M.Ed. in Counselor Education

Earn your Master of Education in Counselor Education and help guide the academic, career and social-emotional development of today’s youth. Our program prepares you to become a school counselor in the K-12 setting. Graduates become leaders, advocates, collaborators and systematic change agents in schools.

At a Glance

  • Apply by: January 5 each year for fall start.
  • Duration: 2 years, full-time.
  • Location: Charlottesville, Virginia.

Program Overview

The M.Ed. in Counselor Education degree prepares you to become a counselor in both public and private schools with the support of a diverse and accomplished faculty.

This CACREP-accredited program teaches you how to become a leader, an advocate, a collaborator and a change agent – with an emphasis on promoting equity, access, and justice as a K-12 school counselor. With teamwork built into the curriculum you will get the opportunity to collaborate with your classmates in a supportive and close-knit environment. Plus, student diversity in Charlottesville and the surrounding school systems grants excellent internship learning opportunities in both urban, suburban, and rural settings.

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In response to the growing mental health needs of K-12 students, the Counselor Education program at UVA is thrilled to announce the launch of the School Mental Health Leadership (SMHL) Track. This track will help to emphasize the importance of school counselors taking the lead in addressing the mental needs of students in schools. Students enrolled in this track will be required to take the following additional courses:

Mental Health in Schools (Course Number TBD)
EDHS 7680 Psychopathology
EDHS 8730 Family Theory and Therapy


Students who complete this track should meet all course requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) process in Virginia. In addition to coursework and supervised field placements completed at UVA, Virginia LPC requirements include an additional 3,400 supervised post-master’s degree residency hours in an applicable work setting, along with a passing score on a qualifying examination. For more information on the LPC, please review the LPC Licensure Process Handbook. Coursework hours taken above the current 58-credit hour requirement will be counted as elective credits.


In addition, limited grant funding is available to some students enrolled in the SMHL track. Grant funded students will be required to complete all SMHL coursework along with additional field experiences, trainings, and activities. Application materials will available upon program admittance and acceptance. If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Julia V. Taylor at jvtaylor@virginia.edu.  

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“I am passionate about creating a safe, supportive and positive learning environment for students to grow and realize their full potential. This program has taught me how to be an advocate for systemic change.”

– Heather Ramey, 2017 M.Ed. graduate


Degree Details

  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

    Applicants to an entry-level program must:

    1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college by date of entry.
    2. Have a B average or better for the last two years of undergraduate study.
    3. Submit an application for admission (including a $85 non-refundable application fee) and unofficial transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work. Once admitted, official transcripts will be required.
    4. GRE test scores are not required.
    5. Submit at least two letters of recommendation from professionals who can attest to the potential of the applicant to succeed as a graduate student and professional counselor.
    6. Submit a written statement of professional goals and reasons for seeking admission to the masters program in school counseling. (typically 1 to 2 pages).
    7. Submit a current resume.
    8. A writing sample is not required.

    Meeting these minimum criteria does not guarantee admission.

    All application materials must be uploaded to your application or sent to the addresses listed under your application checklist - please do not send any materials directly to the department. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

    If I had a different major than psychology (and related fields), could I still apply to the counseling program?
    Yes, you may apply if your undergraduate degree is in a field other than psychology. Your personal goal statement should reflect your career or goal shift and include a brief explanation for your change of direction.

    How many students are admitted into the program?
    We typically admit a cohort of 20 to 30 students.  Cohort size is determined by the quality of the applicant pool and the CACREP-established faculty-student ratio limitation.

  • Application Due Date

    The application submission deadline is January 5. Admission decisions will be available 6 weeks after the deadline.

    Selected candidates will be interviewed in Charlottesville on February 5, 2021. Invitations for interviews are issued via email in January.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Degree Requirements

    All master's students in counseling are required to take 34 credit hours of course work in eight foundational areas specified by CACREP.  Students must also take 24 credit hours of courses specific to school counseling. In addition, student complete a 100-hour school-based practicum and a 600-hour Internship placement. Practica and Internships are complemented by course seminars that allow for group supervision and case discussions. Students take a comprehensive examination near the end of their program of study.

    Transferring Credits:
    You can transfer up to 6 credits of graduate level courses taken at another university. The courses must be equivalent to courses offered in our program. Your faculty advisor reviews the syllabus and transcript to decide whether a course is equivalent. Course credits may be considered for transfer that are (1) credits from a recognized graduate school completed within the preceding five years, (2) of at least B grade, and (3) directly related to the student’s graduate program and approved by the student’s advisor. Practice-based courses such as Essential Counseling Skills, Practicum and Internship cannot be transferred.

  • Funding Opportunities

    Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on Curry's Financial Aid webpage.

    At the school and departmental levels, master’s students are encouraged to speak to their advisors regarding potential paid positions on grant-funded projects at the Curry School and throughout the University.

