You're seeing this message because you're using an older version of Internet Explorer that is unsupported on our website. Please use these links to upgrade to a modern web browser that fully supports our website and protects your computer from security risks.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Internet Explorer 8

Hide this message

FSU Tag Line
 

M.S. in Counseling Psychology FAQs

Accreditation

Is your program accredited?

Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council

Qualifications of Applicants

What professions is this program designed for?

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in psychology to apply to your program?

To be competitive in applying for your program what GPA should an applicant have (cumulative, major or last two years)?

In selecting applicants for your program, what emphasis is placed on the following: letters of recommendation,GRE score, work/internship experience, and research experience?

How many students are typically admitted each year?

Internship

When do I do my Internship?

How is the internship graded?

Evaluation of Students

What is degree candidacy and what purpose does it serve?

How and when are students in the program evaluated?

Program Focus

What are the main focuses of the program?

Why is there a study plan? Will I know when most courses will be offered? Will I be assigned an advisor to help me with course selection and other program issues?

Can I choose an area of concentration?

I have heard that some counseling programs require students to go to counseling themselves. Is this true?

What is the Personal Growth Experience?

What are the program goals:
     Learning About Self
     Learning About Clients
     Learning About Counselor-Client Relationships
     Learning About Helping Clients Learn About Themselves,
         Their Environment And Their Relations With Others
     Learning About Stability and Change in Human Behavior
     Learning About the Helping Profession

Faculty

What credentials do the graduate faculty possess?

What is the student-faculty ratio?

Opportunities for Employment

What are graduates of this program currently doing?

Does the program assist students in getting employment?

Licensure

With your program, what license(s) are offered upon graduation (Licensed Professional Counselor, etc.)?

Financial Aid and Graduate Assistantship

Of the applicants accepted, what financial assistance will they receive?

If I choose to leave the program for a short time, will I be penalized?

 

Is your program accredited?

FSU is regionally accredited through the Middle States Association as an institution of higher learning. The M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council (MPAC). Accreditation of psychology programs at the master's level is a recent development in the field of psychology and a recognition that FSU sought in light of the rapidly changing mode of health-care delivery in this country and our program's commitment to science-based training. The FSU program is the first in the University System of Maryland and the sixth nationwide to receive this designation from MPAC. We were accredited February 1998.

What professions is this program designed for?

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology Program is designed for persons with a background in psychology who are interested in working in settings such as mental health clinics, counseling centers, and human service agencies.

Back to top

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in psychology to apply to your program?

We do not require that your undergraduate degree be in psychology. However, we do have some required prerequisite psychology courses that must be completed before admission into our program which are; General or Introduction to Psychology, one Developmental Psychology course (Child, Adolescent, or Adult), one course in Psychology Statistics or Behavioral Research Methods, Abnormal Psychology (at the 300/400 level), and one 3-credit elective in psychology. You may want to review your undergraduate transcript to see how many of these courses you would need to take in order to prepare for a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology.

Although not required for admission, the following courses represent needed background for the more advanced courses in the program: PSYC 508* - Tests and Measurements and one 3-credit course* addressing the physiological basis of behavior; Physiological Psychology, Health Psychology or Addictions Issues and Treatment or their equivalent at another university. If you have not taken these courses at an advanced level as an undergraduate, these courses must be taken at Frostburg State University at the beginning of your program of study. If you have taken some or all of these basic preparation courses at another institution, but the courses are not comparable to FSU's, you will be asked to either take the course(s) at FSU or take an equivalency exam to test out of the course(s).

*If these courses are taken at FSU at the graduate level, it will help you to build the 60-credit hours required for licensure in the State of Maryland.

Back to top

To be competitive in applying for your program what GPA should an applicant have (cumulative, major or last 2 years)?

Applicants to the program that do not have a GPA of at least 3.0 are required to submit GRE scores. If you're GPA is below 3.0 you must score at least 1000 on the GREs. However, most of our accepted applicants have GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. We look both at your cumulative GPA and your Major GPA. Both are important considerations in the admission process. If for some reason your GPA is a bit lower than expected, we would then begin looking at your GPA for the last two years of your undergraduate degree. Also, you can submit scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). For this test, we require a score of 410.

Back to top

In selecting applicants for your program, what emphasis is placed on the following: letters of recommendation, GRE score, work/internship experience, and research experience?

The admissions committee will place emphasis on all of these areas. There is probably more of an emphasis placed on GPA, letters of recommendation, and work/internship experience. Research experience is important to us, but a lack of this will not ruin your chances for admission. We also place emphasis on your personal statement and your interview. We are looking for students that are a "fit" with our program. This information usually comes from your personal statement and interview.

How many students are typically admitted each year?

