Counseling Degree Programs in the District of Columbia

Updated December 2, 2022

The need for qualified professional counselors increases in stressful times. For students interested in earning a counseling degree, the District of Columbia offers top programs. 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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Dubbed “Athens’s first citizen” during the late 400s BC, the prominent and influential Greek philosopher Pericles once advised, “Wait for the wisest of all counselors, time.” Despite great profundity in many respects, this seemingly sage counsel is seriously flawed in modern educational contexts. Contemporary society is far more complex and fast-paced than life was for the human race when those words were first spoken. Hence, modern-day aspirants for professional counseling careers are better advised to heed the revised and much wiser counsel of noted author and counselor Roopleen Roopleen, “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” Fortunately, would-be mental health practitioners who’ve patiently waited can finally bring lifelong dreams to full fruition.

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Below is a list of universities situated in the seat of our nation’s highest level of government and Academia’s uppermost echelons that administer the finest graduate counseling education on the face of the globe. To glean invaluable insights into attributes that make institutes great, peruse the following details about distinguished counseling degree programs in the District of Columbia.

  • Gallaudet University

    Washington, DC

    Department of Counseling

    Established in 1971, GU's department of counseling has a unique focus on preparing graduates to provide professional counseling services to hearing-impaired clients with and without other disabilities. As such, its mission is to prepare competent mental health or school counseling professionals skilled in working with hearing impaired clientele within diverse settings. Toward that end, GU employs a training model that heavily emphasizes cultivating cultural sensitivity, knowledge, and practical skills vital to ethical and effective practice that affects micro and macro-scale changes toward health promotion in multicultural and socially equitable contexts.

    M.A. School Counseling ("MASC")

    This MASC degree program is the only one of its kind on the face of the globe in terms of its primary emphasis on hearing-impaired clientele and their families, communities, and educational systems. Consistent with accreditation standards, this 65-credit curriculum has the following learning objectives:

    • Articulation, advocacy, and modeling a professional school counselor's role and identity
    • Demonstrate cognizance, skills, and knowledge required to interrelate with and counsel diverse clientele with demonstrated comprehension of human growth and development
    • Integrate knowledge, skills, and cognizance of legal, political, and economic issues in the context of cultural diversity, societal equity, and holistic student development
    • Identification and assessment of multi-faceted influential factors in the social, scholastic, and personal functionalities of students
    • Demonstrate decision making in accordance with legal, professional, and ethical standards
    • Demonstrate research knowledge and evaluation relevant to school counseling practices
    • Facilitate preventions and interventions that empower students to overcome learning obstacles and achieve maximum social, personal, academic, and career potential
    • Demonstrate fundamental knowledge and application of theory-based models and processes for community and school collaboration
    • Demonstrate adequate comprehension of conceptual, strategic, and clinical competencies essential for effective school counselors
    • Appreciate the significance of school counselors as agents of positive systemic change and apply such cognizance to professional practice

    M.A. Mental Health Counseling ("MAMHC")

    In 1986, GU launched this MAMHC program in response to a critical nationwide shortage of counseling and mental health professionals with specialized expertise in working with hearing-impaired clients.

    The GU Department of Counseling cites greatly expanded educational and occupational opportunities for this demographic segment due to advanced technology as an emergent trend that portends equal optimism for practitioners with special training in counseling those groups.

    The 73-credit MAMHC curriculum is designed for completion in two academic years and one summer session of full-time study. It also places special emphases on community and clinical counseling through compulsory field internship activities.


    Both of the above degree programs are accredited by the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education ("NCATE") and the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs ("CACREP").


    Ms. Renee Smith
    Fowler Hall, #107
    800 Florida Avenue NE
    Washington, DC 20002
    Phone: (202) 651-5515

  • George Washington University

    Washington, DC

    Graduate School of Education & Human Development ("GSEHD"), Department of Counseling & Human Development

    Via its virtual domain, the GSEHD at GWU declares strong dedication to its self-declared mission of "Leading Innovation through Learning." GSEHD also expresses great pride in its widely renowned faculty, devoted staff, highly successful alumni, and extensive network of robust partnerships. In actuality, GSEHD has good cause to be proud of its sterling institutional reputation and international acclaim as one of the best venues of graduate education for aspiring professional counselors.

