Graduate Catalog

2014 – 2015


2013-2014 Graduate Catalog Archive

Office of Graduate Studies
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763
gradstudy@wcupa.edu

Catalog Home


Revised October 2014

Counselor Education


Graduate Business Center, Suite 102
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
610-436-2559
Dr. Alessandria, Chairperson
Dr. Owens, Graduate Coordinator

Professors [top]

Richard D. Parsons, Ph.D., Temple University
Naijian Zhang, Ph.D., Ball State University

Associate Professors

Kathryn P. Alessandria, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Vickie Ann McCoy, Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi
Matthew Snyder, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Lynn Zubernis, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College

Assistant Professors

Karen Dickinson, Ph.D., University of Delaware
Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D., University of Delaware
Cheryl Neale-McFall, Ph.D., Old Dominion University
Eric Owens, Ph.D., Duquesne University

Programs of Study [top]

The Department of Counselor Education offers a master of education degree program in school counseling. Completion of the M.Ed. school counseling program academically qualifies candidates for the Pennsylvania Educational Specialist I Certificate which is required for employment as an elementary or secondary school guidance counselor. Individuals who have earned a master’s degree in counseling or a counseling-related area may pursue a non-degree program of study (certification only) leading to the Educational Specialist I Certificate. The department also offers a master of science degree for individuals who will seek employment as counselors and student service professionals in higher education settings. A post-master’s licensed professional counselor preparation program is offered for individuals who have completed a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related area and would like to build their clinical mental health skills while completing the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor. The department also offers a certificate in higher education counseling/student affairs for students who hold a degree in another counseling specialty area but wish to expand their employment options by completing both classroom and on-site experience in the field of higher education counseling/student affairs.

Admission Requirements

When admitting an applicant to the counselor education programs, the department makes a commitment to the student’s development and future success. The department evaluates each candidate through the use of multiple criteria. Admission requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. The expected standard for students applying to counselor education programs is a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. Standardized scores such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) are not required. However, if an applicant to the M.S. higher education counseling/student affairs program has a GPA below 2.8, he or she may submit GRE or MAT scores for consideration. If scores are submitted, they will be considered in the decision for acceptance. In addition to undergraduate grades, all candidates must submit two letters of reference. Candidates may also be assessed by way of an interview.

Degree Requirements

After completion of 15 credit hours but prior to enrolling for 25 credit hours of counselor education course work, students are eligible and must apply for degree candidacy.

Degree Candidacy Requirements

  1. Students must achieve a grade of B (83%) or better in all degree candidacy courses (EDC 503, 540, 567, 570, and 571) at the point the application is submitted.
  2. Faculty are asked to share each semester any concerns with the student’s interpersonal skills and/or overall mental health. If concerns are expressed, a formal assessment may be required prior to granting degree candidacy.
  3. Students seeking certification as a school counselor must successfully complete the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) certification requirements: Praxis PPST Reading, Writing, and Mathematics Tests (or already be PDE teacher certified in another subject area). All students admitted after January 1, 2011 must complete PDE Chapter 49.13 requirements.

Comprehensive Exam Requirements

The comprehensive exam represents the major cognate evaluation of counseling candidates. This examination is comprehensive and covers material from courses comprising the entire curriculum. This exam assesses students’ ability to apply course material to a case study that is appropriate to their primary field (elementary, secondary, or higher education) in which they will receive the master’s degree.

The degree or certification being pursued will be granted only when students have met the department’s standards.

Field Experience Policy

Students in the Department of Counselor Education must earn a B or better in any field experience course (i.e., EDC 590, EDC 592, EDC 600, EDC 601, EDC 602). A grade of B- or below in any field experience course must be repeated with remediation. Only one field experience course may be remediated and a grade of B or better is required before continuing on to a future field experience course.

Educational Specialist I Certificate

In order to obtain the Educational Specialist I Certificate, students must successfully complete the required practicum and internship experiences in approved secondary or elementary school settings. These courses provide an opportunity for students, under West Chester University faculty supervision, to work closely with a professional counselor in a school setting. The certificate is issued on the basis of the program approval status of the counselor education program at the University as granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Effective January 1, 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Education Chapter 49.13 regulations went into effect. This regulation requires all Pennsylvania teacher certification candidates to complete nine credits or 270 hours or an equivalent combination for adaptations and accommodations for diverse students in an inclusive setting, and three credits or 90 hours or an equivalent combination to meet the instructional needs of English language learners. EDC 559 meets three of the nine required credits of course work in adaptions and accommodations for diverse students in an inclusive setting. The remaining diverse learner in inclusive settings and English language learner requirements can be met through courses at the undergraduate level and must be completed prior to graduation from the M.Ed. program. 

