The 30 Best Master’s Degrees in Student Affairs and College Counseling 2016

Best Counseling Degrees - Top Master's Programs 2016
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By Kirsten Hughes
May 2016

This list of the best master’s degrees in student affairs and college counseling offers the top 30 campus based programs in the country for this degree. Students can be assured that these are the best programs in the field of student affairs and college counseling based on our methodology, including the fact that all programs listed here are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The CACREP accredits master’s programs across the country in several areas of counseling including student affairs and college counseling. CACREP accreditation shows that the program has met critical educational components deemed important by the profession.

This master’s degree is for individuals who are interested in pursuing careers as counselors, administrators, and/or numerous other positions in higher education at the community college, college, and university level. Graduates with this degree will have a strong understanding of the issues and needs specific to college students as well as the counseling skills necessary to help college students succeed. Graduates will be well prepared to work in a variety of college and university departments (where counseling skills are useful) serving students including: admissions; academic advising; counseling; career counseling; career services; financial aid; health services; recreation; disability services; residence halls; student athlete services; and multicultural centers.

The programs listed here generally take anywhere from two to three years to complete and require anywhere from 36 to 72 credits, depending on the components of the program.  Master of arts, master of science, and master of education degrees are all available and the concentration name may vary slightly, with a title similar to student affairs and college counseling such as college student personnel services. There are no specific licensure requirements for student personnel professionals, however, many of the programs listed here prepare graduates to be able to pursue licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). Licensure requirements vary by state and students are encouraged to consult their home state licensing board to discuss state specific requirements for licensure. Two of the programs listed here offer distance education through online programming in addition to their face-to-face in classroom degree.

Methodology

For specific information about the ranking methodology used, refer to the methodology section at the end of the article.

We are confident you will find the best student affairs and college counseling degree here.

See also our online master’s degrees in student affairs and college counseling.

#30 Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Master of Science in Student Affairs Counseling

A Master of Science in Student Affairs Counseling is available through the College of Education at Syracuse University. This 48 credit hour program prepares graduates to work as professional counselors and supports healthy student development for college students. As college counselors, graduates will be skilled in a number of areas critical on college campuses including identifying risk factors for behavior disorders, mental health disorders, violence, and substance abuse.

Courses include: introduction to professional counseling; group work in counseling; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; social and cultural dimensions of counseling; life-span human development; career development; assessment in counseling; practicum in counseling; college student development; student affairs counseling; crisis management in higher education; and the american college and university.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 33,312.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#29 Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, MI

Master of Arts in Counselor Education-College Counseling

Western Michigan University offers a Master of Arts in Counselor Education with an emphasis in College Counseling. Students can choose to complete this degree at one of three locations: Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, or Kalamazoo. This program prepares graduates for careers at colleges and universities as counselors. Additionally, the program prepares students to seek licensure following graduation as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Michigan. Funding is available to graduate students with a variety of available assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and awards through the graduate college.

Program options through the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology include: clinical mental health counseling; college counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; school counseling; and rehabilitation counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 26,958.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#28 Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, GA

Master of Education Counselor Education – Student Services in Higher Education Concentration

Georgia Southern University offers a Master of Education in Counselor Education with three degree concentrations available. The concentration in Student Services in Higher Education can be completed for 48 credits. Graduates of this program will have a range of knowledge including a firm understanding of student services, student affairs, and counseling skills. Some assistantships are available through the university. The program trains professional counselors through theory in the classroom and practice in clinical settings with diverse populations.

Courses include: learning theories and applications; educational research; theories of counseling; models and techniques of counseling; group dynamics; individual analysis; career counseling; cross cultural counseling; life span development; student services in higher education; contemporary college students; administration and leadership in student services; and ethical and professional issues in student services.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 26,518.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#27 Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, MI

Master of Arts in College Counseling

Eastern Michigan University offers a Master of Arts in College Counseling. This degree prepares graduates to pursue careers as professional counselors in college and university settings. The program meets requirements for limited licensure as a professional counselor (LLPC). Post-master’s work would be required in order to pursue licensure as a professional counselor (LPC).

