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Counseling - Program Details

Following is specific information and admission requirements for the Counseling program.

Master of Arts in Counseling

Our Counseling degree prepares students who want more experience in the mental health field or are planning to pursue their doctoral degree but who do not seek a therapy license.

Units: 52.5 quarter units (3 quarters equals 2 semester units)
Program Length:2 years (full-time and part-time available)
Emphasis Options: Correctional Psychology, Health Psychology, Latino Counseling, and LGBT Counseling
Start Dates: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer 
Instructional Method: On campus

The M.A. in Counseling is an ideal program for those who are already in a position in a field that rewards advanced training and those who are using the MA as a stepping-stone for doctoral studies. Students may opt to include any of our four emphasis areas in Correctional Psychology, Health Psychology, Latino Counseling, and LGBTQ Counseling to their degree. An emphasis functions like a minor. Students not electing an emphasis may choose from a variety of electives to expand their knowledge in various areas.

For the latter group, the 52.5 unit program can serve as a post-baccalaureate, pre-doctoral training program. This is especially useful for students who were not undergraduate psychology majors, completed a baccalaureate degree many years ago, or want additional background and training in the field. Usually, these students combine their classwork with research opportunities during the Master's program. In recent years, a vast majority of these students have been successfully placed in doctoral programs.

The Master of Arts degree in Counseling does not meet the requirements to sit for a license in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in any state.

In accordance with California State regulations, students who complete and receive the 52.5 unit master’s degree cannot, post-graduation, transfer or apply those credits toward the completion of an MFT license program.

The former group of students opt for this degree to work in educational settings, career centers, community agencies, hospitals, religious settings, and in industry.

52.5 Unit Tracksheet

Course Schedules

Course Descriptions and Syllabi

CPSY Comprehensive Exam


We offer four optional emphases, Correctional Psychology, Health Psychology, Latino Counseling, or LGBT Counseling available to all students in either the 52.5 unit or 90 unit degree programs. An emphasis functions like a minor. Students not electing an emphasis may choose from a variety of electives to expand their knowledge in various areas.

Correctional Psychology

The Emphasis in Corrections is designed for individuals with a combined interest in counseling and corrections. Graduates of the program work in agencies and private practices, schools, correctional institutions, law enforcement agencies, community settings, mental health facilities, group homes and rehabilitation facilities.

The emphasis in Correctional Psychology offers a concentration and focus on the population of youth and adults who are connected with the various formal or informal adjudication options in today’s society. The program deals with practical methods of working with those who lead alternative life styles, involved in gangs, those seeking vocational and life transitions, at-risk, antisocial and non-conventional youth and adults, mental health issues, social services, community work, juvenile justice, correctional and school programs. Coursework concentrates on the development of knowledge and practical skills in the following areas: dealing with youth and adults who are considered to be at-risk, working within institutions; including, but not limited to, schools, group homes, social service agencies, law enforcement and the prison system, developing rapport with this clientele and the application of applied behavior analysis.

Coordinator: Robert Michels

Health Psychology

The emphasis in Health Psychology is designed for individuals with a combined interest in counseling and health psychology. Graduates of the program work as agency and private practice counselors; health promotion specialists in industry, schools, and hospitals; counselors in employee assistance programs; and counseling and health specialists in other settings.

The Health Psychology emphasis focuses on applications of psychology to issues of health, disease, and prevention at individual and societal levels. Coursework concentrates on the development of knowledge and practical skills in the following areas: maintaining and promoting personal health, preventing disease, exploring the individual and social contexts of health problems, counseling healthy and ill individuals regarding health-related problems and issues, counseling for grief and loss, developing stress management programs, addressing interpersonal issues in health care settings and the emerging field of Positive Psychology.

Coordinator: Dale G. Larson, Ph.D.

