Counseling (MA)


2014-2015 GRADUATE STUDIES CATALOG
Effective June 1, 2014

Current catalog information can be found in the 2013-14 Catalog (PDF)

This program offered by College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description

The mission of the Webster University graduate Professional Counseling degree program is to provide high quality learning experiences to students, helping them become expert professional counselors who endeavor toward individual excellence and contribute to enhancing the quality of life in local, national, and global societies.  Our diverse faculty strives to create a culturally inclusive program training students with a strong base of knowledge and skills to practice effectively in a variety of careers in the field of mental health and human service, educational institutions, private practice and government, as well as business and industrial settings.

The MA in counseling professional degree program is designed to prepare individuals for careers in clinical mental health counseling; marriage/couple, family, and child counseling; family life counseling; and community counseling. Note that not all emphases are offered at all campuses. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge, practice, and skills for working with individuals, couples, children, families, and groups in a variety of mental health settings.

The MA in Counseling at Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


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Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes for the MA in counseling support the development of students as competent counselors in training. The learning outcomes are broadly divided into the following.

Core Counseling Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Develop a professional orientation and identity as a counselor by applying sound ethical, legal, advocacy, and supervisory practices which lead to success as a mental health counselor.
  2. Identify the cultural context of relationships, issues, and trends in a multicultural society that impact the counseling process.
  3. Synthesize theories of human growth and development to develop culturally responsive counseling practices.
  4. Apply theories and models of career development to related life factors in multicultural contexts appropriate to an individual's work, family, and lifestyle.
  5. Develop an empirically based approach to counseling that emphasizes wellness and prevention by integrating theory and best practices.
  6. Apply theoretical and experiential understandings of group approaches to counseling to develop targeted interventions within a multicultural society.
  7. Apply individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation in a multicultural society.
  8. Utilize statistical concepts, research methods, needs assessment, and program evaluation skills commonly used in the counseling profession.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Emphasis Additional Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply ethical and legal standards as well as knowledge of public mental health policy, financing, and regulatory processes to mental health counseling.
  2. Implement mental health counseling principles and practices associated with education, prevention, consultation, and intervention.
  3. Describe how living in a multicultural society impacts clients and apply effective advocacy strategies to enhance mental health services.
  4. Employ various assessment techniques associated with professional mental health counseling to appropriately intervene in meeting the needs of diverse clients.
  5. Apply evidence-based research literature associated with professional mental health counseling to meet the needs of clients living in a diverse society.
  6. Implement diagnostic tools appropriate for mental health counseling professionals to diagnosis disorders in diverse clients.

Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling Emphasis Additional Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply ethical and legal standards in marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  2. Identify and apply preventive, developmental, and wellness approaches in working with individuals, couples, and families from multicultural and diverse backgrounds.
  3. Describe how living in a multicultural society impacts clients and apply effective advocacy strategies as related to the work of a marriage, family, and child counselor.
  4. Employ various assessment techniques associated with marriage, family, and child counseling to appropriately intervene in meeting the needs of diverse clients.
  5. Apply evidence-based research literature associated with marriage, family, and child counseling to meet the needs of clients living in a diverse society.

Community Counseling Emphasis Additional Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply ethical and legal standards as well as knowledge of public mental health policy, financing, and regulatory processes to community counseling.
  2. Implement community counseling principles and practices associated with education, prevention, consultation, and intervention.
  3. Describe how living in a multicultural society impacts clients and apply effective advocacy strategies to enhance community counseling services.
  4. Employ various assessment techniques associated with community counseling to appropriately intervene in meeting the needs of diverse clients.
  5. Apply evidence-based research literature associated with community counseling to meet the needs of clients living in a diverse society.

Family Life Counseling Emphasis Additional Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply ethical and legal standards as well as knowledge of public mental health policy, financing, and regulatory processes to family life counseling.
  2. Implement family life counseling principles and practices associated with education, prevention, consultation, and intervention.
  3. Describe how living in a multicultural society impacts clients and apply effective advocacy strategies to enhance family life counseling services.
  4. Employ various assessment techniques associated with family life counseling to appropriately intervene in meeting the needs of diverse clients.
  5. Apply evidence-based research literature associated with family life counseling to meet the needs of clients living in a diverse society.

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Program Curriculum

Emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The degree emphasis requires satisfactory completion of 60 credit hours of coursework. Some states require completion of all core courses previous to internship. Note that successful completion of program degree may exceed 60 credit hours for students.