Courses include: dynamics of life development; counseling research; counselor development: basic skills; theories of counseling; crisis intervention; assessment in counseling; career development and information services; group process; cross-cultural counseling; counselor development: counseling process; diagnosis and treatment planning in counseling; ethical, legal, and professional issues in college counseling; introduction to student affairs in higher education; and college student development theory.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 26,400.00
  • Credits Required: 50-55
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#26 Old Dominion University

Norfolk, VA

Master of Science in Education – Counseling with Concentration in College Counseling

Old Dominion University has several counseling degrees available through the Department of Counseling and Human Services including the Master of Science in Education-Counseling with a concentration in College Counseling. Students in this program can elect to take two additional courses in order to qualify to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This program emphasizes social advocacy and systems theory.

Courses include: principles of professional counseling and ethics; counseling for lifespan development; counseling and psychotherapy techniques; introduction to research methods in education; group counseling and psychotherapy; testing and client assessment; foundations of career development; social and cultural issues in counseling; diagnosis and treatment planning in mental health counseling; adult and college student development; introduction to student affairs administration; internship to college counseling; and college counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 24,800.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#25 Monmouth University

West Long Branch, NJ

Master of Science In Education in Student Affairs and College Counseling

A Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Student Affairs and College Counseling is available at Monmouth University. This program emphasizes preparing graduates to be educators and counselors in the field of student affairs. Additionally, a focus is placed on students becoming professionals who are competent in recognizing and advocating for issues related to diversity and social justice. Students have the opportunity to gain direct and supervised experience through field placement where they will have the opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the classroom into practice.

Courses include: counseling and ethical practice; human growth and development; group counseling; counseling theory and practice; advanced topics in race and racism; career development and counseling; diversity and social justice; assessment for counseling; practicum in counseling; internship in counseling; behavior issues in counseling; introduction to college student development and student affairs; introduction to professional counseling; and leadership and administration of campus environments.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 23,034.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#24 Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO

Master of Education in Education and Human Resource Studies

Colorado State University offers a Master of Education in Education and Human Resources with a specialization in Counseling and Career Development and an emphasis in College Counseling. The program reports that this past year the pass rate for students taking the National Counselor Exam was 100%. Graduates of the program are eligible to pursue licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). As always, students are encouraged to consult the board for the state they plan to practice in for specific licensure requirements.

Courses include: career and employment concepts; foundations of counseling; individual guidance and counseling; group guidance and counseling; ethical and legal issues; tests and assessments; career development and counseling; introduction to research; counseling for cultural diversity; practicum: guidance and counseling; trends, issues, and assessment in higher education; college student personnel administration; and organizational behavior in student affairs.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 22,916.00
  • Credits Required: 52
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#23 State University of New York College at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY

Master of Science in Student Affairs and Higher Education

The Department of Counselor Education at State University of New York College at Plattsburgh offers a Master of Science degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education. Students can choose to complete this 36-42 credit program on a full-time or part-time basis depending on their individual needs. The program prepares graduates to be professional, self-aware, and knowledgeable leaders in the field of counseling and student affairs services.

Courses include: counseling relationships and skills; group counseling; career development counseling; cultural contexts of counseling; research design and methods; college students and environments; facilitating college student development; student affairs practice; leadership and administration in student affairs; and internship: student affairs counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 22,210.00
  • Credits Required: 36-42
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#22 North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC

Master of Education College Counseling and Student Development

The College of Education at North Carolina State University offers a Master of Education in College Counseling and Student Development. This program is committed to competence in theory and practice as well as multicultural diversity.  Students can complete the program in two to three years with 60 credits. Graduates are eligible and many choose to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This campus based degree program now offers a new online program that is in the process of being reviewed by the CACREP.

Courses include: career counseling and development; cross-cultural counseling; theories and techniques of counseling; group counseling; multicultural lifespan development in educational context; clinical assessment; special problems: substance abuse counseling; techniques of counseling; practicum in counseling; student development in higher education; introduction to college counseling; and internship in college student development.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 21,951.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#21 Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA

Master of Education College Student Development and Counseling Concentration

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Master of Education in College Student Development and Counseling. This degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours. Students in this program will take a comprehensive exam showing their competence in a number of areas including: human growth and development; social and cultural foundations; helping relationships; group work; career and lifestyle development; research and program evaluation; and professional orientation and ethics.

