MS in Counseling

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Frequently Asked Questions about Drake's Counseling Program

Career Opportunities

What can I do with a degree in Counseling?
The Drake University School of Education offers the following specializations:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)
  • Elementary School Counseling (SC)
  • Secondary School Counseling (SC)
  • Rehabilitation Counseling (RC)

Program Considerations

Can I transfer previous graduate credits?
You can transfer up to 1/3rd of the program credits (20 credits) if courses were taken at another university. The courses must be equivalent to courses offered in our program. The major instructor of the course and program coordinator review the syllabus and transcript to decide whether a course is equivalent. Course credits may be considered for transfer that are

  1. Credits in residence from a recognized graduate school within five years preceding admission to the Drake Program
  2. Of at least B grade, and
  3. Directly related to the student's Drake graduate program and approved by the advisor and major instructor.

Practice based courses such as Methods of Counseling, Practicum and Internship cannot be transferred.

Where are the classes offered?
Drake University Counselor Education Program is housed in the Leadership and Counseling Department in the School of Education. Classes are offered on the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa. The program is offered in person with some courses offered online or hybrid (some online, some in-person content delivery) style.

I am working full-time. Do I need to quit my job to attend the counseling program?
No. The program is part-time and designed for students who work full-time. The classes are offered at night from 5 to 8, or on the weekends.

How many courses can I take each semester?
We recommend students and the program is designed to take 2 courses per semester. 2 courses per semester is considered part-time and students are eligible for financial aid. If students take more than 2 courses there might be additional university fees. You can take more classes in a given semester but it may not guarantee finishing the program in less than 2 ½ years because of the way prerequisite courses are scheduled.

Can I take courses online?
This is not an online program, but 1-2 courses are offered online.

How long does it take to complete the program?
The program takes about 3 years to complete and must be completed within 5 years of acceptance to the program. Students usually take two courses per semester.

What are the course sizes?
Content-based courses have 20-25 students, practice-based courses such as Methods of Counseling and Internship have 12 and Practicum is limited to 6-8 students.

Do I choose my practicum and internship sites?
Yes, students choose their sites with the support of faculty, based on their career goals. The Practicum and Internship Coordinator will provide information about the practicum and internship process.

Am I going to have an advisor?
Yes, upon admission to the program you will be assigned an advisor from the Counseling Faculty in your primary concentration area. Please note that all faculty are available to the students and if the student expresses an interest in a particular advisor, all attempts to accommodate that request will be made.

Are there any scholarships?
The Drake School of Education offers several opportunities to help defer the costs of your education. The counseling program is honored to offer two scholarships for students pursuing School Counseling with generous gifts from our donors. Additionally, we have scholarship opportunities through a federal grant for students pursuing Rehabilitation Counseling. See our scholarship page for more information.

Do I have to have a teaching license to be a school counselor?
No, students who do not have a teaching license need to take two additional courses to complete the program:

  1. COUN 295 Classroom Management and Teaching for Counselors
  2. SPED 220 Exceptional Children

These courses are licensure requirements, therefore undergraduate courses count.

Beginning in the spring of 2006 the state of Iowa began offering a Class G Conditional License for school counselors who do not hold licensure as a teacher. The university where the applicant is a student is responsible for recommending students for this conditional license. It is the policy of the Counseling Program that students who have completed all coursework necessary to begin internship and who earned a grade of A in both Methods of Counseling and Counseling Practicum will be recommended for this licensure. Students who do not meet these criteria will not be recommended by the counseling program.

Do I need to be admitted to the Graduate School to take classes?
No. Students with Bachelor's degrees may take up to 6 graduate credit hours without being admitted to the program. You can take only the following courses without being admitted to the program:

  • Theory and Techniques of Counseling, Research in Counseling
  • Human Development & Life Issues
  • Career Development/Occupational Information
  • Psychopathology & Psychiatric Disabilities
  • College and Career Readiness, Assessment
  • Ethical Issues in Counseling and Diverse Populations

Contact program faculty for options and enrollment.

Application Specifics

How do I apply to the Counseling Program?
Consult the Counseling Application Details page for detailed instructions on the application process. 

Is there a deadline for applying per semester?
Yes. The application deadline for the spring semester is September 1, and for the summer and fall semesters, the deadline is February 15.

Who can I ask to do my Letters of Recommendation?
Coworkers, supervisors, and professors from whom you took a course. Do not ask for letters of recommendation from your friends or neighbors. The recommender should be able to talk about your work habits and potential to be a successful graduate student in the program.

Do I need to submit all my transcripts?
We require official transcripts from:

  • Any institution where you earned (or will earn) a bachelor’s degree.
  • Any institution where you earned a post-bachelor’s (graduate) degree.
  • Any institution where you earned credit you would like considered toward an endorsement or graduate degree.
  • Upon application review, you may be required to provide additional transcripts, including those with courses taken while in high school or at a community college.

Official transcripts are designated as those coming directly from the university or college of attendance to Drake University.

What is the Statement of Interest?
The statement of interest is an integral part of a student's application. This statement provides the Counseling program information about who you are, your goals, and your aspirations. It also demonstrates your writing proficiency, communication skills, and organizational abilities. Therefore, both the content and format of your essay are important. Your statement must not exceed five, double-spaced typewritten pages.
Please include the following information in your statement

  1. Educational and professional background
  2. Career aspirations with a counseling degree
  3. Experience working with people who are different from you
  4. What you believe is one of the more prominent or pressing issues in the area of counseling (school/clinical mental health/rehabilitation)

What if my application packet is incomplete?
Only completed applications are reviewed by faculty. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check on their materials and ensure they are received by the deadline.

Can I apply to more than one specialty in counseling at the same time?
Yes. You can apply to more than one specialty. During your studies, you can always add another specialty or change to a different one.

Admission Process

How many students do you accept to the program?
Each admission cycle (spring and summer/fall) we accept 20-25 students in total across all three specialization areas.

What type of degree and experience do I need to be admitted to the program?
Our students come with a variety of academic majors, however, most of the students have degrees in behavioral, social science, or human service-related fields. We also look for related professional experience, that can involve either paid or volunteer work.

Once I have submitted everything required, how will I know if I am accepted?
Completed applications by the deadline will be reviewed by the department and a number will be selected for an interview. Selections will be made after those interviews are completed. Approximately 2-3 weeks after the interview, you will get an email from the Graduate Admissions office about your admission status. 

Are all applicants interviewed?
No. Only select applicants will be invited for an interview. Related degree, experience, GPA, and recommendation letters will determine the applicants for interview.

What if I am invited to interview, but have a schedule conflict or choose not to come for some other reason?
A telephone or online interview can be set up for out-of-state applicants or those with schedule conflicts. No exceptions will be made for admission without an interview.

What will I be asked in the interview, what should I expect?
You will be asked about your motivation to be a counselor, and your academic and professional background.

What is the minimum undergraduate GPA needed to be admitted?
The minimum required undergraduate GPA for the School of Education is 2.5. However the average undergraduate GPA of admitted students of the Counseling program is 3.27.

Starting the Program

How do I register for classes once I am admitted to the program?
Before registration please contact your advisor to make sure you are in the proper classes. When you get your email from Graduate Admissions stating that you are admitted, you also will be told the name of your advisor.


What is the process for becoming licensed or certified in my concentration?
The process varies depending on the specialization.


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