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School Counseling - Master's

Availability: Hattiesburg Hybrid Option

School Counseling at Southern Miss

The mission of the Master of Education Program in School Counseling is to equip students to become culturally and ethically competent professional school counselors in K-12 school settings. We offer a 48-credit hour degree program with online, face-to-face, and hybrid courses. We are a CAEP accredited program. Fall and spring classes are online, providing flexibility for working professionals. Summer courses meet on the Hattiesburg campus.

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48credit hours
8semesters to completion
10-15students admitted annually

What Will I Learn?

Our program focuses on the integration of theory, research and experiential learning. We build on a foundation in counselor-first identity, building comprehensive school counseling programs with an emphasis on school counselor leadership, critical thinking skills, and the connection between research and practice. Students take courses in a variety of areas including:

  • Foundations of School Counseling
  • Counseling Theory
  • Counseling Skills
  • Career Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Assessment in Counseling
  • Professional Ethics
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Gender and Culture
  • Family Theories
  • Family Research
  • Consultation in School Counseling
  • Practicum and Internship

Applicants must submit the following information to the School Counseling Program Admissions Committee for review:

  • College Transcript(s)
  • Letter of Intent. A 2-3 page essay telling us about yourself, your educational training and experiences in working with children/adolescents, your decision to pursue a master’s degree in School Counseling, and your professional goals.
  • Resume/Curriculum Vita
  • Three Letters of Professional Reference. These can be from professors, employers, supervisors, or any professional reference who can speak to your ability to be successful in our graduate program. 
  • Writing Sample. This essay should be your original writing, 2-3 pages in length, and use APA 7th edition formatting. Include a minimum of 3 professional sources in your essay. Address the following prompt: “Discuss some of the major challenges facing school-aged children at a certain grade level (choose elementary, middle, or high school). What does the professional research suggest that school counselors can do to help students navigate these challenges?”  

Note: The USM Libraries and Purdue Online Writing Lab websites provide free information on APA formatting.  

Students in the School Counseling Program are able to enjoy the flexibility of completing their fall and spring coursework online but also receive experiential, hands-on clinical training through face-to-face classes during the summer semesters. Our summer residency includes our Counseling Skills, Counseling Theory, and Group Counseling coursework, which allows students to learn and practice the clinical and interpersonal skills needed to excel as a professional school counselor.

School Counseling students are eligible to apply for several scholarships available within the School of Child and Family Sciences each school year. More information can be found at

What our Faculty Provide for School Counseling Students

School Counseling Faculty emphasize an ecological theoretical perspective that requires students to integrate theory, policy, and practice to successfully address issues impacting contemporary K-12 students and their families. The importance of professionalism, personal growth and wellness, lifelong learning, and scholarship are emphasized throughout the program. Graduates become proficient in developing and implementing comprehensive school counseling programs and support services based on data-driven models that promote academic achievement, personal-emotional development, and career development for all students.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Requirements for professional licensure in fields such as school counseling vary from state to state. The University of Southern Mississippi’s School Counseling program is designed to meet Mississippi’s licensure requirements for school counseling and may not meet requirements from other states. Our program does not meet requirements for licensure in the state of Louisiana. We are unable to make a determination about whether or not our program will lead to licensure in other states. Before beginning any academic program that leads to licensure, USM strongly recommends that you contact the appropriate state licensing board where you wish to seek licensure to determine whether the program you are considering will meet that state's school counseling licensing requirements.

For a list of the state departments of education that oversee professional teaching licensure, see the U.S. Department of Education website - State Contacts page. 

For questions regarding licensing, please contact Dr. Chelsey Holden at chelsey.holdenFREEMississippi.

  • Elementary School Counselor
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Counselor
  • High School Counselor
  • Middle School Counselor
  • Kendall Daniels, 2018,
    Professional School Counselor, Puckett High School in Rankin County School District
  • Stephanie Querns, 2017,
    Professional School Counselor, Purvis High School in Lamar County School District
  • Gwen Keys Hitt, 1997,
    Retired Professional School Counselor and Part-Time District Test Coordinator, Covington County School District