Aug 06, 2020  
Fall 2020 - Summer 2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
Fall 2020 - Summer 2021 Graduate Catalog

Master of Science in Counseling


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The University of North Georgia (UNG) offers a Master of Science in Counseling degree designed to prepare individuals to function as counselors in mental health centers, community agencies, governmental agencies, employee assistance programs, prisons, psychiatric hospitals, drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs, college and university student affairs, religious settings, and private practice.

The mission of this degree program is to:

  • Provide students with the most comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge and skills in the field of counseling;
  • Prepare students by exposing them to practical experiences in counseling settings;
  • Serve the region by preparing trained counselors for North Georgia communities;
  • Provide training in diversity and in awareness of the impact of diversity on client populations and communities;
  • Develop an awareness of ethical, legal, and bio-psychosocial factors in counseling;
  • Maintain excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service for the faculty and students in the department; and
  • Provide services for the broader North Georgia communities through practicum and internship placements, the community counseling clinic, and the professional endeavors of those in the UNG counseling program.

Tracks

The Department of Counseling gives students the opportunity to specialize in one of three (3) tracks: Addictions Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or College Counseling & Student Affairs. Students in all three (3) tracks study the same core curriculum and take specialty courses in nine (9) to fifteen (15) semester hours of study.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling track is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation (COPA). The department is actively pursuing accreditation for the Addictions Counseling and College Counseling & Student Development tracks.

New students are admitted fall semester. The application deadline for fall is February 1. For additional program information, contact Master of Science in Counseling, College of Health Sciences & Professions, 470-239-3028.

Graduate Admissions Procedures

Application materials may be obtained from Graduate Admissions or from the MSC website. Applicants must pay a non-refundable application fee. Admission requirements are listed below. When all application materials have been received by Graduate Admissions, the applicant will be notified and a copy of all materials will be forwarded to the program. At the time of application, applicants must choose which track they wish to pursue.

Applicants who meet at least the minimum cumulative grade point average calculated in accordance with Graduate Admissions procedures may be invited to attend a group interview with the program admissions committee. Applicants must have a taken the GRE within the previous 5 years. GRE scores will be used as part of the admissions scoring process. Upon the applicant’s completion of all application requirements and the group interview, a letter from Graduate Admissions will be sent to the applicant verifying acceptance or denial.

Students who are admitted but do not enroll within three semesters of acceptance must reapply to the program by submitting a new application to Graduate Admissions for readmission. Students who were previously enrolled but have not been in attendance within the last three semesters must also reapply to the program by submitting a new application to Graduate Admissions for readmission. All documents and materials submitted to fulfill the application requirements for entry to a program at UNG become the property of the university and will not be returned.

Department of Counseling Admission Requirements

Admission in the MSC program is based on the candidate’s potential for graduate study, previous preparation and experience, and the possession of personal qualities that contribute to success as a counselor. Although no specific undergraduate major is required for admission to the program, students with backgrounds in related fields such as psychology, education, sociology, criminal justice, Spanish, communications, and human services are best prepared to enter the discipline.

The following documents must be received prior to the application deadline:

  1. Graduate Admissions application.
  2. Non-refundable application fee.
  3. Official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions of higher education previously attended. International transcripts must have a course-by-course credential evaluation by an independent evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES). Official evaluations must include certification that the applicant’s course work and degrees earned are equivalent to course work and degrees earned from a regionally accredited institution of higher education in the United States and include a cumulative grade point average.
  4. Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam General Test (GRE). Only those scores that are less than five years old will be considered.
  5. Proof of lawful presence in the United States, if applying for in-state tuition.

