School Counseling, M.Ed.

Program Description

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  • 14-month, 60 semester credit-hour program that begins in late May and ends in late July of the following year.
  • Program based on innovative Strengths-Based School Counseling framework pioneered by the program’s faculty members.
  • Students proceed through the program as a tightly-knit cohort.
  • Program and course work focus solely on school counseling.
  • Students complete a year-long school counseling practicum/internship in a public school.
  • Approved internationally (IRCEP), and accredited nationally (CACREP) and by the state of North Carolina (NCDPI).

Course Work

The M.Ed. program in School Counseling consists of four semesters of full-time study, 60 semester hours of course work, over a fourteen month period. Students normally begin classes during the last week in May and finish the program by August of the year following entrance into the program.

Because the 60 semester hours of course work are completed in a 14-month period rather than the more traditional two-year period for programs of this type, this is a very concentrated and intense program. As a result, only full time students are admitted and students may not enter the program at times other than the one specified above.

Field Experience

During the first summer session in the program, students are asked to specify their preference for a primary placement level (elementary, middle or high school) for their field experiences (EDUC 766 and EDUC 705). The majority of training experiences are completed in this placement site, although additional field experiences at different levels and/or different schools are completed to supplement and broaden training for K-12 licensure.

Students spend three days per week at their school placement for the entire academic year. Thus, students are given the opportunity to experience the complete school-year at their placement sites. Because of the field experience requirements, students follow the calendar of the school district rather than the University's calendar.

Field experiences usually occur within a 40 mile radius of Chapel Hill, and students are expected to provide their own transportation to field sites.

Applicants are required to complete a criminal background check before beginning work in their field experience. All students are provided with professional liability insurance before beginning field experiences by UNC Chapel Hill.

During the field experiences, supervision is provided:

  • on an individual basis from a practicing school counselor (a site supervisor)
  • on an individual and/or triadic basis from university program faculty member (a university supervisor)
  • in a group of peers run by university program faculty member (practicum and internship)

Students must demonstrate knowledge and competencies in a variety of areas which include promoting academic, career, and personal/social development though individual and group counseling, classroom guidance and systemic work. During the placement, a minimum of 700 hours in the field must be accumulated and documented, 280 of which are in direct service to students, teachers, and parents. The experiences provided by the field placements are critical to integrating theory and practice and developing skilled school counselors.


The School Guidance and Counseling Subject assessment of the Praxis II is required as the program comprehensive exam and is required for school counselor licensure in North Carolina.

Students will be prepared to pursue license as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in NC. Note the state mandates that the application process (including earning hours toward licensure) begins only AFTER completion of any masters degree program (No hours can be applied from Masters Level Practicum/Internship experiences). You can see the full state requirements here.

Professional Development

Students are required to join the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and become an engaged professional and aware of current issues in the school counseling field.

Students are also required to attend one professional development conference during the program and are encouraged to attend the North Carolina School Counselor Association’s annual conference.



First Lady Michelle Obama presents the 2016 School Counselor of the Year Award

Click here to read First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks at the 2016 School Counselor of the Year Awards