School Counseling

Master of Arts in Educational Psychology plus the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in School Counseling

The program in School Counseling is designed to prepare candidates for MA state licensure as a School Counselor. Emphasis is on the development of effective counseling, assessment skills, consultation, transition planning, and collaboration skills. Candidates are prepared to sensitively serve the needs of a culturally diverse group of children in the school setting. Also, the individual will be trained to keep abreast of current research to apply appropriate, up-to-date, and empirically valid research findings to effective educational, counseling, and treatment practices.

Initial License
Candidates are required to submit documentation of successful completion of the Communication and Literacy Skills Test, from the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), before being accepted into graduate programs. The MTEL is a requirement for Initial license by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Learning Outcomes for School Counseling

Upon completion of the program, the candidate of the School Adjustment Counseling program will:

  • Understand various levels of curriculum demands and the principals of child and adolescent development as they relate to the needs of diverse learners in consideration of the tasks related to student advising, scheduling, college application and career training.
  • Apply core theory and research regarding the cultural context of relationships, including current issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society, to the practice of school counseling.
  • Exhibit the knowledge base and skills needed to deliver a range of professional counseling and consultation services ethically and effectively within the educational setting.
  • Provide and implement interventions in collaboration with partners (teachers, parents, students, administrators, and support agencies) to develop student planning and decision making; and promote accurate and appropriate interpretations of assessment data and other relevant information.
  • Understand and communicate working knowledge of federal, state, municipal, and school laws/ regulation as they apply to the educational setting and student needs.
  • Engage in effective oral and written communication when addressing academic disability eligibility and clinical mental health concerns.

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What You'll Learn

Our program teaches school guidance counseling skills such as understanding curriculum demands, the cultural context of relationships, and how to implement interventions with collaborators.



Future Studies

While this program is designed to prepare candidates for state licensure and School Guidance Counseling positions, it also can be used for further studies at the doctorate level.

Career Opportunities

Successful completion of the Educational Psychology program prepares candidates for a Massachusetts license as a School Guidance Counselor.

Foundation Courses

  • PSY5215*: Theories of Counseling
  • PSY5230*: Principles and Practice of Guidance
  • PSY5240*: Theoretical Basis for School Counseling Practice
  • PSY5415: Psychology of Development
  • PSY6230: Psychology of the Exceptional Child
  • PSY6505: Issues and Ethics in Psychology
  • PSY6330: Theories of Learning Disabilities
  • PSY5315: Group Counseling
  • PSY6605: Therapeutic Techniques and Consultation
  • PSY5205: Applied Research Methodology

Master of Arts in Educational Psychology awarded after 30 credits.

Specialty Area Courses

  • PSY5345: Advanced Abnormal Psychology
  • PSY6515: Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse
  • PSY6850*: Diagnostic Psychoeducational Assessment
  • PSY6689/6690: Advanced Practicum with Seminar I/II***

Professional Area Courses

  • PSY6845*: Advanced Counseling Theory and Practice
  • PSY6855: Group Testing
  • PSY5305*: Occupational Information
  • PSY6819/6821: Clinical Experience in School Counseling I/II

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies awarded after 30 additional credits.

*Field Experience required

***Candidates are eligible for endorsement for Initial licensure in School
Counseling to the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education upon completion of all coursework through PSY6689, Advanced Practicum with Seminar. The candidate is then eligible for employment as a school counselor. Candidates must apply directly to the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for their license. The Initial license expires at the end of five (5) years.

Course Descriptions

This course will examine in some detail the influence of psychoanalytic, interpersonal/social, cognitive, and behavioristic theories on present therapeutic techniques. Each style of counseling is evaluated and the relationship between the nature of the disturbance and the effectiveness of each approach is discussed. The response to counseling of those from various racial and cultural groups will be considered. Classroom discussion will be used in conjunction with film and audio tape presentations to translate theoretical understanding into effective counseling behavior.

This is an introductory course designed to acquaint the student with the basics of the need, meaning, and ethics of guidance services. Issues related to school guidance practices, with an overview of the role and function of the school counselor, will be reviewed. Specifically, student scheduling, testing and assessment, career guidance, and college placement will be emphasized. Current trends in the field, as well as general guidance issues, will be explored. Emphasis will be placed on the fact that the guidance counselor serves as part of a collaborative team with a strong focus on consultation.

This course will provide students with a broad, integrated perspective on the discipline of psychology and its practice. Students will begin with an overview of the philosophical ideas from which psychology developed. Major theoretical positions in psychology will be explored from an historical perspective moving to the present positions and focusing on current practice. These include: Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism, Gestalt, Psychoanalysis, Social Learning, Information Processing, and Cognitive models. Emphasis is placed on the educational and clinical implications of these basic positions. The neurological basis of learning and memory will be considered also. The student will develop an understanding of current trends in practice through a basic understanding of the theoretical foundations of psychology.

