Feb 02, 2023  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Counseling Dual Degree: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling & Master of Arts in School Counseling

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Verl Pope, Ed.D., Department Chair


The Dual Degree in Counseling combines both a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in School Counseling, both CACREP accredited programs.  A combination of these degrees will prepare students to be eligible for licensure as clinical mental health counselors and certification as school counselors.

Contact Information

Department of Counseling, Social Work, and Leadership - MEP 203
Counseling, Social Work, and Leadership Graduate Office - MEP 295
counselored@nku.edu; (859) 572-7892

Admission Requirements

Individuals applying must meet all requirements for admission to graduate study at Northern Kentucky University as defined by the Graduate Catalog at the time of application in addition to the following:

To be eligible for admission applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an overall minimum 2.75 undergraduate grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
  • Undergraduate coursework must contain 48 semester credits (or equivalent in quarter hours) in the liberal arts. 
  • Baccalaureate degree must show completion of a statistics course with a grade of C- or higher.

Application Process

  1. Submit an online application and application fee to the Office of Graduate Education.
  2. Submit official transcripts of undergraduate and any graduate coursework sent directly from all institutions of higher education previously attended.
  3. Submit official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). This requirement will be waived for those individuals who have already completed a master’s degree.
  4. Submit the supplemental application including a 500-700 word essay demonstrating evidence of one’s potential to work effectively with people, reasons for wanting to become a professional counselor, any relevant work or volunteer experiences, and examples of important events that have influenced one’s career goals. Supplemental application is available on the website. 
  5. Three recommendations from people (former instructors, supervisors, colleagues, etc.) who are qualified to evaluate academic and professional potential in the field of counseling. These must be submitted on counseling recommendation form.  
  6. Submit a professional resume tailored to educational goals, including educational background, employment history, awards, and accomplishments.
  7. A criminal background check (state and federal) is required for admission to the program. For individuals currently employed in the public schools, a copy of their teaching certificate may be submitted in lieu of the background check.  Please contact the program at counselored@nku.edu in order to obtain information on getting your background check completed.  Any costs associated with background check are the responsibility of the applicant.
  8. Successful completion of an interview with Counseling Program faculty and a positive recommendation from the admission’s committee for admission to the program, to ensure the candidate possesses the interpersonal characteristics and personal dispositions to uphold ethical standards of the counseling profession. 


Completion of these degrees (72 credit hours) corresponds with the academic and experiential standards outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP - http://www.cacrep.org/template/index.cfm).  The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling also corresponds and is approved by the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Professional Counselors (http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/335-00/525.PDF) and the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (http://cswmft.ohio.gov). The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (http://in.gov/pla/2888.htm) requires an additional 300 hours of clinical counseling internship, which can be added to the curriculum at NKU.  The Master of Arts in School Counseling is authorized by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (KYEPSB) as well as accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Additionally, our degrees may meet the requirements for many other states though each state has unique application and licensure/certification requirements; please review the counseling licensure requirements for the states in which one might be interested. 

Total Hours: 72

State of Kentucky Provisional Counseling/Guidance Certificate

Upon completion of the 72 credit hour dual degree in counseling program the individual is eligible for the Kentucky Provisional School Counseling Certificate. This certificate is awarded by the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board with a recommendation from NKU. The initial Provisional School Counseling Certificate is valid for five years. The Provisional Certificate allows one to seek employment as a school counselor. One will have five years to complete the requirements for the Standard Guidance Certificate or renew the provisional certificate with additional coursework in counseling.  A CA-1 form must be submitted to the Counseling, Social Work, and Leadership Graduate Office (MEP 295) to apply for the certification.

Completion of the 72 credit hour program master’s in school counseling program at NKU satisfies coursework requirements for the initial Ohio Licensure Application in School Counseling (http://education.ohio.gov) as well as coursework requirements for many other states across the country (see http://www.schoolcounselor.org). Each state has unique application requirements in addition to coursework, such as the school counseling Praxis, Pearson, etc. exam, so please review your home state’s school counseling licensure/certification requirements closely for the state you are planning to seek licensure/certification in.

Exit Requirements

  • Application to graduate submitted by posted deadlines by candidate through the myNKU student portal.
  • Students will complete all coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Completion of all required courses used for the degree with a C or better.
  • Signed Counselor Education Handbook Acknowledgment.
  • Signed Code of Ethics for Counselor Education Programs.
  • Signed copy of Dual Counseling degree curriculum contract.

Students will complete all coursework following the academic policies of the university.  At the conclusion of their plan of study, all students must take a comprehensive exam (usually within their last two semesters of their courses) prescribed by the counseling education program faculty.  A passing score on the prescribed exam, in addition to successful completion of the academic coursework, is required for graduation.

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