Jun 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Counseling and Psychology in Education-Counseling (M.A.)

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Program Overview

Become an expert in school and human service organizations with an advanced degree in counseling and psychology in education. If you are pursuing a master’s degree you may specialize in counseling, clinical mental health or human development and educational psychology. If you plan to pursue an Ed.S. or Ph.D., you can specialize in counselor education, human development and educational psychology or school psychology. Our small class size allows you to develop one-on-one relationships with faculty as you gain the necessary skills to serve the educational and mental health needs of children or to work as a senior school psychologist. The program has been accredited by CACREP since 1993 and NASP since 2000. Learn more at usd.edu/cpe.

DELIVERY: On campus

Degree Requirements for Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychology in Education - Counseling Specializations

The master’s degree programs of study (Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling) all offer Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis).

The Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling specializations are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) under the 2009 standards. The accreditation runs until March 31, 2024. However, the current Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling specializations meet the CACREP 2016 standards as required by CACREP.

Plan A (thesis): Total 64 credit hours

  • Counseling specialization and supporting courses 60 credit hours
  • Thesis 4 credit hours

Plan B (non-thesis): Total 60 credit hours

  • Counseling specialization and supporting courses 60 credit hours 

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination is taken near the end of a student’s program of study and before internship.

Performance Requirements

Retention decisions at all levels require demonstration of consistently high academic and clinical performance. These requirements are in accordance with the Annual Evaluation of Student Progress policies and procedures (see the Counseling Student Handbook), as well as those set forth in the Graduate Catalog. A student’s character, personal, and professional behavior is evaluated during the course of the program. Students must demonstrate qualities of good character consistent with the program’s mission and policies, the ethical guidelines of the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).

Student performance is evaluated bi-annually by Counselor Education faculty. A rating of acceptable or higher on semester evaluations of student progress, including grades of B or higher in all coursework, is required for retention in the program. If retention requirements are met, students are retained under the Guidelines of the Annual Student Evaluation Process.


The program faculty reviews each student’s performance using the minimum grade expectation (3.0 overall grade point average; 3.0 in each of the clinical courses) and other criteria (knowledge, skills, ethical behaviors, and dispositions). These criteria must be met each semester.

Required clinical courses must be completed with no less than a “B” in each course.

Application Requirements

  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Admission test scores*
  6. Statement of purpose
  7. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. For specific program requirements and submission deadline, visit: catalog.usd.edu.

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

The educational curriculum for your academic program may or may not meet educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification in states other than South Dakota. If you are planning to apply for licensure/certification in a state other than South Dakota after completion of your program, please review that state and your program on USD’s Licensure-Track Programs webpage. Licensure-Track Programs

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization


Division of Counseling and Psychology in Education
605-658-6623 | cpe@usd.eduusd.edu/cpe

Graduate Admissions
605-658-6200 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad

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