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:

  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Elementary School Counseling
  • Secondary School Counseling
  • Rehabilitation Counseling  


Can I transfer previous graduate credits?
You can transfer up to 12 credits of courses taken at another university. The courses must be equivalent to courses offered in our program. The major instructor of the course reviews 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 completion of 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.

I already have a Master’s degree in Teaching. Do I have to complete the entire program for School Counseling?
Individuals who already possess a Master’s degree and are interested in becoming a school counselor or who already have a school counseling degree and want to acquire additional endorsements (elementary or secondary guidance) can sign up for 45-hour certification only program. To be eligible students should have Masters degree in teaching and took an equivalent research course in their program. Students interested in pursuing the certification program should work with their advisor to determine if this is an appropriate option for them and the coursework they would need to complete.

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.

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 between 5 to 8, or on the weekends. There is one class offered online. 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?
One course is offered online.

How long does it take to complete the program?
The program takes 2 ½ -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 Practicum have no more than 12 and Internship, 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.

Am I going to have an advisor?
Yes, upon admission to the program you will be assigned an advisor. Typically the advisor of  School Counseling students is Dr. Bengu Erguner-Tekinalp; Clinical Mental Health Counseling students, Dr. Wade Leuwerke; and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Dr. Matt Bruinekool. However, all faculty are available to the students and if interests come to be shared, a new advisor can be selected by any student.

Are there any scholarships or assistantships?
Occasionally there are work-study positions available through School of Education and occasionally there are assistantships available.

Scholarships are available to students pursuing degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling and Rehabilitation Administration. These scholarships are offered through the federal government to scholars interested in working for public and not for-profit rehabilitation agencies.

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

The Certification requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors can be accessed at the following web site:

The requirements for School Counselor endorsements can be accessed at the following web site entitled, Requirements for Teaching endorsements at: and then scroll down to section 172.

Licensure requirement for Mental Health Counselors in the State of Iowa can be found at the following website: and then click on Mental Health Counselor.

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 (COUN 295 Classroom Management and Teaching for Counselors, SPED 220 Exceptional Children) to graduate from the program.

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 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 from the following courses without being admitted to the program: Theories of Counseling, Research in Counseling, Human Development & Life Issues, Career Development/Occupational Information, Psychopathology & Psychiatric Disabilities and Ethical Issues in Counseling Diverse Populations

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 letter from Graduate Admissions stating that you are admitted, you also will be told the name of your advisor.


How do I apply to the Counseling Program?
Please see the details on the MS Counseling page.  

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

Once I have submitted everything required, how will I know if I am accepted?
The program faculty will review the applications and select applicants will be invited for a campus interview. Approximately 2-3 weeks after the interview, you will get a letter from the Graduate Admissions office about your admission status.

Who can I ask to do my Letters of Recommendation?
Coworkers, supervisors, professors from whom you took a course. Do not ask for letters of recommendations 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?
Yes. You must supply all your previous transcripts even if you took a single course at a college. 

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

How many students do you accept to the program?
Each semester (Spring and Fall) we accept 20-25 students in total across all three specialization areas. The admission process is very competitive, we try to select the best students who are qualified and motivated to learn about counseling. 

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.

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.

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

What if I am invited to interview, but have a schedule conflict or chose not to come for some other reason?
A telephone interview can be set up for out of state applicants. 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, your academic and professional background.

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 aspirations, It also demonstrations your writing proficiency, communication skills, and organizational abilities. Therefore, both 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: educational and professional background, career aspirations with a counseling degree, experience working with people who are different from you and personal characteristics that will allow you to be a successful graduate student.

Completed application 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.

What is the minimum undergraduate GPA needed to be admitted?
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.

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