2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jan 28, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog

School Counseling P-12, MS


Yanhong Liu, Ph.D., Sims Hall, Suite 440, 315-443-2266, yliu363@syr.edu

Core Faculty

Dr. Melissa Luke, Professor
Dr. Derek Seward, Associate Professor and Department Chair
Dr. Caroline O’Hara, Assistant Professor
Dr. Yanhong Liu, Assistant Professor
Dr. Brittany Williams, Visiting Assistant Professor

Program Description

The 60-credit, CACREP accredited Master of Science program in School Counseling P-12 prepares students to work with youth of all ages in urban, rural, and suburban preK-12 school settings. Students gain hands-on experiences throughout their program of study that prepare them for holistic school counseling practice. They work closely with their advisors to ensure completion of a sequenced curriculum in tandem with field experiences across grade levels.   In addition to a number of core counseling courses, students are provided with multiple school counseling specialty courses through which they acquire the knowledge and abilities necessary to implement a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program, including direct and indirect services and program planning and management. Students further gain the tools necessary to be effective professional school counselors and systemic change agents, so they can help to meet the needs of all students. The program is closely aligned to national and state standards, and meets the academic requirements for initial and professional New York State Certification as a School Counselor. Graduates from our program are employed in schools as:

  • School Counselors
  • Directors of Guidance
  • Career Center Counselors
  • Admissions Counselors
  • Support Service Counselors
  • Alcohol-Drug Abuse Prevention Education Program (ADAPEP) Counselors
  • Student Assistance Counselors
  • Family Support Counselors

The Department of Counseling and Human Services has been a pioneer in training highly skilled practitioners and leaders in a wide range of counseling settings. The faculty is nationally recognized for their leadership and research in the profession, and all classes are taught by skilled experts and experienced clinicians. The faculty is deeply committed to the growth and development of their students.


The Department of Counseling and Human Services is focused on program quality which is exemplified through our commitment to accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP accreditation provides recognition of the quality and scope of training as well as assures students that the program is stable and committed to meeting professional benchmarks of quality.


In our admission process, we consider multiple facets of an applicant’s portfolio and background because we believe that successful school counselors need to be interpersonally skilled, highly self-aware, professionally mature, academically prepared for graduate work, and committed to the values and philosophies of the counseling profession and the Department of Counseling and Human Services at Syracuse University. Therefore, academic, interpersonal, professional, leadership, and personal components are integrated in our admission decision process. Within these parameters, the faculty is committed to admitting students who represent diverse backgrounds or who have special abilities to serve a diverse population. Admission is highly competitive.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate solid academic standing and potential, typically evidenced by a GPA of 3.0 or above, and provide a strong personal statement detailing their careers goals aligning with school counseling. Three letters of recommendation, with at least two from academic references are also required. Those whose first language is not English are expected to submit TOEFL results, with a minimum score of 100 to demonstrate English proficiency.

The program admits students for the fall semester only, and reviews applications in January.  Applicants with materials reviewed favorably by department faculty are invited to proceed with an on-campus or online interview before a decision is made. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Synthesize historical and contextual dimensions of professional orientation, assessment, research, career, theory, and lifespan development
  2. Explain group dynamics and construct clinical interventions that foster development
  3. Apply ethical, empirically grounded, and culturally relevant strategies and models in counseling practice
  4. Develop advocacy and leadership principles and practically apply them in the context of professional school counseling
  5. Apply social and cultural diversity theories, models, and multicultural competencies in counseling practice and research
  6. Explain the history and current best practices of school counseling, as well as the roles and responsibilities of a school counselor across grade levels
  7. Identify and respond to characteristics, risk factors, and warning signs for students at risk for learning, mental health, behavioral disorders

Major Requirements

The Master of Science in Professional School Counseling is a 60- credit hour program. Below is the sequence of courses taken by full time students, over two years, including summers. Part time study is also possible, as long as part-time students have flexibility to be available at the course and field experience times. Programs include extensive fieldwork opportunities in which graduate students gain hands-on experience working with P-12 students in a range of educational settings.


Transfer Credit

The Graduate School at Syracuse University allows students to transfer in up to 30% of the credits required for a master’s degree from other accredited academic institutions. Only equivalent  courses taken within seven years of the expected degree date,  in which grades of “B” or better were earned can be considered for transfer. Once matriculated, decisions about transfer of specific courses, as well as decisions about whether any course may be used to waive a required course, are made by the student’s advisor in consultation with appropriate faculty. Some courses (for example, Practicum) taken elsewhere may not be used to substitute for the same course at SU.