May 17, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Counseling, M.S.

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(Major Code: 08261) (SIMS Code: 331001)

General Information

The Master of Science degree in counseling provides an integrated sequence of study in the theories, research, and practice of counseling. The degree preparation offers a core of competencies and experiences with specialized study and experiences provided via defined concentrations in marriage and family therapy, multicultural community counseling community-based block, or school counseling.

Applicants interested in the school psychology program should refer to the section on the Ed.S. degree in school psychology.

Course offerings are organized by professional concentration. The majority are sequenced in year-long blocks. Most students attend full time (a minimum of nine units per semester), although limited part-time study is offered.

The following departmental courses may be open to students who have not been accepted into a program and are interested in exploring departmental offerings: CSP 300 , CSP 400 , CSP 401 , CSP 420 , 450, and CSP 460 . See the department website at

Financial Assistance

The department sponsors the Counseling and School Psychology Loan Fund honoring Professors Leonard Strom and John Schmidt which along with other university-wide programs, is administered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The department offers the Gertrude Bell scholarship to one first year student accepted to one of the four programs. Other forms of financial assistance administered by the university are presented elsewhere in this bulletin.

Admission to the Degree Curriculum

Applications for the M.S. in counseling with a concentration in marriage and family therapy, multicultural community counseling community-based block, or school counseling are considered only once a year. Applications are accepted between October 1 and December 15. We urge you to apply early. For detailed instructions on application procedures, applicants should consult the website or contact the program director through the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-1179.

Applicants must submit separate applications to the university Graduate Admissions and to the program. Applicants receive separate notifications of application status for each application. No minimum set of qualifications in any way guarantees admission. Admission to the university does not guarantee recommendation for admission from the program. The program admissions committee makes the recommendations for admission to the department faculty and chair who makes the final recommendation to the university Graduate Admissions. Submitted application materials may not be returned or forwarded to other academic units.

The admissions process for each program is comprised of (1) a review of written application materials that include a program application, academic transcripts, GRE scores, personal statements, three letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae or resume, and CBEST scores (for school counseling only) and (2) a group interview process that includes a variety of small and large group interactive experiences. Assessment for admission is based on four categories of readiness: academic, cross-cultural, interpersonal, and professional.

Applicants who wish to apply to more than one concentration (program) must apply separately to each program. They will be considered through the program’s specific admissions review process. Applicants accepted to more than one program may not simultaneously enroll in marriage and family therapy, multicultural community counseling community-based block, or school counseling.

Advancement to Candidacy

All students must meet the general requirements for advancement to candidacy, as described in Requirements for Master’s Degrees  and be recommended by the faculty. A student may be advanced to candidacy when the official program for the Master of Science degree has been filed and after having earned a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in at least 24 units listed on the official program.

Specific Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for admission to the university with classified graduate standing, the student must satisfy the basic requirements for the master’s degree described in Requirements for Master’s Degrees . In addition, the student must meet the requirements specified below.

Selection of Plan A or Plan B

The selection of Plan A, the thesis or project or Plan B, the comprehensive examination plan, is made in consultation with the adviser at the time the official program of study is filed. Plan A thesis is designed for students who have a particular research problem they wish to investigate in some detail. The Plan A project is expected to be a rigorous application of research and theory in a professional endeavor. The comprehensive examination option for Plan B requires demonstration of the integration and application of theory, research, and techniques. It is expected that the student will take the comprehensive examination concurrently with or following enrollments in CSP 710A  or CSP 710B  . The examination is offered near the end of each semester. Information is available from the Counseling and School Psychology office, the student’s adviser, the department website, or the concentration materials.

Course Requirements

Students are expected to consult with their adviser prior to taking any coursework leading to the master’s degree. Selections of courses have been designated for the concentrations and must be reviewed with the adviser.

The student must complete a minimum of 60 units of 500-, 600-, 700-numbered courses, including:

Research (A Minimum of 3 Units)


24 units selected with adviser’s approval.

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