The Master of Science in Clinical Counseling program at Charleston Southern University is a terminal degree intended to prepare students for clinical practice as Licensed Professional Counselors. The program is designed to educate compassionate and highly motivated individuals who will excel in providing client-centered mental healthcare, practicing as agents of change, serving as leaders in their communities and advancing the mental health profession.
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) for Counselors (National Board of Certified Counselors). Upon completion of this degree, passing the boards (NCE), and completing supervisory training, a student will be able to apply for licensure in most states in which they wish to practice.
The Clinical Counseling program at Charleston Southern University is unique in its integration of faith and counseling knowledge as it seeks to train future clinicians who are clinically competent and Biblically-sound counselors.
The mission of the Charleston Southern University Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Program is to educate compassionate and highly motivated individuals in a Christian environment who excel in providing client-centered care, practice as an agent of change, serve as leaders in their communities, and advance the mental health profession. The Master of Science in Clinical Counseling will prepare clinicians who are clinically competent and biblically sound.
- Prepare counselors who demonstrate behaviors of academic excellence and appropriate help-seeking behaviors from various sources to improve academic skills.
- Prepare counselors who can understand and develop a professional identity as a clinical counselor.
- Prepare counselors who provide exceptional counseling and relational skills.
- Prepare counselors who understand knowledge of development, psychopathology, and treatment planning.
- Prepare effective counselors who are culturally competent and responsive to clients in diverse communities.
- Prepare counselors who have awareness of their own spiritual development and are able to use spirituality effectively in clinical settings.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will have acquired the knowledge and skills required to be a professional counseling:
Learning Outcome 1 - Students will apply physical, social, and psychological development theories to evaluate and manage patients across all ages and in a wide range of clinical settings.
Learning Outcome 2 - Students will explain and apply the process to elicit an accurate assessment, case conceptualization and effective treatment intervention based on the knowledge of human functioning.
Learning Outcome 3 - Students will demonstrate cultural competency, sensitivity, and responsiveness when working with individuals, groups and communities who represent various ethnicities, religions, cultures, and belief systems.
Learning Outcome 4 - Students will demonstrate excellent communication skills with patients, their care teams, and other members of the healthcare team.
Learning Outcome 5 - Students will demonstrate exemplary professionalism by demonstrating high values, principles, and ethical decision making for all patients, their care teams and members of the healthcare team.
The program uses a rolling admissions process that continues until all openings are filled. The Admissions Committee reviews applications that meet the minimum requirements for admission and offers interviews to qualified candidates. New students can begin the program in the Fall of each year.
Step 1: Review Application Requirements
- Graduate Application
- Official transcripts from ALL institutions attended. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university is required. If the applicant has not completed a bachelor’s degree during the time of application, transcripts should be sent showing all current progress and then resent when the bachelor’s degree is completed.
- Twelve undergraduate hours in psychology or a related subject are required. This may be completed as prerequisites prior to the beginning of the program.
- Goals statement.
- Two Recommendation Forms (1 academic, 1 professional).
- A 3.0 cumulative GPA is required. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may submit an addendum to the goals statement that supports and describes his or her capacity to be successful at the graduate level, petitioning for Academic Conditional Acceptance. Those conditionally accepted to the program must have a 4.0 in 6 credit hours the first semester to continue in the program.
Step 2: Apply
The Clinical Counseling Program utilizes Charleston Southern University’s Graduate Application Service. This application includes the following:
- Personal Background Information
- Admission Data
- Academic History
- Please be prepared to upload academic transcripts from previously attended institutions and programs. Twelve undergraduate hours in psychology or related subject are required. This may be completed as prerequisites prior to beginning the program.
- Spouse Information
- Recommendations –
- Please be prepared to provide the name and contact information for 2 people who can provide a recommendation on your behalf.
- Two recommendations are required for the application to be considered complete. These recommendations will be completed on electronic forms sent to two people of your choice.
- One should be from an academic reference and one should be from a professional reference.
- Recommendations cannot be from a family member or friend.
- We recommend that you choose references that have known you in an academic or professional setting for at least six months.
- Goals Statement – This is considered a portrayal of writing skills, as well as an essay that gives substantive insight into the following areas:
- Please tell us why you are interested in counseling as a profession and what you think you can bring to the field.
- What about Charleston Southern University’s faith-integrated program interests you? Why do you think CSU is a good fit for you?
- What challenges might you experience in this program and how will you handle those challenges? Please be sure to include a discussion of self-care in your response.
Step 3: Personal Interview
Group interview invitations are extended only after admission materials are completed and candidates are reviewed for potential fit for the program and capacity for graduate-level work. Exact dates will be communicated to potential candidates with an offer to participate in a group interview with the Counseling faculty. These interviews are currently conducted virtually.
Step 4: Acceptance Requirements
Detailed instructions on how to complete the process will be communicated to candidates upon acceptance.
Conditional Acceptance into the Graduate Program
Conditional admission may be granted to a student who has a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution but has not met all requirements for regular admission. Conditional admission is considered for strong candidates who do not meet prerequisite and/or GPA requirements. Requirements for conditional admission are as follows:
- Conditional admission can be given only upon specific recommendation of the Program Director of the Clinical Counseling Program once the appropriate documents have been received.
