Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I pursue the master's or doctoral degree on a part-time basis?

The master's and doctoral degrees in counseling can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Most full-time master's students complete the program in two years, including summers. Most full-time doctoral students, who hold a CACREP/CORE approved master's degree, complete their Ph.D. coursework in three years, including summers. Part time completion of the master's or doctoral program will take longer depending on the number of credit hours for which the student is enrolled each semester.

2. Do I have to take the GRE?

The GRE is a requirement for all prospective graduate students. The Counseling and Educational Psychology Department requires verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing scores not more than five years old to be submitted with a student's admission materials. Visit to find a testing center near you.

3. Are the deadlines for admission flexible?

Due to the large volume of applications received each year, the deadlines are final. March 1 is the deadline for prospective master's applicants (April 1 for Student Affairs Resident Life applicants) and February 1 for PhD applicants.

4. Can I start the masters or doctoral program in the spring?

No. Students are admitted for fall semester only but some of the Counseling programs allow students to begin taking courses the summer semester prior to beginning their fall semester.

5. Can I take courses before I am admitted into the program?

Prospective students can take up to nine unclassified graduate hours. Upon completion of these hours, students must apply and be admitted to one of the counseling programs in order to continue their studies. Taking unclassified hours does not guarantee admission into the program. For more information please consult the Bulletin of the Graduate School at:

6. Are there any classes I need to take before I can be accepted into the master's program?

There are no class prerequisites for admittance.

7. Can I apply to the PhD program if my master's degree is in something other than counseling?

On occasion, the Doctoral Admissions Committee may consider applicants who have a master's degree in disciplines other than counseling (but closely related). These applicants, however, must meet all practicum, internship, and course requirements of the master's in counseling.

8. What types of graduate assistantship opportunities are available?

Full-time graduate students enrolled in the program are eligible to apply for assistantships throughout the university. Applicants should begin the process early to secure an assistantship. Students with assistantships work twenty hours per week and may receive tuition reimbursement and a stipend. For more information and to obtain an application please visit:

More information on assistantships can be found on the following websites:

9. What types of financial aid opportunities are available?

A variety of financial aid is available to eligible students. Information about student financial aid may be obtained via the Mississippi State University website at

10. Where do I obtain a graduate school application?

The graduate application may be obtained online at:

11. Please explain the application process.

The graduate application process is outlined in the Graduate Studies Bulletin. It may be may be obtained online at

12. Will I be assigned an advisor if I am admitted to the counseling program?

Each student enrolled in the program is assigned a faculty advisor who assists the student with course selection and navigating through the program.

13. What opportunities are available for student professional development?

Many opportunities are available for student engagement in professional development activities while completing the master's and doctoral programs. Students are expected to seek membership in professional organizations such as Mississippi Counseling Association (MCA), the American Counseling Association (ACA) and its divisions, and those of their appropriate specialty areas (i.e. the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) for Student Affairs students). Students are expected to become involved in advocacy and social justice projects on behalf of their clients as well as the profession. Current students have been involved in a variety of advocacy initiatives and are a part of a very active campus Chi Sigma Iota Chapter.

14. How long does it take to complete the program?

The master's programs can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Most full time master's students complete the program in two years, including summers. Most full time doctoral students who hold a CACREP/CORE approved master's degree, complete their PhD coursework in 3 years, including summers.

15. Do I have to take comprehensive exams?

Students in the master's programs have to take and successfully pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination as well as the examination in their emphasis area in order to fulfill graduation requirements. Doctoral students have to pass both the written and oral doctoral comprehensive exams before being admitted to candidacy.

16. When are comprehensive examinations taken?

Comprehensive examinations are taken when students are within six credit hours of completing coursework. The dates for comprehensive examinations are posted on the departmental website. Students can view these dates at

17. What about practicum and internship experiences?

Master's and doctoral level students complete a practicum and internship related to their area of career focus. Master's students must complete 700 total hours of practicum and internship in an appropriate setting, and doctoral students must complete 900 hours of practicum and internship experiences in an appropriate setting. For further information, see the Counseling Programs Graduate Student Handbook at

18. How are the masters programs (Clinical Mental Health, School, Student Affairs, and Rehabilitation Counseling) different from each other?

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares graduates for employment in a variety of mental health settings such as community mental health agencies, public and non-profit human service facilities, inpatient psychiatric clinics, drug and alcohol centers, child and family service agencies, business and industry, and private practice. Graduates are trained to provide quality counseling services to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Coursework emphasizes an orientation to mental health agencies, assessment and diagnosis, substance abuse, crisis management, and multicultural competencies.

School Counseling

The Master's degree in School Counseling prepares individuals who wish to work in a K-12 school setting as school counselors. In addition to completing coursework, licensure requirements include passing the PRAXIS 1 general exam and PRAXIS 2 exam for school counseling. Persons who are not licensed as teachers are required to complete a year- long school internship.

Student Affairs Counseling

The Master's degree in Student Affairs prepares individuals who wish to work in higher education settings. The program provides a broad base on which students may build and advance their careers within higher education. Courses in the program address issues for Student Affairs administrators including assessment and college student development.

Rehabilitation Counseling

The Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling equips prospective counselors with the knowledge and skills necessary to deal effectively with a broad spectrum of issues surrounding the medical, psychological, and vocational effects of chronic disability. In an effort to help disabled individuals adapt to their life circumstances, which includes living in a society that marginalizes people who are "different", the rehabilitation-counseling program produces counselors prepared to work in the continually evolving and expanding field of vocational rehabilitation.