There are anywhere from 10-15 students admitted each year. Some students choose to be part-time,while others enroll on a full-time status. More students are admitted if the cohort has a higher number of part-time students.

When do I do my Internship?

You must receive degree candidacy before you apply for the internship. All courses must be completed prior to interning. On petition, exceptions can be made for electives and/or selected program requirements. You must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better before interning.

Back to top

How is the internship graded?

Internship is graded on a PASS/FAIL basis. In order to continue in the program and register for Advanced Internship (696), you must receive a PASS in Internship (695). Please consult your Internship Handbook for more detailed information.

Back to top

What is degree candidacy and what purpose does it serve?

The purpose of degree candidacy is to provide a formal mechanism whereby your academic performance and progress toward completion of degree requirements are evaluated. Criteria for this evaluation are found in the Student Program Handbook. The purpose of the candidacy evaluation is to judge whether or not the student has or will be able to meet the criteria for completing the Program and develop the necessary skills and characteristics to establish adequate counseling relationships within the time limits established by the graduate program. Candidacy evaluations are completed prior to the internship. A candidacy evaluation occurs near the end of the semester in which the student completes skills-based courses (i.e., 600, 630, 640).

Back to top

How and when are students in the program evaluated ?

The faculty recognizes that a diversity of counseling styles and personal characteristics are effective in counseling relationships. The faculty also recognizes that a number of personal characteristics and counseling characteristics interfere with adequate counseling relationships. The purpose of evaluation is to identify students' strengths, needs, and characteristics that appear to interfere with the development of counseling skills or the development of counseling relationships.

Evaluation of students takes place several times. During the first year there are preliminary evaluations at the end of students' first and second semesters, whether the students are part-time or full-time. If the student has completed skills-based courses (i.e., 600, 630, 640) by the end of their second semester, the second semester evaluation may coincide with the candidacy evaluation.

Later, a personal assessment with the advisor takes place as part of the student's preparation of the internship proposal. A formal, rated evaluation of internship activities is completed by the site supervisor at the end of each intern semester. The final evaluation takes place during the exit interview at the end of the student's program of study, just prior to graduation.

Back to top

What are the main focuses of the program?

The focus of the program is the development of personal qualities, understandings, and professional skills through learning about the self, client, and counselor-client relationships. The program emphasizes understanding stability and change in human behavior and acquiring the competencies of the professional helper.

Why is there a study plan? Will I know when most courses will be offered? Will someone help me with course selection and other program issues?

The study plan stipulates the sequence of courses the student will take and the projected date for taking courses. Scheduling of classes will occur to meet the needs of most students, to facilitate the planning of the student's program, and for enrollment management of courses for all students. Changes in enrollment status (full-time, part-time) must be approved by the Program Coordinator.

Upon acceptance into the M.S. program, each student is temporarily assigned to the Program Coordinator for academic advising. The student should meet the coordinator prior to registering for the first class. The purpose of this meeting is to clarify expectations about the program and to begin developing the study plan.

Prior to the student's first semester of study, she/he will be assigned an advisor. The advisor plays a key role in the professional development of the student, and is often viewed as a mentor. The advisor is responsible for providing regular formal and informal feedback about the student's progress in the program and professional development, communicating recommendations developed by the faculty, and providing internship supervision.

Back to top

What is the Personal Growth Experience?

Self-awareness, personal congruence, and continually striving for growth are essential to becoming an effective helping professional. Prior to interning, all students are required to participate in a personal growth experience that has been designed to enhance these qualities. The growth experience may be either individual or group therapy in nature, and must be at least 6 hours in length.

Many students have chosen to remain in therapy beyond the minimum 6 hour requirement. Particularly while interning, students have recognized the need to work through personal issues so these do not interfere with the counseling process. For example, personal therapy may help students identify blocks to growth and areas they have been avoiding. Students learn that they must confront themselves before they can expect clients to do the same. Students who have experienced the effectiveness of therapy techniques during their own counseling have felt more comfortable using these with their own clients. Students also tend to gain a broader perspective of the helping relationship through directly experiencing the role of the client.

Participation in a personal growth experience will be documented by each student writing a separate paragraph in the self-evaluation section of the Report of Internship Activities. This paragraph will be a summary of the personal growth experience. The student is required to describe the type(s) of experience(s) and to briefly discuss the effect of this experience on his/her development as a professional counselor. The written evaluation of the personal growth experience is the means through which faculty monitor students' compliance with this program requirement. You need to complete this requirement no later than the last semester of internship.

Back to top

Learning About Self

In order to develop competence the counseling student must approach the program ready to learn effectively as well as intellectually. In effect, you will find that learning about yourself and your relations with others, honestly and courageously, is fundamental to becoming an effective helping professional. Thus, throughout this program you should seriously and repeatedly examine and explore the following facets of yourself.

