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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions not covered below, please contact us at

How do I apply? Online! Right here. 

What are the requirements for your program? An undergraduate degree and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 for CMHC, CCSA, and CSP and a 3.0 for School Counseling. We also request at least a year working/volunteering a field or with a population related to the program to which you are applying. 

What else do I need for the application? The online application will walk you through everything that you need. Our program requires a few auxiliary forms and question prompts that will be provided. We also require three written recommendations - printed, signed, and sealed in individual envelops. 

How far in advance of the enrollment deadline should I submit my application? Generally, the admission procedure requires two full academic semesters for processing applications, credentials, references, etc. Students are encouraged to begin this process at least two full semesters prior to the desired starting date. However, do not hesitate to apply within a shorter timeframe (knowing that there can be no guarantees of expediting the process). 

My GPA is less than the 2.75 or 3.0 that I need; can I still apply? If you are pursuing the Clinical Mental Health, CCSA, or CSP specialization, you will be required to take the GRE or MAT exam if your GPA is under 2.75. Then, life experiences portion of your application will be taken into consideration alongside these scores, and you may be conditionally accepted. If you are looking to pursue a PK-12 School Counseling degree, you will not be accepted into the school counseling specialization.

I am interested in this program, but I am not a U.S. Citizen. Can I still apply? Shippensburg University will consider applications submitted by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Permanent residents will be required to submit a copy of their passport and green card as a part of their application. You will need to contact the office for International Students for more information.

Each program requires applicants to have a minimum of one year's experience prior to admission. What counts as experience? It is recommended that you have a minimum of one year of experience, either paid or volunteer, with the age group of people you ultimately wish to work with, for example, children, adolescents or adults. Some common experiences include volunteer work with a crisis line or Hospice, internships completed at the undergraduate level, and working as a Therapeutic Support Staff. Faculty members in each specialization will make the final determination as to what counts as relevant experience for that particular program.

How will I be notified of my acceptance into the program? You will be notified of your acceptance via a letter sent to you electronically from the Graduate Admissions Office.

Is it possible to complete this degree online? Typically, the entirety of the graduate coursework is completed at Shippensburg University or amongst our latest doctoral cohort (meeting in Harrisburg). Classes run between 4pm and 9:15 pm, depending on your courses. Your academic advisor will help you create a plan of work for course completion. Fall 2021 classes are running on a hybrid model alternating time in face to face classes and through distance education. With the changing health and safety landscape of the COVD-19 pandemic, course instruction methods are being regularly evaluated and adjusted for the wellbeing of our students, faculty, and their families.

What is the rule regarding transfer credits? We will accept a maximum of 9 transfer credits with a grade of “B” or better. Courses that will be accepted for transfer must be graduate classes, and must have the student's advisor's approval. Generally, the credits should not be more than five years old.

Do I need to know which of the four specializations I plan to pursue to apply for the counseling program? You are permitted to take up to nine credits in the program without declaring a particular specialization. Students who need particular courses to prepare them for licensure will also be allowed to take the courses they need with permission from the director of the program.

What constitutes full-time status? Six (6) credits per semester are considered full time for graduate school. Anything less than six (6) credits constitutes part-time status.

What if I start full-time but then need to drop to part-time? Once you are admitted to the program you will have up to 7 years to complete the course work. Once you have declared your intention, your advisor will work with you on scheduling your courses. You do have the ability to change the length of time it will take you to complete the program and you will be able to change your academic plan once admitted.

How long will it take to complete the program? Our Clinical Mental Health, CCSA (College Counseling and Student Affairs), and PK-12 School Counseling specializations are 60-credit programs. Generally, the completion of these programs takes approximately 3 years, full-time, including summer course work. Our CSP specialization is 48 credits and usually require 2 years of course work, including summers.

How many hours per week can I expect to spend on my homework? Every student and course is different, but generally you should expect to spend 5-20 hours per week on outside readings and assignments. This will vary based on each semester's courseload and each student's academic style. Some courses require intensive work outside of class whereas some require a lot of personal/internal work. Your advisor will help you create a plan of work with the intention of balancing these two in addition to practicum and field placements. For three semesters, in addition to coursework, you will also have internship placements. The first (called practicum) will add 10 hours a week of field work to your schedule and the second two (Field 1 and Field 2) will add approximately 20 hours a week. 