    For those who qualify, America Reads is a unique work-study opportunity at Curry. Other opportunities for master's students include graduate assistantships in the Counselor Education program and Sheila Johnson Center. Students have also held relevant positions in the Athletics department, Housing & Residence Life, and Financial Aid.

  • Typical Length of Study

    This program is designed for full-time students so that they can complete their studies within two years, typically earning 12-18 hours in each regular semester. Starting in August, the student will enroll for four semesters of coursework and graduate in May of the second year.

    Full or Part Time:

    This is a full-time program with no online classes. All courses are offered at the UVA main campus in Charlottesville and are classroom-based with varying methods of instruction employed (e.g., large and small group discussions, project based learning, lecture, etc.). In addition, to provide the opportunity to perform the activities of a school counselor, the Practicum and Internship courses require the students to go to an off-Grounds school in the surrounding area.

  • Course Overview

    The program meets the pre-degree academic and internship requirements established by the Commonwealth of Virginia State Department of Education for licensure as preK-12 school counselors. 

    Typically 12-18 hours in each regular semester, spring and fall, in addition to summer course work. Practicum is part of the first spring semester. Your second year is also a year of internship at a school, working under the supervision of a professional school counselor.

    Content-based courses have 20-30 students, practice-based courses such as Essential Counseling Skills have 10-15 students or less, Practicum and Internship have no more than 10 students each.

    Fall 1 EDHS 7210 Intro to the Counseling Profession 3 credit hours
    Fall 1 EDHS 7230 Theories & Techniques of Counseling 3 credit hours
    Fall 1 EDHS 7290 Essential Counseling Skills 3 credit hours
    Fall 1 EDHS 7291 Essential Counseling Skills Lab 1 credit hour
    Fall 1 EDHS 8310 Introduction to School Counseling 3 credit hours
    Fall 1 EDLF 5160 Lifespan Development 3 credit hours
    Spring 1 EDHS 7220 Career Interventions 3 credit hours
    Spring 1 EDHS 7240 Group Counseling Procedures 3 credit hours
    Spring 1 EDHS 7300 Multicultural Counseling 3 credit hours
    Spring 1 EDHS 8290 Practicum in School Counseling 3 credit hours
    Spring 1 EDHS 8340 Counseling Children & Adolescents 3 credit hours
    Spring 1 EDHS 8982 Individual/Triadic Supervision 3 credit hours
    Fall 2 EDHS 8390 Internship in School Counseling 6 credit hours
    Fall 2 EDLF 7180 Tests and Measurements 3 credit hours
    Fall 2 EDHS 7270 Research & Evaluation 3 credit hours
    Spring 2 EDHS 8350 School Counseling Leadership, Advocacy, & Consultation 3 credit hours
    Spring 2 EDHS 8390 Internship in School Counseling 6 credit hours
    Spring 2 EDHS 8240 Substance Abuse Counseling 3 credit hours

    To matriculate successfully through the Counselor Education program, students must:

    • Maintain a 3.0 while in the program.
    • Obtain at least a B- in each course for degree credit and satisfactory (S) grades in practicum and internship.
    • Successfully meet the Curry School of Education and Human Development's comprehensive examination requirement.
    • Successfully meet the Key Professional Disposition requirements of the Counselor Education program, which are evaluated at the end of the first three semesters.
  • Careers & Sample Jobs After Graduation

    You do not need a teaching license to become a school counselor in the state of Virginia. A Counselor in a public or private school is the desired career outcome unless you plan to continue your studies and do research or teaching with a PhD. 

    Most graduates of the School Counseling program are employed by school systems (public or private, elementary, middle and high schools) to work as School Counselors.

    The staff members of the University Career Services Center assist students in seeking professional positions as they near graduation. Services available through the Center include resume and portfolio preparation advice, job listings, and interview coaching.  Students should also tell the Counselor Education faculty members when they are looking for professional positions. If faculty members know students are searching, they will assist them in any way possible. In addition to writing letters of reference, professors often learn about job leads through informal communication with their colleagues. The professional friends and associates of faculty members can often help students find the positions they are seeking.


    Upon graduation, our students are competent in promoting the academic, social-emotional, and career development of students through comprehensive school counseling programs in K-12 schools. The implementation of such comprehensive programs are data-informed and student- driven, and focus heavily on addressing individual and systemic barriers to personal development and educational achievement while advocating for equity, access, and justice in K-12 schools. 

    Other benefits of the program are:

    • CACREP accredited
    • Ample team work built into the curriculum builds a supportive and close knit class
    • Student diversity within Charlottesville and surrounding school systems is advantage for internships, and provides both city and rural experiences.
    • Excellent location of Charlottesville area and close to Washington DC, and part of the energetic UVA environment.
    • In-school experiences prior to required practicum and internship experiences
    • Fee waivers are available for application, as appropriate
  • Public Professional Licensure Disclosures

    As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

    Upon completion of the M.Ed. in Counselor Education program at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state. Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

    Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).