Who am I? How do I relate to others? What are my attitudes toward myself and others? How do each of the above affect my relationships with others and especially with clients, individually and in groups? What are my personal strengths and weaknesses, and how am I going to act on this information about myself? How receptive am I to supervisory feedback?

What do I believe about counseling? What is the role of a counselor? At this time, what kind of a counselor am I choosing to be? What are my academic or knowledge strengths and weaknesses, and how am I going to remedy my weaknesses?


Back to top

Learning About Clients

Uou should be constantly working toward greater skill in understanding your clients including the ability to see clients as interdependent with others, view of self and attitudes and feelings toward self; view of others and attitudes and feelings toward others; ways of coping and defending; ways of managing feelings and relationships; needs, assets, and problem behaviors; objectives-personal and situational; preferred ways of moving toward objectives; assets (particularly social support) and problems relative to personal goals; understanding of cultural/environmental context.


Back to top

Learning About Counselor-Client Relationships

Over and above learning about one's self and better understanding others and their feelings and behavior, the counseling student must develop a here-and-now sensitivity to and understanding of ongoing relationship(s) in one-to-one, group, and family situations. Within the counseling relationship, the counselor must foster collaboration, have a multicultural awareness and be able to attend to his/her own feelings and reactions as well as to the client's in a non-threatened and non-distorting manner. The counselor must learn to approach rather than avoid difficult, sensitive, and painful experiences at those times when the relationship is strong enough to allow this deeper exploration. Above all, the counselor must learn to avoid allowing his/her own needs to interfere with the client's growth or the development of a healthy, constructive client-counselor relationship.

Back to top

Learning How to Help Clients Learn About Themselves, Their Environment And Their Relations With Others

While this learning is implicit in the earlier sections above, giving some emphasis to this objective should serve to indicate that information seeking and information giving is an important facet of counseling help. Individual assessment in its many forms (interview, observation, testing, etc.), career exploration activities, and consultation skills are a part of this learning objective. Also, the importance of community resources and client advocacy need to be addressed.

Back to top

Learning About Stability and Change in Human Behavior

The counselor-student will begin learning how human behavior is maintained and how behavior may be changed. This learning will include an understanding of external and internal factors in human learning. These factors include social forces, group norms and pressures, interpersonal payoffs, cognitive consistency, and anxiety-defense dynamics. The counselor's knowledge of behavioral change will be shared with her/his clients. The direction of change as well as the procedures and program for change will ideally be acceptable to, and voluntarily chosen by, the client. However, it is necessary to consider the special needs of involuntary or coerced clients.

Back to top

Learning About the Helping Profession

The counselor-student will begin to identify with the "helping profession." This process begins early in the program as the individual learns about self in relation to helping others and sees the relationship between the varied learning experiences and the development of a competent professional. The internship is an important stage in this process of professional identification. During the internship, the counselor-student begins to appreciate more fully his/her responsibility to other professional helpers; internalizes the professional code of ethical conduct; and lastly, appreciates the necessity of continuous professional development.


Back to top

What credentials do the graduate faculty possess?

All full-time graduate faculty have their Ph.D, Ed.D., or Psy.D. in Psychology and/or Counseling and have relevant experience in counseling and/or clinical activities. The full-time graduate faculty are : Dr. Ann Bristow (Program Coordinator), Dr. Kevin Peterson, Dr. Jason H. Edwards, Dr. Megan Bradley, and Dr. Trina Redmond. Click here to read more about the above faculty and their interests.

A summary of the research and teaching interests of the FSU Psychology faculty is provided below:

Dr. Alan Bensley: Research Methods, Sensation and Perception, and Cognition and Critical Thinking.

Dr. Megan Bradley: Developmental Psychology (child), Exceptional Children, and History and Systems

Dr. Ann Bristow: Counseling and Clinical Issues, Substance Abuse, HIV disease and other health issues.

Dr. Jason H. Edwards: Clinical Child and Family Psychology, Family Therapy and Brief Therapy

Dr. Kevin Peterson: Psychological Assessment and Brief Therapy

Dr. Trina Redmond Matz: General Psychology, Counseling Theory, Multicultural Counseling, and History and Systems of Psychology

Dr. Pat Santoro: Behavioral Analysis, Psychology of Women, and General Psychology

Dr. Bill Southerly: General Psychology, Research Methods, Computer Applications, and Family Behavior

Back to top

What is the student-faculty ratio?

The student-faculty ratio is about 7to 1. This ratio insures individualized attention and close supervision of students.

What are graduates of this program currently doing?