Regular Admission

To qualify for regular admission, an individual must:

  1. Hold at least an earned baccalaureate from a regionally accredited, four year institution with at least a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 (4.0 scale) calculated in accordance with Graduate Admissions procedures.
  2. Submit a resume.
  3. Submit three UNG recommendation forms from persons who are able to address academic potential, professional experiences in the helping professions, and non-academic experiences that add breadth in understanding the human condition.
  4. Submit a personal statement of three-five pages, double-spaced, that is autobiographical in nature that addresses the following:
    a. Brief personal history.
    b. Why you want to become a counselor.
    c. Attributes you possess which would contribute to your effectiveness as a counselor.
    d. Personal characteristics which may inhibit your relationships with clients and what you are doing to resolve those issues.
  5. Participate in group interview with Counseling faculty.
  6. Proof of lawful presence in the United States, if applying for in-state tuition.

All documents listed above must be received prior to the application deadline. The meeting of all admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Final admission is a competitive process that takes all aspects of an applicant’s record into account.

Provisional Admission

A student may be granted provisional admission in cases where regular admission is not granted. The individual must:

  1. Hold an earned baccalaureate from a regionally accredited, four year institution with at least a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 (4.0 scale) calculated in accordance with Graduate Admissions procedures.
  2. Meet all other regular program admission requirements.

Students admitted provisionally may register for no more than a maximum of nine semester hours of graduate credit while enrolled with this status. Number of semester hours in which a provisional student may enroll will be determined in consultation with the Counseling Department Head. Student status will be reviewed to determine eligibility for regular admission following completion of one semester. Additional courses may be required to be completed prior to a student’s reclassification. A provisionally admitted student who earns a grade of “C” or lower in any graduate Counseling course taken during the provisional period will not be allowed to continue in the Counselnig program. A student who has been removed because of a deficient grade may reapply to the program after a period of three semesters from the date the student was removed by submitting to Graduate Admissions a letter addressed to the Counseling Department Head and a new application for readmission.

Provisionally admitted students are not eligible for financial aid.

Non-Degree Admission

An individual who is interested in taking graduate counseling courses, but who does not want to pursue a graduate degree, may apply for admission as non-degree graduate student. Individuals must receive pre-approval from the Department Head before enrolling in courses and may register for no more than a total of nine semester hours of graduate credit.

The following documents must be received prior to the application deadline.

  1. Graduate Admissions application.
  2. Non-refundable application fee.
  3. Official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions of higher education previously attended. International transcripts must have a course-by-course credential evaluation by an independent evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES). Official evaluations must include certification that the applicant’s course work and degrees earned are equivalent to course work and degrees earned from a regionally accredited institution of higher education in the United States and include a cumulative grade point average.
  4. Resume.
  5. Three UNG recommendation forms from persons who are able to address academic potential, professional experiences in the helping professions, and non-academic experiences that add breadth in understanding the human condition.
  6. Personal statement of three-five pages, double-spaced, that is autobiographical in nature that addresses the following:
    a. Brief personal history.
    b. Why you want to become a counselor.
    c. Attributes you possess which would contribute to your effectiveness as a counselor.
    d. Personal characteristics which may inhibit your relationships with clients and what you are doing to resolve those issues.
  7. Approval of Department Head.
  8. Proof of lawful presence in the United States, if applying for in-state tuition.

Non-degree admitted students who earn a grade of “C” or lower in any MSC course taken while holding a non-degree status will not be allowed to continue to enroll in course work the Counseling program. A student who has been removed because of a deficient grade may reapply to the program after a period of three semesters from the date the student was removed by submitting to Graduate Admissions a letter of appeal addressed to the Counseling Department Head and a new application for readmission.

No more than nine semester hours of graduate credit earned while holding a non-degree status may subsequently be applied toward meeting the requirements of the Master of Science with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. All credit to be applied toward a degree must be approved by the Counseling Department Head. A non-degree student wishing to apply for regular admission to the Counseling degree program must notify the Department Head, submit a new application to Graduate Admissions for admission to the program, and meet all program admission requirements.

Non-degree admitted students are not eligible for financial aid.

Transient Student Admission

An individual currently enrolled at a regionally accredited college or university as a graduate student in good standing may apply to UNG as a transient student. Individuals must receive pre-approval from the Counseling Department Head before enrolling in courses. Requests will be considered on a space-available basis.

