Counseling & School Psychology

CSP Prospective Graduate Student FAQs

Why choose CSP graduate programs?

The CSP Faculty are committed to the professional and personal development of each student. Professors hold state and national credentials and have extensive clinical experience in a variety of settings. We have a state of the art, on-site clinic that we are very proud of in the College of Education. We offer flexible course scheduling, video conferencing, blended and online courses. CSP has a 70+ year successful history of career placement for graduates. We have graduate assistantships and many professional development opportunities.

What graduate programs are offered in the Counseling and School Psychology Department?

Four graduate programs are offered which include:

  • Specialist Degree in School Psychology (National NASP accreditation and International ISPA accreditation)
  • Master's of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (National CACREP Accreditation)
  • Master's of Science in Education in School Counseling K-12 (National NCATE Accreditation and Nebraska Department of Education Endorsement)
  • Master's of Science in Education in Student Affairs.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Because we have four graduate programs that range from 36-credit hours to 72-credit hour, the degree completion time frame varies a great deal. It also depends on whether the student chooses to go full or part-time. You can find more specific information in the FAQ's for each program area.

When are the courses offered?

Generally, most of our courses are offered early afternoon and evening. Summer courses tend to be offered in the morning, afternoon, and some evenings. In keeping up with advancements in technology, we do offer blended and online courses. Currently we do not offer courses on weekends.

Can I work and attend graduate school?

The Counseling programs are designed to accommodate students who are both full and part-time employed. Students choosing to work full-time often enroll part-time and visa versa. Students who secure Graduate Assistantship are required to register as full-time students. Part-time students may continue to work at their current employment; however, please keep in mind that the clinical portion of the program, which includes a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship, may be a challenge if maintaining full-time work status. School Psychology program is designed more for full-time students working part time. The final year for school psychology students is a full-time, paid internship.

What is the job market for CSP professions?

The job market in counseling and school psychology is slated to be above average in need during the upcoming decade. Our department prides itself in graduating professionals who generally secure employment prior to and early after graduation. Our belief is this, if you are dedicated, passionate, professional, and eager to pursue a career in professional counseling, you will accomplish your goal.

How do I apply?

Go to UNK Home Page. Click "Apply Today" on the left bottom corner and complete the online Graduate Student Application and pay the $45 application fee. Students new to the university system will need to create an NU ID to log in.

Once logged in, click "I am a graduate student applying for..." Select the program you wish to apply for (i.e. School Psychology, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or School Counseling) and the semester you wish to be admitted (i.e., Fall, Spring, or Summer).

How often are graduate students admitted?

Graduate students are admitted three times a year. Deadlines for application are

  • June 15th for Fall Admission
  • October 15thfor Spring Admission
  • March 15th for Summer or Fall Admission

Shortly after each deadline, faculty screen applications and make recommendations for the on-campus interviews known as ‘Intakes’. Applicants are invited to Intakes, which are scheduled within a week or two of the deadline. Once the Intake process is complete, acceptance letters are sent to students from the Office of Graduate Studies

How many graduate students are admitted each year?

Admission to the Department of Counseling and School Psychology is competitive although there is not a quota or limit to the number of applicants that can be admitted. The number of admits varies, depending on available space within the program and the quality of fit between the applicants and program goals.

Do I have to take the GRE for admissions?

No. The GRE is not an admission requirement. We rely on other criteria for admissions which includes:

  • Academic history - transcripts of all previous academic work
  • Resume with requested information
  • "Motivation to become a counselor/school psychologist" essay
  • Responses to 3 diversity vignettes
  • Three professional references (provide email addresses)

Do I need to submit all my transcripts?

Yes. You must supply all your previous transcripts even if you took a single course at a college.

What is the minimum undergraduate GPA needed to be admitted?

Minimum required undergraduate GPA is 3.0. However, students whose GPA is lower may apply and submit a written explanation to request an exception.

Who can I ask to do my Letters of Recommendation?

Your references should be professional such as co-workers, supervisors, and professors from whom you took a course. Do not ask for letters of recommendations from your family, friends or neighbors. The recommender should be able to talk about your work habits and potential to be a successful graduate student in the program.

What if my application packet is incomplete?

Only completed applications are reviewed by faculty. It is the your responsibility to check MyBLUE and ensure admissions materials are received by the deadline.

What is the “Motivation to Become a Counselor or School Psychologist” essay?

This essay is a statement of interest and is an integral part of a student's application. This statement provides the program information about who you are, your goals, and aspirations. It also demonstrations your writing proficiency, communication skills, and organizational abilities. Therefore, both content and format of your essay are important.

What type of degree and experience do I need to be admitted to the program?

Our students come with a variety of academic majors, however most of the students have degrees in behavioral, social science, or human service related fields. In order to be a School Counselor, the Nebraska Department of Education requires a bachelor's education degree and two years of full time teaching experience.

Once I have submitted everything required, how will I know if I am accepted?

The program faculty will review the applications for an initial screening. If successful, the applicant is invited to participate in the CSP Department on-campus, Intake interview process. Approximately 2-3 weeks after the interview, you will get a letter from the Graduate Admissions office regarding your admission status.