Latino Counseling

The emphasis in Latino Counseling offers a concentration and focus on counseling the large component of the population that defines itself as Latinx. The program focuses on applications of psychology with reference to issues of culture, ethnicity, acculturation, and assimilation. Implications of counseling within a Latinx family system and issues of language are explored. Coursework concentrates on the development of knowledge and practical skills in the following areas: reaching clients from this normally underserved population, developing rapport with clients from these cultures, intervening in culturally sensitive and appropriate ways, and counseling at various times throughout the life cycle. Some of the classes will stress the importance of language and may be instructed partially or substantially in Spanish. Students who choose the Latino counseling emphasis may be eligible for a special scholarship.

Coordinator: Lucila Ramos-Sánchez, Ph.D.

LGBTQ Counseling 

The LGBTQ Counseling emphasis will provide training to serve the LGBTQ population. It will focus on the application of clinical practice relevant to issues of gender, diversity in sexual identity and expression, oppression, discrimination, acculturation, and assimilation. The coursework for the emphasis concentrates on the development of knowledge and skills in the following areas: current theories regarding the etiology of same sex orientation; the evolving language of LGBTQ; developmental challenges for LGBTQ persons;  homophobia and its many faces; the coming out process; relationships with parents and families of LGBTQ people; issues of support and socialization; the dynamics of gay relationships; gay marriage; gay families and gay parenting; the impact of AIDS; social, cultural, political and religious considerations and their impact; the many and unique issues affecting the transgender community; available resources; research opportunities.

Coordinator: Donald St. Louis, D.Min.


Admissions Requirements

1. Create your online application

2. Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose must be a clear and legible draft focusing on the specific guidelines of the program and the chosen emphasis you are applying for at the School of Education and Counseling Psychology. Your statement must include evidence of your commitment to Social Justice, Multiculturalism and Diversity. Please limit your statement to two pages, typed and double-spaced. You must not receive any assistance writing or editing the personal statement; it must be your own original work.

Explain your reasons for entering the mental health profession, highlight related experiences, and any unique reasons for selecting Santa Clara University. Please provide all relevant background information about the context of the specific work you have done, as well as a description of the aspects of the work you find most engaging and/or meaningful.

3. Current Resumé or CV

All applicants are required to submit a resumé or curriculum vitae to provide information about relevant job experience and education. Your resumé should include educational background and relevant experiences, including jobs, internships, community service, activities, languages (if applicable), and research projects. Writing a resumé for a graduate school application follows the same principles as writing a resumé for a job. Please include dates of attendance for education, job titles and years of employment and explain any gaps in employment exceeding 6 months.

4. One copy of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended

You must send one official transcript from each post-secondary institution that contributed to your Bachelor’s degree. Transcripts can be delivered by postal mail in a sealed envelope, or electronically by the school or other third-party service.

Transcripts delivered electronically must be delivered to the ECP Admissions Office at

Transcripts delivered by postal mail must be sent to:

Attn: ECP Admissions

Santa Clara University

500 El Camino Real

Santa Clara, CA 95053

Applicants with a Bachelor's degree from outside of the United States are required to have their official transcripts evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Our preferred member is WES, ICAP version. We require a course-by-course, cumulative GPA, and U.S. degree equivalency evaluation.

If your Bachelor’s degree has not been conferred by the application deadline, you must submit a final official transcript demonstrating conferral of your degree to the Student Services department prior to enrolling in classes.

5. Three letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who have served in supervisory or evaluative roles with you. This may include professors, instructors, bosses or managers, job supervisors, clinical supervisors, volunteer coordinators, supervisors of volunteer work, or similar. Letters of recommendation should not be from personal friends, family members, or personal therapists. We realize that letters from such individuals may not be possible for some applicants. If you will be requesting a letter from someone that does not fit these guidelines, please briefly explain why; the expectation is that the people writing letters for you should still be able to comment on your professional capacity as a practitioner.

6.  Minimum 3.0 Undergraduate GPA

A minimum GPA of 3.0, undergraduate grade point average (GPA) is required.

7. Submit a $50 non-refundable application fee

Please Note: We do not require submission of GRE or GMAT test scores for admission to our programs.

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