The following documents must be received prior to application deadline.

  1. Graduate Admissions application.
  2. Non-refundable application fee.
  3. Letter of good standing or transient permission form documenting that the student is not on academic probation or suspension or on disciplinary suspension at his/her home institution. The letter or form should state that the student is in good standing and should indicate the course(s) the student is being allowed to take at UNG. The Counseling Department Head may require the applicant to submit a transcript of his/her previous college work in order to verify adequate prerequisite knowledge/skills.
  4. Proof of lawful presence in the United States, if applying for in-state tuition.

Transient admission is for one semester only. An individual who wishes to return to UNG as a transient student for a subsequent semester must apply to Graduate Admissions for readmission.

Appeal of Graduate Admission

A candidate whose application is denied because the Graduate Admissions cumulative grade point average is below the minimum requirement for the program or because an acceptable test score on the General Record Exam (GRE) was not earned has the right to appeal the decision. Appeals must be made in written form to the Master of Science in Counseling Program, College of Health Sciences & Professions, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597-1001. Appeals conform to the following procedures:

  1. Letter of appeal must be submitted to the Counseling Department Head addressing the unmet criteria.
  2. Applicants must submit the full application by the deadline including the letter of appeal in order to be considered for the upcoming fall semester. Materials submitted after that time may be considered for the subsequent fall semester.
  3. Applicants will be asked to attend the group interview or may have an individual meeting with the Counseling Department Head/Admissions Committee based on availability of faculty members.
  4. Counseling Admissions Committee will make recommendations to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions.
  5. Applicants whose appeals are accepted will be admitted provisionally and are not eligible for financial aid while under provisional admission status.
  6. Applicants may not appeal for regular admission status.
  7. Letter of appeal may be submitted to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions for denial of admittance other than grade point average or GRE.

Counseling Transfer Residency Requirement

To be awarded a Master of Science in Counseling degree, students must earn a minimum of 54 semester hours of graduate degree requirements in residence. In addition, no more than 6 semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward meeting the Counseling degree requirements. All course requirements, including transfer credit, must be completed within a continuous six-year period. The Counseling Department Head and the Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions must approve all transfer credit. Transfer credit will not be given for any course in which a grade of “C” or lower was earned. The rationale for this requirement is to maintain program integrity and ensure that students receive the quality training in counseling that the degree entails. To apply for transfer credit, a student must complete the transfer of graduate credit form (myUNG password required) and submit the form to the Counseling Department Head for approval.

Counseling Academic Policies

Procedures for Reviewing Student Competency

Counselor educators and counselors-in-training are required to abide by all ethical standards set forth by the American Counseling Association. Specifically, Standards F.8 Student Responsibilities and F.9 Evaluation and Remediation of Students. There are two ways in which counselor educators assess student effectiveness which include academic performance (grades) and professional and personal aptitude and behavior. Procedures for reviewing student competency in these two areas are outlined below under the headings, Academic Standing Policy and Professional and Personal Aptitude and Behavior. 

Incomplete Grades

The Counseling program adheres to the uniform grading system in the Academic Information  section of the Graduate Academic Catalog. No degree will be conferred on a student who has an unresolved Incomplete grade remaining on his/her transcript.

Course Grading Policy

All Counseling lecture courses are graded on a 4.0 scale with the following values: A=90% or above, B= 80% - 89%, C=75% - 79%, D=70%-74%, and F = below 70%. A grade of A or B is required in all courses. Students must retake a course if they receive a grade of C in order to apply the course toward graduation. See policy below regarding grades of D or F.

Academic Standing Policy

Graduate Counseling students whose academic performance is unsatisfactory will be subject to the following:

  1. Probation – A student will be placed on probation for any of the following reasons:
    1. Student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0.
    2. Student earns a C in any required or elective course.

No student may be a candidate for the degree or sit for the comprehensive examination while on probation. Probation will be removed when (a) the student’s GPA reaches 3.0 or higher, or (b) when the course(s) is/are repeated and the grade is a B or greater, and the overall GPA is 3.0 or greater.

