Degree Program

 

About the Program

The Department of Counseling offers a Master of Science in Counseling, with an emphasis in clinical mental health settings. Our program is approved by the California State Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to meet all of the educational requirements preparing students for state licensure as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) and as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC).  We are also nationally accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Our emphasis is on the training of clinicians who can serve the needs of individuals and families in their communities. We train students to provide evidence-based brief and long-term counseling while maintaining professional identities as counselors and marriage and family therapists. 

The program strongly emphasizes a multicultural perspective. We prepare counselors who will be sensitive to the diverse ethnic and religious heritages, lifestyles and special needs of individuals and families. Both our student body and our faculty encompass a wide range of backgrounds and values. 

Each year, we accept approximately 60 students to our M.S. in Counseling Traditional Program and every three years, we accept approximately 24 students to our M.S. in Counseling Evening Cohort. For the 2014-2015 academic year, we had 68 students graduate from the Fullerton campus. Annually we typically graduate 60 students. In the past year, our completion rate was 94% and the LMFT exam pass rate was 66% and 80% for the written and clinical vignette exams, respectively. About 79% of our alumni who respond to our annual survey find employment in the mental health field after graduation.

Our theoretical orientation is grounded in humanistic, relational, and integrative principles. This means that we are respectful of different counseling philosophies, flexible in our approaches depending on client and student needs, and united in our belief that relationships remain at the core of all helping encounters. We also believe that counselors can best help people by understanding the relationship of emotional distress to family dynamics and to the social and cultural contexts that shape our lives.

Note: The CSUF Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.S. program in the College of Health and Human Development is distinct and different from another CSUF program, The CSUF Clinical Psychology M.S. programOpens in new window in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from Ginamarie Scherzi, EC-429, (657) 278-3042.

Program Objectives

As a result of successfully completing the graduate program in counseling, students can expect to have gained didactic knowledge and supervised experience in skills, functions, beliefs and characteristics of effective counseling.  The following broad goals have been developed to assist students in gaining an overview of expected accomplishments:

  1. Professional Orientation and Identity – Demonstrate an understanding of the counseling profession, develop an identity as a counselor and demonstrate a willingness to provide counseling services within the ethical guidelines of the counseling profession.
  2. Counseling Theory – Gain significant knowledge of major counseling theories in the context of individual, group, couples, families and child counseling, and to apply this knowledge to the actual counseling process.
  3. Helping Relationships – Demonstrate effective individual, group, couples, families and child counseling skills which facilitate client growth and to demonstrate the ability to evaluate progress toward treatment goals.
  4. Social and Cultural Diversity – Develop an awareness of, and an appreciation for, social and cultural influences on human behavior and to recognize the impact of individual differences on the counseling process.
  5. Human Growth and Development – Develop an understanding of developmental aspects of human growth and appreciation for the nature of human developmental behavior.
  6. Career Development – Develop an understanding of career development and related life factors and the effects on an individual’s mental health and lifestyle.
  7. Group Dynamics – Develop both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group approaches.
  8. Assessment – Gain knowledge and skills in assessment techniques and apply basic concepts to individual, group, couples, families and child appraisal.
  9. Research and Program Evaluation – Develop the ability to read, critique, evaluate, and contribute to professional research literature.
  10. Specialization – Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and skills associated with the student’s chosen specialty (i.e., agency, school) in the areas of service, prevention, treatment, referral, and program management.
  11. Experiential Learning – Develop, through supervised practicum and internship experiences, an integration of the knowledge and skills needed to be successful as counselors.
  12. Personal Growth and Understanding – Develop, through self-reflection and insight, an understanding of oneself and the use of self in the counseling process. Develop a personal approach to counseling and client advocacy with a clear understanding of counselor functions.

CACREP Accreditation Statement

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation until March 31, 2023, to the following program in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.S.). Learn more information at the CACREP siteOpens in new window

Important Facts About our Program

  • We offer a 63-unit program, which can be completed in as little as three years and up to five years, depending on the pace chosen by the student. Students needing to complete their prerequisites in their first semester may require a minimum of 3 ½ years.
  • Fall and Spring classes meet once a week in late afternoons and evenings. Some daytime classes are available for students who prefer this time period. Summer classes meet twice a week.
  • We encourage students to go through the program at a pace that fits with their family and work needs.
  • Our program maintains strong links to community non-profit organizations throughout Southern California.
  • Our students begin working as therapists in non-profit community agencies by their third or fourth semesters.
  • Our graduates work in schools, community agencies, hospitals, government agencies, businesses and in private practice.

Student Learning Outcomes

As part of an on-going evaluation of the program, the department has established six primary Student Learning Outcomes (SLO).  For each of these SLOs, assessment measures have been established to determine student progress.  Each of these assessment measures is evaluated in a particular course or in several courses and may be measured by class participation and/or grades on particular assignments.  The department uses this data to determine areas of strengths and areas for growth to improve student learning.  The SLOs are:

  • Students understand their professional identity as a counselor.
  • Students are aware of the impact of diversity on the counseling process and are sensitive to differences.
  • Students demonstrate effective counseling skills with clients.
  • Students can conceptualization cases and write effective treatment plans for clients.
  • Students are able to conduct research and demonstrate the ability to think critically and problem solve.
  • Students are able to write papers well using APA style, proper grammar, and organization.