Academic Catalog


Department of Counseling and Human Services

4301 Hampton Blvd, Suite 2101
Department of Counseling and Human Services
Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
Norfolk, VA  23529

Ed Neukrug, Department Chair

Degrees: Master of Science in Education, Education Specialist, Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Counseling)

Major: Counseling

MS.Ed. Concentrations:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling

Counseling Graduate Program

Emily Goodman-Scott, Master's Program Graduate Program Director
Gulsah Kemer, Doctoral Program Graduate Program Director

The master’s degree program (including the two concentrations) and the PhD program are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).  CACREP does not accredit education specialist degree programs.  Program objectives and other important information can be found in the program handbooks which are located on the department’s webpages at

As part of the program's mission, a commitment to social justice, cultural inclusivity, and reducing inequities and oppression is infused throughout coursework. The admissions process, the use of experiential and didactic learning approaches, supervision requirements, and ongoing comprehensive review and evaluation of students ensures that all graduates possess the academic and personal characteristics necessary to be effective counselors.

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

The master’s degree program offers a curriculum that emphasizes the following core components: professional orientation and ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; helping relationships; group work; assessment; and research and program evaluation. The MSEd in counseling includes two concentration areas: Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. 

Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates meet the educational requirements to pursue the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in Virginia. Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates will be prepared to work in community mental health settings, college counseling centers, hospital-based behavioral health programs, the criminal justice field, veterans' mental health, and private practice.  The clinical mental health counseling concentration includes courses in substance abuse counseling, family dynamics, diagnosis and psychopathology, and clinical supervision. Additionally, evidence-based practice, assessment and diagnosis, the role of the counselor in health care, and client and population-centered advocacy are emphasized in the clinical mental health concentration.   

School Counseling graduates meet requirements for the Virginia Licensed School Counselor credential.  The school counseling concentration prepares graduates to act as systems-change agents throughout K-12 settings in order to address the academic and developmental needs of children, adolescents, and youth. Through the use of experiential and didactic instruction, graduates from the school counseling concentration learn to think systemically, lead effectively, and collaborate with other professionals and stakeholder groups in schools as well as communities. As advocates for children, adolescents, and youth, graduates are encouraged to embrace the belief that school counselors are a major force in closing the achievement gap and that changes in students and programs will be observable, measurable, and impactful. The school counseling concentration includes courses in school climate and culture, counseling children and adolescents, professional issues, and program development. School Counseling students who complete electives in diagnosis, addictions, and family dynamics can also meet the educational requirements for the LPC credential in Virginia. 

Education Specialist (EdS)

The Counseling Program also offers an Education Specialist degree for those seeking to re-specialize beyond their master's training in counseling or a related mental health field, and this degree can be tailored to meet the LPC or Licensed School Counselor educational requirements. The EdS degree extends counseling knowledge and skills for individuals who already hold master’s degrees in counseling, and provides core master’s level counseling coursework for individuals who have master’s degrees in closely related fields (e.g., psychology, special education) who wish to become counselors.

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD) 

The PhD in Education (Counseling) prepares graduates to become counselor educators, clinical supervisors, scholars, and leaders in a variety of professional settings. Graduates are prepared for employment as counselor educator faculty members in colleges and universities and as clinicians and leaders in counseling settings in colleges, community mental health agencies, private practices, and schools or school districts.  This program provides doctoral students with the skills to supervise other counselors, teach counseling skills, conduct scholarly research, lead organizations, and create new knowledge in the field of counseling. Learners in the PhD program are actively mentored to develop their competency in specific topics through presentations, extra-curricular research, and service-leadership to the counseling field.

Field Placement Experiences

The MSEd and PhD programs require field placement experiences as part of students’ coursework near the end of their programs. Most EdS students also complete a field placement experience. Required field placement experiences, such as practicum, internship, and observation hours, involve work in counseling settings where learners apply the knowledge, attitudes, awareness, and skills developed during their coursework. Prior to any placement in the field for observation or practicum/internship all students are required to complete a background check. Background checks are handled by the Office of Clinical Experiences. Instructions can be found on their web page ( Further information about the field placement experiences can be found in the Practicum & Internship Handbooks on the department’s webpages at