What happens if I miss the admissions deadline or have an incomplete file?

We strongly encourage applicants to submit all admissions materials well in advance of the semester deadline. Should applicants miss the deadline, their application will move to the next semester’s admission cycle. If you miss an application deadline or want to ‘try out’ classes before applying for a specific degree program you may register as a ‘non-degree seeking student’.

Can I take courses as a non-degree seeking student?

Students not formally admitted to the program may apply as a ‘non-degree seeking’ student. When completing the Graduate Student online application, select ‘non-degree seeking’ on the pull down menu rather than a specific degree program when applying for admission. While students may take up to 12 hours of CSP Department coursework as a ‘non-degree seeking’ student, they are not eligible for financial aid with this status. When completing the Graduate Student online application, select ‘non-degree seeking’ on the pull down menu rather than a specific degree program when applying for admission. If you are admitted as a ‘non-degree seeking student’ and then decide to apply to a CSP degree program, you will need to complete a new Graduate Student online application and select the desired degree program from the pull-down menu when you do so. Contact the CSP Department Chair for advice on course selection.

Do out of state applicants have to attend the on-campus interview process, if invited?

Out of state or out of country applicants may request a video conference interview. However, it is recommended that applicants attend the on-campus interview process to help you make the best decision possible for your career. There is advanced notice of the on-campus interview date so that you may plan your travel accordingly.

What happens at the on-campus interview process?

The on-campus interview process known as ‘Intakes’ involves group interviews and is typically held from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It begins with an orientation to the Department, followed by group discussion regarding diversity, a ‘Help Another Activity’, and then a group process activity. The applicants are given an opportunity to speak with current graduate students and to write a brief reflection on their experience. The interview process is designed to help the faculty and you make informed decisions about admission into the programs.

What happens after the Intake process?

Generally, within a week of the on-campus interviews, the faculty makes their recommendation to the Graduate Dean who notifies applicants via an official letter regarding indicating admission status (i.e., unconditional/full admit, conditional/provisional, or denial). This notification is mailed about two weeks after the on-campus interview and also posted in MyBLUE.

Can I transfer previous graduate credits?

You can transfer up to 9 credit hours taken in another accredited program at a different university. The courses must be equivalent to courses offered in our program. The Graduate Program Committee reviews the syllabus and transcript to decide whether a course is equivalent. Clinical courses such as Techniques, Practicum and Internship cannot be transferred.

Are there any undergraduate courses I can take?

Yes. Undergraduate students who desire to have knowledge of mental health, chemical dependency and treatment, interpersonal communication skills, or to learn more about the role and practice of counselors or school psychologists have a variety of courses to choose from including: Undergraduate students who desire to have knowledge of mental health, chemical dependency and treatment, interpersonal communication skills, or to learn more about the role and practice of counselors or school psychologists have a variety of courses to choose from including:

  • CSP 188GS Culture and Ethnic Identity
  • CSP 404 Counseling and Mental Disorders - 2 credits
  • CSP 407 Clinical Treatment Issues in Addictions Counseling - 3 credits
  • CSP 408 Alcohol/Drug Assessment, Case Planning and Management - 2 credits
  • CSP 409 Medical & Psychosocial Aspects of Addictions - 3 credit hours
  • CSP 417 Counseling Skills - 3 credits
  • CSP 418 Introduction to Counseling and Social Advocacy - 3 credits

Can I take graduate courses as a senior?

A student requiring fifteen hours or fewer for the Bachelor's Degree may be allowed to enroll in graduate classes (six semester hours limit). Qualified students must have a G.P.A. of 3.00 or higher. The maximum load of undergraduate-graduate hours may be no more than twelve hours. Graduate courses taken to complete requirements for the Bachelor's Degree may not be used subsequently to satisfy requirements for a graduate degree. However, graduate courses not applied to the baccalaureate degree may be applied toward a graduate degree. The ‘Senior Taking Graduate Course’ application form is available from the Graduate Admissions Office in Founders Hall Room 2131.

Am I going to have an advisor?

Yes, when you get your letter from Graduate Admissions stating that you are admitted, you will also be told the name of your advisor. Typically the advisor specializes in the same degree track you are seeking. However, all faculty are available to the students and if interests come to be shared, a new advisor can be selected by any student.

Are there any scholarships or assistantships?

We are very fortunate to have many scholarship opportunities for students because of the generous support of alumni and professor emeriti. Scholarship applications are accepted during the month of February for the following year to students who have been admitted. CSP Scholarships include:

  • Dr. Kent Estes Memorial Scholarship for Chi Sigma Iota
  • Dr. Fred and Betty Kempf Fellowship Fund
  • Liela S. (Miss T) Herzog Memorial Scholarship
  • Mary Splitter Memorial Scholarship
  • Tammi J (Rowe) Warner Scholarship
  • COE Dean's Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to qualified graduate degree seeking students. Students can find a list of open Graduate Assistantships, as well as instructions for creating an application at http://unkemployment.unk.edu.

How do I register for classes once I am admitted to the program?

Prior to registration please contact your advisor to make sure you are in the proper classes.

Do I choose my practicum and internship sites?

Yes, students choose their sites with the support of faculty based on their career goals and site availability.