Required Core Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 5020 Foundations of Counseling: The Helping Relationship (3 hours)
  • COUN 5050 Human Growth and Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5100 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5200 Theories of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5220 Assessment (3 hours)
  • COUN 5600 Techniques of Group Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5700 Lifestyle and Career Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5800 Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice (3 hours)
  • COUN 5850 Research and Program Evaluation (3 hours)
  • Additional Required Subject Area Courses:
  • COUN 5140 Psychopharmacology (3 hours)
  • COUN 5150 Psychopathology (3 hours)
  • COUN 5450 Trauma, Crisis, and Emergency Relief Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5540 Family Systems Theory (3 hours)
  • COUN 5630 Techniques of Substance Abuse Counseling (3 hours)

Required Field Experience Courses:

  • COUN 6100 Counseling Learning Practicum I (1.5 hours)
  • COUN 6200 Counseling Learning Practicum II (1.5 hours)
  • COUN 6500 Internship (1.5 hours per term) (6-9 hours)
    (A minimum of 6 credit hours and 600 clinical supervised hours required; 9 credit hours and 900 clinical supervised hours may be required in FL)

Recommended Elective Courses:

  • COUN 5610 Techniques of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5160 Issues in Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5230 Psychodiagnostics (3 hours)
  • COUN 5545 Blended Family Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5670 Counseling of Children (3 hours)
  • COUN 5640 Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5580 Human Sexuality Theory and Sexual Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5820 Consultation and Supervision (3 hours)

No elementary or secondary school settings may be used for practicum or internship hours toward the MA in Counseling at this time.

In addition to the required subject area courses listed above, students work with a faculty advisor to select electives from the counselor education program curriculum to fulfill the 60 hour requirement for completion of the degree. In order to graduate from the Counseling program, students must also pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) after all core content courses are completed (see COUN 0100 in our Course Descriptions).  Note that certain state licensure boards do not allow for courses to be completed through Directed Studies or electronically (online). The student should consult with the Counseling Program coordinator or Counseling Program academic advisor regarding this option. Note that certain state licensure boards do not allow for courses to be completed through Directed Studies or electronically (online).

Not all areas of emphasis are offered at all campus locations. Students should verify that the emphasis they seek is offered at the campus they select prior to registration.

Emphasis in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling

This degree emphasis requires satisfactory completion of 60 credit hours of coursework. Some states require completion of all core courses previous to internship. This degree emphasis is not offered at all extended campuses. Please consult your local campus for information. Note that successful completion of program may exceed 60 credit hours for students requiring remedial coursework.

Required Core Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 5020 Foundations of Counseling: The Helping Relationship (3 hours)
  • COUN 5050 Human Growth and Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5100 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5200 Theories of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5220 Assessment (3 hours)
  • COUN 5600 Techniques of Group Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5700 Lifestyle and Career Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5800 Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice (3 hours)
  • COUN 5850 Research and Program Evaluation (3 hours)

Additional Required Subject Area Courses:

  • COUN 5140 Psychopharmacology (3 hours)
  • COUN 5150 Psychopathology (3 hours)
  • COUN 5230 Psychodiagnostics (3 hours)
  • COUN 5540 Family Systems Theory (3 hours)
  • COUN 5580 Human Sexuality Theory and Sexual Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5640 Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling (3 hours)

Required Field Experience Courses:

  • COUN 6100 Counseling Learning Practicum I (1.5 hours)
  • COUN 6200 Counseling Learning Practicum II (1.5 hours)
  • COUN 6500 Internship (1.5 hours per term) (6-9 hours)
    (A minimum of 6 credit hours and 600 clinical supervised hours required; 9 credit hours and 900 clinical supervised hours may be required in FL)

No school settings may be used for practicum or internships toward the Marriage, Couple, Family, and Child Counseling emphasis.

In addition to the required subject area courses listed above, students work with a faculty advisor to select electives from the counselor education program curriculum to fulfill the 60 credit hours required for the degree. In order to graduate from the Counseling program, students must also pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) after all core content courses are completed (see COUN 0100 in our Course Descriptions). Seek advisement for appropriate selection of electives with the Counseling Program coordinator or Counseling Program academic advisor when selecting elective courses, as electives maydirectly relate to the ability to gain licensure as a professional counselor and/or a marriage and family (and child) counselor. Note that certain state licensure boards do not allow for courses to be completed through Directed Studies or electronically (online).

Not all areas of emphasis are offered at all campus locations. Students should verify that the emphasis they seek is offered at the campus they select prior to registration.

Emphasis in Community Counseling

This degree emphasis requires satisfactory completion of 48 credit hours of coursework. Some states require completion of all core courses previous to internship. Note that successful completion of program degree may exceed 48 credit hours for students requiring remedial coursework.

