Professional Counseling (MA)

M.A. Professional Counseling

Students learn about the counseling profession and develop therapeutic skills through practical experience, knowledge, and personal reflection.
a teacher with a young student playing with hand puppet

Program Overview

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) accredited program features internationally known faculty, two state-of-the-art community counseling clinics, and a rigorous curriculum focusing on experiential learning integrated with the application of didactic, research-based knowledge. Core tenets emphasized throughout the program include diversity, ethics, professional development, and self-awareness.

Course Work

The master of arts (M.A.) in professional counseling offers a required course sequence that builds skills through three levels, from basic to advanced, via didactic and experiential activities. The curriculum includes core foundations in theories, clinical interventions, assessment, ethics, diversity, and research. An internship is required for the capstone experience. Students can choose from four concentrations: clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; school counseling; and school counselor certification. Concentrations in clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; and school counseling are nationally accredited by CACREP, while the concentration of school counselor certification meets the requirements of the Texas State Board for Educator Certification in Texas.

Master's Degree Programs

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
Degree
M.A.
Concentration
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Hours
60
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor Option
No minor
Degree
M.A.
Concentration
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Hours
66
Thesis Option
Thesis
Minor Option
No minor
Degree
M.A.
Concentration
Marriage & Family Counseling
Hours
60
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor Option
No minor
Degree
M.A.
Concentration
Marriage & Family Counseling
Hours
66
Thesis Option
Thesis
Minor Option
No minor

Master's Degree + Professional Certification Program

Degree Concentration & Certification Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
Degree
M.A.
Concentration & Certification
School Counseling
Hours
60
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor Option
No minor
Degree
M.A.
Concentration & Certification
School Counselor
Hours
48
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor Option
No minor

What Our Alumni Say

“The quality of education in the professional counseling program is superb. As the successful private practice owner of Respark Therapy and CEO of the Southwest Sexual Health Alliance, I am very thankful for the competent professors and the well-rounded education I received at Texas State.”

— Heather McPherson M.A. ’10, LPC-S, LMFT-S, CST

Program Details

Current students score at the highest levels on state and national examinations and are strongly endorsed by community mental health agencies and schools for employment.

Program Mission

The professional counseling program believes that well-prepared counselors are involved and committed to a process of intentional growth-promoting pro-social autonomy, lifelong learning, and ethical behavior. These ideals are fostered within a dynamic and multi-modal learning setting in which diversity, critical thinking, self-in-context, scholarship, praxis, and the creation and integration of knowledge are celebrated.

The program will maintain the highest standards of counselor education which will continue to garner local, national, and international recognition in providing excellence in academic and clinical preparation for the development of counseling professionals.

Career Options

The professional counseling program is designed to provide the training and course work graduates need to become certified as Texas school counselors, Texas licensed professional counselors, or Texas licensed marriage and family therapists. The Institute for Play Therapy offers additional specialized training in play therapy, sandtray therapy, and animal-assisted counseling that could assist counselors in becoming Registered Play Therapists or certified in animal-assisted counseling.

Program Faculty

Faculty present their research at national and international conferences and publish books, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles in top venues in their field. The range of research and clinical interests include:

  • play therapy
  • animal-assisted counseling
  • mindfulness
  • group counseling
  • addictions
  • domestic violence
  • sandtray therapy
  • clinical supervision
  • women and gender studies
  • child parent relationship therapy
  • ethics

Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more. If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following individuals.

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Kathy Ybanez-Llorente
profcounadm@txstate.edu
512.245.2579
Education Building (ED), Room 4012

Advisor Support
Courtney Webb
c_g508@txstate.edu
512.245.2579
Education Building (ED), Room 4012

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Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Deadlines
Fall - Priority
U.S. Citizen
February 1
International
February 1
Deadlines
Fall - Standard
U.S. Citizen
February 15
International
February 15
Deadlines
Spring
U.S. Citizen
October 1
International
October 1
Deadlines
Summer I
U.S. Citizen
February 15
International
February 15
Deadlines
Summer II
U.S. Citizen
February 15
International
No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a firm basis.

Admission Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.

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  •   Review important information about the online application.

    • $35 nonrefundable Texas Education Agency technology fee (if offered admission to the master's certification program)
      and either
    • $55 nonrefundable application fee
      OR
    • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

      Review important information about application fees.

    • baccalaureate degree in biology or related field from a regionally accredited university
    • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
    • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

      Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

  • GRE Scores

    • official GRE (general test only) required with competitive scores in the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections

      The GRE may be waived if you hold a master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If you hold a master's or doctoral degree (or the equivalent thereof) from an accredited international institution, the GRE may be waived on an individual basis.

    TOEFL Scores for school counseling and school counselor applicants:

    Applicants are required to submit TOEFL scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores with minimum individual scores of
      • 22 listening
      • 22 reading
      • 24 speaking
      • 21 writing

      This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

    TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Scores for clinical mental health counseling & marriage and family counseling applicants:

    Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
    • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
    • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
      • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

      Review important information about official test scores.

    • informed consent form
    • resume/CV detailing:
      • unique competencies that would contribute to your aptitude for graduate study
      • personal experiences, such as volunteer work, that have helped prepare you for a role as a future counselor
      • any additional language skills
      • any technological competence and computer literacy
    • statement of purpose (maximum 750 words, typed and double-spaced) detailing:
      • your professional goals and the reason you are pursuing education and training in professional counseling, as opposed to another mental health discipline (such as psychology, social work, or counseling psychology)
      • your reason for choosing your specified concentration (clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling or school counseling)
      • your major strengths and weaknesses with respect to being admitted into this program
      • your perspective on diversity including: 
        • how you would contribute to and benefit from the richness of our professional counseling program
        • how you would increase inclusion of diversity in the counseling profession
      • Your statement of purpose will be evaluated for content, style, and quality. While you may seek consultation and editing suggestions, this statement must be representative of your current level and style of writing and representative of what could be expected from you if accepted into the program.

    • three forms of recommendation (not general reference letters)

      Review important information about documents.

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