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Administrative Unit:Counseling Psychology
College/School: School of Education
Admitting Plans:M.S.
Degrees Offered:M.S.

Faculty:  Professors Gloria (chair), Hoyt, Quintana, Wampold; Associate Professors Thompson, Valdez; Assistant Professor Sánchez; Faculty Associate Lotta; Clinical Associate Professor Graham


The Department of Counseling Psychology offers a terminal master's program in counseling. Requirements for the master's degree are designed to ensure that each student attains a substantive social science base and demonstrates competency in individual and group counseling, consultation, research, ethics, multiculturalism, social justice and vocational psychology. Master's graduates may be licensed as professional counselors in the State of Wisconsin. Supervised practicum experiences are available through the training clinic, university counseling centers, community mental health centers and numerous other campus units and community agencies.  Approximately 40 master's students and 50 doctoral students are enrolled in the department: more than 40 percent are minorities and ages range from 22 to 55.

Master's graduates are employed in community agencies that provide counseling services, university and college counseling centers and in non-counseling positions.

Master's Program

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. 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.


Admission to the program is highly competitive. More than 150 master's applications are received each year. The department enrolls 16–18 master's students per year. Students are admitted once per year for fall matriculation. The application deadline for the master's program is January 15.

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; 3 credit hours of abnormal psychology/psychopathology; 3 credit hours of learning, personality, or human development; 3 credit hours in statistics or measurement/psychometrics/test construction; and 6 credit hours in the areas of social psychology, sociology, women's studies, anthropology, philosophy, or ethnic studies. 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.

All materials listed below must be submitted to the department at the time of application and received by the application deadline:

  • The Graduate School Electronic Application and the associated Counseling M.S. Supplemental Electronic Application.
  • The general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required and should be taken in or before October for applications during the next year. There are no set cutoff scores in the department, but average scores of admitted students are at approximately the 70th percentile in each area. The subject test in psychology is optional. Scores are considered in conjunction with other admission information in the admission decision.  Scores are to be sent directly from ETS to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended must be sent directly to the Department of Counseling Psychology Department. The GPA for the last 60 semester credits (or last two years) of undergraduate work is calculated and should be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Average undergraduate GPAs of admitted applicants are above 3.3.
  • A statement of one to three pages should address specific goals and interests; background preparation; (both academic and professional), and reasons for graduate study in the Department of Counseling Psychology. This essay is electronically submitted through the Graduate School Application portal.
  • Letters of recommendation should include at least three current letters that address the applicant's professional and scholarly competence and potential. Letters are electronically solicited while completing the Graduate School Application online.
  • All work experiences (volunteer or paid) should be included in the Supplemental Application, whether or not they are counseling related.
  • Publications, presentations and research experiences should be included in the Supplemental Application.

For more information: Admissions Coordinator, Department of Counseling Psychology, 335 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706-1326; 608-262-4807; fax 608-265-3347; counpsych@education.wisc.edu; website: www.counselingpsych.education.wisc.edu.