Required Core Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 5020 Foundations of Counseling: The Helping Relationship (3 hours)
  • COUN 5050 Human Growth and Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5100 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5200 Theories of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5220 Assessment (3 hours)
  • COUN 5600 Techniques of Group Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5700 Lifestyle and Career Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5800 Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice (3 hours)
  • COUN 5850 Research and Program Evaluation (3 hours)

Required Field Experience Courses:

  • COUN 6000 Counseling Learning Practicum (3 hours)
  • COUN 6500 Internship (1.5 hours per term) (6-9 hours)
    (A minimum of 6 credit hours and 600 clinical supervised hours required)

In addition to the required subject area courses listed above, students work with a faculty advisor to select up to four electives from the counselor education program curriculum to fulfill the 48 credit hours necessary for completion of the degree. In order to graduate from the Counseling program, students must also pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) after all core content courses are completed (see COUN 0100 in our Course Descriptions). Note that certain state licensure boards do not allow for courses to be completed through Directed Studies or electronically (online).

Note that the majority of states call for educational requirements toward professional counseling licensure to include the completion of a 60 credit hour graduate counseling degree.Therefore, students and or graduates who select the Community Counseling 48 credit hour emphasis may be required to complete additional graduate coursework should the student/graduate relocate to a state that requires a 60 credit hour counseling master's degree.

Not all areas of emphasis are offered at all campus locations. Students should verify that the emphasis they seek is offered at the campus they select prior to registration.

Emphasis in Family Life Counseling

This degree emphasis requires satisfactory completion of a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework. Note that successful completion of program degree may exceed 48 credit hours for students requiring remedial coursework. In addition, students will need to seek faculty advisement to determine if elective credits are needed for licensure as LMFT or LPC. Professional licensure is determined by state boards of licensure. Students seeking to become licensed are responsible for verifying this curriculum with their respective state boards of licensure to ensure that this curriculum meets their state's requirements.

Required Core Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 5020 Foundations of Counseling: The Helping Relationship (3 hours)
  • COUN 5050 Human Growth and Development (3 hours)
  • COUN 5150 Psychopathology (3 hours)
  • COUN 5200 Theories of Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5220 Assessment (3 hours)
  • COUN 5600 Techniques of Group Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5800 Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice (3 hours)
  • COUN 5850 Research and Program Evaluation (3 hours)

Additional Required Subject Area Courses:

  • COUN 5540 Family Systems Theory (3 hours)
  • COUN 5545 Blended Family Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5580 Human Sexuality Theory and Sexual Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5630 Techniques of Substance Abuse Counseling (3 hours)
  • COUN 5640 Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling (3 hours)

Required Field Experience Courses:

  • COUN 6000 Counseling Learning Practicum (3 hours)
  • COUN 6500 Internship (1.5 hours per term) (6-9 hours)
    (A minimum of 6 credit hours and 600 clinical supervised hours required)

Note that certain state licensure laws do not allow for courses to be completed through Directed Studies or electronically (online).

Note that the majority of states call for educational requirements toward professional counseling licensure to include the completion of a 60 credit hour graduate counseling degree.Therefore, students and or graduates who select the Family Life Counseling 48 credit hour emphasis may be required to complete additional graduate coursework should the student/graduate relocate to a state that requires a 60 credit hour counseling master's degree. In order to graduate from the Counseling program, students must also pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) after all core content courses are completed (see COUN 0100 in our Course Descriptions). 

This emphasis area is only approved for student participation at the Ft. Bragg campus. Not all areas of emphasis are offered at all campus locations. Students should verify that the emphasis they seek is offered at the campus they select prior to registration.


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General Requirements

The student is subject to the policies and procedures for graduate studies and the specific requirements of the counselor education program found within this Catalog. As stated in the academic policies and procedure guidelines, the MA in counseling professional degree program is excluded from dual major and sequential degree options.

Courses in the counseling degree program are available only to the following: those admitted to the MA in counseling professional degree program and specific non degree seeking students (see non degree seeking students below). All non-degree seeking students must meet specific admissions requirements and seek advisement for appropriate course selection.

Students participating in the MA in counseling professional degree program are required to understand and follow the ACA Code of Ethics (2005) and adhere to applicable state laws, regulatory policies, and rules and policies governing professional staff behavior at the field placement setting. Students have the same ethical and professional obligation to clients as those required of professional counselors (ACA, 2005).