Master of Education: School Counseling [top]

Dr. Snyder, Program Coordinator

Curriculum (48 semester hours)

  1. Common core requirements (27 semester hours)
    Degree candidacy requirements: EDC 503, 540, 567, 570, 571
    Other common core requirements: EDC 520, 521, 556; EDF 502
  2. Specialty requirements (12 semester hours)
    EDC 504, 559, 576, 577
  3. Field experience requirements (9 semester hours)
    EDC 590, 601, 602
    Degree candidacy and formal admission to teacher education (FATE) must be completed before a student is admitted into an internship.

Master of Education: Secondary School Counseling

Dr. Zubernis, Program Coordinator

Curriculum (48 semester hours)

  1. Common core requirements (27 semester hours)
    Degree candidacy requirements: EDC 503, 540, 567, 570, 571
    Other common core requirements: EDC 520, 521, 556; EDF 502
  2. Specialty requirements (12 semester hours)
    EDC 504, 559, 576, 577
  3. Field experience requirements (9 semester hours)
    EDC 590, 602
    Degree candidacy and formal admission to teacher education (FATE) must be completed before a student is admitted into an internship.

Master of Science: Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs

Dr. Snyder, Program Coordinator

Curriculum (48 semester hours)

  1. Common core requirements (27 semester hours)
    Degree candidacy requirements: EDC 503, 540, 567, 570, 571
    Other common core requirements: EDC 520, 521, 556; EDF 502
  2. Specialty requirements (12 semester hours)
    EDC 530, 531, 532
    Elective (3 semester hours)
  3. Field experience requirements (9 semester hours)
    EDC 592, 600
    Degree candidacy must be completed before a student is admitted into an internship.

Certificate in Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs

Curriculum (18 semester hours)                   
  1. Core courses (12 semester hours)
    EDC 530, 531, 532, 600
  2. Electives (6 semester hours)
    EDC courses selected under advisement

Post-Master's Licensed Professional Counselor Preparation Program

Dr. Parsons, Program Coordinator

The post-master’s licensure preparation program is designed to meet the education and internship requirements of counselors who aspire to obtain licensure in the state of Pennsylvania. The program, which culminates in a letter of completion, has been designed with a commitment to education and training that will provide the skills and confidence to provide competent and ethical professional counseling services.

Curriculum (15 semester hours)

  1. Core courses (12 semester hours)
    EDC 610, 620, and 650
  2. Electives* (minimum 3 semester hours)
    Course selection with permission of adviser.
    EDC 594-598, EDC 630, PSY 517/519
    Other counselor education courses
    * Only courses taken post master's at WCU will be counted toward required credits.

Course Descriptions [top]

Counselor Education
Symbol: EDC

503 Professional Orientation to Counseling (3) An introductory course that provides an understanding of counseling as a profession, including history, roles, organizational structures, ethical and legal issues, standards, and credentialing.

504 Organization and Administration of School Counseling Program (3) The student will learn how to develop, maintain, and evaluate a comprehensive school counseling program that effectively addresses student needs. National models for school counseling programs that provide process and content framework will be examined. Specific emphases will be placed on the school as a system, needs-based and data-driven program development, process and outcome accountability, program management, and the cost-effective delivery of programs.

520 Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling (3) This course explores different racial, social class, gender, and ethnic group orientations to counseling and examines exceptionality implications in applying traditional counseling approaches for use with diverse client populations.

521 Human Development Through the Life Span for Counselors (3) Exploration of cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development over the life span. This course examines both theory and research in human development and applies this knowledge to the practice of counseling.

530 Introduction to Student Affairs (3) This course provides graduate students in counseling/student affairs with a comprehensive introduction to the field of student affairs in American higher education including a historical overview of student affairs, legal and professional ethics, models and practices of leadership, organizational management, consultation, and the many functions and activities associated with student affairs. The course examines student affairs in public and private institutions as well as two- and four-year institutions.

531 Theories of American College Student Development (3) This course focuses on the range of human development theories that offer insights into student learning, growth, and development during the college years. Special focus is on understanding the implications of these models for the policies and practices of higher education and student affairs in particular.

532 Leadership and Management in Student Affairs (3) This course explores research on management and leadership, and prepares students as educational leaders in student affairs; reviews the policy implications that affect social, interpersonal, and academic success of American college students; examines the American college students' lifestyle, attitudes, characteristics, and demographics; and assesses the effects of higher education, and student affairs in particular, on the American college student.

540 Assessment Methods in Counseling (3) Emphasis is on the test and nontest assessment of intelligence, achievement, special abilities, and aptitudes, including concepts such as reliability, validity, and standardization.

556 Career Development Theories and Practices (3) Theories and techniques relating to career development in children, adolescents, and adults. Career development programming within the context of a systems approach is stressed.

559 Human Exceptionality for Counselors (3) This course provides future school counselors with an overview of human exceptionality and advanced educational psychology constructs as they pertain to new experiences of persons with disabilities in the educational system.

