Maintaining Good Standing

All graduate students must meet the following standards in order to remain in their degree programs and advance to candidacy and remain a candidate for a degree:

  • maintain a g.p.a. of at least 3.00;
  • successfully complete practicums and internships;
  • maintain professional behavior consistent with the ACA Code of Ethics (American Counseling Association) for students enrolled in a counseling graduate program, or the AAMFT Code of Ethics (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) for graduate students in couples and family therapy, and any additional code of professional ethics adhered to in any agency in which the student completes a practicum or internship; and
  • demonstrate progress toward the degree through successful completion of semester hours specified in the curriculum plan and active registration each session (exceptions may be approved by the advisor).

Each student's academic and professional progress is reviewed annually. A written report is provided to the student and a copy is placed in the student's department file.

Probational Status

M.A. students who earn a cumulative g.p.a. lower than 3.00 are placed on probational status and are notified in writing. Students on probational status have two consecutive sessions to raise their grade-point average to the established standard. If that requirement is not met, a student may be removed from the program. Students are allowed one probational status during their program of study.


Upon completing a degree in the department, students are evaluated and are expected to have awareness, knowledge, and skills in the following areas:

  • current definitions, professional standards, and appropriate professional practices regarding multiculturalism;
  • what it means to be a multiculturally competent helping professional;
  • integration of feedback into practice and professionalism in interpersonal interactions;
  • personal limitations and strengths that could ultimately support or harm a client or student; and
  • a personal plan for future practice in the field regarding multicultural relationships.

The Master of Arts program in rehabilitation and mental health counseling requires a minimum of 60 s.h. of graduate credit. Full-time students can complete the program in approximately 21 months (four semesters plus two summer sessions). The program prepares professional counselors to provide assistance in psychological wellness, employment, independent living, and personal or economic development to persons with disabilities and other individuals who encounter barriers in meeting their own functional needs. It also prepares counselors in mental health counseling/psychiatric rehabilitation to obtain licensure as professionals who provide services in mental health settings.

Rehabilitation and mental health counselors work in a variety of settings, including public agencies such as state vocational rehabilitation programs and Veterans Affairs vocational rehabilitation programs; independent living centers; community-based rehabilitation centers and supported employment; community mental health centers; psychiatric rehabilitation programs; and private for-profit worker's compensation and insurance rehabilitation agencies. They provide interventions designed to help persons with disabilities adapt to the demands of their environments. They also prepare the environments to accommodate an individual's needs. Assessment, personal and vocational counseling, development of rehabilitation and treatment plans, case management, service coordination, psychosocial adjustment, job development, placement, and follow-up are typical services that rehabilitation and mental health counselors provide.

The M.A. program in rehabilitation and mental health counseling is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in clinical mental health counseling.

Graduates of the M.A. program are eligible for certification by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) and the National Board for Certified Counselors. By completing the program's course work, students also complete the courses they must take in order to apply for licensure as mental health counselors in Iowa.

The M.A. curriculum blends academic work with supervised clinical experiences. Students take two  semesters of practicum and one semester of internship concurrently with academic courses. The program concludes with a full-time internship (40 hours per week) during a spring semester. Students are assigned to rehabilitation and community mental health agencies or facilities that meet CORE and CACREP accreditation standards and that have programs or clientele who match a student's interests and educational objectives. Clinical placements require criminal background checks.

Supervised practicums, internships, and comprehensive examinations are not offered during summer sessions.

The M.A. program in rehabilitation and mental health counseling requires the following work.

Department Requirements
RCE:5202Introduction to Group Counseling3
RCE:5221Theories of Counseling and Human Development Across the Life Span3
RCE:5250Multiculturalism in Helping Professions (or equivalent)3
RCE:5270Issues and Ethics in Counseling3
RCE:5278Applied Microcounseling3
RCE:6500Research Methods in Counseling3
Program Requirements
RCE:5203Career Development3
RCE:5241Introduction to Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling3
RCE:5247Medical Aspects of Disability3
RCE:5248Diagnosis and Treatment Planning for Psychiatric Rehabilitation3
RCE:5249Psychiatric Disorders and Interventions3
RCE:5254Assessment and Appraisal3
RCE:6342Psychosocial and Developmental Aspects3
Clinical Practice
RCE:6348Prepracticum in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling3
RCE:6349Practicum in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling3
RCE:6350Internship I: Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling3
RCE:6352Internship II: Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling12
Total Hours60

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination consists of two exams totaling six hours: a three-hour departmental comprehensive examination and a three-hour written examination on the process and practice of rehabilitation and mental health counseling. Exams are offered only during fall and spring semesters.