Courses include: professional orientation and ethical practice in counseling; theories of counseling; techniques of counseling; group procedures in counseling; career information and exploration; assessment techniques for counselors; multicultural counseling in education; practicum: college student development and counseling; student development services in higher education; lifespan development:a gender perspective; and american colleges and universities.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 21,933.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#20 East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, TN

Master of Arts in Counseling with a Concentration in College Counseling/Student Affairs Higher Education

A Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in College Counseling/Student Affairs Higher Education is available from East Tennessee State University. Students in this program will develop a strong understanding of the importance of supporting individuals, both young adults and nontraditional students, during their college career. Students in this program have the opportunity to plan their coursework in order to make themselves eligible to pursue licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors. Graduates of this program will be prepared to pursue careers in a variety of roles within the university setting, from providing mental health counseling services to general student support services.

Courses include: counseling process and skills; theories and practice: individuals; theories and practice: couples/family; groups: process/practice; methods of research; advanced developmental psychology; social and cultural foundations; psychological assessment; career development; supervised counseling practicum; internship in counseling; developmental psychopathology; trends and issues in higher education; student development and college environment; assessment, evaluation, and administration of student affairs and college counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 21,726.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#19 The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Brockport, NY

Master of Science in Education in College Counseling

The College at Brockport, State University of New York offers a Master of Science in Education in College Counseling. Due to the location of The College at Brockport, students have access to several other local two and four year institutions where they can engage in internships as well as seek future employment. Additionally, students will receive professional training on campus through partnerships with other academic departments and campus programs.

Courses include: self in society-college counselor; counseling concepts; group counseling concepts; career development concepts; research and program evaluation; the human experience; contemporary issues; measurement and evaluation; and counseling in college settings.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 20,190.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#18 Mississippi State University

Mississippi State, MS

Master of Science in Counselor Education with an Emphasis in Student Affairs

The 48 credit hour Master of Science in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs from Mississippi State University focuses on the connection between theory and research in the classroom, as well as in practice, through internship and practicum experiences. This program can be completed in two years. Students will have the opportunity to develop connections with faculty throughout the department and the university with a broad range of educational and professional expertise.

Courses include: counseling theory; counseling skills development; placement and career development; research techniques for counselors; student affairs in higher education; student development theory; legal issues in student development; introduction to assessment in student affairs; administration of student personnel services in higher education; and university and community college governance.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 20,142.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#17 Idaho State University

Pocatello, ID

Master of Counseling in Student Affairs Counseling

Idaho State University offers a Master of Counseling in Student Affairs Counseling for 60 credits. The program will prepare graduates for professions as student affairs counselors in a variety of college and university positions from advising to career centers. The program supports students in developing a strong professional identity as well as in securing employment in their area of focus following graduation.

Courses include: foundations of student affairs; administration of student affairs practice; practicum in counseling; psychological testing for counselors; professional orientation and ethics; lifestyle and career development; cultural counseling; crisis intervention and trauma; applications of counseling theory; addictions counseling; theories of family and couple counseling; group counseling techniques; and psychodiagnosis and psychotropic drugs.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 18,504.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities

#16 University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Greensboro, NC

Master of Science/Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Counseling, Concentration in College Counseling/Student Development in Higher Education

Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling, Concentration in College Counseling/Student Development in Higher Education

The Department of Counseling and Educational Development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers both a Master of Science (M.S.) and a Master of Science/Educational Specialist (Ed.S) in Counseling with several concentrations available. Both degrees offer a concentration in College Counseling/Student Development in Higher Education. The Master of Science requires the completion of 60 credits and the Master of Science/Educational Specialist requires the completion of 72 credits. The department also offers concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Couple and Family Counseling.

