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The MS degree program in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling prepares rehabilitation counselors at the master’s degree level to serve adolescents and adults with disabilities, including short-term or chronic illness, substance use disorders, and mental health disorders, in both private and public rehabilitation agencies and programs through counseling, assessment, job placement, case management, and advocacy.

The program’s mission centers on improving the quality of life and fostering inclusion for individuals with disabilities in community settings. The range of disabilities served by graduates includes physical and psychiatric disabilities, alcohol and drug abuse, traumatic brain injury and other neurological impairments, learning and intellectual disabilities, sensory disabilities, and aging. The program places a strong emphasis on field experiences including practical training in supervised placements in rehabilitation counseling settings. Students benefit from opportunities to take courses from faculty in both the rehabilitation counseling and counseling psychology programs to develop expertise in counseling skills, foundations of psycho-social aspects of disability, assessment techniques, socio-cultural aspects of counseling, and career development, among other topics.

As part of one of the nation’s top schools of education and most highly ranked universities in the world, students have access to interdisciplinary perspectives, a wide range of professional development resources, and emerging research in the field of rehabilitation counseling. 

The MS program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP). Graduates also meet the educational qualifications for the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential as well as the educational requirements to apply for a training license as a professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin (Licensed Professional Counselor-In Training). Please visit the program website for updates on CACREP accreditation.

Financial support is available to some qualified graduate students and may include scholarships, traineeships, teaching assistantships, and research/project assistantships.

Employment opportunities following graduation include nonprofit rehabilitation programs, state vocational rehabilitation programs, private rehabilitation and employment support agencies, mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment agencies, corrections settings, and educational settings including high schools, colleges, and universities.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline February 15
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Complete application information is available on the program website. Applicants are expected to meet general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The following factors will be considered by the admissions committee: aptitude for graduate-level study, relevance of prior academic work and career goals, stated goals for graduate study, employment history, potential success in forming effective counseling relationships, respect for cultural differences, evidence of writing and research skill, and letters of recommendation.

This program may require direct client or patient contact; therefore, this program may not be suitable for students on a J-1 visa. Federal regulations prevent J-1 visa holders from participating in direct client or patient contact. J-1 visa holders admitted to this program will need to work closely with the program and their visa sponsor (ISS, Fulbright, IIE, etc.) to fulfill any degree requirements related to clinical activity.


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 restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial support is available to qualified graduate students and may include scholarships, traineeships, teaching assistantships, and research/project assistantships. For current funding and financial support, please visit the department website

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

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

Major Requirements

Mode of Instruction

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

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 60 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required. Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Successful completion of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) national certification exam.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Required Core
RP & SE 700 Research Methods in Rehabilitation, Mental Health, & Special Education3
RP & SE 720 Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling - Assessment3
RP & SE 721 Addictions Counseling3
RP & SE 725 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Career Development & Interventions3
RP & SE 732 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Foundations3
RP & SE 750 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Medical & Psychosocial Aspects3
RP & SE 810 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Counseling Techniques3
RP & SE 820 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Counseling Theories3
RP & SE 830 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Diagnosis & Treatment Planning3
RP & SE 840 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Group Counseling3
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 777 Crisis and Trauma Counseling3
COUN PSY 825 Counseling Psychology Techniques With Families3
COUN PSY 860 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling3
Required Clinical Instruction
RP & SE 880 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Supervised Practicum I3
RP & SE 890 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Supervised Practicum II3
RP & SE 910 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Internship6-12
Total Credits60

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

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

With program approval, refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

With program approval, refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy. Students are still required to complete 60 credits while a graduate student in the program per accreditation requirements.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

With program approval, Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special student at UW–Madison

With program approval, refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.


Refer to the Graduate School: Probation policy.

Advisor / Committee

Students are assigned a faculty advisor upon admission to the program.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

School of Education Grievance Policy and Procedures

The following School of Education Student Grievance Policy and associated procedures are designed for use in response to individual student grievances regarding faculty or staff in the School of Education.

Any individual student who feels they have been treated unfairly by a School of Education faculty or staff member has the right to file a grievance about the treatment and receive a timely response addressing their concerns. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these grievance procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies. The grievance may concern classroom treatment, mentoring or advising, program admission or continuation, course grades (study abroad grade complaints are handled through International Academic Programs), or issues not covered by other campus policies or grievance procedures. 

For grievances regarding discrimination based on protected bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, etc.), contact the Office of Compliance (

For grievances or concerns regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence (including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation), contact the Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Program within the Office of Compliance.