This course addresses the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, including a description of behaviors that are present at the various stages, and explanations for those behaviors in terms of relative contributions of heredity and environment. The sociocultural and social economic factors that may contribute to a development outcome are considered.

Exceptional children are those for whom special educational programming is considered necessary. In this course, we consider the characteristics, prevalence, etiology, neurological correlates (if applicable), developmental course, assessment, and treatment for the categories of learning disabilities (including reading disability and nonverbal LD), ADHD, Aspergers syndrome, children with limited English proficiency, children from culturally diverse backgrounds, and the gifted and talented.

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the student with the major issues in the practice of psychology. The course will involve an intense analysis of the philosophical, technical, and consultative issues contributing to the professional identity and function of the psychologist in a public school or clinical setting. Emphasis will be placed on the setting, the practical application of theory, and the demands placed on the setting, the practical application of theory, and the demands placed on the practicing school psychologist. This course stresses professional ethics and general standards of conduct. The guide for this section of the course is the American Psychological Associations Code of Ethics.

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the field of learning disabilities and acquaint students with the various concepts of learning disability and the changing and developing perspectives during the past 20 years. Included will be a review and evaluation of the evidence for the existence of a social learning disability and nonverbal learning disabilities. The evidence for a neurological basis of learning disabilities is explored. Definitions and terms are introduced and discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on the concept that a learning disability is not a single entity that will respond to a single remedial strategy, but exists rather as a multi-dimensional phenomenon basically occurring in the context of school-related tasks.

The emphasis in this course will be on human growth and the counseling process within the group setting. Among the concepts included are curative factors, interpersonal learning, group composition, and tasks and techniques for change. Drug addictions, poverty, and education will be explored in understanding the individual response to group counseling. The class itself will experience these concepts by both participating in a personal growth group and reviewing appropriate literature.

This course will provide students with techniques to integrate the theories of treatment into specific situations that the counselor or psychologist will confront in actual practice. Topics will range from working with clients in multiple system membership to consultation around behavioral/emotional issues in schools as well as clinics. The consultation model will be considered as it relates to counselors and psychologists within a multicultural model.

This course links statistical analysis and research methodology in order that the student may become a sophisticated research consumer as well as research producer. The student must learn to understand the logic of the research enterprise and have a basic grasp of the conceptual base on which the statistical tests of significance rest. Understanding research strategy and the logic behind the statistical tests is the underlying theme of the course. This will allow students to understand the nature of empirical research in developing education interventions and therapeutic strategies. Students are also required to learn the SPSS computer program.

This course examines disorders in adulthood, adolescence, and childhood with consideration of the relationship between biological, social, psychological, and environmental factors, as well as problems in classification and potential behavior systems. The concepts of normal and abnormal will be explored especially when attempting to understand the behaviors of culturally diverse groups. The symptomatological disorders, including borderline personalities, and various phobic and obsessive-compulsive syndromes will be studied. Also covered will be dis-compensation, stress, anxiety, and defense.

This course covers the fundamental principles of pharmacology, drug actions, tolerance, addiction, clinical use of psychotic medications, substance abuse, and addiction treatment. Research that explores the efficacy of medications taken during treatment, specific treatment programs, and the degree of recidivism is presented.

The purpose of this course is to learn to carry out a psychoeducational assessment using appropriate assessment instruments and to write an effective report of the assessment. To achieve this, the class will become familiar with the particulars of testing and test administration, and will critique and study formal and informal tests and testing procedures in the areas of reading, math, language, attention deficit, and behavior. The influence and impact of standardized tests on groups such as racial, ethnic, cultural minorities, and English language learners will be explored. This course will deal with the techniques of synthesizing and integrating psychological and practical information into an effective report and educational plan. Emphasis will be placed on assessment techniques, an overview of presenting problems, the development of appropriate intervention strategies, the presentation of psychological reports, and consultation and collaboration with both parents and professionals.

The purpose of this course is to continue to have school counselors develop the psychological, behavioral, and therapeutic skills in order to provide basic counseling services to students in elementary, middle, and high school. Emphasis will be on the practical strategies to help students with problems such as depression and anxiety that are consistent in most student issues such as academic underachievement, peer relationship problems, cultural differences, emotional disorders, and the issues of homosexual and bisexual youth.

This course focuses on developing an understanding of the nature and function of group assessments. This includes, but is not limited to, such areas as achievement, aptitude, interest, and vocation. The nature and purpose of tests such as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System as a requirement for high school graduation is also explored. Students will understand the issues of assessment norms, validity, and reliability, as well as general principles of test construction. Emphasis will be on the ability to interpret and integrate information obtained from assessment tools for the purpose of addressing student needs, and on communicating assessment results to students, parents, and teachers.

This course is designed to acquaint the student with vocational counseling practices. Sources of career information, lifestyle development, advantages and disadvantages of each source, and methods of storing and disseminating information will be explored. An understanding of career development assessment and career counseling techniques will be explored. Current issues in college planning and school-to-work transition programming will be explored.

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