Applicants to the graduate program must meet the department's general admission requirements.

Applicants to the M.A. program in rehabilitation and mental health counseling should have a good academic record and relevant experience, such as assisting individuals with disabilities. No specific undergraduate major area of study is required for the M.A. program, but a major in one of the social sciences is considered good preparation. Postbaccalaureate work experience relevant to the field of rehabilitation and mental health counseling is preferred. The program encourages applications from persons traditionally underrepresented in the field, particularly those with a disability and/or members of minority or ethnic groups. Applicants also must meet the department's admission requirements. A personal interview is required, either in person or by telephone.

Applications for full-time study are accepted for summer session (June) entry; application deadline for full-time study is March 1. Applications for part-time study are accepted for fall and spring semesters and are considered when class space permits.

Students pursue a sequenced plan of study that begins in summer session. Although students may be admitted for any semester, the program highly recommends that full-time students begin in summer.

The Master of Arts program in school counseling requires a minimum of 54 s.h. of graduate credit. The program prepares individuals to work effectively as counselors in K-12 school settings. It is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Successful graduates are eligible for K-12 school counselor licensure in Iowa. Students may apply to the National Board for Certified Counselors at the completion of their programs. They also may earn an endorsement in talented and gifted education or a certificate from the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education by taking additional course work.

During the first few semesters, students take core cognate courses, including course work on gifted education, and the microcounseling clinical skills laboratory. Then they enter a counseling practicum followed by an internship. Students who enter without teaching licensure are required to take additional course work in education—EPLS:3000 Foundations of Education, EDTL:4900 Foundations of Special Education, and PSQF:6200 Educational Psychology or equivalent—to meet school counselor licensure standards. Students are expected to complete at least 100 clock hours in practicum and 600 clock hours in internship activities in an approved school setting, under the supervision of an experienced licensed school counselor and a University faculty supervisor.

Students must complete program and department core courses as outlined on the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education website before enrolling in RCE:6300 Practicum in School Counseling for the spring semester of their second year in the program. All students are required to complete a background check the spring before they enroll in the practicum. Students who are not licensed teachers must complete course work in education before enrolling in the practicum.

Each student's progress is reviewed periodically by the major advisor. Students who have successfully completed all prerequisites for RCE:6300 are reviewed in the semester before they take the practicum course, to assure that they are prepared for it. During the summer, students are evaluated to assure their readiness for the internship RCE:6321 Internship in Elementary School Counseling or RCE:6322 Internship in Secondary School Counseling, which requires assignment in approved schools for the fall and/or spring semesters.

The M.A. program in school counseling requires the following work.

Required Courses

The following schedule of required courses reflects a three-year program of study. Students who do not have teacher licensure are required to complete at least three additional courses in education before the third year of classes.

RCE:4137Introduction to Educating Gifted Students3
RCE:5200Professional School Counselor3
RCE:5202Introduction to Group Counseling3
RCE:5203Career Development3
RCE:5204School Culture and Classroom Management for School Counselors3
RCE:5221Theories of Counseling and Human Development Across the Life Span3
RCE:5222Counseling Children and Adolescents in Schools3
RCE:5223Counseling Gifted and Talented Students3
RCE:5230School Counseling Program Leadership and Management3
RCE:5250Multiculturalism in Helping Professions3
RCE:5254Assessment and Appraisal3
RCE:5256Action Research: School-Based Field Research3
RCE:5278Applied Microcounseling3
RCE:6300Practicum in School Counseling3
RCE:6321Internship in Elementary School Counseling6
RCE:6322Internship in Secondary School Counseling6
EDTL:4940Characteristics of Disabilities3
EPLS:6206Research Process and Design3
Total Hours60

Comprehensive Examination

All students are required to take comprehensive exams for the departmental core and for school counseling during their final semester of internship. Comprehensive exams include a written six-hour exam in the departmental core and school counseling. An oral exam also is required unless waived by the comprehensive exam committee.


Applicants to the graduate programs must meet the department's general admission requirements. Applicants to the M.A. program in school counseling should have an undergraduate g.p.a. of 3.00 or higher. The department prefers that applicants have one year of teaching experience or successful experiences with children and/or adolescents, which they must document in a written statement. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test scores must be on file at the University.

Applications are accepted for summer and fall entry and should be submitted by January 25th.