Is the OSU-Cascades Master of Counseling program accredited?

Yes. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP is an independent agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is the gold standard in graduate counseling programs. Accreditation provides assurance that the educational activities of an institution meet specific standards and therefore meet the needs of students.

The program is also recognized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and the National Board of Certified Counselors as meeting the coursework requirements for state licensing and national certification. This accreditation allows students to take the exams needed to meet initial eligibility requirements for licensure as an Oregon Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  

Note: It is important to examine the accreditation status of any graduate program under consideration before accepting admittance to the program. Accredited programs typically align their curriculum and field experience requirements with state licensing boards, which ensures that students will be able to successfully navigate the licensing process upon graduation. Without the assurance of accreditation, graduates risk being required to take additional classes in order to meet the state licensing requirements.

What are the options for concentration in the program?

All counseling graduate students select one of the following options:
Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMH) or School Counseling (SC)

Two major options exist in the MCOUN program:  1. The school counseling (SC) option (78 or 84 credits) and 2. The clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) option (90 credits). The degree option for which the student is admitted will be the degree transcripted on her or his final transcript. Once enrolled, a student cannot change tracks without approval from faculty. The student must petition to change tracks and approval of the petition is not automatically granted. A change in major option depends on the student’s career goals, dispositional factors, as well as availability of field (internship) placement. In cases where the student’s petition is not granted, the student must re-apply to the desired program.  

Is it possible to complete both the Clinical Mental Health and the School Counseling major options?

It is NOT possible to complete both major options. Only one major option can be included on the student’s transcript.

If I am a school counseling student, can I complete graduate-level licensure requirements while enrolled in the program so that I can pursue the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential upon graduation?

Yes. Please visit the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors & Therapists (OBLPCT) website for the most updated information regarding LPC credential requirements. While general advisement is provided, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they meet any and all licensure requirements set forth by the Board. Below includes the general requirements school counseling students must complete to be eligible to apply for LPC-Intern status upon graduation from the program.

If I am a clinical mental health counseling student, can I complete graduate-level licensure requirements while enrolled in the program so that I can pursue the Licensed School Counselor credential upon graduation through the Teachers Standards & Practices Commission (TSPC) of Oregon?

Given the stringent coursework criteria set forth by TSPC this is NOT possible. The only option would be for the CMHC student to change his or her major option to SC mid-program (which is not automatically granted), according to the criteria described above. There is no post-degree option at OSU Cascades to complete school counselor licensure requirements.

Is the program full-time or part-time?

The program offers a part-time option and a full-time option. Students choosing the part-time option take, on average, two classes per term, while students choosing the full-time option average four classes per term.

How long does it take to graduate?

Students electing the part-time option complete the program in three years. Full-time students complete the program in two years. All program requirements must be completed within seven years of initiating the program.

Each class typically meets one time per week (Mondays-Thursdays) from 4:00-6:50 in the evenings (fall, winter and spring terms) and 4:00-7:50 summer term. Occasionally, full-day Saturday classes occur during the program. Fall, winter and spring terms are ten weeks long (11th week is exam week). The summer term is eight weeks. The full-time option includes two summer terms and the part-time option includes three summer terms. The program begins June of each year.  

How many credits do I need to graduate?

OSU operates on a quarter system. The Clinical Mental Health track is 90 credit hours (equivalent to 60 semester hours) and the School Counseling (SC) track is 84 credit hours (or 78 credits if you possess documented teacher training/experience/licensure to include teaching observation and lesson plan delivery). 

What types of classes will I be taking in the program?

Both Clinical Mental Health (CMH) and School Counseling (SC) tracks are a blend of content classes and field experience.

Classes cover various topics including counseling theories, fundamental counseling skills, group counseling, family counseling, multicultural issues, research, assessment, ethical and legal issues, diagnostics, psychopharmacology and career counseling. The full list of course offerings can be accessed here.

Most of our skills-based classes involve video recording, critique, and live supervision with an emphasis on increasing students' awareness, knowledge, skill development, as well as intentional, appropriate and effective technique use prior to entering the field experience. Some classes are hybrid in format, so openness to online learning is recommended.

What kind of supervision is required during the field experiences?

During Practicum and Internship, students receive one hour per week of individual supervision and one and a half hours per week of group supervision. Individual supervision is generally provided by mental health clinicians and school counselors at internship sites. Group supervision is provided by OSU program faculty.

Is a thesis required in order to graduate?

No. The Master of Counseling degree is a non-thesis program. Instead, students must pass a comprehensive examination in order to be granted their degree. Currently, the program requires a passing score on a national counseling examination called the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). 

What GPA is required to graduate?

Students must achieve a 3.0 GPA or better in order to graduate from the program.

Are there any additional program requirements?

Yes. In addition to completing all coursework and field experiences, students are required to complete 10 sessions of individual counseling with a licensed clinician prior to graduation. This requirement is an essential component of the program's growth requirement as well as a CACREP standard. The value of this requirement is as follows: Greater understanding of the counseling process from a client’s perspective, improving life balance and personal growth, and experience working with and observing a practicing professional.

Can I work as a licensed counselor after I graduate?

Upon completion of all program requirements, graduates are license eligible in the state of Oregon as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed School Counselor. Licensing boards place several additional requirements on graduates in order to gain licensure, such as achieving a certain number of supervised hours and obtaining passing scores on licensing exams such as the National Counselor Exam. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. For Oregon, visit the OBLPCT website (for LPC licensure) and TSPC website (for School Counselor licensure) for specific requirements.