Core and Elective Courses: Students who earn a grade of C in a required/core or elective course must repeat the course and receive a grade of B or better on the second attempt or be expelled from the program. Students who are on probation should not register until advised.  

Lab Courses: Students must also receive a grade of B or higher for all laboratory courses. Students who receive a grade of C for any laboratory course must complete both lab course and the corresponding corequisite.

  1. Repeating a Course – A student who is on probation for grades (they earned a C in a course) must repeat that course and earn an A or a B. To protect the integrity of the repeated course, the student may have 3 options for repeating the course:
    1. The student can take the same course again with the same instructor.
    2. The student can take the same course again with a different instructor (if possible).
    3. The student may take the same course as a transient student at another university. It is the student’s responsibility to provide the Department of Counseling’s Curriculum Committee with a syllabus from the course before taking said course. The curriculum committee will determine if the course is or is not equivalent to the UNG course. 
    4. The student may contract with another Counseling faculty member to take the repeated course as an independent study. 

The determination of which of these 3 options for how the student will repeat the course will be a joint decision between the student and the Department Chair. If the instructor is the Department Chair, then it will be a joint decision between the student and the Curriculum Committee.

  1. Expulsion – A student will be expelled from the program for any of the following reasons:
    1. Student earns two grades of C in any required or elective course(s).
    2. Student earns one grade of D or F in any course in the program (including electives).
    3. Student has already served three consecutive terms (i.e., semesters) on academic probation.

No student may enroll in graduate courses at UNG during the first 12 months of their expulsion. Courses taken at another institution during the period of expulsion will not be recognized for transfer credit by the Counseling program.

In order to be readmitted into the UNG Counseling program, any student who has been expelled for academic reasons would be required to reapply to the program by:

  1. Submitting a new application
  2. Writing a letter to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions, after a period of 12 months from the date the student was removed, laying out a rationale for their readmission
  3. Attend the interview day with all other applicants (if the student is offered an interview). They will be readmitted only upon approval of the Dean and the Department of Counseling Admissions Committee.

Professional and Personal Aptitude and Behavior

Potential counseling effectiveness cannot be assessed in the same manner as academic performance in typical college classes. Students must communicate effectively, be open-minded, tolerate ambiguity, exhibit a high degree of patience and acceptance of diversity, and demonstrate emotional stability and self-acceptance. Students are expected to be able to adhere to the following professional performance criteria:

  1. Openness to new ideas
  2. Flexibility
  3. Cooperativeness with others
  4. Willingness to accept and use feedback
  5. Awareness of own impact on others
  6. Ability to deal with conflict
  7. Ability to accept personal responsibility
  8. Ability to express feelings effectively and appropriately
  9. Attention to ethical and legal considerations
  10. Initiative and motivation

It is the objective of the Counseling faculty to identify concerns regarding student competency as early as possible and to initiate remediation. Students with competency and impairment concerns can be identified both in and out of the classroom at any time during matriculation in the Counseling program. Students are assessed on counseling competencies at the end of the fall and spring semesters by the entire faculty. Students also complete a self-assessment each semester. The focus will include the ten core competencies identified in the counseling profession.

Occasionally, students experience discomfort and struggle with awareness of issues during matriculation in the Counseling program. However, faculty members are ethically required to bring attention to any personal impairment issues (e.g., substance abuse, violent behavior, verbally abusive language, intolerance) that compromise the safety (emotional and physical) of classmates, clients, and future clients. The following procedures were developed in order to address such issues:

