1. How many classes do most graduate students take a semester in the MPC Program?
Course load varies depending on individual circumstances such as employment and family responsibilities, but the majority of our students take two or three courses a semester. Anything more than five course credits is considered full-time in the graduate school. A small percentage of student complete one course a semester (part-time) and 15-20% take four courses.
2. Can I work full-time and still attend graduate school?
Yes, the large majority of our graduate students work full-time and still manage to take two or three courses per term. Courses are offered in the later afternoon and evenings Monday through Thursday. Classes starting at 4:30pm typically meet twice per week for 1.25 hours per class. Classes starting at 6pm typically meet for about 2.5 hours and meet once per week.
3. What is the typical age of a Carlow MPC student?
Graduate students range in age from the early 20s to the 50s and older. Some students are newly graduated from their undergraduate programs, while others have been in the workforce for many years and have decided to return to enhance their job prospects or overall knowledge of the discipline.
4. My undergraduate degree is not in psychology, will this hurt my chances of being accepted into the MPC program?
Not at all. Though a majority of our students have undergraduate degrees in the social sciences (psychology, sociology, human development, social work), at least 1/3 of our student body have degrees outside of this general field of study. Whether your undergraduate degree is in English, biology, or accounting, many other factors such as work experience, personal essay, and letters of recommendation impact a student’s admission into the program.
5. Are online courses available?
In the last two years we have increased our online course options by 20%. Students that enjoy this method of instruction will find that several options are available and the Addictions track courses are entirely online. However, students are never expected to take online courses and all core courses have multiple sections of traditional in-class options available.
6. How long does it take to complete the program?
The vast majority of our students choose the 60 credit option. It can be completed within the following time frames:
- A student taking 2 courses a semester including summer session (18 credits per year), would complete the MPC program in 3.5 to 4 years.
- A student taking 3 courses a semester including summer session (27 credits per year), would complete the program in 2 to 2.5 years.
- A student taking 4 courses a semester including summer session (36 credits per year), would complete the program in less than 2 years.
- Students who are not interested in pursuing licensure or school certification, or who are planning on pursuing doctoral studies, might consider the 48-credit option. The 48-credit option typically takes one or two fewer semesters to complete as compared to the 60-credit option.
7. What are the differences between core courses, track-specific courses, and electives?
There are three types of courses in the Carlow MPC Program:
These courses are required of all students regardless of which track they are pursuing. There are 14 courses (42 credits) that comprise the core requirements and the foundation of a professional counselor’s education at Carlow University. These courses are directly connected to state licensure standards and the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
These courses are required to complete the student’s selected specialization track within the program. (Adult-Generalist, Child & Family, School Counseling, or Addictions). These courses are required for specific tracks, but may also be used as electives by those pursuing a separate track of study. The Adult-Generalist track has no track-specific courses. The Child & Family track has 3 track-specific courses. The Addictions track has 4 track-specific courses. The School Counseling track has 6 track-specific courses.
These courses are open to all students and are not required. Electives cover a wide-array of topics and are scheduled on a yearly or every-other year schedule. Each track has a different number of available electives for students to pursue. The Adult-Generalist Track has the most flexibility (as it has no track-specific aspects) and allows students to take 6 electives (18 credits). The Child & Family Track permits students to take 3 electives (9 credits). The Addictions Track permits students to take 2 electives (6 credits). Finally, the School Counseling Track, because of its increased number of track-specific courses, does not permit students the option of pursuing additional electives.
8. What is the difference between licensure and certification?
Licensure at the master’s level refers to the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Counselors can apply for the LPC once they have completed a minimum of 60 credits in counseling or a closely related field. In addition to the course work, students must pass an exam (typically it’s the National Board of Certified Counselor’s National Counselor Exam), and complete a minimum of 3600 hours of supervised experience (see your advisor or the licensing board website for more details on specific supervision requirements).
Certification can refer to certification as a school counselor, or it can refer to the National Certified Counselor (NCC). To earn school counseling certification in elementary and/or secondary school counseling a student must complete a program of studies approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Carlow offers such a program and it requires that students take specific courses designed to meet the PDE standards in school counseling. See your advisor for details. Once certified as an elementary or secondary school counselor, the counselor is qualified to work in the public schools in Pennsylvania.
The NCC designation is earned by counselors who pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and who also have a minimum of 3000 hours of supervised counseling experience. The NCC is a voluntary credential, but since passing the NCE is a step in qualifying for the LPC, many LPC’s also earn the NCC designation.