral.

VI. Degree Requirements

Core Courses:

Comprehensive Preparation Counseling Exam (CPCE) Successful completion of the CPCE is required. 



In addition to the core courses:



Students must consult with their adviser to select recommended electives.

Other Requirements

Culminating Experience
The culminating experience is the Counseling Internship II course (Counselor Education 798) and successful completion of the Comprehensive Preparation Counseling Exam (CPCE). Students completing the school counseling emphasis must also complete a portfolio. Students should contact their adviser or the coordinator of the school counseling emphasis for details.



Students enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling emphasis, who are interested in eventually attaining the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential through the Department of Safety and Professional Services in Wisconsin may refer to the following website for current information: OR

Please note that students in the School and Student Affairs and College Counseling emphases who wish to become licensed must also complete the curricular requirements for Clinical Mental Health Counseling in order for the Department of Professional Counseling to verify completion for such licensure. 



Students enrolled in or considering the school counseling emphasis should refer to the following Web Sites for current licensure information:

Additional Program Information:

VII. Course Descriptions