What if I want to work out of state after graduation?

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. To learn more, contact the licensing board of the state in question. Reciprocity (transferring a license from Oregon to another state) also varies from state to state, but is generally quite good.  Contact OBLPCT  (for LPC licensure) or TSPC (for School Counselor licensure) for specific requirements.

Who are the faculty members?

The Master of Counseling faculty is comprised of four core members. Throughout the program, students will gain instruction, supervision and collaboration experiences with an additional six to eight practicing mental health and school counseling professionals who serve in an adjunct capacity. Our adjunct instructors provide students a multitude of perspectives from a range of professional contexts. See faculty and staff directory.

How do I apply to the Master of Counseling program?

Go to the admissions webpage application information.

What does the application process entail?

Each application is reviewed for the applicant's goals in pursuing the degree, undergraduate degree, work, life, volunteer and diversity experience. Selected candidates are then invited to an in-person Interview Day, which usually takes place near the end of January.

The essence of the Interview Day is determining goodness of fit with the program and to the profession, as well as goodness of fit of the program and profession to candidates and their goals.

The Interview Day begins with introductions/interview orientation. Candidates are placed in small groups and given multiple tasks that simulate typical in-class discussion and activity. Following the activity, candidates participate in a scheduled individual interview with a team of interviewers. Interviews are usually conducted by two interviewers; typically a combination of core faculty and community professionals. In addition to answering questions, we encourage candidates to ask questions about the program and faculty during the interview.

Notices of acceptance or denial are delivered early in winter term, from the end of January to the beginning of February. Classes begin summer term (typically the third week of June).

From whom should I ask for application letters of reference?

Professionals who work in the helping field and former faculty members are recommended. These individuals are in the strongest position to speak to applicants’ previous academic performances and professional fit.

Are there prerequisites for the program?

No. There no prerequisite courses for the program.

How much does the program cost?

On average, the full time two year program costs between $41,000 and $46,000 in resident tuition (plus an additional $2,000 and $4,000 in books/materials, and conference attendance and personal counseling fees). These figures are averages and tuition and therefore subject to change.

Some Financial Aid is available. Federal Financial Aid applications are due prior to a student’s first term in the program and students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to acceptance notification, or risk receiving adequate aid during the first term (summer). See for more information, or call OSU-Cascades at 541-322-3100.

Is there any funding available?

Internally, OSU offers a limited number of Oregon Lottery Scholarships. OSU also participates in the AmeriCorps Students in Service (SIS) program ( The SIS goals closely align with counseling program field experiences and therefore funding can often be obtained through the SIS program. We encourage students to apply to this program early due to the limited availability of SIS slots.

To learn more, contact OSU financial aid.
We also encourage students to apply to external scholarships when available and appropriate.

Do you offer graduate assistantships?

Currently no assistantships are available. Some funding exists for one term of research work (e.g. data collection or review of literature). Inquire with individual faculty members for opportunities.

What if I want to do part of my Internship out of state or abroad?

Out of state and study abroad Internships are an option. Students desiring this option are required to find a placement site that meets CACREP supervision requirements. This includes providing individual supervision, direct client/student contact, and tele- or video-conferencing in to the weekly university-based group supervision. Students are also required to complete all content courses needed prior to graduation. One approach students with this interest have taken is to complete all content courses prior to embarking on an out-of-town internship. Inquire about this possibility with your academic advisor at the midpoint of your program.

What is the job placement rate and beginning salary with this degree?

Currently, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) hiring continues to be strong, projected to grow by 24%, and occurs in a wide range of settings (State, Federal, for profit and nonprofit agencies, group and private practice). School Counselor positions are projected to grow by 14%, with hiring especially strong in rural areas. Salaries vary depending on setting/agency. $30,000 to $50,000 is the typical range, with $30,000 being more common.

What’s the difference between counseling and social work?

Both Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Social Workers (LISW/LCSW) engage in course work focused on helping others. LPCs who graduate from CACREP programs (such as OSU) focus primarily on individual and group modalities for the purpose of increasing individuals level of function in school and mental and behavioral health agency settings. Social Workers have historically focused on case services and connecting people with resources. However, some of our graduates (LPCs) are working jobs with an emphasis on case services; and some Social Workers are primarily focused on providing clinical counseling services. Both degrees place a high emphasis on social justice and advocacy for underrepresented populations.

Our recommendation is for applicants to research both types of programs and make a decision based upon the program that will best enable the candidate to achieve his or her professional goals.

What’s the difference between Clinical Mental Health and Marriage & Family?

The simplest answer is the underlying philosophy behind MFT programs and LPC programs. MFT's treat relationship systems. In other words, the client is the relationship between people. LPC's treat individuals. They perceive problems arising within and outside the individual. LPC's usually use a more wellness-focused model where as MFTs and LCSWs use more of a systems model.  Both professions are licensed under ORS 675 beginning at .705.

Is graduate student housing available?

Enjoy on-campus living in the OSU-Cascades residence hall. Graduate student housing at OSU-Cascades is designed to give you a living environment full of amenities that's close to all campus resources. Our residence hall offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, bike/ski/snowboard storage, no deposits or utility fees, laundry and high-speed internet access. Learn more

I still have questions. Where can I get further information?

Come to one of our Open Houses, request more information, or contact Erin Feeney.