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Counseling, MS - Program Information

The Counseling program builds on bachelor’s degrees in a variety of areas to prepare professional counselors to help you and groups with family, mental health, career and educational issues. Our master’s degree meets the educational requirements needed to become licensed as a Professional Counselor or certified as a School Counselor. Our Education Specialist degree provides opportunities to retool your career, develop areas of professional specialization and broaden your career options.

The Counseling program offered through the UCM is organized to reflect the professional standards and competencies designed by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, as well as the Missouri Standards for the Preparation of Educators defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Coursework addresses:

  • Professional orientation and ethical practice
  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Career Development
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Assessment
  • Research and Program Evaluation

Vision Statement

The Counseling Program at the University of Central Missouri aspires to prepare individuals for exemplary practice as Professional Counselors in school and clinical mental health settings.

Mission Statement

The Counseling program at UCM prepares professional counselors at the Master and Education Specialist levels who:

  • Demonstrate all the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions
  • Are reflective practitioners
  • Advocate for clients, the counseling profession and society
  • Are prepared to serve a dynamic, diverse and complex society
  • Adhere to the current version of ethical standards of the American Counseling Association

Practicum Internship Site Application

UCM is always looking for new opportunities for our students to gain real world experience.  If you wish to become an approved clinical site for the Counseling Program, please complete this form.


Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Counseling program, applicants must first be admitted to Graduate Studies. Once applicants have been admitted they may request the Counseling application Form. A full application packet to the program contains:

  1. A completed Counseling application form. Please note: the application packet that contains the items listed in steps 1, 4, 5, and 6 is emailed to prospective students upon receipt of their application from Graduate Studies.
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework from any post-secondary educational or professional institution or any other school experience following high school. To be considered for eligibility, it is recommended that the applicant’s GPA must be 2.50 or higher in the total undergraduate coursework, 2.75 or higher in the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work and 3.0 or higher for graduate course work. It is the applicant’s responsibility to request and ensure that all official transcripts are on file. Note-this step is completed through Graduate Studies as part of their application process.
  3. As a part of the Counseling program application process, applicants must submit official scores for the Graduate Record Exam taken within the last three years. Candidates with a minimum combined score of 295 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the examination, and a 3.5 or higher on the analytical writing measure are recommended. However, all GRE scores are considered in the context of application materials. Applicants who have completed a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution may petition the Admissions and Standards Committee for an exception to the GRE requirement. (See Requirements for Progression in the Program, item 2.)
  4. A resume with complete listing of previous educational and employment experiences.
  5. Three recommendations, prepared within the last three years, on the Counseling Program Recommendation Form. Preferably, one recommendation from a certified or licensed mental health professional, or counselor educator. All recommendations must be from non-relative individuals who have direct knowledge of the applicant’s professional experience and can attest to the individual’s potential to work effectively as a counselor.
  6. An articulate and satisfactory essay explaining the impact of previous employment and professional experiences upon the decision to apply to the Counseling program, reasons for seeking the Master of Science degree or Education Specialist degree and appropriate future professional goals in counseling.
  7. Such other information as deemed necessary and requested of the applicant by the Admissions and Standards Committee.
  8. A personal interview.


Areas of Concentration

The Counseling Program offers two degrees, the Master of Science in Counseling and the Education Specialist Degree in Human Services, Professional Counseling. The Counseling Program is designed to meet the academic requirements for certification as professional school counselors and for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC). The program is approved for the school counselor certificate issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Students may also select courses that fulfill academic requirements for registered play therapists (RPT) and licensed professional counselors (LPC). All students, including those seeking additional certification and licensure must apply to and be accepted by graduate studies and the Counseling program.


Student Organizations

The Counseling program at UCM sponsors the Zeta Chi chapter of Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International. Chi Sigma Iota is the international honor society of professional counseling. It was established in 1985 through the efforts of leaders in the profession of counseling whose desire was to provide recognition for outstanding achievement as well as outstanding service within the profession. CSI was created for counselors-in-training, counselor educators, and professional counselors whose career commitment is to research and service through professional counseling.

Zeta Chi is our local chapter of Chi Sigma Iota. For chapter information, please contact the chapter adviser, Dr. Nancy Forth, 660.543.8093, or email

Students are also eligible for student membership in the:

  • American Counseling Association
  • American School Counselor Association
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association
  • Missouri School Counselor Association
  • Missouri Mental Health Counselors Association
  • American Counseling Association of Missouri
  • Central Missouri School Counselor Association
  • Greater Kansas City School Counselor Association


Student Testimonials

“I believe UCM's Counseling program gave me a solid foundation to become a well-rounded, empathic, and ethical counselor. Because this program is so comprehensive and meticulously follows CACREP guidelines, I believe my career options are greater than counselors who graduated from other universities.”

“By far, I believe the Counseling program prepared me better than peers who graduated from other programs in the area.”

“Thank you for the excellent preparation that you provided me for my career as a professional school counselor!”

“The Counselor Ed program is beyond question the best in the state. The professors hold students to a very high standard and I'm proud to have been part of such a quality graduate program.”

“The counseling program at UCM was and continues to be phenomenal. The faculty and staff are top rate and each went above and beyond to teach, share and provide opportunities for learning, growth and experiences which prepared me well for my career in this field.”

“I have worked with many recent grads from other counseling programs- I am so thankful that I went to UCM. I felt so prepared with my degree and we covered so much more than what some other programs did. The best part of my UCM education was the amazing, caring, brilliant professors. Thank you for all you have taught us.”

“The counseling program at UCM has an outstanding teaching staff. They are all extremely professional and knowledgeable. All of them are leaders in the counseling field. I am honored that I was able to work with them and grateful for their dedication to helping me become the best counselor I could be.”


Employer/Supervisor Testimonials

“I am extremely impressed with UCM's Counseling program and often encourage those seeking training to pursue it there.”

“UCM's counseling program is by far one of the best around. The expectations of students are extremely high, as they should be when entrusting their students with the precious lives of so many.”

“UCM is best in Missouri!”


Program Evaluation




UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs has accredited the Counseling Program (Masters degrees for School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations) for an eight-year period with conditions through October 31, 2026.

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