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Explore our MS in School Counseling Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling specialization

Learn how to support the well-being of your students as they cope with complex personal and family challenges. Explore human sexual development as well as the relationships and family dynamics impacting young people’s lives today. Build the cross-cultural competencies and skills required to understand family structures, life-cycle dynamics, intergenerational influences, and healthy family functioning.

In this specialization you will:

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of the dynamics and functioning of couples and families.
  • Explore culture, gender, and ethnicity factors in family development.
  • Review and compare theoretical frameworks in couples and family therapy.

Curriculum

Completion Requirements

  • 85 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (66 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (10 cr.)
    • Field experience (9 cr.)
  • 2 Pre-practicum Labs (6 weeks online with 4 days face-to-face)
  • Group Lab (9 weeks online with 14 hours of live synchronous group) 

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits
COUN 6110

Foundations of Graduate Study in School Counseling

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students are provided a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Topics include the relation of mission and vision to professional goals; development of the program of study and Professional Development Plan; strategies for online success; introduction to the online library; and introduction to critical thinking, professional writing, and academic integrity. Students view the New Student Orientation and read and agree to the Counseling Student Guide. The focus of the course assignments is on the practical application of writing and critical-thinking skills and the promotion of professional and academic excellence as they relate to practice in school counseling.

(1 cr.)
COUN 6111

Introduction to School Counseling

This is a foundation course designed to introduce students to the school counseling profession. Students taking the course explore the history of the profession; the roles, functions, and professional identity of the school counselor; and the current models of school counseling programs such as the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model. Students develop knowledge of the current issues and directions for the profession, as well as the requirements and challenges of being a professional school counselor.

(5 cr.)
COUN 6301

Theories of Counseling

There are hundreds of therapeutic theories and techniques available to frame the practice of counseling and psychotherapy. An important skill for mental health counselors is to understand the strengths and limitations of these theories to determine which are most appropriate and work best in their own personal practice. In this course, students explore the history of counseling and psychotherapy theories. They examine the major approaches to counseling and psychotherapy in current use, including empirical foundations, advantages, and limitations. Students assess examples of theory-based applications and develop a personal theory of counseling based on theories and techniques assessed in the course.

(5 cr.)
COUN 6302

Counseling Techniques in the Schools

Students in this course focus on principles and skills related to interviewing and observation as well as related legal, ethical, and cultural issues. Students gain practice in conducting interviews, making behavioral observations, collecting and interpreting data during an interview, and developing written reports of findings.  

(5 cr.)
COUN 6210

Ethics and Legal Issues in School Counseling

In this course, students are provided with an introduction to the field of professional counseling and the foundations of school counseling. Students address the following topics: history, philosophy, client and counselor advocacy with an emphasis on the counselor's role as social change agent, cultural dynamics, consultation, and trends in professional counseling. The counseling profession's ethical standards are also addressed with an emphasis on the American School Counselor Association and American Counseling Association code of ethics and counselor ethical decision-making processes.  

(5 cr.)
CPLB 601L

Pre-Practicum 1

By participating in a Walden Pre-Practicum, students gain skills in their development as scholar-practitioners. Through Pre-Practicum experiences, students expand their network of peers and faculty members while they develop their professional skills and identity. In Pre-Practicum 1, students begin to apply the core skills and techniques introduced in the Techniques course. Students also continue to develop the multicultural competencies needed for counseling. Per program requirements, there is a synchronous experience. Students will receive specific information about their upcoming field experience and credentialing.

(0 cr.)
COUN 6311

Leadership, Advocacy, and Consultation in the Schools

Students in this course explore the role of leader and consultant in a school setting. The development of a data-driven comprehensive school counseling program is emphasized in this course along with specific strategies for communicating with key stakeholders, working to close the achievement gap, and working within the mission of schools to advocate for student needs.  

(5 cr.)
COUN 6214

Lifespan Development

In this course, students are provided with an advanced overview of development through the lifespan, including prenatal, childhood, and adolescent phases. Basic developmental processes and theories are examined and applied to developmental milestones that occur within these phases of development. Themes of diversity are highlighted throughout the course. Additional topics include ethics, research, global perspectives, and social change.  

(5 cr.)
COUN 6312

Multicultural Counseling

Students in this course have the opportunity to increase their awareness, knowledge, skills, and advocacy related to working with clients from a multicultural perspective. Students foster self-understanding of their own cultural-identity development, biases, stereotypes, values, and strengths while gaining self-awareness of the effects of power, privilege, and marginalization within the counseling relationship. Further, students can gain knowledge of various issues within diversity. Students explore various theories of multicultural counseling and the role of social justice and advocacy in counseling.