Professional Commitment

The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2005) requires that institutions providing counselor education screen students for professional, personal, and academic fit with the profession of counseling. Completion and graduation from the MA in counseling professional degree program requires successful completion of all graduate courses with appropriate academic success; development of appropriate interpersonal and counseling skills evidencing competency as a counselor; and being deemed fit for the counseling profession by program faculty as determined by development of counseling knowledge and skills, counselor formation, interpersonal relations with others in the program, and openness to supervision and feedback. Students' counseling skills development, interpersonal skills with others in the program, openness to supervision, and academic success and standing will be evaluated on a regular basis throughout the program via use of the Professional Skills Evaluation, remediation team discussions, program faculty review of student achievement, student participation, and program fitting behavior. Students may be required to complete extra coursework and or personal counseling in order to maintain good standing in the program.

This degree is a professional degree that is regulated by state licensure boards and the ACA Code of Ethics (2005). As such, students will be required to commit to the above mentioned academic and interpersonal and counseling skills development through various coursework including a minimum of 11 months of clinical field experience, which may require a minimum of 15 to 38 hours per week to equate to a total of 700 - 1000 hours of clinical supervised instruction. It is imperative that applicants and students understand the time commitment required to develop and evidence counseling and interpersonal skills, openness to supervision, and academic success related to the clinical field experience and program in general.

It is highly recommended that students become involved in their local and or national professional counseling organization for formation of professional identity and the provision of additional learning, professional networking, leadership opportunities, professional liability insurance and legal support; and financial, academic, and career resources.

Students in the MA in counseling professional degree program will be expected to participate in self-growth and self-disclosure experiences in some coursework in the MA in counseling professional degree program as delineated by the ACA Code of Ethics (2005). While contents of self-disclosure will not relate to lowered academic evaluations, contents of self-disclosure may lead to requirement of professional help to address any personal concerns that may be affecting development of competent counseling and interpersonal skills, formation of the counselor in training, and openness to supervision (ACA, 2005).

Remediation for Student Success Process

The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2005) requires that all counselor education programs in good standing provide for a remediation process for all counselor education students that includes regular and ongoing evaluation of a student's general fit with the counseling profession. Appraisal will occur with faculty review of didactic and clinical competencies, attention to ethical code, openness to supervision, self-awareness and formation, and academic competency. When experiencing challenges in demonstrating academic success, development of appropriate interpersonal and or counseling skills and openness to clinical supervision, and or knowledge areas students may be initially required to meet with the course instructor to attempt to remediate student challenges. If unresolved, the student and or instructor may request the student be referred to the campus Counseling Program Advisory Committee. This Committee will review the reasons for student lack of success and will interview relevant instructors and the student to determine the most appropriate path for student success related to a potential future in the counseling profession. The most appropriate path may include but is not limited to: completion of extra coursework and or field experience, completion of and or participation in personal counseling, and or dismissal or time off from the counselor education program prior to completion of the degree program. Hence, successful completion of the MA in counseling professional degree program may require additional coursework beyond the stated number of degree credit hours (48 or 60) for those students requiring remedial coursework and or personal counseling. Student openness to and cooperation with the campus Counseling Program Advisory Committee and adherence to ACA Code of Ethics will be integral to the student's continued success within the program. Note: While the campus Counseling Program Advisory Committee may review cases related to academic challenge, it is not intended to mediate grade appeals or dismissals related to academic failure. The Committee is in place to work with students who are in good standing and challenged in one or more areas and are seeking a plan for remediation for student success to remain in good standing or be transitioned out of the program.

Student Handbook

All students admitted to the MA in counseling professional degree program are required to review and sign the MA in Counseling Student Handbook as a requirement of admission. Students are required to sign the final page of the Handbook stating understanding of and agreement with the personal and professional commitment to the MA in counseling professional degree program.

Background Check

Some states will not provide a professional counseling license to those with a failed background check. If an applicant or student has questions regarding such, they are recommended to check with the state professional counseling licensure board prior to applying to the MA in counseling professional degree program. See the Counseling Program faculty coordinator/advisor for further information. Also note that some field experience sites require completion of a background check prior to commitment to the field experience. All background checks are at the expense of the student. See the Counseling Program faculty coordinator/advisor for more information.

Professional Liability Insurance

All students are required to purchase professional liability insurance and provide proof of such prior to beginning their field experience and retain through the duration of the field experience. Professional liability insurance is at the expense of the student and may be retained through HPSO (Health Professionals Service Organization) found on the American Counseling Association's website, www.counseling.org.