Program Details

  • Mission and Program Objectives

    Our mission is to prepare ethical, culturally competent school counselors who address individual and systemic barriers to educational achievement and personal development in the context of a comprehensive school counseling program. Our graduate students will demonstrate a commitment to advocate for their PK-12 students, the systems in which they live and work, and the school counseling profession. Upon graduation, our students will be competent in promoting the academic, career, and social-emotional development of students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Our students will demonstrate competency in the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive school counseling program. 

    The Counselor Education program aims to prepare:

    1.      Graduates who can demonstrate professional, personal and cultural self-awareness and knowledge about how it influences their service delivery 

    2.      Graduates who have developed the skills to lead and advocate for systemic change, including addressing barriers to students’ academic success and social/emotional development

    3.      Graduates who respond to school and students’ mental health and educational needs with developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive counseling skills and interventions

    4.      Graduates who can design, implement and evaluate components of a comprehensive school counseling program

    5.      Graduates who promote equitable student achievement, college access and career readiness

    6.      Graduates who apply and adhere to ethical and legal standards in working with students and all other educational stakeholders

  • Accreditations

    Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

    The Counselor Education program area at the Curry School of Education and Human Development is CACPREP accredited. All master's degree students in counseling are required to take 34 credit hours of core courses in the eight foundational areas as specified by CACREP. In addition to the core courses, students must take 24 credit hours of courses specific to their area of specialization (e.g. School Counseling).

    The University of Virginia Counselor Education Program, School Counseling Specialty Area is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) through October 31, 2027. The program will comply with CACREP’s policy and standards in order to maintain this accreditation status through that date. Any substantive changes will be made known publicly and reported directly to CACREP.

  • Associations

    Professional associations are vital to the productive professional life of counselors. Faculty members expect students to join appropriate associations. Membership dues are usually less for students, and members receive professional newsletters, journals, announcements of professional activities, updates about federal legislation and policies that have an impact on counseling services and on professional counselors, and opportunities to network. In addition, members are offered professional liability insurance at reduced rates.

    Application forms for the American Counseling Association (ACA) are available through ACA. ACA also has a number of divisions that focus on specialty areas (e.g., counselor education and supervision, group counseling, mental health, school, assessment, creativity in counseling, spirituality). You may access information about ACA and its divisions at: http://www.counseling.org. You may also contact ACA at 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304-3300; or 1-800-347-6647.

    The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) supports school counselors’ efforts to help students focus on academic, personal/social and career development so they achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society. ASCA provides professional development, publications and other resources, research and advocacy to more than 27,000 professional school counselors around the globe. http://www.schoolcounselor.org/

    The Virginia Counselors Association (VCA) is a state branch of the ACA. Similarly, the Virginia School Counselor Association (VSCA) is a state branch of the ASCA. These are excellent ways to learn more about our profession and to become involved in issues and activities that can influence the delivery of counseling services in Virginia. You can learn more at www.vcacounselors.org and www.vsca.org.

    Other professional associations:

  • Outcomes

    Counselor Education Program Vital Statistics and Program/Student Outcomes
    University of Virginia

    Institution Type: Public
    Location: Southern Region

    School Counseling Program

    Minimum Credits: 58
    Current Enrollment 2021-22: 49

    School Counseling Program and Student Outcomes

    Number of graduates in 2021: 21
    Program completion rate in 2021: 95%

    Exam Passing Rates

    School Counseling License: No Exam Needed
    National Certified Counselor Exam: 100%

    Job Placement Rate in 2021 100%

    Faculty and Student Demographics

    Faculty 2021-2022
    Number: 6 full‐time (67% female; 33% male)
    50% identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color

    Students 2021-2022
    Number 49 (89% female; 11% male)
    33% identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color

  • Program Modifications and Annual Reports

    Each year the Counselor Education program collects data from program graduates, employers of graduates, and site supervisors, as well as monitors student learning outcomes. The program faculty review this data and use the findings to inform program modification and curriculum changes with advisement from the Counselor Education Advisory Council.  Below please find the links to the annual reports.

  • Information for Current Students

World Class Faculty

Meet the Team

From left to right - Paul Harris, Blaire Cholewa, Joseph Williams, Antoinette Thomas, Julia Taylor, Derick Williams, and Amanda Flora

Program News

Curry Research Finds Suspending Students, in or Out of School, is Problematic

Assistant Professor Blaire Cholewa discusses new findings that raise doubts about the benefits of in-school suspension.

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School Counseling Summit

The Counselor Education program hosted its annual School Counseling Summit on November 4, 2019.

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Meet Our Students

"This program has enabled me to discover and develop my passion for strengths-based student development."

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The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.