For grievances that involve the behavior of a student, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Dean of Students Office at

For grievances about, or directed at, faculty or staff in a School of Education department, unit, or program, students should follow these steps:

  1. Students are strongly encouraged to first talk with the person against whom the concern is directed. Many issues can be settled informally at this level. If students are unable to resolve concerns directly or without additional support, step 2 or 3 should be pursued.
  2. If unresolved after taking or considering step 1:
    1. If the concern is directed against a teaching assistant (TA), and the student is not satisfied, the student should contact the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. The course professor will attempt to resolve the concern informally.
    2. If the concern involves a non-TA instructor, staff member, professor, academic department, or School of Education office or unit, the student should contact the chair of the department or the director of the office or unit, or their designee. The chair or director, or their designee, will attempt to resolve the concern informally. If the concern is about the department chair or office/unit director, the student should consult the School of Education Senior Associate Dean for guidance.
  3. If the concern remains unresolved after step 2, the student may submit a formal grievance to the chair or director in writing within 30 business days1 of the alleged unfair treatment. To the fullest extent possible, a formal written grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the issue(s) involved and the relief sought.  
  4. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will notify the person at whom the grievance is directed with a copy of the written grievance. The person at whom the complaint is directed may submit a written response, which would be shared with the student.
  5. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will refer the matter to a department, office, or unit committee comprised of at least two members. The committee may be an existing committee or one constituted for this purpose. The committee, or delegates from the committee, may meet with the parties involved and/or review any material either party shares with the committee.  
  6. The committee will provide a written description of the facts of the grievance and communicate recommendations to the department chair or office/unit head regarding how the grievance should be handled.
  7. The chair or director will offer to meet with the student who made the grievance and also will provide a written decision to the student, including a description of any related action taken by the committee, within 30 business days of receiving the formal grievance.

    For the purpose of this policy, business days refers to those days when the University Offices are open and shall not include weekends, university holidays, spring recess, or the period from the last day of exams of fall semester instruction to the first day of spring semester instruction. All time limits may be modified by mutual consent of the parties involved.

If the grievance concerns an undergraduate course grade, the decision of the department chair after reviewing the committee’s recommendations is final. 

Other types of grievances may be appealed using the following procedures:

  1. Both the student who filed the grievance or the person at whom the grievance was directed, if unsatisfied with the decision of the department, office or unit, have five (5) business days from receipt of the decision to contact the Senior Associate Dean, indicating the intention to appeal.   
  2. A written appeal must be filed with the Senior Associate Dean within 10 business days of the time the appealing party was notified of the initial resolution of the complaint.
  3. On receipt of a written appeal, the Senior Associate Dean will convene a sub-committee of the School of Education’s Academic Planning Council. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and/or may hold a meeting at which both parties will be asked to speak separately (i.e., not in the room at the same time).
  4. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the Dean of the School of Education, or their designee, who will render a decision. The dean or designee’s written decision shall be made within 30 business days from the date when the written appeal was filed with the Senior Associate Dean.  For undergraduate students, the dean or designee’s decision is final.

Further appealing a School of Education decision – graduate students only

Graduate students have the option to appeal decisions by the School of Education dean or designee by using the process detailed on the Graduate School’s website.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.




Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

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

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the knowledge domains of the rehabilitation counseling profession including understanding the theoretical and historical foundations of the field of rehabilitation counseling and the ability to identify current best practices and challenges in the field. Specific knowledge domains are outlined by the rehabilitation counseling professional accrediting body, Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).
  2. Successfully apply the knowledge gained through course work to practical experiences in community rehabilitation settings.
  3. Be prepared to enter professional positions in fields related to rehabilitation counseling including vocational rehabilitation, mental health counseling, advocacy, and support of individuals with disabilities.
  4. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.
  5. Meet learning outcomes related to CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) standards.



Rehabilitation Psychology

Malachy Bishop, Jina Chun, Garrett Huck, Kyesha Isadore, Sang Qin, Susan Smedema, Timothy Tansey, and Susan Wiegmann

Special Education

Zhe An, Aydin Bal, Heather Dahl, Sarah Lent, Hailey Love, Dian Mawene, Carlyn Mueller, Andrea Ruppar, Susan Syverud, Renee Tennant, Beverly Trezek, Ashley White, and Kimber Wilkerson


Kayla Armstrong Alfstad, Rebecca Bradbury, John Loeffelholz, Melissa Otto

For more information about faculty in the Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education Department, see:


Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2027


Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt National: First Attempt  
2022-23 59% 60%

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education (via 34 CFR Part 668) requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure. The expectation is that institutions will determine whether each applicable academic program meets state professional licensure requirements and provide a general disclosure of such on an official university website.

Professional licensure requirements vary from state-to-state and can change year-to-year; they are established in a variety of state statutes, regulations, rules, and policies; and they center on a range of educational requirements, including degree type, specialized accreditation, total credits, specific courses, and examinations.  

UW-Madison has taken reasonable efforts to determine whether this program satisfies the educational requirements for certification/licensure in states where prospective and enrolled students are located and is disclosing that information as follows.

Disclaimer: This information is based on the most recent annual review of state agency certification/licensure data and is subject to change. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with the individual/office listed in the Contact Information box on this page and with the applicable state agency for specific information.

The requirements of this program meet certification/licensure requirements in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia; American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

The requirements of this program do not meet certification/licensure requirements in the following states:

Not applicable

Updated: 1 June 2024