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Master of Arts in Counseling Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Counseling degree consists of a minimum of sixty (60) semester hours of course work designed to prepare professionals to counsel in a variety of settings. Students are required to enroll in one of two cognate areas: school counseling or addiction counseling. Courses promote the acquisition of the knowledge and skill development in the eight core areas listed in the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The School Counseling cognate and the Addiction Counseling cognate are both CACREP accredited. A limited number of students are admitted each year and placement is competitive.

The student’s culminating experiences include a written comprehensive exam, video-recorded evidence of skill, and theory integration supported by a comprehensive portfolio. Students have latitude in selecting internship sites within their cognate area to maximize their experience in line with specific career goals with at least 700 hours of internship experience.

Initial licensure for Professional Counselors in Idaho requires a master’s degree of 60 semester hours with 1000 hours of supervised experience and passing the National Counselor Examination (NCE). The Boise State University Master of Arts in Counseling program prepares students for this process.

School Counseling Cognate Overview

The School Counseling cognate is prepares professionals to work with students ranging from kindergarten to high school to promote the academic, career, and personal/social development of students.  This cognate area focuses on the design and implementation of comprehensive school guidance and counseling programs that include individual and group counseling, classroom guidance, and consultation within the school setting. Graduates of the School Counseling cognate may choose to work in both private and public school systems at the elementary, middle, and high school level. For Idaho Certification as a School Counselor, graduates must complete 700 clock hours of field experience (600 need to be in a K-12 setting). Completion of the School Counseling cognate meets Idaho school counseling certification requirements.

Addiction Counseling Cognate Overview

The Addiction Counseling cognate prepares professionals to work with individuals and families affected by substance abuse and other addictive behaviors in education, prevention and intervention settings. This cognate area focuses on assessment, treatment, and relapse prevention as well as models of prevention and intervention for addiction. Graduates of the Addiction Counseling cognate may choose to work in private practice or in a variety of community agencies offering counseling services for substance abuse.

Master of Arts in Counseling Program Format

Students are admitted in the fall as a group cohort. Full-time graduate faculty teach, work with students on research projects, and supervise practicum and internship experiences. Adjunct faculty with specific expertise provide delivery of additional special topics, courses, and site supervision. The Student Handbook can provide more information on the cohort system, required classes, and class sequence.

A minimum of six credit hours of coursework is offered each fall and spring semester. Summer sessions involve a commitment of six to seven credits and are offered during the weekdays, evenings, or weekends. The Department is intentional about scheduling evening and weekend courses when possible to accommodate those who are employed.

The practicum and internship sequence is central to the preparation of counselors and is integral to this degree. During the second year, students participate in practica under close supervision to provide a range of counseling services. The third year includes a 700 clock-hour internship. Both practicum and internship experiences are scheduled during daytime hours.

Operating Philosophy

The purpose of the counseling program is to recruit and graduate students who possess  the desire and the skills to meet the challenges of the evolving roles of the counseling profession.  As a highly ethical professional team, we are competent, respectful, and responsive counselor educators who maintain an adaptive environment that is educationally challenging and supportive of our students and colleagues.  We believe in consensus in a nurturing and collaborative Department that promotes academic rigor, professionalism, and quality student outcomes.
The required core of theory and professional issue classes blend with practicum/internship to integrate the academic and practical aspects of counselor training.  Required learner outcomes are based on the 2009 eight core areas and specialty area student learning outcomes of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

The counselor preparation faculty views effective counselors in any setting as skilled helpers who have a realistic sense of personal identity and professional ethics with an obvious commitment to refining their knowledge, attitudes, and skills for the benefit of clients and the profession of counseling.  This view of professional counselor education is congruent with Boise State University’s mission statement to prepare students not only for employment and career advancement, but also for participation in society as active, informed citizens.