M.A. in Psychology: Clinical Counseling
The Citadel's Master of Arts in Psychology degree program in Clinical Counseling offers graduate education for those interested in becoming professional counselors in community agencies, including college counseling centers, hospitals, mental health, and social services agencies. The curriculum reflects current knowledge and perspectives concerning psychological counseling and human development needs of a diverse multicultural society.
The curriculum has been developed according to guidelines set forth by the Council of Applied Masters Programs in Psychology (CAMPP) and the program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) from June 2012 through June 2022.
Why choose The Citadel’s Clinical Counseling Program?
- Training is based on psychological, evidence-based principles and emphasizes taking a scholarly approach to understanding client problems and developing intervention strategies.
- Students have the opportunity to complete their field placement experiences in a wide variety of organizations with a diverse range of client and problems.
- Our program has a strong reputation in the community and the field with our students successfully obtaining employment upon graduation, specifically 79% of graduates since 2016 obtained employment in the field before graduation and another 17% obtained employment within three months of graduation.
- Our graduates become leaders in the field by directing agencies and programs; serving on community/agency boards and task forces; taking leadership roles within state, regional and national organizations; managing successful private practices.
- Graduates are prepared to successfully navigate licensure with substantially above average passage rates on required licensure examinations. Since 2015, CCP graduates have reported a first-time passage rate of 100% compared to an overall 72% passage rate on the NCE and 53% passage rate on the NCMHCE in 2016 for all taking the exam in South Carolina.
Students may complete the program on a part-time or full-time basis. The program must be completed within five years of initial enrollment. Courses are taught in the evenings after 4:00 at The Citadel’s historic campus in downtown Charleston, SC. Full-time students typically complete the program in 3 to 3-1/2 years.
Coursework is consistent with requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor in the state of South Carolina and students can meet requirements for licensure as an Addictions Counselor.
For additional Frequently Asked Questions
Program Mission and Learning Objectives
The mission of the Clinical Counseling MA program is to prepare students to become ethical, multiculturally-competent, evidence-informed practitioners of psychological counseling in a variety of mental health settings.
The Program’s training model emphasizes the application of theories of human development, psychopathology, multiculturalism and cognitive behavior change to psychosocial problems and advocates a scholarly perspective that integrates evidence-based and professional competencies with a compassionate, culturally sensitive and ethical orientation to clinical work. Through a blend of didactic and practice- based experiences, students will acquire an empirical and culturally competent approach to assessment, conceptualization, intervention, and evaluation of psychological services.
The objectives of the program are designed to enable the student to:
1. Understand principles of psychology and their application to real world clinical situations and settings
2. Recognize and appreciate the importance of a multicultural perspective
3. Demonstrate understanding of professional and ethical principles as they apply to competent professional practice
4. Understand evidence-based practice and function as scholarly practitioners when approaching assessment, conceptualization and intervention.
5. Acquire assessment and intervention skills to be used with a diverse range of clients and problems.
About the Program
The MA in Psychology: Clinical Counseling is awarded after successful completion of 60 credit hours. The program is divided into three distinct course blocks, each building upon the one before.
Upon completion of the core coursework, students should have a firm theoretical grasp of normal and abnormal development, and they should understand the major theories of personality and behavior change. Students will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of foundations of psychology and counseling, necessary assessment skills, and excellent communication and listening skills. Students will appreciate the importance and utility of the scientific method for advancing knowledge and clinical practice. Finally, students will have a firm grasp of ethical/legal and other issues essential to professional practice.
Following a demonstration of competency in the content of core courses as indicated by a passing score on a comprehensive examination, students will move onto the second block of courses. These courses prepare students to be practitioners and specifically address skill development and preparation for field placement experiences. Students will be exposed to theory and practice of group and individual counseling. They will learn about the process of counseling from diagnostic assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment planning through treatment evaluation and termination. The courses in this advanced clinical block are applied and blend didactic and experiential components to facilitate the development of therapeutic skills.
