Counseling and College Student Personnel

Shippensburg University offers both a Master of Education in Counseling and a Master of Science in Counseling and College Student Personnel. These programs teach you the skills necessary for the professional practice of counseling and college student personnel work. Our emphasis on personal growth encourages you to gain competencies, values, and beliefs that will enhance and facilitate the helping process. Ship’s MEd and MS in Counseling programs prepare you for a professional role, which adheres to current standards and practices, but also enables you to be flexible enough to grow in your profession as new knowledge and development occurs.

Ship's doctoral program (Ed.D.) prepares students to be program directors, clinical supervisors, and academic counselor educators.

The Department of Counseling and College Student Personnel nurtures our students to become lifelong learners, skilled practitioners, and leaders in the profession who embrace inquiry, technology, and innovative practices. Through authentic relationships with invested faculty who model intentional practice based firmly in theory and cultural advocacy, you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be a purposeful, effective practitioner with a strong sense of personal and professional identity.

The department offers the following graduate degree specializations in counseling:

  • Master of Education and certification as K-12 school counselors
  • Master of Science with specialization in clinical mental health counseling
  • Master of Science with specialization in college counseling or college student personnel

The counseling and college student personnel program is a careful balance of theory with practice. You are required to complete a minimum of three internships. Over the years, the department has established numerous sites for experiential learning. These sites include elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, public and private social service agencies, and hospitals. Learning sites are jointly selected between the advisor and student with advisement.

The Department of Counseling and College Student Personnel is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The department is also authorized by the State Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to offer certification in School Counseling.

In addition, the College Student Personnel, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, College Counseling, and School Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA). Accreditation in counseling is closely related to the credentialing process established by the American Counseling Association (ACA). The College Student Personnel program complies with standards promoted by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).

Because the department is accredited, you may sit for the certification tests administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors. Upon successful completion of the National Counselor Exam, you will be eligible to become a Nationally Certified Counselor without additional supervised experience.

If you complete 60 credits consistent with the Pennsylvania Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists, you will be eligible for licensure as a professional counselor; however, you must complete additional post-master's supervisory experience in order to become licensed.

Our graduates have successfully obtained positions in elementary and secondary schools as well as major universities. Other graduates work in community mental health organizations, group homes, services agencies, substance abuse facilities, hospitals, and crisis units.

The salary range for counselors in PA is $29,000 to $57,000.

The admission process can take up to a full academic semester, so you are encouraged to begin this process at least two full semesters prior to your desired starting date. To be considered for admission you must meet the department requirements and the general requirements for admission to graduate study, which include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Clinical mental health, college student personnel, and college counseling specializations require an official undergraduate transcript with a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA or successful completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
  • School counseling requires an official undergraduate transcript with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average. GRE and MAT scores are not required.
  • You are expected to have a minimum of one year's experience (paid or volunteer) in the area to which you are applying. Each specialization may have additional criteria required to qualify for admission.
  • Once your completed packet is submitted, the Admissions Committee will review it. If you successfully meet all requirements, you will be invited to the next available on-campus group interview session. You will be assessed on criteria including: maturity, openness, ability to listen, understanding of the profession, clarity of career goals/appropriateness of our program for these goals, ability to deal with stress, and relevant academic/life/work experience.

Please submit the following through your Ship Admissions portal tabs:

  • Resume, Counseling Experience Form (WEB), Counseling Private practice Refrain form (PDF)
  • An autobiographical statement of purpose through the “Program Statement or Questionnaire”
  • 3 references in the recommendations tab. An automated email will be sent for their recommendation.

Graduate work in counseling and college student personnel is divided into three phases. You should follow the sequence of course work within each phase as closely as possible. Frequent consultation with a faculty advisor is necessary. All students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

If you are already a Pennsylvania certified teacher, you may be exempt from 9 credits in the Master of Education and Certification: School Counseling Specialization (60 credits).

NOTE: Dual School Counseling students must take the PRAXIS II exam 420 (School Guidance and Counseling) before they graduate. Passing the exam is necessary for state certification.

Students in the Master of Science in Counseling program must select, with departmental approval, an area of emphasis from the following:

  • College Counseling Specialization (48 credits)
  • College Student Personnel Specialization (48 credits)
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization (60 credits)

Admission to Candidacy

To become a degree candidate, you must first complete the common core curriculum. After consultation with a faculty advisor, you will be interviewed for admission to candidacy for subsequent completion of your degree. This procedure helps to assure that each admitted student has the intellectual capacity, counseling skills, and professional commitment to succeed. 

The Graduate Research Grant Program is designed to provide financial support to graduate students for research or scholarly activities related to their program of study to enable them to better understand the scientific process, experience discovery, develop their analytical and communication skills, and gain exposure to national ideas through the presentation of the results of their research at conferences. Our grant program has funded field and laboratory research as well as computer application and software development. The Graduate Research Grant Program is funded by the School of Graduate Studies and the Institute for Public Service and Sponsored Programs.

Counseling and College Student Personnel
Shippen Hall 123, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1668
Department Website