  1. When a concern arises, the faculty member will informally bring that concern to the student’s attention either in a face-to-face conversation or via email or phone contact.
  2. The professor will report the informal conversation at the next available faculty meeting under “Student Issues” on the agenda as documentation of the incident. The professor will seek consultation with other members of the Counseling faculty for suggestions or recommendations to address the issue. At this point, remediation may be considered or the student may be given time to address and rectify the issue on his/her own. Follow-up documentation will consist of end-of-semester evaluations.
  3. When an instructor believes a student is not making adequate progress after an informal intervention, the faculty member(s) and Department Head will consult and formally meet with the student to discuss lack of progress in the program. At this time, the student will be placed on probation and recommendations or requirements for remediation presented. Faculty will complete the Student Remediation Form, which will include expectations and the specified time period the student has to meet expectations. If the student feels remediation is unjust or unfair, the student can appeal the faculty decision by following the procedures listed below. The student will be referred to the UNG Office of Student Integrity.
  4. All documentation will include signatures of faculty, student, and department head will be kept in the student files located in a locked cabinet in the Counseling offices.
  5. Faculty members will monitor students who are participating in remediation during weekly faculty meetings and will collectively determine whether students are making progress. Faculty will meet with students periodically to review progress of remediation. Minutes of these meetings will be kept on file.
  6. Unsatisfactory progress occurs when either the student does not meet the expectations of the faculty or behaviors worsen during the specified time period of remediation. A meeting will be called with the student, all counseling faculty, the department head, and one representative chosen by the student for support. The student will be suspended from the program and conditions for re-admittance presented.
  7. If the student believes the evaluation is inequitable, the student is allowed to appeal the decision of the faculty for suspension or dismissal. Procedures for Student Appeal of Remediation:
    1. Deadline to appeal (date and time), which must include three full working days, will be given in writing to the student during the meeting.
    2. Student must complete the Intent to Appeal Form and submit the form in person to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions prior to the deadline.
    3. If three days pass without notifying the Dean, the student forfeits the right to an appeal, and the program requirements/decision will stand.
    4. Student will be withdrawn and a hold will be placed on registration.

Appeal Process

  • In cases of appeal, the Dean will appoint an ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee of three faculty members, within three working days of receipt of the student’s appeal.
  • Committee will consist of one faculty member designated by the instructor initiating the competency report, one faculty member designated by the student, and one faculty member designated by the Dean who will serve as chair of the ad hoc committee.
  • Ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee will require a written statement and any accompanying documentation from the instructor and student and then will hold an oral hearing where the views of the instructor and the student will be heard. Oral arguments will be audio taped.
  • Student will be allowed to go first followed by the faculty member.
  • Faculty member will be allowed in the room while the student is presenting oral arguments.
  • Both the student and faculty member are allowed to have one advisor of his/her choosing present; however, the advisor is not allowed to speak on behalf of the student or faculty member to the committee.
  • Both the student and the faculty member are allowed not more than 15 minutes to present their respective cases, and time will be kept by the chair of the ad hoc committee.
  • Following the oral presentations, the student and faculty member will be asked to leave and the committee will meet to discuss their recommendations. Only qualified counseling faculty/mental health professionals may determine whether or not a student is considered “impaired.” Therefore, the ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee may only identify whether or not a student has received adequate notice of professional and personal aptitude and behavior, remediation, and an appropriate amount of time to meet expectations. Recommendations can address the method of notification of impairment, the reasonable nature of remediation with regards to the impairment, or the amount of time the student has in which to show improvement.
  1. Ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee will then make recommendations to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions within ten days of its appointment. The Dean will then send a letter to the student with copies to the student’s file and to the Counseling Department Head.

Counseling Degree Requirements

Graduation requirements for the Master of Science with a major in Counseling include:

  1. Completion of 60 designated semester hours of study with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, with no grade of C or lower.*
  2. Successful passing of the comprehensive examination.
  3. Satisfactory completion of practicum and internship requirements.
  4. Completion of at least 54 semester hours of graduate degree requirements in residence, with no more than six semester hours of transfer credit.
  5. Completion of all degree-related course requirements, including any transfer credit, within a six-year period.

*Degree objectives may require more than the minimum number of hours to meet certain professional standards.

Program Requirements


Addictions Counseling Track


Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track


College Counseling & Student Affairs Track


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