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College of Education

Counselor Education, Ed.S. (Marriage, Couples & Family Counseling)

What will I study?

You will receive specialized instruction and clinical experience in responding to the therapeutic needs of individuals, couples, parents and families. Our graduates are trained to attend to client issues from a systemic perspective, in order to seek out and identify family and social resources to support healthy family, relational and individual functioning. 


What kinds of work will I be able to do?

Completing this degree program can help you meet the academic licensure requirements of many states, including South Carolina. The current curriculum meets the accreditation standards set by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the state of South Carolina’s licensing requirements for Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists.

After you graduate, a wide range of professional positions become available to you, such as campus-based counselor, couples’ counselor, school-based mental health worker, community mental health provider, or even private practitioner.


Admissions Process

The Ed.S. in Counselor Education accepts applications for admission once a year for the summer term with an application deadline of January 8. Program faculty members review complete applications and applicants who pass the initial screening are invited to a group interview. Group interviews take place by mid-March.


Typical Coursework

You will complete coursework in the following areas:

Core Courses (33 semester hours)
Your core courses are designed to help you to build a foundation of understanding in areas important to all counseling professionals These courses provide an overview and introduction to the counseling profession, basic counseling theories, counseling skills, assessment, group, professional and legal issues, multicultural, and career development.

Psychopathology & Diagnosis
The core includes 6 credits in Psychopathy and Diagnosis. These classes prepare you to identify and diagnose mental illness among your clients by extending your study of the human experience. You will come away with a common language which you can use to consult with other mental health professionals and which will enable you to ensure that your clients are receiving therapeutic service commensurate with the severity of their presenting distress.

Specialization (6 semester hours)
These courses will introduce you to knowledge and skill components unique to the Marriage, Couples and Family specialization. You will learn theories and models specific to how healthy couples, parents, and families function and succeed. You will also explore topics of interest specific to your advanced training in specialized areas of counseling. By the end of the two classes you will have an understanding of the developmental challenges, trajectories and resources experienced by the wide constellation of 21st century couples and family units.

Clinical Preparation (12 semester hours)
These four classes are best described as pre-practicum training. You will observe and practice a range of “best practices” in family counseling that embody and demonstrate the theories you learned in your specialization courses. By working with actual clients and following leading models of providing clinical training under the guidance of your professors, you will develop the competencies and confidence as a counselor, which will enable you to perform independent clinical work in your practicum experience.

Human Growth & Development (3 semester hours)
In your Human Growth and Development coursework, you will learn to identify the different stages of the human experience as well as the characteristic challenges individuals face throughout their lives. This knowledge will help you to make your clients more comfortable with you as they address their challenges with you.

Research (3 semester hours)
This course will help you use the professional literature to identify “best practices” specific to your clients and the issues that those clients bring to counseling. Selectively using published research will allow you to feel more confirmed and confident in your choice of clinical interventions.

Clinical Courses (9 semester hours)
These two courses (practicum and internship) provide the opportunity for you to further develop your unique identity as a counselor as you hone your craft by working independently and directly with your chosen client population, supported by ongoing site and university supervision. Your experiences in your clinical courses will serve as your entry into the profession of marriage, couples, and family counseling.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.