Do I have to purchase a computer? All students will need to have reliable access to a sufficient computer to complete their course work. The coursework for the department of counseling requires a heavy amount of writing and researching online articles. Computer labs are available on Shippensburg's campus for student use. Every student is also allotted a printing budget.

May I transfer previous graduate credits into my Shippensburg coursework? Yes, Shippensburg University does accept transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions. You are only allowed to transfer up to 9 credits that have been completed within the past 5 years. The grades must have been a “B” or higher. Please talk with your advisor for more specifics.

If I have questions about scheduling courses, where do I go for information? Approximately three weeks before scheduling begins, a memo is emailed to all students who are currently taking classes in the counseling program. Students are admitted into classes based on the number of credits that they have completed, with a preference given to students who have more credits. If students want to take classes concurrently with a class that is a pre-requisite, they must obtain permission from their advisor and submit a Pre-Requisite Waiver Form. Any student scheduling a class after the deadline set by the Registrar's Office will have to schedule through the Registrar's Office and pay for their classes at the time they schedule. Non-degree students may only schedule non-clinical classes and will only be considered AFTER all active students have been scheduled. In addition, they must receive permission from the faculty member teaching the course.

I am a non-matriculated student. What do I do? First, you'll need to submit a letter from a supervisor or former faculty member to the course instructor. Then, speak directly to the instructor teaching the class requesting permission to take the course. Only upon approval can you complete a non-matriculated student registration form through the Office of Workforce Development found at

Students will only be considered with the instructor's permission and if there is available room within the class. Contact the Department Secretary for more information at 717-477-1668.

I have been away from the academic setting for a number of years. Are there other adult learners in this program? The Shippensburg University Counseling department is proud of the diversity that exists amongst our student body. This diversity not only exists ethnically but also includes age and life experience. No matter where you are coming from you will be sure to connect with students and faculty in the program.

Is financial aid available? If you are a full-time student, you are eligible for a graduate assistantship, which gives you a tuition waiver and a small stipend. Students who have a graduate assistantship are responsible for paying for textbooks and student fees. Please note there are more students wanting GA positions than are available. If you are scheduled for six credits, you are eligible for a Stafford Loan through the Office of Financial Aid. If you hold a GA, you can still apply for a Stafford Loan and receive the money allocated through the loan to pay for you own living expenses. Please keep in mind that applying after March 1, will give you a decreased chance of securing a graduate assistantship. More financial options will be discussed with you at the interview process.

Is there on campus housing for graduate students? For more information regarding on and off campus housing, contact the Office of the Dean of Students (717-477-1164) or email

What if something comes up and I have to withdraw from a course or my entire program? We recommend that students remain continuously enrolled. However, we know that at times students have to stop out of course work. Students can readily pick back up where they left off at the beginning of new terms (fall, spring, summer). If you need to withdraw from a course or you want to apply for a leave of absence, please contact the Registrars Office. You will also need to contact your academic advisor so that your plan of work can be adapted.

What kinds of jobs do graduates obtain and what is the placement rate of students graduating from the Department of Counselor Education? Job placement rate is 92% for our graduate students. The following is a list of positions and locations that recent graduates have obtained.

  • Assistant Dean for Admissions, Shippensburg University
  • Resident Director, St. John's University, Queens, NY
  • Career Counselor, Penn State York
  • Professional Advisor, Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies, Penn State University
  • Assistant Director of Student Activities, Mt St. Mary's, Emmetsburg, MD
  • School Counselor, James Buchanan High School, Mercersburg, PA
  • School Counselor, Washington County Schools, Hagerstown, MD
  • Outpatient Counselors in Chambersburg and Carlisle, PA
  • Alcohol & Drug Specialist, Lebanon Valley College, PA
  • Director, Outpatient Community Service Program, Harrisburg, PA
  • Counselor, Department of Communications, Arts & Sciences, Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Counselor, MECCA Services, Community based substance abuse & behavioral health services, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Academic Specialist, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Contact the Department of Counselor Education Shippen Hall 123 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 1725 Phone: 717-477-1668