San Diego State University

Updated November 22, 2022 · 3 Min Read

Learn more about the various counseling degree programs available at San Diego State University. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Counseling and Psychology Degrees at San Diego State University

San Diego State University appears in our ranking of the Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the West.

The Department of Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) at San Diego State University (SDSU) offers a number of graduate-level degree programs in areas that assist families, adults, children, and other relationships with emotional and social change and growth in communities and schools. The four programs that share this purpose include the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education with a concentration in counseling, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling with a specialization in marriage and family therapy, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling with a specialization in school counseling, and the Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in School Psychology.

The Community-Based Block (CBB) program that leads to an M.A. in Education with a concentration in counseling prepares students as multicultural specialists and beginning counselors to work with individuals in universities, community service agencies, and other social service organizations. Students may also choose to pursue a doctoral degree in counseling. CBB may also serve as a base educational experience for students looking to continue in other school psychology, school counseling, or marriage, family, and child counseling programs offered by the CSP. The two-year block degree program meets all of the requirements for the 60-unit Master of Counseling with a concentration in multicultural community counseling. The program also fulfills the requirements for students to sit for the Professional Clinical Counselor licensure offered by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

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The M.S. in Counseling with a specialization in marriage and family therapy (MFT) requires students to complete 60 units within the program as well as two to nine units in order to fulfill all requirements for licensure. Students may earn the degree within two years, and they will take coursework in practice, personal growth, theory, and research experience. The courses interweave four themes: social constructionist-relational vantage point, multicultural development, larger social context/systems, and a developmental view of behavior. Graduates are able to provide therapeutic services and facilitate change processes while focusing on social justice in a variety of settings.

The 62-unit M.S. in Counseling with a specialization in school counseling prepares students with advanced professional skills to meet the requirements to become certified in school counseling. Graduate students are trained to become systems change agents, advocates, and leaders in the state’s diverse schools. As a critical part of the students’ educational program, aspiring school counselors will learn to evaluate, implement, develop, and design their comprehensive school counseling program to ensure that every student receives developmentally appropriate competencies in personal/social, career, and academic aspects.

The four-year Ed.S. in School Psychology degree prepares students with advanced professional skills to meet the credential qualifications for a specialization in school psychology. The program is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists, and students are prepared to become cultural specialists in intervention, consultation, and assessment of children’s psychological and educational problems through systemic and ecological perspectives of change and problem development.

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University (SDSU) is a public research university located in San Diego, California. Founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, it is the oldest and largest higher education institution in San Diego County as well as the third-oldest university in the 23-member California State University (CSU). SDSU enrolls more than 34,500 students each year and boasts an alumni base of more than 280,000 people. Notable alumni include actress Marion Ross and actor Gregory Peck. SDSU sponsors the second highest number of Fulbright Scholars in the state, just behind the University of California Berkeley. Since 2005, SDSU has produced more than 65 Fulbright student scholars. SDSU ranks among the top 10 universities in the country in terms of racial and ethnic diversity among its student body as well as the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by minority students. The school offers more than 90 master’s degrees, 190 master’s degrees, and 26 different teaching credentials. SDSU also offers 25 doctoral degrees, more than any other campus in the CSU system, while also enrolling the largest number of doctoral degree-seeking students.

San Diego State University Accreditation Details

San Diego State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Through its peer review process, based on standards agreed to by its members, the WSCUC encourages continuous institutional improvement and assures students and the public that the school is fulfilling its established mission. The WSCUC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and allows SDSU to offer federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid. In addition, the marriage and family therapy program offered by SDSU is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The school psychology program is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as well as the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

San Diego State University Application Requirements

Students seeking admission into a graduate-level degree in counseling or psychology must complete the San Diego State University (SDSU) application via the school’s online system. Students are instructed not to include letters of recommendation or personal statements via this system. Other required documents include official transcripts from all previously attended institutions, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores, a disclosure form, a coursework form, an experience profile, an unofficial transcript, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. Students pursuing the marriage and family therapy degree will also be required to create a five- to six-minute video on their phone or other video recording device and upload it with their application materials. This video should cover what the student hopes to learn in his or her choice of program, what he or she is most passionate about in becoming a counselor, mental health professional, or marriage and family therapist, and what the student imagines his or her contribution to others when helping them with mental health services. School counselors will need to take and pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), apply for their certificate of clearance, and obtain the results of a negative TB test prior to enrolling in the program.

Tuition and Financial Aid

San Diego State University charges $8,922 in basic tuition and fees for both California residents and non-California residents at the graduate level. However, non-residents will also be required to pay an additional $7,128 in tuition for their master’s degree. This fee is based on nine units per semester at $396 per unit and does not include housing, books, supplies, and other related fees and expenses. Graduate students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. Possible types of financial aid offered by San Diego State University include a work-study program, loans, grants, and scholarships.

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