Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
    Saybrook University
  Jan 19, 2021
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Counseling, M.A.

Return to College of Social Sciences Return to: College of Social Sciences

The MA Counseling Program prepares students with a rich foundation in humanistic and systemic principles to work in the field of clinical mental health counseling. The program caters to both students within California and students across the United States.

Hybrid Online Learning Model: The MA Counseling degree program combines online learning with periodic in-person residential conferences, experiential intensives, workshops and classes to support students in working toward the MA Counseling degree.

Residential Orientation for Hybrid Learners

All new students in the MA Counseling program begin their studies with a one-time, two-day Residential Orientation. Residential Orientations are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters.

Residential Conferences: All students participate in two six-day long required residential conferences per year (one at the beginning of the Fall semester and one at the beginning of the Spring semester) for the duration of the program. Activities during the required residential conferences are designed to expand further on the knowledge from coursework, to practice clinical skills, and to participate in professional development through lectures, workshops, invited talks, roundtables, courses, and seminars as well as formal and informal meetings and discussions with faculty, advisors, and peers. Although students complete most of their courses through distance learning, full attendance at all residential conferences is an academic requirement, and their completion is important for successful academic progress as well as allowing students to meet with faculty and co-learners in a stimulating face-to-face environment.

Online Instruction: Online courses utilize a combination of learning goals, objectives, strategies, and delivery formats, including assigned readings, papers, and projects as well as asynchronous online discussions and at times synchronous teleconferences and/or videoconference sessions with faculty and peers.

Student Mentoring: Faculty and peer mentoring is a distinguishing feature of the program. Upon admission, students are assigned a faculty advisor and peer mentor to support both the transition into graduate school and success throughout the program.

Professional Licensure:  The MA Counseling program is aligned with the  degree and coursework requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences for registration and examination eligibility as a  Professional Clinical Counselor (Business and Professions Code sections 4999.32 and 4999.40(a)) and for registration and examination eligibility as a Marriage and Family Therapist (Business and Professions Code sections 4980.37 and 4980.41). 

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements outside of California.  The MA Counseling program may meet some or all of the requirements for other states, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the MA Counseling program’s graduation requirements. If additional coursework outside the Counseling program’s requirements is required for licensure it may not be eligible for financial aid.  It is the student’s responsibility to work with the Registrar and Financial Aid office to determine a plan for registering and paying for courses that may not be financial aid eligible. Licensing requirements include the following for most states: completion of a master’s degree (including specific coursework and clinical field placement), post-graduate supervised experience, examination, background check, and application for license.

Program Requirements

60 Semester Credits Required

The six-semester program provides a low-residency, blended and mixed model of distance learning, where students join a cohort of fellow students studying together on-line and meeting together with faculty at the beginning of each semester for residential conferences. Students can complete their degree without relocating and without leaving their current career. Students can choose either a Fall semester or Spring semester start date.  Students who follow the 6-semester plan of 10 credits per semester can complete their degree in three years or six semesters. This plan includes some summer course work.

A portion of the 60 credit program includes three semesters of field work referred to as Practicum, Internship I and Internship II. Students locate appropriate practicum and internships and supervision in their geographic area, working in conjunction with Saybrook’s faculty and the Director of Clinical Training. Faculty support and supervise year-round practicum and internship training so that students can accrue clinical training hours at their field experience sites during summer and semester inter-sessions.

Transfer Credit

MA Counseling students can transfer up to 9 approved semester credits from an accredited academic institution. To transfer hours earned at another institution to the MA Counseling Program, the student must provide an official transcript from the institution where the credits were earned. The student must also provide evidence that the course was approved for graduate credit at the institution where the course was completed. To determine course equivalency, students will need to submit the official transcript, course title, course description and (when required) the course syllabus. No more than 9 semester hours that have been transferred from another accredited institution may be used for meeting the credit hour requirements of a master’s student’s program. The Program Director and appropriate program faculty will review each course transfer request on an individual basis. Clinical courses such as practicum and internship are not eligible for transfer review.

These program requirements are subject to change if there are changes in the California Board of Behavioral Science requirements, or changes in the Saybrook degree requirements.

The MA Counseling program is designed to address national counseling standards. To this end, the curriculum includes the following ten competency areas:   

  1. Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice
  2. Social and Cultural Diversity
  3. Individual and Family Development
  4. Career Development and Life
  5. Helping Relationships and the Counseling Process
  6. Group Counseling and Facilitation
  7. Assessment in a Multicultural Society
  8. Research and Program Development
  9. Professional Clinical Practice
  10. Clinical Mental Health Counseling

All students will be required to complete a comprehensive exam in the last semester of their program. The exam is in essay format, and prompts and guidance are provided by program faculty through the process.

Residential Conference Workshops & Special Population Intensives

The following required workshops, intensives and experientials are completed at the residential conferences. These workshops are designed to ensure that students in the state of California meet all of the requirements for the LPCC. In addition to meeting the CA requirements, we have found that all of our students benefit from the depth of conversation in these critical areas. The workshops are:

Residential Conference Experiential Training

The experiential training courses are offered as required companion courses to the online course of the same name. These two day experientials allow students to practice their skills, engage in group work, and discuss these topics in depth and in person. The experientials are:

Residential ProSeminar Training

The ProSeminar courses take place for the last two days of the residential conferences. Each ProSeminar is designed to build on the student’s developmental level, and they are also used for Practicum and Internship supervision. The following is a list of ProSeminars:

Return to College of Social Sciences Return to: College of Social Sciences