Graduates from this program are currently working as community health specialists, mental health counselors, marriage and family counselors, crisis counselors, drug and alcohol counselors, college counselors, and in supervisory positions in a variety of settings or attending Ph.D. programs. Five to ten percent of graduates decide to continue their education at the doctral level, most in Ph.D. or Psy.D. clinical or counseling programs. We strongly recommend that students engage in research at FSU if they intend pursuing doctral level study. Research opportunities with faculty are available, and should be started early in student's careers at FSU.

Back to top

Does the program assist students in getting jobs?

The Frostburg State University placement service includes the maintenance of student credentials, dissemination of employment related information, job-seeking skills workshops, and an extensive library of resource materials. Specific information regarding employment opportunities in the helping professions is shared by the Placement Office with the faculty. The faculty maintains on-going personal contact with all M.S. counseling students. Through their own contact with members of the counseling profession, faculty are often aware of job leads as they develop. These are also made available to students.

The faculty encourages a post-graduate relationship whereby continued service is available to graduates. Faculty are excellent resources for employment. Alumni are also invited to contact faculty for direction and support. Graduates of the M.S. program have appreciated this continued guidance, particularly in dealing with ethical issues. For example, a former student may be employed in a setting where the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association are being violated. In another instance a program graduate may be working in a setting where agency concerns do not mesh with his/her training and personal philosophy of counseling.

Graduates are often the source of information about employment in their own and others' work settings which are shared with faculty and program students. The Program Coordinator and other M.S. faculty value feedback from FSU graduates. Alumni surveys regarding the relevancy of their degree help faculty continue to shape and improve the direction of the program.

The facultyhas developed of course work to meet state licensure requirements. This includes an emphasis on multicultural awareness designed to enhance counselor competency in working with diverse populations. It is expected that students in the program, as well as graduates, will avail themselves of this continuing education.

Back to top

With your program, what license(s) are offered upon graduation (Licensed Professional Counselor, etc.)?

A 60-credit-hour cerficiation/licensure option can be taken by students who want to fulfill minmum graduate course requirements for certification in most states, including licensure in the state of Maryland. The minimum M.S. Counseling Psychology program requirements are 49-credit hours to be taken in no fewer than 3 years. The 60-credit hour option can also be completed in three years if the student takes 9-credit hours per semester for three years plus additional credit hours in intersession or summer session terms. In Maryland you are required to take a 3-credit hour graduate level chemical depenency course which is offered as an elective in our program. In most states, including Maryland, you are required to take a course in Lifestyle and Careet Development; this can be taken through the Psychology Department (PSYC 616, Psychological Issues in Career Counseling) or the Education Department (SCCO 608, Career Counseling Issues for School Counselors). If you chose to complete the 60-credit hour licensure option, you will be eligible to sit for the National Counselor Examination (this is the licensure exam) in your last semester of study. If you successfully pass the NCE, you will be eligible to apply for the Maryland's Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor upon graduation. You can find more information about the LGPC at http://www.dhmh.state.md.us/bopc/html/lgpc.htm. When you complete the mandated hours of clinical work, you can then apply for the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.

Of the applicants accepted, what financial assistance will they receive?

Our program has seven graduate assistantships (GA's) available through the Psychology Department. Five of these GA's are research-oriented and the other two are program assistants. Only a select number of accepted students will be considered for open GA positions. However, our graduate students have also been GA's in various departments on campus (education, recreation, career services, etc.). You can also apply for loans, but there are few scholarships available for graduate students.

Please note that 9-credit hours is considered full-time status at the graduate level at FSU. Full-time status is required for many loans. A semester load of 3 or 6-credit hours is considered part-time at FSU. Stafford Loans are awarded to graduate students on a full-time basis (9 credit hours) or part-time basis (minimum of 6 credit hours).

If you don't get an assistantship, you probably should fill out a FAFSA form and apply for financial aid. You'll probably have to take out loans to pay for graduate school. You should contact the the Office of Financial Aid for further information; click here.
 

Back to top

If I choose to leave the program for a short time, will I be penalized?

If, after acceptance into the program, an unexpected event occurs which you believe will temporarily affect your continuation in the program, you may file for a leave of absence (LOA).

There are two options in taking a leave of absence. Both are with the understanding that the statute of limitations for program completion is six years. If a program of study is to extend beyond six years, you must file a request with the Program Coordinator. The two options are: (1) request a LOA for a specified time period, but not to exceed 18 months, after which you would automatically enroll in classes; (2) request a LOA for an unspecified period of time. Under the second option, you must notify the Coordinator, in writing, of your plan to return to classes according to the following deadlines: April 15 for Fall classes; September 1 for Spring classes. These deadlines allow the faculty to anticipate enrollments in courses. If you fail to notify the coordinator of your plans, you may be subject to re-applying to the program.

Under either option, if you are out of school for more than 18 months, you must reapply to the program for readmission under the current catalog.

Back to top

For more information, you may email Graduate Services.