General Program Information
Rebecca Milner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Graduate Coordinator
410 Warf-Pickel Hall
Faculty: James Bitter; Jon Borland; Rebecca Milner; Christine Lewis-Pugh; Mickey White.
The counseling program is designed for the advanced preparation of personnel to serve children, adults, and families in various school and community agency settings. The counseling program offers four concentrations: clinical mental health counseling and elementary/secondary school counseling. Emphasis is placed upon assisting students to develop a broad range of counseling skills that are applicable in a variety of professional settings. Students are admitted into the counseling program once a year in the fall or summer semesters. Applications that are not complete by the early deadline risk denial of admission due to no remaining available spaces. A minimum of 60 credits are required to complete the Master of Arts degree in Counseling. The Elementary/Secondary School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling options are accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Program Admission Requirements
Each applicant for admission to the Master of Arts in Counseling degree must meet the admission requirements of the ETSU School of Graduate Studies. Application for admission to graduate study is open to any person with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. The transcripts of applicants with bachelor’s degrees from non-regionally accredited institutions will be reviewed on an individual basis. Domestic students may be admitted for either the Summer or Fall semester, International students will only be admitted to start in the Fall semester. However, there is only a single deadline of February 1 for all applicants.
The Department of Counseling and Human Services values diversity and does not condone or engage in discrimination based on race, color, gender identity and expression, sexual or affectional orientation, religion, age, national origin, veteran status, physical ability or socioeconomic status.
Because of the importance of interactional competency in the field of counseling, interpersonal skills, professional behavior, and aptitude for counseling work will be considered in addition to academic potential.
In addition to submitting an application and official transcripts of all academic work previously completed, the following are required (all materials are to be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies):
1. An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
Exception: Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below a 3.0 may be considered for admission:
a. upon the submission of valid Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores with minimum Verbal and Quantitative scores of 146 and 140 respectively and a combined Verbal + Quantitative total of 291 or higher.
b. completion of at least 9 hours of graduate coursework with a GPA of at least 3.5 (This must be accomplished before applying to the Counseling program).
2. Three (3) letters of recommendation that address the applicant’s abilities and potential for graduate education and counseling professional practice;
3. Personal statement (included in the School of Graduate Studies application) of 1200-1500 words clearly addressing the following: An autobiographical statement explaining how your interest in pursuing the degree in counseling/concentration developed, your skills and experiences in advocating for and helping others in their personal and social development, the place of social diversity/justice in your thinking and future work, what you hope to gain from the degree, and goals upon completion of the degree;
4. Applicants whose documents indicate potential for success will be invited for an interview. Applications and interview results will be reviewed by a committee that includes all or part of the counseling program faculty with representatives from each concentration area (e.g., professional school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, etc.) as well as one or more practicing professional counselors according to concentration (e.g., school counselor, couples and family counselor, licensed professional counselor, etc.).
NOTE: Upon receiving an offer of admission to the program, applicants must review the Counseling Program Handbook, the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, and the ETSU Informed Consent for Counselors-in-Training and agree in writing to abide by the contents of those documents.
Criteria Used to Review Applicants:
Clear goals aligned with developing knowledge, skills and awareness aligned with the professional of counseling, including career goals in becoming certified or licensed as a counselor in accord with specialization.
Potential for success in the counseling profession. Indicators include successful experiences as a student, as an employee, or as a member of an organization or community group; successful experiences in the counseling-related activities such as leadership positions, jobs, or volunteer activities related to counseling or other helping professions; working effectively with people.
Academic aptitude for graduate study and verbal and written communication skills. Indicators include grade point average in bachelor’s degree program; grade point average in graduate course work; GRE scores; effective written communications in application materials, proficiency in the English language, verbal interactions throughout the admissions process.
Evidence of potential for completing a graduate program. Indicators include a strong desire to complete a M. A. degree, past history of achieving goals and completing projects, ability to work autonomously as well as a team player within a system, receptivity to feedback with desire to grow.
Interpersonal skills: Indicators include history of positive relationships with peers, professors, employers; demonstrated ability to interact effectively in a variety of contexts
Interest in counseling specialty area (Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling) needed to balance the program: Indicators include area of interest or experience or background in a needed specialty area.
NOTE: Meeting minimum requirements for program admission does not guarantee admission as applicants are selected on a competitive basis. Applicants who are otherwise qualified for admission may not be admitted based on program enrollment and limited resources.
NOTE: Regarding Background Checks: All students must complete a background check prior to beginning Practicum. Please note that a criminal record may significantly impede success in practicum and internship site placements, matriculation toward graduation, and future job opportunities as a professional counselor.
Recommended Electives-It is recommended that students, with written approval of their advisor or advisory committee, choose electives with a focus clearly related to their specific professional objectives. Coursework can be chosen from the disciplines of counseling, special education, criminal justice, social work, sociology, psychology, early childhood education, health education, personnel management, and other approved disciplines. Courses should be approved for elective credit before the courses are taken.
Retention and Dismissal-As required by ACA and AAMFT, students failing to demonstrate personal, professional, and/or ethical behaviors, as these behaviors relate to the ability to function as a counselor, upon review and substantiation (with due process), can be denied continuance in counseling programs. All counseling graduate students are evaluated twice a year. If intervention is indicated and completed, the student may petition the department for readmission.
Students are responsible for being familiar with and following all graduate school admission and retention requirements as stated in the front section of this catalog and in the counseling graduate student handbook.