(5 cr.)
COUN 6317

Child and Adolescent Counseling

Students in this course are provided with an overview of empirically supported theories and techniques for working with children and adolescents in the counseling process. The course is designed to enhance students' theoretical and practical understanding of the systemic interplay among children, adolescents, families, and the stakeholders in their lives. Emphasis is given to a family-systems view of intervention, with specific attention to developmental, cognitive, behavioral, educational, multicultural, and environmental issues. Students will be exposed to a distinct group of empirically supported interventions aimed at improving individual and family functioning. Legal and ethical issues related to counseling children and adolescents will be explored. (Prerequisite(s): To register for COUN 6317S [for School Counseling] either RESI 6661 or SPLB 671L is required.)

(5 cr.)
COUN 6320

Group Counseling and Guidance in the Schools

In this course, students are prepared to work with groups in school settings. They examine group theory, process, and dynamics and apply them through the creation of a small group plan. Using relevant literature, media resources, and practitioner based approach, students develop an understanding of ethically, culturally, and contextually relevant group practice, group leaders' roles and responsibilities, the relevance and purpose of group work, and strategies for using groups to foster social change.  

(5 cr.)
GRPL 6100

Group Lab

This is an experiential lab in which students learn by doing (i.e., participate in a small group activity). This lab is provided to students as part of their program requirements set forth by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). To maintain CACREP accreditation, all students must participate in a minimum of 10 hours of small group activity over the course of one academic term (CACREP, 2016, 2.F.6.h.).

(0 cr.)
COUN 6322

Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster Response

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the personal and systemic impact of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on children, adolescents, and families within schools and communities. Students examine theories and response models as they relate to sexual trauma, crisis in individuals and families, crisis in the community, crisis in the school, and crisis in the nation and in the world. They explore topics including crisis assessment, counselor competencies, vicarious trauma and countertransference, specific related diagnoses, and advocacy. Students consider cultural, legal, and ethical issues related to crisis, trauma, and disaster events and response.  

(5 cr.)
COUN 6324

Assessment in Counseling and Education

Students in this course are provided with an overview of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation used in a variety of counseling and educational settings. Students examine the psychometric properties used to develop and evaluate these instruments. Topics include a historical perspective of assessment, basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing, measures of central tendency, normative sampling and standardization, reliability and validity, assessment report writing, test score interpretation, and test construction. Students also address the ethical, legal, and multicultural issues related to selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling.  

(5 cr.)
CPLB 602L

Pre-Practicum 2

In Pre-Practicum 2, students continue to develop core skills from Pre-Practicum 1 and integrate advanced skills in their development as scholar-practitioners. Through their Pre-Practicum experiences, students expand their network of peers and faculty members while they continue to develop professional skills and identity. In Pre-Practicum 2, students begin to develop group leadership skills, integrate counseling theory, and continue to demonstrate cultural competency skills. Students will engage in developing their upcoming field experience plan and continue credentialing skills activities. (Prerequisite(s): GRPL 6100 and COUN 6250 for those in Addiction Counseling; Marriage, Family, and Couple Counseling; and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. GRPL 6100 and COUN 6350 for those in School Counseling programs.)

(0 cr.)
COUN 6354

Academic and Career Counseling

Academic and career counselors are concerned with student life on all levels to support the personal and educational development of each student. Students in this course examine educational, developmental, and counseling theories related to academic and career counseling. The focus of this course is on academic and career development from elementary school through college. Students will explore intellectual and emotional intelligence, multicultural issues, attitudes, values, and psychosocial needs of the life-long learner. Students will gain skills required to assist a highly diversified student body in academic planning, career exploration, decision making, and personal growth.  

(5 cr.)
COUN 6328

Research and School Counseling Program Evaluation

Students in this course are provided with a foundation in research methods, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation in counseling. They are introduced to qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method approaches; single case designs; action research; and outcomes research. Students can learn how to identify a topic for research, conduct a literature search, and use research to inform evidence-based practice. They also learn the importance of scholarly writing. Students examine the principles, models, and applications of needs assessment and program evaluation, and they learn to use the findings to effect program modifications. Emphasis will also be on the ethically and culturally relevant strategies for interpreting and reporting the results of research and/or program evaluation studies. Statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation are reviewed.   (Prerequisite(s): To register for COUN 6317S [for School Counseling] either RESI 6662 or SPLB 672L is required.)

