The master’s degree in school counseling at GWU is aligned with the ASCA National Model.

School of Psychology and Counseling

Master of Arts in School Counseling (K-12)

The 48-semester-hour School Counseling Program will prepare you to fulfill the diverse roles required of school counselors both as a theorist and practitioner in a multicultural society. You will be prepared to develop comprehensive school counseling programs aligning with the ASCA National Model and to collaborate with parents, school personnel, and others to assist students with academic, career, and personal/social services.


Additional emphasis is given to acquisition and application of knowledge and skills, critical thinking and decision making, appreciation of diversity, demonstration of professional ethical and legal practices, and an understanding of the educational process within the complex school environment. The examination of your personal values and experiences and your potential influence in a variety of counseling situations is encouraged.


Gardner-Webb University’s School of Psychology and Counseling offers a supportive community for learning. We’re dedicated to promoting Christian values in an environment of intellectual curiosity. We care about nurturing the whole person and encouraging lifelong learning.


Admission Requirements

The requirements for the role of a school counselor are both personal and intellectual. 

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a minimum 3.00 grade point average.
  2. Satisfactory test scores on either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
  3. Three positive letters of recommendation (academic or professional references preferred).
  4. A background in psychology at the undergraduate level is strongly recommended.

Specific prerequisites include an undergraduate course in Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology and an undergraduate course in Developmental Psychology. Completion of prerequisites is required prior to admittance into any graduate counseling program at Gardner-Webb University. If you are unsure if a previous course sufficiently meets this requirement, or if you would like to enroll in one of the aforementioned courses prior to enrollment, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 704-406-3987. Although teacher licensure is not required for admission to the School Counseling Program, applicants without teacher licensure will be required to complete an undergraduate course in classroom management prior to the practicum. Additional opportunities will be provided to strengthen students’ knowledge of the school setting throughout the program as well as during the practicum and internship experiences.

5. Successful personal interview

During this interview the faculty members will assess the academic background, personal qualities, and goals of applicants. Applicants will be admitted who meet the personal and academic requirements of the requirements of the program.

6. Statewide criminal background check is required

Prior to admission, a satisfactory “Criminal Record Check” for all states of residence for the past five years must be submitted to the Graduate School. The purpose of the criminal background check is to meet requirements of some clinical agencies in which students learn and practice counseling methods. Criminal background histories obtained for employment purposes are not acceptable for admission to the Counseling programs. Information received pertaining to criminal background histories will become a part of the student’s confidential permanent academic file. Any conviction or pending criminal charges cited in the criminal history will be reviewed by the Graduate School and Counseling graduate faculty. Any allegations or charges of misdemeanor(s) or felony(s) that occur after the Criminal Record Check has been submitted must be reported immediately to the Graduate School and to the Dean of the School of Psychology and Counseling. Failure to report allegations of such charges may result in immediate dismissal from the program.


We request all application materials sent to the Graduate Admissions Office for persons interested in the School Counseling or Mental Health Counseling Program to begin in the Fall be postmarked no later than January 15th for the priority deadline. There will be a secondary deadline of March 15th if the cohorts have not been filled by priority deadline applicants. School Counseling is offered on the Main campus (Boiling Springs) only and Mental Health Counseling is offered at both the Main and Charlotte campuses. 


Goals of the Graduate Programs in Counseling

The goal of the graduate programs in counseling is to prepare students for professional careers in counseling through courses in the eight core areas as required by CACREP: Professional Identity, Social and Cultural Diversity, Human Growth and Development, Career Development, Helping Relationships, Group Work, Assessment, and Research and Program Evaluation. Within that framework, the objectives are to:

  1. Provide an environment that promotes the core values of relational work with others;
  2. Provide coursework that develops the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to become effective professional counselors;
  3. Promote and ethical sense in counseling students that demonstrates respect for diversity and honors our common humanity;
  4. Promote an understanding of the changing profession of counseling and the need for continuing education and lifelong learning.


Chi Sigma Iota

Membership in this International Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society is one of the highest honors a GWU graduate student in the counseling program can attain for academic excellence. To be eligible for membership, students must have completed six semester hours, have a 3.5 GPA or higher, and be a student in good standing.



Your education in the School Counseling Program will culminate in a school-based practicum and internship experience designed to solidify your identity as a professional school counselor.



The Master’s in School Counseling will not only give you a set of skills and knowledge but will also prepare you to take on the professional role of a school counselor.



  1. Graduate students will participate in curricular experiences in each of the following areas of school counseling: foundations; contextual dimensions; program development, implementation, and evaluation; individual and group counseling; classroom guidance; and consultation services.
  2. Graduate students will demonstrate skills appropriate to beginning counselors as required by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction School Counselor Program Approval Standards and recommended by professional counseling associations and credentialing bodies.
  3. Supported by self-reflective practices, graduate students will demonstrate the acquisition and application of the knowledge and skills outlined above in appropriate school-based practicum and internship experiences and through a comprehensive examination process.
  4. Program graduates will be recommended by the GWU School of the Education, the university school-related licensing agent, for graduate level licensure in school counseling.


Mission Statement

The mission of the graduate programs of the School of Psychology and Counseling is to create a context in which counseling students participate in an academically rigorous process that values the power of interpersonal relationships in creating beneficial change. For faculty, counseling students, and the community we serve, we believe this process is essential. Our school has an ongoing commitment to providing a caring and challenging environment which facilitates the acquisition of the knowledge and the development of the skills necessary for our counseling students to become effective counselors in an increasingly diverse society. We seek to empower students within a framework of mentoring relationships to promote their own development in several areas of personal growth. These areas include spiritual, ethical, mental, physical, social, and vocational development. In addition, we seek to foster a commitment to continuing education and lifelong learning. The School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).


Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will learn the core value of relational work with others through faculty/student interactions, class-related activities, practicum, and internship.
  • Students will develop professional counseling skills.
  • Students will appreciate professional ethics in counseling.
  • Students will develop proficiencies in research, writing, and presentation skills.
  • Students will develop an appreciation for lifelong learning through professional development opportunities.
  • Students will be prepared to obtain licensure as a LPC or School Counselor.


Course Requirements

A. Professional Component

            CEDU 605: Advanced Human Growth and Development (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 610: Counseling Theories (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 618: Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Programs (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 620: Methods of Research and Program Evaluation (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 635: Advanced Psychopathology (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 650: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Counseling (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 665: Multicultural Counseling (3 hrs.)

B. Skill Component

            CEDU 615: The Helping Relationship (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 616: Methods of Assessment and Evaluation (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 621: Crisis Intervention Counseling (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 625: Group Counseling (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 640: The Counselor as Professional, Practitioner, and Consultant (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 645: Career Development: Theory and Practice (3 hrs.)

C. Applied Component

            CEDU 675: Practicum in School Counseling (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 695: Internship in School Counseling (3 hrs.)

            CEDU 696: Internship in School Counseling (3 hrs.)

Total: 48 semester hours


While there is a recommended sequence for completing courses in the School Counseling Program, all courses in both the school and mental health counseling curricula are open to all counseling students who have prerequisites and permission of the professor. Graduate students should talk with their advisors when planning a course of study to ensure smooth progression through the program and to include courses required to become licensed as professional counselors.

For more details on the program, please download the Information Sheet.


Dr. Laura Smith

Phone: (704) 406-3534