The M.S. program emphasizes counseling in community and agency settings, including university and college counseling centers. The master's degree emphasizes service delivery, and its practica/internship components reflect that emphasis. The curriculum stresses knowledge and development of skills in individual and group counseling, consultation, research, ethics, multiculturalism, social justice and vocational psychology.  Supervised practicum experiences are available through the training clinic, university counseling centers, community mental health centers and numerous other campus units and community agencies.  Students are prepared to work predominantly as practitioners in community agencies, post-secondary educational institutions, business and industry. The program fulfills academic requirements to become a licensed professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin.

The sequence of required courses combined with lab and field experiences can be planned on either a full- or part-time basis, but care must be taken in proper sequencing of courses for those attending part-time. Those students enrolling on a full-time basis typically complete the program in two years, including summer classes. For more information, visit the program website.

Fall Deadline January 5
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Admissions Decisions

Admission to the program is highly competitive. Approximately 150 master's applications are received each year, and the department enrolls 10–12 new master's students per year. The Department of Counseling Psychology accepts applications for fall enrollment between early September and January 5th for the M.S. in Counseling program. There is no option for spring or summer initial enrollment in the department.  The applicant is responsible for collecting, assembling, and submitting all the pieces of the application by the January 5 deadline.  Applicants should submit their materials in electronic form.


In addition to acquired academic competencies and counseling skills, the counseling profession requires a high level of ethical behavior, self-awareness and personal maturity. All are considered in assessing a student's fitness for a career as a professional counselor. The applicant will be expected to meet minimum requirements for admission set by the Graduate School. Department requirements are more rigorous. An undergraduate degree is required for the master's program.

Applicants should have 3 credit hours of introductory psychology and 3 credit hours in statistics or measurement/psychometrics/test construction.  If the applicant has not completed the necessary requirements at the time of application, he or she may be admitted with deficiencies and complete the course work in addition to the program requirements. Prior volunteer or paid work experience in community agencies is important for placement in community agencies for practicum.

Informational Meetings

A number of informational meetings are held each fall by our department. A list of these meetings can be found on our Information for Prospective M.S. Applicants page.

Application Procedure

Up-to-date information and requirements regarding applying to our M.S. program can be found on our Information for Prospective M.S. Applicants page.

Questions can be directed to the Student Services Coordinator, Andrea Guptill,

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources


  • Students may be eligible for an Ed-GRS fellowship.  Ed-GRS is a community of first generation students and ethnically underrepresented students who are receiving an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF) in the School of Education. In addition to tuition remission, monthly stipend, and heath care benefits, the program strives to assist our fellows with first year transition, community building, and professional development opportunities. To be eligible for AOF, a student must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident, and be admitted to or enrolled in a graduate department.  Preference is given to Wisconsin residents; and students also must identify with one of the following groups: African American; Native American; Hispanic: Mexican Americans, Chicano/as, Puerto Ricans;  Southeast Asians: Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and  Vietnamese; OR McNair Students (students who participated in a McNair Program) OR Wisconsin residents who are first generation to complete a Bachelors degree and who participated in a TRIO Program (Upward Bound, Talent Search, or Educational). The Graduate School administers this fellowship through Graduate Research Scholar Communities (GRS). AOF stipends were approximately $15,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year (9 mos.) with remission of tuition (Fall and Spring semesters) and health insurance.  Both M.S. and Ph.D. applicants are eligible for the AOF.  The department nominates top eligible candidates for Ed-GRS automatically - no additional application materials are needed from the applicant.  More information about AOFs can be found at
  • Students interested in becoming a Residence Hall House Fellow should view the information available at
  • Racial and ethnic minority students are encouraged to apply for the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program. Information is available at


The Department of Counseling Psychology has a limited number of Project and Teaching Assistantships. Although master’s students occasionally receive assistantships in the department, assistantships within the department are primarily awarded to doctoral students. Master's students are encouraged to seek other forms of financial assistance. Other departments on campus do offer assistantships at the master's level and occasionally to students from outside their individual department; you may inquire to other departments directly.

Financial Aid

Information and application materials for financial aid, loans, scholarships, and student employment may be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Financial Aid at 333 East Campus Mall, Room 9701, Madison, WI 53706, 608-262-3060. International applicants are encouraged to seek other forms of financial assistance as international students are not eligible for loans and scholarships.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 60 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (30 credits out of 60 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students are required to attain a minimum course grade of B for all coursework that fulfills the 60-credit requirement.
Assessments and Examinations The Professional Integration Exercise (PIE) is a capstone experience for all master’s students, where they have the opportunity to pull together their learning and skills and their overall professional identity. Through this oral clinical case conceptualization, they have the opportunity to demonstrate to the faculty their readiness as a master’s-level clinician. The PIE will be conducted in late spring during students’ second year of training.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

The M.S. degree in counseling requires that students satisfactorily complete coursework, practica experiences, and a professional integration experience. Students earn a minimum of 60 graduate credits. Coursework beyond the 60- credit minimum may be required of students entering with course deficiencies, as enumerated in their letters of admission. Students seeking licensure or certification out of state should check with those states’ particular requirements.

