Counseling Psychology Master of Arts (M.A.)
The master of arts program has two tracks:
- community counseling
- school counseling
Students are admitted to one track or the other when they are accepted into the program. The community counseling track takes an average of 2 ½ years to complete, depending on the number of courses students elect to take per semester. The school counseling track is designed to be completed in 2 years with most classes taken during summer sessions because most school counseling students are full time teachers and attend the program only part-time. School counseling students are admitted as a cohort.
The Community-based Counseling Specialization is designed to provide the academic requirements for licensure as a mental health practitioner in Nebraska. Licensure at the Masters level requires 600 hours of counseling practice at the pre-degree stage.
The School Counseling option requires a total of 48 credits. School Counseling students must take EDPS 974, Guidance and Counseling in Schools in place of EDPS 984, Ethics and Ethical Decision Making in Counseling and Education, and are required to take only one semester of field placement. Completion of the School Counseling Specialization meets the academic requirements for endorsement through the state office of education in school counseling. School counseling endorsement in Nebraska also requires teacher certification and two years of teaching experience.
The Thesis Option requires students to take all course work of one of the other two tracks plus coursework to support thesis research (e.g., research design and statistics courses). Effectively, students opting to do a thesis should plan for one additional year to complete their research. Students planning to continue in a doctoral program after graduation from the master’s program are strongly encouraged to complete a thesis or to take the lead in research projects during their master’s program to gain the necessary experience and competence to successfully gain entry into doctoral programs. Students who choose the thesis option are not required for graduation to complete a field placement counseling experience, but should be aware that the field placement experience is necessary for master’s-level licensure in Nebraska.
The field placement requirement includes 300 hours of field work, or 20 hours weekly for two full semesters. School counseling students must complete their placements in the setting in which they plan to be endorsed (i.e., elementary of secondary). Students must be approved for counseling practica and field placement by the Training Director. Approval requires the completion or concurrent enrollment in courses that comprise the counseling core. Successful completion of a counseling practicum experience is a prerequisite for enrollment in field placement.
All master’s students must take a comprehensive examination during their last semester of coursework. The comprehensive exam is comprised of three parts. Part 1 is the Counseling Core exam and is worth 100 points. The student chooses two other components of the comprehensive examination from the following: (1) Statistics and Measurement, (2) Cognition and Learning, (3) Human Development, or (4) Behavior. Each of these two components is worth 50 points for a total of 200 points. A passing score is 120 out of 200 points. Students should plan for the comprehensive exam by taking courses that prepare them for the exam (e.g., taking a cognition course to prepare for the Cognition and Learning exam component).
Dr. Michael Scheel