    GSEHD's world-famous Center on Education Policy recently hosted the Education Writers Association Common Core Standards training seminar on November 4, 2013. This one-day session was primarily designed to educate D.C. journalists about the complex nuances of the posture, opportunities, challenges, and objectives of Common Core Standards that govern accredited post-secondary counseling degree programs. An especially notable item on the agenda that day was a GSEHD faculty in-depth expose into the dynamics of concurrent efforts by higher learning institutions and state governments to prepare principals and teachers for imminent transitioning to the newly-formulated Standards. Another major program segment was a practical lessons demonstration by experienced educators to reveal precisely how instructional delivery and content portends to change pursuant to the recently proscribed Standards.

    Another point of justified pride is the October 2013 induction of GSEHD Dean Michael Feuer as President of National Academy of Education 2013 ("NAEd"). In a contemporaneous news release, Feuer expressed high expectations of broadening NAEd's influence among professionals and policymakers in the field of education. Filling this tall order appears even more ambitious, given that Feurer intends to do so while retaining his duties as Dean of GSEHD.

    Perhaps greatest of all the latest distinguishing developments is President Obama's November 2013 nomination of GSEHD National Council member Dr. Ericka Miller as Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. In her new prestigious post, Dr. Miller will provide primary oversight of U.S. governmental programs for college students and higher educational institutions. In a public announcement of the nomination, President Obama stated that the "… nation will be greatly served by … talent and expertise these [people like Dr. Miller] bring to their new [leadership] roles."

    M.A. School Counseling

    This MASC degree program is committed to preparing competent school counselors for ethical practice in diverse educational settings. As such, its curriculum integrates related school services as well as counseling components. Sample coursework includes Psychosocial Adjustment, Career Counseling, and Stress, Risk, and Resilience in Adolescent Development.

    M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling ("MACMHC")

    This 54-credit graduate counseling degree program is designed to prepare knowledgeable counseling professionals for ethical practice in diverse human health and services environments. As such, like its above-mentioned MASC program, it has a curricular structure that integrates a wide range of ancillary but essential related disciplines. Sample coursework includes Cultural and Ethical Dimensions of Counseling, Lifespan Human Development, and Ethical Counseling Orientation. Besides theoretical classroom instruction, students must complete two internships of at least 300 hours and a 100-hour practicum.

    Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision

    This doctoral program has a mission that reflects the GWU Graduate School of Education and Human Development's overall mission to facilitate the development of advanced skills, knowledge, and sense of commitment to the counseling profession. Unlike its master's-level analogues, however, this Ph.D. degree program places special emphasis on applying those attributes in the areas of:

    • Research and Scholarship
    • Teaching
    • Supervision
    • Leadership and Advocacy

    The curriculum consists of 66 to 90 hours, depending on specific area(s) of specialization. In the case of Counselor Education and Supervision, candidates must complete specialty-related course work comprised of:

    • Counseling Core – 24 credits
    • Special Workshop: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, or Advanced Psychopathology if Special Workshop already completed during master's degree studiesAdvanced Practicum in Teaching
    • Advanced Theories of Counseling
    • Doctoral Internship in Counseling and Counselor Supervision I
    • Doctoral Internship in Counseling and Counselor Supervision II
    • Human Development Emphasis – 6 credits

    In addition to the above Core credits, counseling doctoral candidates who previously completed no master's level Human Development coursework must complete all classes listed below. Those who did previously complete 6 to 9 credits in master's level Human Development prerequisites must complete just two of the following:

    • Cultural Effects on Human Development
    • Work, Identity, and Adult Development
    • Adult Development and Aging
    • Social Cognitive Development
    • Human Development Issues and Special Topics – may be completed multiple times, as topic changes each session
    • Specialization Courses – 9 credits

    Specific classes must be selected in consultation with program advisor, to ensure adequate cognation with the Counseling doctoral candidate's personal career objectives and previous academic history. Advisor-directed specialization coursework typically consists of subjects that are within or very closely related to areas of special interest to each individual Counseling Ph.D. student.