The curriculum has been revised in accordance with changes in Wisconsin State licensing requirements with courses only offered once each year. The master’s program is a two-year plan that students should follow. The offering of courses is designed for students following the course sequence. In cases where there may be departures from the recommended course sequence, students who depart from the course sequence may be delayed in completing the program and need to consult with their advisors to determine the best course sequence. Students are expected to complete any program deficiencies before they begin the program or during the first semester, at the latest.

The following is an outline of the required courses:

COUN PSY 700 Practicum Activities (1 credit fall; 1 credit spring)2
COUN PSY/​ED PSYCH  723 Developmental Processes Across the Life Span3
COUN PSY/​RP & SE  730 Professional Counseling Orientation3
COUN PSY 740 Abnormal Behavior and Psychopathology3
COUN PSY 745 Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning for Counselors3
COUN PSY 777 Crisis and Trauma Counseling3
COUN PSY 791 Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling3
COUN PSY 800 Theories of Counseling3
COUN PSY 802 Group Dynamics Processing and Counseling3
COUN PSY 805 Helping Relationships and Techniques3
COUN PSY 806 Supervised Practicum in Counseling3
COUN PSY 808 Supervised Internship in Counseling (take in fall and spring)2-5
COUN PSY 825 Counseling Psychology Techniques With Families3
COUN PSY 860 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling3
COUN PSY 865 Lifestyle and Career Development3
COUN PSY 810 Professional Development and Clinical Practice (if needed for additional internship hours)1-6
RP & SE 540 3
RP & SE 700 Research Methods in Rehabilitation, Mental Health, & Special Education (Research and Evaluation)3
RP & SE 721 Addictions Counseling3

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions towards the 60-credit minimum requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Coursework taken as part of a student's undergraduate program of study will not be counted towards the 60-credit requirement.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


When concerns arise about a student’s performance which warrants immediate attention, a non-routine review will be initiated. Concerns that would prompt a non-routine review include: academic proficiency (e.g., grade of BC or lower in a required course); clinical competence and/or termination from a practicum placement; interpersonal functioning; and/or unethical behaviors and/or interactions. The student will be notified of the concern by his/her advisor or the training director. The Master’s Training Committee will discuss the matter to determine whether the concern will be taken to the full faculty for consultation and/or decision. An ad hoc committee will work with the student to create a "development plan" or a "remediation plan" (i.e., student is under probation), depending on the seriousness of the issue(s). If the concern persists after the remediation plan or the issue(s) are deemed irremediable, the committee may recommend dismissal from the program to the full faculty. If the full faculty vote is in agreement with the recommendation for dismissal, the student will be dismissed from the program.


Upon admission to the master’s program, students will be assigned a faculty advisor to facilitate their entry to the program. The faculty advisor has several responsibilities, which include: assisting students with course selection; guiding students’ clinical and professional development; guiding students’ research, including master’s thesis (optional); and giving final approval for master’s work. The advisor is also available to answer other questions and concerns that may arise regarding departmental procedures, licensure issues and practicum placement.


15 credits

Time Constraints

If students have been absent for five or more years they must petition the counseling psychology faculty, in writing, for readmission. If successful, they must file a new Graduate School application for admission and submit it with a new application fee. Master’s students who do not enroll for a period of five or more years are required to retake some or all Program coursework. All coursework, including deficiencies, must be completed within eight years of admission to the program.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Develop knowledge foundational to the practice of mental health counseling including normative and nonnormative human development; individual, group, and couples/family counseling; cultural and social diversity. measurement and evaluation; and exposure to crisis, trauma, and stress.
  2. Develop skills for effective individual, family, and group counseling for mental health concerns and well-being as well as effective consultation, evaluation and progress monitoring.
  3. Apply principles associated with multiculturalism, polyculturalism, and social justice.
  4. Develop understanding, identification with and comportment with the profession of mental health counseling including standards of care, moral and ethical principles, professional identity, professional relationships, professional demeanor, self-reflection, and awareness of impact on others.

Faculty: Professors Quintana (chair), Hoyt, Gloria, Uttal; Associate Professors Thompson, Budge; Assistant Professors Wright, Frost, Goldberg; Faculty Associate Lotta; Clinical Associate Professor Graham; Clinical Assistant Professor Tamkin