Courses include: counseling diverse populations; helping relationships; the counselor as scientist-practitioner; developmental counseling; counseling theories and practice; group counseling theory and practice; career development and career counseling; professional orientation; application of measurement and clinical appraisal techniques; student development in higher education; the contemporary college student; substance abuse counseling; and practicum in counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 18,322.00
  • Credits Required: 60-72
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#15 East Carolina University

Greenville NC

Master of Science in Counselor Education with Specialization in Student Affairs and College Counseling

East Carolina University offers a Master of Science in Counselor Education with a specialization in Student Affairs and College Counseling. Students in this program are encouraged to seek out and take elective courses that fall in line with their career goals. Students will work with their advisors to choose electives from areas such as education, psychology, and health. Graduates of the program will be eligible to pursue taking the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and work towards licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors.

Courses include: introduction to counseling and human services; analysis of the individual; career development and counseling; counseling theory and techniques; group procedures; social and cultural issues in counseling; counseling skills and techniques; developmental counseling and learning: a life-span approach; family approaches in professional counseling; professional, legal, ethical issues in counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 17,036.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#14 University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Oshkosh, WI

Master of Science in Education with Emphases in Student Affairs/College Counseling

A Master of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in Student Affairs/College Counseling is available from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. This degree is available for 48 credits. Graduates of the program will be prepared for careers working with young adults in colleges and universities in positions such as academic advising, career services, counseling, multicultural and diversity student services, and student activities.

Courses include: professional identity and ethics; counseling process; social and cultural foundations; assessment techniques; lifespan development in counseling; group counseling process; theoretical foundations of counseling; student development in the college environment; student affairs and college counseling; applied research and evaluation; counseling practicum; and addictions in counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 16,771.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#12 (Tie) San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA

Master of Science in Counseling, College Counseling

San Francisco State University offers a 60 credit Master of Science in Counseling, College Counseling degree. The program emphasizes attention to preventative, remediation, and developmental counseling when working with students at the community college, four year college and university levels. Graduates of the program will be well trained in areas of counseling critical to working with college students including: educational counseling; problem solving and decision making skills; assessment, evaluation, and research; teaching methods; and consulting.

Courses include: theories of counseling; developmental foundations for counselors; psychological foundations for counselors; counseling process; assessment in counseling; counseling practicum and fieldwork; alcohol and substance abuse; group counseling process; social and cultural foundations in counseling; law and ethics in counseling; couples and family counseling; counseling aspects of sexuality; career counseling; seminar for counselors in student personnel services; and organization and administration of student services in higher education.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 15,666.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

#12 (Tie) California State University Northridge

Northridge, CA

Master of Science in Counseling with an Option in College Counseling and Student Services

A Master of Science in Counseling with a specialization in College Counseling and Student Services is available at California State University Northridge. This degree requires the completion of 60 credit hours, including gaining experience through fieldwork. This program emphasizes working with diverse student populations in urban community college and university campus settings.

Courses include: individual and group assessment; counseling in cross-cultural settings; seminar in counseling theory and practice; seminar in career counseling theory; special topics in student personnel services; human development: a life-span perspective; social psychological education; career assessment; college counseling and student services profession; american college student and campus environment; and fieldwork in college counseling and student services.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 15,666.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

#11 Montclair State University

Montclair, NJ

Master of Arts in Counseling, Student Affairs/Counseling in Higher Education Concentration

Founded in 1908, Montclair State University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in Student Affairs/Counseling in Higher Education. The program trains students to take into consideration the developmental perspective in working with students. The program places a strong emphasis on multicultural counseling and social justice throughout their coursework. Graduates of this program will be prepared for careers on campuses in a variety of positions. This 48 credit hour program includes the completion of three terms of fieldwork and makes every effort to be accommodating to students’ individual needs by offering evening, hybrid, and Saturday classes.

Courses include: counseling across the lifespan; introduction to professional and ethical issues in counseling; counseling theories; appraisal of the individual; career counseling; group counseling: theory and practice; counseling techniques; multicultural counseling and development; methods of research; student services in higher education; and theories of college student development.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 15,375.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#10 Minnesota State University Moorhead

Moorhead, MN

Master of Science in Counseling and Student Affairs

Minnesota State University Moorhead offers a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Student Affairs. The program offers three areas of emphases: Student Affairs and College Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and School Counseling. The program offers a generalist orientation with the opportunity for students to identify and select a course of study that best matches their individual professional goals. Students can elect to complete the program full time (2 years) or part time (up to 5 years). Additionally, the program aims to be flexible for students by offering courses in the evening and through a hybrid format, in order to allow students to maintain work schedules. Graduates will be eligible to apply for state licensing and national certification in professional counseling.