Path to Licensure

To attain licensure in the field of professional counseling (LPC/LMHC/LCPC) or marriage and family therapy (LMFT) graduates must complete further clinical supervised training; passing of nationally normed, field related examinations (NCE and/or NCMHCE); passing of a jurisprudence exam in some states, and further focused coursework depending on the state after completion of the MA in counseling professional degree. Required exams, additional focused coursework, and or number of required clinical supervised training hours following degree completion is dependent on the state in which the graduate pursues licensure. For delineation of individual state licensure requirements consult the following Web sites and or your state professional licensure board website:

Course Transfer

A total of twelve (12) credit hours from a graduate counseling program at a university with acceptable accreditation (see Catalog for definition of accreditation) may be accepted toward the MA in counseling; there will be no course substitutions once a student has transferred 12 credit hours.

Core counseling classes considered for transfer must be transferred into the counseling program within eight years of completion and must be equivalent to Webster course content and learning outcomes as evidenced by the actual/real course syllabus for the course requested for transfer. Syllabi samples and or templates are not sufficient. Core courses include: COUN 5050, COUN 5100, COUN 5150, COUN 5200, COUN 5220, COUN 5600, COUN 5700, COUN 5800, AND COUN 5850. Non-core counseling courses considered for transfer can be transferred within ten years of completion. Best education preparation for the field may include advising applicants/students to not transfer related but unsubstantial credits as non-core courses. Practicum and Internship hours cannot be transferred to the degree.

Students/applicants receiving approval for transfer of counseling coursework that was not received at a CACREP accredited graduate degree program transfer the coursework content at their own risk. Non specialty accredited coursework not completed at Webster University may not adequately prepare students for nationally normed exams.


Special Enrollment Circumstances

Participation and enrollment in the professional counseling degree program takes personal and professional commitment. For this reason, counseling students are required to receive written permission from the Worldwide Director of Counseling to register for courses outside of the counseling program while enrolled in the program. Enrollment in non-counseling degree related courses are not encouraged.

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Admission

Students who are interested in applying to this degree program should also see the Admission Section of this catalog for general requirements.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are required to go through the University admissions process as outlined in the graduate catalog. In addition, applicants for the MA in counseling program are required to meet the following requirements:

    • Submission of a short written essay (minimum of 3 pages).  The essay must address the following: personal and professional interests in the professional counseling field; personal background and work history related to counseling field; career goals in the field; and aptitude for succeeding in graduate level education. Provide a statement indicating ways you can contribute to the formation of culturally inclusive and respectful interpersonal relationships in both individual and group context.
    • Strict adherence to a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.
    • Submission of three completed professional (not friends or relatives) recommendation forms, one of which should ideally be from a former professor/instructor. Forms are to be sent directly to Webster University by the reference; instructions are included on the form.  Forms can be found on the Department of Professional Counseling website.
    • Resume including: education, work experiences, leadership activities, volunteer/service work, etc.

After admission into the counseling program, applicants are required to complete the following steps prior to taking classes:

  • Participation in a group orientation event to discuss: a) career related interests in the field of professional counseling, b) orientation to the field of professional counseling, and c) orientation to the Webster University MA in counseling program. This orientation event will be scheduled through your campus.
  • Student signature on the related page in the Counseling Student Handbook provided by the first night of the first class or before.
  • Some program field experiences may require background checks of students.

Non-Degree Admission Applicants

Applicants with a graduate degree or current graduate program enrollment in the following fields (professional counseling, psychology, social work, school guidance and counseling, and pastoral care) may be approved to register for up to four (pre-approved) courses and forgo the full admission process (detailed above under admission requirements). To receive approval, non-degree applicants are required to submit an online application, official undergraduate transcript and current related graduate transcript, and receive pre-registration advising by a counseling faculty advisor. Approved non-degree seeking applicants can only take a maximum of four courses. Students seeking to take more than four total courses must go through the full admission process and be fully admitted into the program.

Transfer between campuses after completion of 5 courses

Transfer between Webster University campuses after or during completion of the sixth counseling course but before or during field experience coursework will require the following:

  1. two letters from Webster faculty at the campus of origin regarding the student's counseling and interpersonal skills level;
  2. a phone or personal interview with the counseling program coordinator and or Practicum faculty supervisor regarding the student's counseling and interpersonal skills level, experience in the field, and reason for transfer; and
  3. approval for the transfer by the office of the Worldwide Director of Counseling. Exception to this policy is made for students transferring between campuses that share faculty.

Additional Information

Students applying for this program must send the required essay and letters of recommendation, to the campus they plan to attend. All transcripts must be sent to the following address:

Office of Admission
Webster University
470 East Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119

Students applying to campuses outside of the US maybe required to submit additional documentation and or subject to prerequisite educational requirements. Please consult your campus. The following is a link to the list of campuses offering the MA in counseling degree program: degrees/counseling.shtml.

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