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Admissions to the MS in Counseling Program

What are the requirements to apply to the MS in Counseling Program? 

Students must be admitted to CSUSB graduate studies and meet the university's general requirements. The program is highly competitive. This means we might receive 400 or more applications for the program, and even though applicants meet minimum requirements, this does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Each fall, we admit between 40 – 50 students. 

All prospective students must attend one of our Counseling Program Admission Information Sessions. Admission instructions will be provided at the meetings. 

Join our MS in Counseling Information Sessions!

Attending an information session is the first step for prospective students.  At the session, prospective students will receive an overview of the program, admission requirements, application steps, tuition costs, etc. Ready to begin? All you need to do is choose from the list of schedule information sessions below, and we will see you soon!

What are the application requirements? Learn more about the Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Admission:

  • Attend a Counseling Program information session;
  • Submission of an Admissions Portfolio following criteria and guidelines provided at the orientation sessions. Applications will be evaluated according to the Counseling Program portfolio rubric. A completed application contains:
    • Application and current vita/resume;
    • Transcripts of all higher education coursework;
    • GPA of 3.0 or higher from all previous undergraduate/graduate work;
    • Written Personal Statement;
    • Three recommendations from persons knowing the applicant’s potential in the field of counseling 
    • The following items are required, and they must be submitted either at the time of admission or before the start of the fall semester to be conditionally admitted into the program: 
      • Evidence of current negative TB test (Please indicate in your application that you are waiting on official confirmation if your clearance is pending);
      • Evidence of CTC Livescan Clearance (Please indicate in your application that you are waiting on official confirmation if your clearance is pending) OR possession of a valid California teaching credential;

All transcripts will be evaluated for a cumulative GPA and the last 60/90 units GPA as part of the admission process.

Upon completing the above requirements, the student’s file will be reviewed by an admission committee of at least three Counseling faculty members. Students will be notified about the result of their application and invited to enroll in COUN 6220 if conditionally admitted into the program.

Students must maintain the following in the first year of acceptance: 

  • Completion of COUN 6220 with a “B” (3.0) or better grade.
  • Students who do not meet admissions criteria will be notified. 
What is the deadline for Fall 2025 applications?

The Fall 2025 application deadline date is January 30, 2025, at 4:00 p.m. If you have any questions regarding admissions, please contact Shelia Braggs at

What support do I receive during the program? Student Advisement and Orientations

Upon admission to the program, you will be notified of a new student orientation meeting that typically takes place the first week of the new term. At the meeting, we will collectively meet one another and provide you with many of the details you need to flourish as a graduate student. 

While in the program, you will be expected to attend two program wide advisement meetings per year, one per semester. The purpose for the advisement meetings is to build a sense of community amongst the three cohorts, check in with all cohort students and faculty, and inform students of courses for the following term as well as any other necessary information. All PowerPoint slides containing such information will be posted on our MS Counseling Community group in CANVAS. 

You will also be assigned to a faculty advisor to ensure your academic success throughout the program. We want to see that you are supported and successful, both as students in the program, and as professionals in your future career. During your first semester as a graduate student you will be assigned an advisor. This faculty member will be available to you throughout your program of study, helping plan your coursework and answer questions. They are also the person who will be doing your program plan of study sometime during either your spring term of your first year or the fall term of your second year. They will also explain the requirements needed to advance to candidacy and graduation. 

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy: 

  • In order to be formally advanced to candidacy a student must have: 
  • Completed 12 semester units of coursework with a grade point average of 3.0 ("B"), to include COUN 6220, COUN 6221; COUN 6222. 
  • Complete COUN 6220 with a B or better. 
  • Meet graduate writing requirement that is housed in COUN 6221 with a passing grade as specified in course syllabus. 
  • Filed an approved graduate program plan for completion of the degree. This must be prepared in consultation with a program advisor and approved by the program coordinator. 
What are the requirements for Graduation?

A minimum of 60 semester units of graduate-level work, with a minimum of 42 units completed in residency at this university. Students pursuing the dual concentration must complete a minimum of 49 units in residency; 

A minimum of 20 semester units of credit taken after a student has been advanced to candidacy for the degree; 

A grade point average of 3.0 (“B”) in course work taken to satisfy the degree requirements, including a minimum of a “B” in COUN 6220, and COUN 6224, and no grade below a “B-” (2.7) in all other courses in the program; 

The graduation writing requirement is met either through demonstrated competence by a passing grade on the writing assignment housed in COUN 6221 as specified in course syllabus or the completion of an equivalent course, GRE score of 5.0 or higher on the writing portion, publication, or masters degree as outlined in the graduate writing waiver form and approved by the program coordinator & graduate studies dean 

Comprehensive examination, culminating experience, and/or through completion of a Master’s degree project; 

Completion of a graduation requirement check; 

Any additional requirements not cited above and listed in the requirements for a Master’s Degree listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements. 

The comprehensive examination is designed to test the student’s knowledge of the field of counseling. The examination is a standardized national exam, the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). The student will take the examination during their final term. The student must be advanced to candidacy at least one semester before taking the comprehensive examination. The student must complete a graduation check with the Office of Records, Registration and Evaluations before permission to take the examination can be granted. Students who do not receive a passing score may petition the program coordinator to retake the examination. Students who do not receive a passing score the second time must petition the Dean of Graduate Studies to retake the exam. Approval to retake the examination may be, at any time, contingent upon completion of additional designated courses. 
A Master’s research project can be reported in the form of a paper, which could include other media. The project proposal and the project must be approved by the student’s advisor and one other professor in the College of Education and submitted in an approved format. Further information is available in the Graduate Thesis and Project handbook available through the Graduate Studies Office. Students who elect to complete a project are not required to take a comprehensive exam.