Courses include: counseling research, statistical methods, and program evaluation; foundations of counseling; theories of individual and family counseling; counseling assessment and appraisal; career development; human growth and development for counselors; social and cultural foundations of counseling; counseling skills; group counseling; ethical and legal issues in counseling; and trauma informed and crisis management.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 12,960.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#9 Youngstown State University

Youngstown, OH

Master of Education in Student Affairs and College Counseling

Youngstown State University offers a Master of Education in Student Affairs and College Counseling. This degree can be completed in 2 years of full time study. Students can choose from two tracks, non-counseling licensure track (51 credits) and counseling licensure track (66 credits). Graduates who complete the licensure track will be prepared to work in colleges and universities with students in clinical settings such as mental health and treatment centers, as well as in private practice. Some funding is available for students through graduate assistantships.

National awards: 2015 Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Outstanding Counselor Education Program Award and the 2014 North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NCACES) Innovative Counselor Education Program Award.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 12,780.00
  • Credits Required: 51-66
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#8 West Chester University

West Chester, PA

Master of Science in Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs

Students can earn a Master of Science in Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs from West Chester University. This 48 credit hour program includes 700 hours of field work allowing students to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom in counseling and higher education/student affairs. This Master of Science degree meets the core educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in all 50 states. Additionally, students who pass the national exam will be eligible to become National Certified Counselors. Each student in the program will have a full time faculty advisor for support in reaching educational and career goals.

Courses include: professional orientation to counseling; assessment methods in counseling; group dynamics; fundamentals of the helping relationship; counseling theory and techniques; social and cultural diversity issues in counseling; human development through the lifespan; career development theories and practices; introduction to student affairs; theories of american college student development; leadership and management in student affairs; and counseling internship in higher education/ student affairs.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 12,690.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#7 Shippensburg University

Shippensburg, PA

Master of Science in Counseling

The Counseling Program at Shippensburg University is well established as evidenced by the recent celebration of their 50th anniversary. Students in the Master of Science in Counseling program have the option to choose from Clinical Mental Health Counseling, College Counseling, and College Student Personnel for an area of emphasis.

Courses include: introduction to helping services; career development; research and statistics; practicum in counseling; assessment techniques in counseling; group counseling leadership skills; multicultural counseling; the college student and the college environment; student personnel work in higher education; and clinical field experience.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 12,690.00
  • Credits Required: 48-60
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#6 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro, PA

Master of Arts in Counseling with Specialization in College Counseling

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with a specialization in College Counseling to prepare graduates for careers in collegiate and academic settings. This 60-63 credit program works to prepare graduates for national certification and licensure examinations in an effort to support college campuses in having fully credentialed college counselors available to students. This college counseling program can be completed fully online.

Courses include: group processes; appraisal techniques in the helping professions; human development across the lifespan; career development and life planning; counseling and consultation theories; supervised counseling practice; multicultural counseling; ethical and professional issues in counseling; study of the individual in higher education; law in post-secondary higher education; student affairs practice and administration; clinical diagnosis and intervention; and counseling the college student.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 12,690.00
  • Credits Required: 60-63
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Slippery Rock University

Slippery Rock, PA

Master of Arts in Student Affairs in Higher Education with College Counseling

A Master of Arts in Student Affairs in Higher Education with College Counseling is available for 60 credits from Slippery Rock University. This licensure track program will prepare graduates for careers as mental health counselors at colleges and universities. Additionally graduates will be well prepared for professional careers as career counselors, disabilities counselors, or academic advisors on college and university campuses. This three year program will prepare graduates to pursue the National Certified Counselor credential (NCC) as well as licensure as professional counselors (LPC). Licensure requirements vary by state and students should consult the board of the state they plan to practice in for licensure requirements.