    Irrespective of individualized specialization, all Counseling Ph.D. candidates must complete and successfully defend a comprehensive research dissertation as a mandatory graduation requirement.


    All the above graduate counseling degree programs are fully accredited by CACREP and the Community, School, and Ph.D. Counseling Programs Council for Rehabilitation Education ("CORE").


    Graduate School of Education & Human Development
    Emily Thomas, Admissions Facilitator
    2134 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20052
    Phone: (202) 994-7066

  • University of the District of Columbia

    Washington, DC

    College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology & Counseling

    The College of Arts and Sciences at UDC is a self-styled diverse community of novice and seasoned scholars engaged in knowledge acquisition and problem-solving of importance to local and global communities. This reflects its mission of attracting and engaging talent capable of influencing relevant matters of instant and long-term significance on a large scale. Toward this end, UDC strives to prepare graduates to be lifelong learners in positions of service and leadership. A primary means employed to meet this end is fueling students' latent desire to know into full-blown burning passions for flexible and critical reasoning based on known and new information to effectively address recurrent and novel challenges.

    Quite admittedly, UDC has created an impressive repertoire of implements to facilitate all the above agendas. Chief among these are a full-service Speech and Hearing Clinic, an Early Childhood Laboratory facility, a GIS lab, a widely renowned art gallery, and its newly launch Center of Urban Education. UDC not only "talks the talk" with these assets, but also "walks the walk" by vitalizing them with extensive quasi-curricular initiatives designed to extend its educational footprint exponentially. A prime example is a recently sponsored the Inaugural Big Read event that featured the famous book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," that included a panel discussion among world-renowned experts such as HPV vaccine co-inventor Dr. Richard Schlegel and David Lacks, the sole living offspring of the book's author.

    As of January 1, 2012, the The College of Arts and Sciencesassumed a new departmental structure with refined academic majors and minors. That restructuring was a deliberate response to thoughtful review of program processes designed to better reflect occupational, fiscal, and educational realities in addition to prevailing best practices.

    Like its institutional parent, the Department ofPsychology and Counseling also demonstrates affirmative action rather than mere utterances of unfulfilled promises. Most prominent of these examples of excellence in action is a Counseling and Student Development Center. Through this Center, both Counseling and non-Counseling UDC students receive mutual benefits. The former faction provides vital services that afford exposure to valuable practical experience while the latter obtain essential mental healthcare free of charge. The list of available offerings is quite long and includes group counseling, chemical dependency assistance, academic support, general consultation, career advice, and medication services.

    This prime prized attribute is fully harmonious with a dedicated mission of psychological health promotion to enrich career, scholastic, and personal growth.

    M.S. School Counseling

    This program's 54-credit curriculum is designed for completion in two to four years of full or part-time study. Its primary learning objective is training counselors to work with multiethnic and multicultural clientele who present with full spectra of mental health problems. Ancillary attributes it seeks to instill in students are an urgent desire to help others and both independent and team functionality.

    Throughout their intellectually rigorous course, aspiring school counselors are expected to commit at least 20 hours to on-site instruction and complete clinical field experiential in elementary, middle, and high school settings.

    In the MASC program curriculum at UDC, individual instructional components are distributed in this manner:

    • Professional orientation, research, evaluation, and theory – 9 hours
    • Basic required coursework – 30 hours
    • Elective coursework – 6 ≥ hours
    • Compulsory clinical internships and practica – 9 hours


    CACREP and NCATE-accredited and satisfies all academic perquisites for District of Columbia Public Schools certification.


    Department of Psychology & Counseling
    LaTonya Roger, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Students
    Bldg. 41, Suite 405
    4200 Connecticut Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20008 |
    Phone: (202) 274-5194

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