School Counselor Education M.Ed./Ed.S.

The School Counselor Education concentration at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst is committed to preparing graduates with the skills to ensure equitable educational experiences for all students. School counselors must help create school environments that support students to stay in school and achieve at their highest level. Our program of study supplements rigorous coursework with a variety of in-school practical experiences.

Our major goal is to create multiculturally competent school counselors who understand the contextual influences on children’s development and learning, and who can intervene effectively in the complex systems that affect each child. Our students learn to analyze, interpret, and intervene directly with students and with the various facets of a child’s life including peers, classrooms, families, communities, the school system, and local institutions. Our graduates are trained to implement Comprehensive Developmental Guidance Programs that are consistent with the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) National School Counseling Model and Standards.

Course of Study

Students in the School Counseling concentration (M.Ed.) must complete a minimum of 48 credit hours.  Students are required to take the following courses:

Course Description Credits
EDUC 570 Professional Orientation to School Counseling 3
EDUC 605 Evidence-Based Counseling Practices in Schools 3
EDUC 606 Interventions and Consultation with Families and Schools 3
EDUC 607 Career Counseling and Development 3
EDUC 631 Theories and Techniques in School-Based Counseling 3
EDUC 685 Developmental Psychopathology 3
EDUC 688 Social & Cultural Foundations of Counseling 3
EDUC 886 Group Counseling in Schools 3
EDUC 594M Seminar: Child & Adolescent Development for the Helping Professional 3
EDUC 560 or EDUC 668 Issues in Instructional Methods in Special Education or Learning Disabilities in Children and Youth 3
EDUC 807 Seminar in School Counseling (College Counseling) 3
EDUC 698W Pre-Practicum in School Counselor Education 3
EDUC 701 Practicum in School Counseling 3 - 12

Students earning the Education Specialist degree pass an additional 15 credits (63 Total Credits).  Students work with their faculty advisors to choose courses that meet state and national licensure standards, as well as the professional development goals of each candidate.

EDUC 570 Professional Orientation to School Counseling

An orientation to the profession of school counseling. Information and experience on how counseling services help people understand themselves and others. Knowledge from education, psychology, philosophy, history, and sociology examined and applied to guidance and personnel programs.

EDUC 607 Career Counseling and Development

Psychological factors in career decision-making theory, job classification systems, vocational assessment, career information and placement. Prerequisites: Educ 570 and 705.

EDUC 685 Developmental Psychopathology

Introductory overview of major dysfunctional behavior syndromes commonly encountered in educational and mental health settings. Topics include early detection, classification, referral, and remediation of behavioral problems.

EDUC 688 Social & Cultural Foundations of Counseling

Theories of social identity development in a family systems frame.  Focus on skills and critical consciousness needed for multicultural counseling in schools, including analysis of ones's own ethnic and racial heritage.

EDUC 886 Group Counseling in Schools

Theory and practice of group counseling with special emphasis on individual needs, group processes and societal/community context.

EDUC 594M Seminar: Child & Adolescent Development for the Helping Professional

Course surveys typical and atypical child and adolescent development in PreK-12 school environments.  It provides students opportunities to learn current theories and applications related to the specific helping professions work settings that students will enter.

EDUC 560 Issues in Instructional Methods in Special Education

This course provides students with theoretical and practical experiences related to the education and training of special needs students.  Emphasis is placed on curriculum development, methods and materials, assessment, vocational programming and research.

EDUC 668 Learning Disabilities in Children and Youth

Introduction to causes and characteristics of learning disabilities and educational programs and strategies for learning disabled children and youth. Includes overview of assessment techniques and current research.

EDUC 807 Seminar in School Counseling (College Counseling)

Designs and research on counseling and mental health services, professional and ethical standards, issues in cultural, political, and historical contexts of helping. Consent of instructor required (Doctoral Section).

EDUC 698W Pre-Practicum in School Counselor Education

Pre-practicum in School Counseling is designed to support the student in her/his first school placement, and to facilitate professional growth as a school counselor.

EDUC 701 Practicum in School Counseling

This practicum provides individualized instruction and supervision in individual counseling.  Admission to a Counseling Master's program and certification of readiness for the practicum by the student's advisor is required before enrollment.  All students counsel clients at an off-campus agency or school.


Application Timeline

Applicants are due in early January (check the UMass Graduate School website for specific dates). Admissions decisions are finalized in March and successful applicants are usually notified by mid-March by phone and letter. If your address, e-mail address, or phone number changes, please be sure to notify the admissions office of the best way to reach you.

Admissions Interviews

In late February, a selected group of applicants will be invited to campus for a day long group interview. This offers an opportunity for applicants to ask questions of the faculty and current students. This also gives faculty a chance to observe applicants' interpersonal skills. Applicants who are invited to these interviews are encouraged to attend, if at all possible.

Fall Orientation

Before classes begin, new School Counselor Education students will participate in an orientation to the program. Students will receive more information about this during the summer.

Required Materials

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Detailed personal statement 
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • GRE is not required

In your personal statement, write clearly and concisely about why you want to enter the program of study, how the program of study fits into your career goals, and how your previous work and life experience relate to your professional development and readiness for graduate study. If you do not believe your undergraduate transcripts reflect your current academic abilities, please explain why there is a gap. One of our clear program priorities and strengths is the promotion of school counseling for diverse populations. Remember, your personal statement is the primary way we evaluate your knowledge of school counseling, your commitment to the field, and your fit with our program of study goals. We look carefully at both the content and the writing of your personal statement. Ideally, your admissions application should include three letters of reference. At least one of these should be from someone qualified to comment on your academic potential.

For more information, please contact the program at