Courses include: introduction to student affairs; social and cultural diversity; lifespan development; helping relationships; ethical and legal issues in student affairs; organizational behavior and leadership in higher education; career development and counseling; group counseling; counseling theory; models of adaptive behavior; assessment in counseling; counseling the adult; college counseling practicum; and college counseling internship.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 12,258.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 St. Cloud State University

Saint Cloud, MN

Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development

St. Cloud State University offers a Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development. This program allows for students to choose from two courses of study with a thesis option (54 credits) and a comprehensive exam option (48 credits) available. The program emphasizes experiential learning, a focus on diverse populations, and strong relationships between students and faculty which are fostered through small classes. The program follows a cohort model with options for students to be enrolled part or full time. A unique feature of the program is the opportunity for study abroad experiences in South Africa and Malaysia. Additionally, some graduate assistantships are available offering up to a $10,000 stipend annually along with tuition reimbursement for up to eight credits each semester.

Courses include: professional orientation and ethics; counseling theories; counseling procedures; multicultural counseling; group process and dynamics; issues in student development; supervised counseling practicum; internship in student affairs; and practice in small group process.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 11,201.00
  • Credits Required: 48-54
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#3 South Dakota State University

Brookings, SD

Master of Science in Counseling and Human Resource Development, College Counseling specialization

A Master of Science in Counseling and Human Resource Development with a specialization in College Counseling is available from South Dakota State University. This is a 48 credit hour program that prepares graduates for careers in higher education settings with the focus being on understanding the dynamics that influence a student’s life. While there are not any certification or licensure requirements for student personnel professionals, students who complete the program along with their written and oral exams will be endorsed as student affairs professionals. Additionally, students in the program will be able to work towards National Certified Counselor certification by taking the national exam before or following graduation.

Courses include: introduction to professional issues and ethics; research and evaluation in counseling and human development; developmental issues in counseling; theories of counseling; multicultural counseling and human relations; appraisal of the individual; career counseling and planning; group counseling; student personnel services; and administration and leadership in human affairs.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 11,142.00
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#2 Hampton University

Hampton, VA

Master of Arts in Counseling, Student Affairs Administration – Concentration: College Student Development

The Department of Counseling at Hampton University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in Student Affairs, College Student Development. The curriculum is experiential in focus and aims to support students in their individual and spiritual growth. This degree will prepare graduates for careers in two-year post-secondary settings as well as four-year colleges and universities. The program has been awarded grant funding and is currently able to offer a $10,000 stipend to students who work with children and adolescents during their clinical experience.

Courses include: assessment and appraisal in counseling; lifespan development; theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy; group process in counseling; career development; treating the substance abuser; identity, ethics and legal aspects of counseling; community mental health and welfare services; counseling with diverse populations; diagnosis and treatment; college student development internship; and crisis intervention and counseling.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 10,263.00
  • Credits Required: 55
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#1 Minnesota State University Mankato

Mankato, MN

Master of Science in College Student Affairs

Minnesota State University Mankato offers a Master of Science in College Student Affairs through the Department of Counseling and Student Personnel. The department also offers school counseling and mental health counseling degrees. Graduates of this program will have a strong understanding of the developmental issues that college students face and how to best meet the needs of this specific population. The College Student Affairs program will prepare graduates to pursue careers for a number of professional positions on college campuses in areas such as admissions, counseling, student activities and career development.

Courses include: group counseling; introduction to college student affairs; administration in college student affairs; counseling procedures and skills; crisis intervention strategies; counseling in a multicultural society; family life cycle; career development; american college student; management and assessment of campus environments; counseling theories; and practicum in college student affairs.

  • Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 6,849.00
  • Credits Required: 50
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Methodology: To develop the ranking of The Best Master’s Degrees in Student Affairs and College Counseling, we used information gathered from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) to evaluate colleges and universities offering programming in College Counseling, Student Affairs, and Student Affairs and College Counseling. Next we used information gathered from the Institute of Education Sciences’ College Navigator to compile the average graduate tuition for each master’s in student affairs and college counseling degree program and sorted the schools by cost to present the top 30 schools in our ranking.

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