The M.S. degree program in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling prepares rehabilitation counselors at the master’s degree level to serve adolescents and adults with disabilities 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 three semesters of 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 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 quality and recognition of the program is further evidenced by its current U.S. News & World Report number one ranking among all rehabilitation counseling programs in the U.S.

The M.S. program curriculum is aligned with the requirements for accreditation outlined 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). 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.

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 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

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.

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

Financial support is available to qualified graduate students and may include scholarships, traineeships, teaching assistantships, and research/project assistantships. For more information about funding opportunities, see this link.

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 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be in 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 The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Master’s comprehensive exam successful completion of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) national certification exam or a traditional written comprehensive exam.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

60 graduate degree credits to include:

Required Core Academic Coursework in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
RP & SE 540 3
RP & SE 550 3
RP & SE 660 Special Topics (Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling)3
RP & SE 660 Special Topics (Diagnosis and Treatment Planning)3
RP & SE 700 Research Methods in Rehabilitation, Mental Health, & Special Education3
RP & SE 721 Addictions Counseling3
RP & SE 725 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Career Development & Interventions3
RP & SE 810 Cinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Counseling Techniques3
RP & SE 820 Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling - Counseling Theories3
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 in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
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 Credits60-66

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

Students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count 7 credits of coursework numbered 300 level or above from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree toward the graduate degree. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 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 a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


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


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who are absent for five or more years will not be given credit for prior work.



Graduate School Resources

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

  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, CORE (the Council on Rehabilitation Education).
  2. Successfully apply the knowledge gained through course work to practical experiences in community rehabilitation settings.
  3. 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,  Brian Phillips, David Rosenthal, Susan Smedema, and Timothy Tansey

Special Education:
Zhe An, Aydin Bal, Bonnie Doren, Taucia Gonzalez, Melinda Leko, Andrea Ruppar, and Kimber Wilkerson

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


Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2019-2020.


Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt National: First Attempt  
2017-2018 100% not available