The final block of courses consists of two field experiences. The practicum and internship courses reflect the culmination of the program and provide students with structured, supervised experiences with actual clients in a variety of settings, including college counseling centers, county mental health agencies, child advocacy centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, hospitals, residential programs, shelters, day treatment programs, and others. Students can choose to work with a wide range of populations and areas of interest including children/adolescents, college students, veterans, trauma, substance abuse, severe mental illness, behavioral problems, etc.
During these experiences, students can integrate and apply their coursework to actual clinical problems by conducting psychosocial or diagnostic assessments, developing treatment plans, and implementing intervention strategies. Students are expected to build awareness of professional and clinical strengths and weaknesses, a personal style of counseling, and to develop as professionals. It is important to note that many of our field placement experiences turn into employment opportunities for students upon graduation.
“My experience in the Clinical Counseling Psychology Master's program was wholly transformative. By graduation, I felt confident as a novice therapist and was armed with the professional support and development necessary to make the most of my degree. If you are willing to give this program your all, it will give you all as well.”
- Jen Bennett, LPC, Private practice
“My experience in the Clinical Counseling program facilitated growth in the scholarly, professional, and personal aspects of my life. While in the program, my path switched gears to attaining a doctoral degree and the faculty not only wholeheartedly supported but also helped tailor my experiences to prepare me. The program provided me with a broad clinical base that has served me well in my doctoral program and all of the varying clinical settings that I have been in.”
- Byron Brooks, Clinical Ph.D. candidate
“Once you have completed the Clinical Counseling program at the Citadel Graduate College, an unbelievable amount of doors will become open to you. The Citadel has an incredible reputation in the region for producing knowledgeable and skilled graduates. I believe that this program has prepared me with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and support needed to begin a lifelong career as a counselor.”
- Tessa Trask, LPC, Private practice
"I have been involved as a supervisor for interns from the Citadel for over a decade, and I have found their preparation and knowledge base in an advanced stage as they begin their practicum/internships. Their performance has been consistent and at a high level, to the point, that I have hired several students over the years. The leadership and dedication of the faculty are evident in my interactions with students and is a reason for the continued success and my involvement with the program."
- W. Jonas Coatsworth MA, LPC, CAC-II
Director of Clinical Services, Waypoint Recovery Center
"I have an exclusive team of Citadel graduates serving as protocol counselors across three PTSD studies funded by the VA and Department of Defense. I established a field placement opportunity at the VA in Charleston for Citadel students and realized that they were operating so well alongside psychology doctoral interns that they would serve our veterans as excellent protocol therapists. I have been impressed by both their willingness and skillfulness in learning evidence-based techniques to deal with PTSD, which is one of the hardest psychological conditions to treat."
- Ron Acierno, Ph.D.
Professor, Medical University of South Carolina
This program accepts qualified graduate candidates twice per academic year.
- The application deadline is March 1st for admission during the Summer or Fall terms.
- The application deadline is October 1st for admission during the Winter term.
*Please note that admission interviews for the October 1st deadline will be posted in early fall.
- Completion of the Admissions Questionnaire.
- Minimum 3.0 cumulative undergraduate grade point average.
- Minimum of 9 credit hours in psychology coursework (with a minimum of a 'C' grade) or a GRE Psychology score of 600.
- Submission of an official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) test score. Tests must be taken within five years of application.
- Preferred GRE Verbal score of at least 150, GRE Quantitative score of at least 147, GRE Analytical Writing score of at least 3.5
- Preferred MAT raw score of at least 397.
- Standardized test requirement will be waived for those with a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher.
- Two letters of recommendation
Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid
To be eligible for financial aid you must be enrolled in a minimum of 4.5 credit hours per semester, which translates to two graduate courses. For deadlines, answers to questions, and other valuable information regarding financial aid refer to the financial aid website.
For student admissions and outcome data, click here.
Genelle Sawyer, Ph.D.