567 Group Dynamics (3) This course in group processes focuses on the identification of the implicit and explicit role functions of the group member and the group leader. The recognition and awareness of one's behavior with multiple feedback sources is of primary concern. The major objective of this course is to initiate, develop, and master relationships in a group setting.

570 Fundamentals of the Helping Relationship (3) The course will introduce students to the counseling process. Communications skills essential to the helping relationship will be taught and practiced in a counseling lab.

571 Counseling Theory and Techniques (3) The course provides an in-depth look at selected theories and their resultant “therapeutic operations,” such as cognitive/behavioral, person-centered, and solution-focused models. Emphasis is on both theory and the application of theory to practice. This preinternship course includes direct contact with “simulated clients” and the development of counseling intervention plans.

576 Consultation and Coordination in Guidance and Counseling (3) This preinternship course focuses on models, mechanisms, and strategies of employing consultation and coordination in remedial and preventive interventions in educational settings. Systems analysis and program development and evaluation will be addressed relative to consultation and coordination.

577 School Counseling Strategies for Change (3) The course is designed to provide an in-depth look at strategies employed by school counselors in individual and group format for promoting client change. The strategies presented reflect those of “best practice” and are tailored to the developmental needs of specific client populations. This prepracticum course includes actual counseling experience with a level-appropriate student.

590 Practicum in School Counseling (3) Students will complete a counseling practicum experience in an approved school setting that totals a minimum of 100 clock hours. The practicum will include both individual and group counseling experiences. Students will receive both individualized and group supervision under the directions of a University faculty member. PREREQ: EDC 503, 567, 570, 577; 571 must be completed before or concurrently.

592 Practicum in Higher Education Student Affairs (3) Students will complete a counseling practicum experience in an approved higher education setting that totals a minimum of 100 clock hours. The practicum will include both individual and group counseling experiences. Students will receive both individualized and group supervision under the direction of a University faculty member. PREREQ: EDC 503, 567, 570, 571; EDC 530 must be completed before or concurrently.

594-597 Workshop in Counselor Education (1-6)

598 Workshop in Counselor Education (1-6)

599 Independent Study (1-3) Independent research and study under the direction of a faculty member. PREREQ: Permission of department chairperson and instructor.

600 Counseling Internship in Higher Education/Student Affairs (3) This internship is designed to provide an intensive, supervised on-site counseling experience specific to students' program specialization working in a field site approved by the department. Each three-credit internship has a 200-hour minimum requirement with the course being repeated until the student has accumulated a minimum of 600 on-site hours over at least two semesters. PREREQ: EDC 592 and 556; EDC 531 or 532 must be completed before or taken concurrently with EDC 600. This course may be taken again for credit.

601 Counseling Internship Elementary School (3) This internship provides an intensive, supervised on-site counseling experience in an elementary school setting (grades K-6) approved by the department. Each three-credit internship has a 200-hour minimum requirement with the course being repeated until the student has accumulated a minimum of 600 hours in school settings over at least two semesters. PREREQ: EDC 590, 576; EDC 504, 556; and EDP 550 must be completed before or concurrently. This course may be taken again for credit.

602 Counseling Internship Secondary School (3) This internship provides an intensive, supervised on-site counseling experience in a secondary school setting (grades 7-12) approved by the department. Each three-credit internship has a 200-hour minimum requirement with the course being repeated until the student has accumulated a minimum of 600 on-site hours in school settings over at least two semesters. PREREQ: EDC 590, 576; EDC 504, 556; and EDP 550 must be completed before or concurrently. This course may be taken again for credit.

610 The Diagnostic Intervention Connection for Professional Counselors (3) This seminar targets the professional counselors' need to employ valid diagnostic paradigms as the necessary step to effective intervention planning. The focus of this seminar is on application with students required to engage in client contact employing the diagnostic-treatment model presented in class. PREREQ: Graduate psychopathology course. Enrollment limited to counseling post-master's LDC preparation program students or with permission of instructor.

620 Advanced Counseling Intervention (3) This seminar will stress the application of clinical skills and will include a field component as well as a case conferencing format. Emphasis will be placed on treatment planning using multiaxial diagnosis, implementation, and evaluation.

630 Systems Concepts and Skills for Professional Counselors (3) The course will provide an introduction to systemic thinking, assist students in the development of skills necessary for systems assessment, and require students to employ systemic treatment, planning, and referral.

650 Advanced Counselor Internship (3) This post-master's course will provide students with supervised experience in the application of counseling and evaluation techniques in professional settings appropriate to their career interests, skills, and program of study. Adviser must approve site selection.

Educational Foundations
Symbol: EDF

502 Methods and Materials of Research for Counselors (3) Designed to enable the counselor to read experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive, and correlational research reported in the professional journals. Both univariate and multivariate designs are emphasized. PREREQ: EDC 540.

583 The American School as Social Narrative (3) An integrated exploration of the philosophical culture, social, and physical foundations of schooling and education in the United States.