Frequently Asked Questions
Counselor Education Master’s Program
Department of Educational Psychology
This page provides answers to common questions about your admission application specific to Counselor Education. See also General FAQs.
What is the application deadline for admittance for the fall semester?
The deadline for fall admission is January 10. Students generally begin their studies in the fall semester.
What is the difference between the Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs concentration and the School Counseling concentration?
Students in the School Counseling concentration will be prepared to obtain state counselor certification. These students work in public and private elementary through high schools. In Texas, two years of teaching experience is required before you may become a school counselor. If you plan on working outside of Texas it is crucial to be familiar with other state’s certification requirements.
The Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs concentration prepares graduates for work in institutions of higher learning, such as career counselors, academic counselors, supervisors of resident advisors, and administrators of student services programs. This concentration prepares students to work in more diverse settings. We have also had students from both programs continue on to doctoral training in various areas.
I’m currently teaching full-time as a teacher. Will I be able to continue to teach while in the program?
While we do not require students not to work, several required courses in the training sequence are taught during school hours. Students enrolled in the program must be able to attend these classes.
Are students able to work full-time and still manage the course load?
The CE master’s program is a rigorous academic program that prepares students for professional practice. Although we do not forbid students from working, full-time work is likely to interfere with the successful completion of the program.
Is the program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs?
No, our program is designed to meet the standards established by the Educational Psychology Program, the certification requirements of the Texas State Board of Educator Certification for School Counselors and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Licensed Professional Counselors. The Counselor Education program at the University of Texas is NOT accredited by CACREP. Currently, CACREP accreditation is not required by the State of Texas for the practice of counseling. However, some states do require CACREP accreditation. If you will be seeking to relocate, please check the state licensure requirements. If you determine that CACREP accreditation is required for a specific location, a list of CACREP accredited programs is available.
What are the most important things to consider for admissions?
Equal consideration is given to each applicants’ undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, personal statement, interview (if applicable), and letters of recommendation. For the personal statement, we are interested in seeing the match between our program goals and attributes and a student’s interest. A psychology or education background is preferred, but not required.
How competitive is the application process?
Our program has seen an increase in applicants over the last few years. Last year, we received 80 applications. After the initial review, we invited about 18 applicants for the interview day. Of these 18 applicants, we extended 16 offers and admitted 14 new students into the program. The students accepted this year had an average GPA of 3.56, GRE verbal score of 582, and GRE quantitative score of 618.
Is there an interview day? What is involved?
Yes. After the initial review of applicants, we will invite about 20-25 to interview. Interviews are conducted online, and consist of an orientation to the program, meeting with faculty members and meetings with current students.
Can I visit the program prior to applying?
We generally do not encourage visits to our program prior to application. Given that we have roughly 270 applicants to both programs (Ph.D. and M.Ed./MA) and conduct interview days we do not have the resources to set up individual meetings. If students have specific questions about the program or faculty interests, they should email the individual faculty member.
What are common practicum sites?
Students will complete two semesters of practicum in their second year of the program (for those enrolled full-time). The Counselor Education program is located in a large university in a large city that has many mental health programs. Therefore, there are rich opportunities for practicum placements. School counseling students may complete their practicum at any AISD school as well as other local school districts. Students in the higher education concentration are commonly placed at the University of Texas’ Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling, Texas State Career Services, Austin Community College, among several university positions. While at least one semester of practicum is required in an educational setting, some students choose to do their second practicum in a community setting.
Is funding available for students in this program?
While the department does offer some grant and scholarship money, funds are limited and therefore students are encouraged to seek out-of-department and private scholarships. Most students fund their degree with student loans and/or part-time work. Students have financed their studies in a variety of creative ways. Some students maintain their full-time or part-time positions that they had prior to beginning the program. Other students have pursued on-campus positions within the Educational Psychology Department (Graduate Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, Assistant Instructor positions); however, these positions are very limited.
The best way to find out about these positions is by applying through the Department of Educational Psychology and by consulting with program faculty. Our students have also obtained on-campus positions with other departments – the Graduate School maintains a list of links to employment on campus and off campus. We also encourage our students to apply for fellowships and scholarships. The Department of Educational Psychology solicits applications for departmental fellowships during the fall semesters; professional organizations in counseling and counseling related fields, such as The American Counseling Association, also offer scholarships. Further, the Regional Foundation Library offers resources in finding award funding. Many students also seek government-subsidized Financial Aid through FAFSA. We recommend visiting the Graduate School’s website for more information about funding and financial support.
Can I transfer credits for relevant graduate coursework?
With approval from the faculty and the department, students can transfer a maximum of six credits (2 classes) of graduate work. This coursework cannot have counted toward a previous degree. If students have taken some coursework at another institution toward another degree, the requirement of similar coursework in the Counselor Education curriculum may possibly be waived pending an evaluation by the instructor offering the equivalent course at UT. It is important to not rely on these courses being waived or transferred. Students should expect the program to take two years of full-time coursework, including at least one full summer semester (six to nine hours).
How long will it take me to complete the Counselor Education program?
Most students registered full-time will be finished within two years (four semesters and usually several summer classes).
Can I decide to switch to the doctoral Counseling Psychology Program after a period of time?
No, it is not possible to transfer from the Counselor Education program to the doctoral program prior to completing the master’s program. However, following completion of the master’s program, some students will apply to the doctoral program at UT or elsewhere. The doctoral program at UT is a science/practitioner model that involves research as well as the practice of counseling psychology with the intention of becoming a licensed psychologist. Counselor Education at UT is a terminal master’s degree that allows people to practice counseling and become an LPC. The practice component of the two programs has some overlap with students sharing some courses with the doctoral students. However, in general, the programs are considered separate due to different emphases. Occasionally, we have students from the master’s program apply to the doctoral program following completion of their master’s degree. The same admissions procedures are required for the doctoral program for Counselor Education students as non-UT applicants. If admitted, they will be required to take almost all of the doctoral courses with only a few courses earned in the Counselor Education program counting toward the doctorate.
