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Counseling, M.A.

The Master of Arts in Counseling program prepares counseling practitioners in two tracks of study, clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. This is a full time on-campus program. Although the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling specializations are on-campus programs, some courses may be delivered on-line (either synchronously or asynchronously). Students must have the aptitude to utilize digital learning platforms such as eCampus and Zoom, and the digital information tracking platform known as Tevera.

This program is one of two counselor education programs in the state of West Virginia that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).

The School Counseling specialty licensure area offered at our EPP has been approved by the West Virginia Board of Education. The West Virginia Department of Education organizes and monitors the approval process for new licensure areas and changes to existing licensure areas offered through a preparation program. The Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) at WVU is currently accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). WVU is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Mission

The master’s program in counseling at West Virginia University advances the land grant mission of the University in a rural state by providing a strong practitioner training program focused on the unique needs of the Appalachian region and other diverse communities. We are committed to preparing entry-level clinical mental health, school, and rehabilitation counselors to work competently and ethically within a pluralistic society. Our central organizing approach to counseling rests in understanding the cultural and human development needs of individuals, couples, families, families, groups, and those experiencing disability or social inequality across the lifespan.

Program Objectives

Professional Orientation and Identity

Students will demonstrate an understanding of counseling as a profession, develop a professional identity, and demonstrate their ability to function effectively within the ethical guidelines established by both the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselors Association, in settings rendering counseling and related services to diverse populations.

Counseling Theory

Students will learn a range of counseling theories that are applicable when working in a pluralistic society with individuals, groups, couples, families, children, and those experiencing disability in the counseling process, and demonstrate the ability to apply this knowledge in a therapeutic manner within rural and diverse communities.

Helping Relationships

Students will develop skills to work with individuals, groups, couples, families, children, and those experiencing disability that promote therapeutic change and demonstrate their ability to evaluate progress in meeting counseling objectives.

Social and Cultural Diversity

Students will develop an awareness of the impact of social and cultural factors on human behavior and recognize the role of individual differences in establishing and working toward counseling objectives.

Human Growth and Development

Students will learn stages of development throughout the life span and the importance of assessing and considering developmental goals when working with both children and adults.

Career Development

Students will learn the role of career development theory as applied to working with both children and adults and the impact of economic and cultural factors on career decisions, job performance, and lifestyle.

Group Dynamics

Students will learn the purpose and function of groups, group dynamics, and the application of counseling theories and leadership skills within the group setting to promote decision making and growth.


Students will learn to determine appropriate assessment techniques when working with individuals, groups, couples, families, children, and those experiencing disability and to utilize relevant information within the counseling process.

Research and Program Evaluation

Students will develop the ability to read and evaluate professional research literature and incorporate such information into their professional development.


Students will develop specific knowledge relevant to the student’s area of interest (e.g., addictions, mental health, children, school, rehabilitation) and will learn from their area of interest how to provide professional services including assessment, prevention, referral, and program development, implementation, management, and evaluation.

Experiential Learning (Professional Practice)

Students will demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective professional counselor through supervised practicum and internship experiences.

Personal Growth and Understanding

Students will be provided the opportunity to explore values and beliefs as they pertain to their evolving roles as professional counselors and develop a level of self-understanding that leads to an integrated personal approach to counseling and client advocacy.