- To satisfy conditional requirements:
- The student must have a completed admissions file in the Graduate School.
- Academic Conditional Acceptance - The student must show a Grade Point Average (GPA) of a least 4.0 on the first six (6) credit hours of graduate course work at Charleston Southern University. A student may take a MAXIMUM of nine graduate hours in the Clinical Counseling Master’s program under Academic Conditional Acceptance. Once the student has taken nine graduate hours, no further graduate coursework may be undertaken until the student has met the provisional criteria without approval by the Program Director.
- Prerequisite Conditional Acceptance –The student must have all undergraduate psychology prerequisite hours completed before starting the program. The required number of hours will be communicated to the student upon conditional acceptance after a transcript review by the Program Director.
- Once all criteria have been met for provisional acceptance of any kind, the Program Director of Clinical Counseling must recommend the student for regular admission.
Non-degree Graduate Students
Admission as a non-degree graduate student may be granted when the student has earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution but does not desire to work toward a graduate degree or is enrolled in another university and desires that credit for courses taken at CSU be transferred to the graduate school in which the student is seeking a degree. Financial Aid is not available to non-degree students.
Regulations Governing Non-Degree Graduate Students: A non-degree student must present a transcript demonstrating an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Even though a non-degree graduate student has been admitted to the university, the student has not been admitted to any department or to any degree program. No more than nine (9) credit hours earned while classified as a non-degree graduate student will be accepted toward a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling degree at Charleston Southern University. A student must, therefore, gain regular admission to the program before completing more than nine (9) credit hours of study for additional hours to be counted toward a master’s degree. Regular admission is based on criteria above.
With prior approval, a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of transfer credit may be accepted from a graduate program at an accredited institution toward the fulfillment of the requirements for the MS in Clinical Counseling at Charleston Southern University. Approval of the Program Director must be obtained during the application process, and the decision whether to award credit at that time is final after review. Students may not attempt to transfer previous courses after the initial admission process. Only courses in the “A” or “B” range will be considered for transfer.
Students currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Clinical Counseling program must have prior written approval to take courses from another institution for transfer credit. The approval must carry the signatures of the Program Director and Dean of Health Sciences.
CSU offers both an in-person track and synchronous, live online track for clinical counseling students. Each track offers quality interaction with professors, class discussion, and skills training, during structured 3-hour weekly courses over traditional semesters that last approximately 15 weeks. This is a year-round program, and classes are held during Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.
Online students may participate from any state and will NOT be required to come to campus at any time during the program, making this a unique option for prospective students who want hands-on counseling training but are unable to attend evening classes in the Charleston area.
Most courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. For the online track, live classes will require two afternoon/evenings per week, while full-time in-person students can plan on three evenings per week.
The clinical counseling program consists of 60 credit hours. Students will complete 51 credit hours in core course work and 9 credit hours in electives. The program offers various course options for elective course work that allow students in-depth assessment into specific areas of mental health counseling. Once the student has completed core classes, a passing score on a Comprehensive Exam and approval for Practicum allows progression to the final clinical year.
During the final clinical year, an initial 100-hour practicum experience includes 40 hours of direct client services. Students then progress toward two internship semesters which provide 600 hours of clinical training, including 240 hours of direct client service. The Clinical Coordinator for the program will work with students to ensure placement at clinical sites that meet the standards of the program and the needs of the individual student. Online students will be assisted in finding placements within their communities as well.
While a full-time student who is taking three to four courses a semester can complete the program in 33 months or 8 semesters, the program does offer a part-time option for degree completions which consists of two courses per semester for the first two years.
For a full list of courses offered in the program, click here: Course descriptions
To graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA and no more than two (2) “C’s” on their graduate transcript. Students who earn a third “C,” even in their last course, will be expelled from the program.
All students must apply for graduation with the Office of the Registrar. See the Academic Calendar for graduation application deadlines.
To progress in the program, a student must maintain an overall 3.00 GPA. The GPA is calculated only on credit hours earned at CSU. The first time a student earns a “C” or a “D” in any course, at any point in the curriculum, he or she will be placed on academic probation (which requires a Growth Plan, detailed in the Clinical Counseling Student Handbook) and allowed one attempt to retake the course for a higher grade. If the second attempt is not “B” or above, the student will be dismissed from the program with no appeals. If a student earns two grades below “B” they will be dismissed from the program with no appeals. If a student earns an “F” in any course, at any point in the curriculum, he or she will be dismissed from the program with no appeals. If a student earns two ‘FA’ grades (Failure due to Absence) they will be dismissed from the program with no appeals.
Validation of Credits
All credits earned at Charleston Southern University or accepted by transfer will remain valid if the master’s degree is completed within six (6) calendar years from the time the student registers for the first course that applies toward the degree.
The Charleston Southern University Clinical Counseling program is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In addition, the Master of Science in Clinical Counseling program plans to submit an application for accreditation to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in 2023.
Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement
The Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Program meets South Carolina License requirements for a Licensed Professional Counseling (LPC) with 60 credit hours of graduate level work and 700 hours of clinical experience.