Students who seek a Ph.D. following the Counselor Education program often consider Ph.D. programs at other universities that require a master’s degree for admission, such as the University of North Texas. These programs have fewer requirements than a program such as the Counseling Psychology program at UT which does not require a master’s. We occasionally have people who want to pursue a doctorate in one of the other research specialties offered at UT, such as Human Development, Culture & Learning Sciences. Since these students already have a clinical practice degree through the Counselor Education program, they choose to do a program for the Ph.D. that is solely research and not practice-oriented. If students choose a non-counseling or non-clinical Ph.D. and choose to practice with their master’s degree, they will practice as counselors and NOT psychologists.
How do I get involved in faculty research?
Counselor Education students are strongly encouraged to seek out research opportunities with faculty to supplement their coursework in counseling. Detailed information about the research interests of the faculty is posted on the departmental website. Students are encouraged to contact specific faculty to inquire about research team possibilities. Independent study course credit is available to students who would like course credit for research. The independent study coursework may be applied as an elective toward the student’s degree plan at UT. However, it is not applicable for application for licensure as an LPC. Students interested in licensure as an LPC will need to either serve on the research teams as a volunteer or take the independent study course. This would be in addition to the required core and electives specified in the Counselor Education curriculum.
With what sort of populations and in what settings do most of the students go on to work?
The M.Ed./MA in Counselor Education is a versatile degree due to the educational and counseling components. There are a variety of settings and career paths that our students follow. These include public and private schools, counseling and career counseling centers in universities and community colleges, academic advising offices, among many other university settings. Some of the university settings include working in retention programs, university health education services, and services for students with disabilities. One of our students became an advisor and curriculum director for a local culinary academy. Our placement record into academic settings is strong. A small percentage of students also seek work in community mental health as well as private practices. We have had students work in residential treatment facilities, hospitals, private practices, and local agencies. Further, many of our students continue their counseling training in doctoral programs. It is important to note that career options are plentiful and are not limited to these settings.
Will the Counselor Education program prepare me for the LPC exam?
While preparation for the LPC exam is not a focus of the program, students are eligible and prepared to take the LPC exam upon program completion (with necessary coursework completed). Our students have a very high passing rate on this exam. We encourage all of our students to prepare for and to pursue the LPC licensure. However, the competency which they take from our program is not in community counseling or independent practice, but rather the competency of a counselor working within a system of education. Licensure as an LPC requires competency for wherever the student chooses to practice and our focus is on counseling academically, not the independent practice of counseling. Students who choose to work in community counseling settings or private practice will need to see appropriate post-graduate training and supervision to prepare for these settings. In the State of Texas, students are required to take the exam and then practice 3000 hours under an LPC supervisor.
Do many students in the Counselor Education program obtain their LPC?
Yes, many of our students obtain their LPC. Please refer to the previous question.
Does this program prepare students to counsel in community settings or private practice?
The Counselor Education program meets the minimum requirements for licensure as an LPC in Texas (please refer to the previous question). However, the focus of this program is on counseling within the context of academic settings. The curriculum includes coursework directed toward these settings such as Seminar in Guidance and Approaches to Intervention. The program has required practicum in an academic setting such as public schools, community colleges, and universities. Some students do develop interests in community settings and choose to do one of the two required practicum placements outside of the academic settings.
Due to the specialized focus on academic counseling, the transition into a community setting or private practice may take additional supervision and training at professional conferences and workshops to ensure competence. If working in a community setting or private practice are your primary desired goal, you might check out programs such as those offered at Texas State University, Stephen F. Austin University, University of North Texas or St. Edward’s University. These and other programs have specialized community practicum experiences and require additional coursework to prepare for these settings. Our program requires 51 hours whereas many others require 60 hours to allow for additional coursework required for community settings.
What happens if a student wants to practice counseling in another state?
Many states offer reciprocity to licensure from state to state. If you plan on returning to another state, you will need to work closely with your academic advisor to ensure the appropriate coursework and practica experiences. If you are planning to relocate to another state, it is important to look at the requirements for the state. The American Counseling Association (ACA) maintains a list of licensing boards. ACA also maintains a list of school counseling certification and licensure boards.
Some examples of how people have had to amend their curriculum to meet other state requirements follow as examples. These are not exhaustive but may provide you with awareness of the types of questions to ask.
A student wanted to go to Indiana to become a school counselor. Indiana required an applied assessment course because a counselor in Indiana has to have competence in test administration. In Texas, the legislature has restricted test administration to psychologists due to lobby efforts of psychology. This student took an additional assessment course that is offered in the Counseling Psychology Program to fulfill the state requirements from Indiana. This was in addition to the required 51 hours to meet graduation requirements from UT.
A student who was in the school counseling concentration but did not have teaching experience was ineligible to become a school counselor in Texas but wanted to move to Georgia. Georgia does not require teaching experience and this student was eligible to pursue certification for school counseling in Georgia but not Texas.
A student wanted to move to Minnesota. For licensure in Minnesota, counselors need to attend a CACREP program. This student had to provide documentation of equivalency which was easy because the UT program meets most curriculum standards specified by CACREP. For school certification in Minnesota, this student needed to do three practica at elementary school, one at middle school, and one at high school in contrast to the State of Texas requirement that a student complete two practica at any level. When she moved to Minnesota, she had to take an additional practicum placement.
A student was an LPC intern in Texas and had worked for two years in Texas. She moved to Oklahoma and for licensure there she will have to take a family therapy course or the equivalent.