(5 cr.)
COUN 6401

School Counseling Practicum

The Counseling Practicum is an introduction to the capstone experience. During the practicum course, students begin to synthesize and apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions learned throughout their program of study. Students must secure a field experience site, apply with the Office of Field Experience within the published application window, and earn approval before being eligible for practicum enrollment. Once enrolled, students will spend a minimum average of 8–10 hours per week at the site that they have secured. They will complete direct counseling hours, weekly individual or triadic supervision with their site supervisor, administrative duties, and other activities as assigned by the site. Concurrently, students will participate in weekly case conceptualization activities, 2 hours of group supervision per week with their faculty supervisor, and other clinically relevant assignments directly related to the work at the site. There are multiple synchronous components in this course. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course. (Prerequisite(s): All core courses in the program of study, all residencies, and approval by the Office of Field Experience.)

(3 cr.)
COUN 6500

School Counseling Internship I

Counseling Internship I is the first of a two-part capstone experience. During the Internship I course, site and faculty supervisors guide and evaluate students on their ability to synthesize and apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions learned throughout their program of study. Students must secure a field experience site, apply with the Office of Field Experience within the published application window, and earn approval before being eligible for Internship I enrollment. Once enrolled, students will spend a minimum average of 25–35 hours per week at the site that they have secured. They will complete direct counseling hours, weekly individual or triadic supervision with their site supervisor, administrative duties, and other activities as assigned by the site. Concurrently, students will participate in weekly case conceptualization activities, 2 hours of group supervision per week with their faculty supervisor, and other clinically relevant assignments directly related to the work at the site. There are multiple synchronous components in this course. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course.  (Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of Counseling Practicum and approval by the Office of Field Experience.)

(3 cr.)
COUN 6501

School Counseling Internship II

Counseling Internship II is second of a two-part capstone experience. During the Internship II course, site and faculty supervisors guide and evaluate students on their ability to synthesize and apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions learned throughout their program of study. Students must secure a field experience site, apply with the Office of Field Experience within the published application window, and earn approval before being eligible for Internship II enrollment. Once enrolled, students will spend a minimum average of 25–35 hours per week at the site that they have secured. They will complete direct counseling hours, weekly individual or triadic supervision with their site supervisor, administrative duties, and other activities as assigned by the site. Concurrently, students will participate in weekly case conceptualization activities, 2 hours of group supervision per week with their faculty supervisor, and other clinically relevant assignments directly related to the work at the site. There are multiple synchronous components in this course. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course.  (Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of Counseling Internship I and approval by the Office of Field Experience.)

(3 cr.)

SPECIALIZATION COURSES

COUN 6726

Couples and Family Counseling

An important skill for clinicians to have is a fundamental understanding of the dynamics and functioning of couples and families. Students in this course are introduced to concepts and applications in theoretical perspectives and techniques, classical schools of thought, and recent developments in couples and family therapy. Students explore culture, gender, and ethnicity factors in family development. They also review and compare theoretical frameworks in couples and family therapy, including psychosocial, psychodynamic, transgenerational, strategic, cognitive-behavioral, and social constructionist models. Additionally, students assess the roles of culture, spirituality, and values in understanding families.

(5 cr.)
COUN 6361

Human Sexuality

Students in this course examine the place of sexuality in human life, including the influences of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors. Students look particularly at the interface of sexual issues in clinical work. Special attention is paid to the issues of gender, culture, sexual health, and sexual dysfunction from a sexological perspective. This course is as much about learning about human sexuality and helping clients with sexual issues as it is about exploring students' own ideas, values, biases, and discomfort about sex and sexuality. It is both an academic, intellectual journey and a personal adventure.

(5 cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition 85 credits of core and specialization courses $470 per quarter hour $39,950
Pre-Practicum Labs Two in program $1,450 each (travel, lodging, and other expenses are additional) $2,900
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $1,760


TOTAL $44,610


Transfer up to 37 credits $18,030


Total with Maximum Transfer Credits† $26,580

The tuition reflects the minimum credits to completion. Program completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $2,500 and $3,500.

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

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Admissions Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.

Accelerated Track Option

The accelerated track in the school counseling program is designed for students who are interested in taking three courses per quarter and finishing their program in a shorter time frame. The accelerated track has the same curriculum, residencies, and field experience requirements as the general track, but requires a strong time commitment and is best suited for students who can dedicate themselves full time to their studies. Speak to your Enrollment Specialist for more information.

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