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Graduate Counseling Programs

Graduate Counseling Program FAQ

How is admission to the program determined?

The Graduate Programs in Counseling at Hofstra University consider the whole person in making admission decisions. No one factor determines a student’s admission. Program faculty look for individuals who are well-rounded students with strong undergraduate grades in the behavioral sciences, good performance on the GRE (when required), strong letters of support from relevant references, and a strong writing sample at the time of the personal interview. The personal interview is also considered a significant determinant in program admission. For admission requirements please refer back to the specified degree program of interest.

What can students do if they do not meet the academic requirements?

All cases are individually considered, therefore applicants in this situation should contact the program director for further advisement/consultation.

Which undergraduate courses will best prepare students for this program?

Psychology and behavioral sciences courses are strongly recommended in order to best prepare students for the program. There are 18 credits of pre-requisite course work that all students must complete before beginning the counseling curriculum.

Are all prerequisite courses expected to be completed before applying to the program?

Students may apply while in the process of finishing up the prerequisite courses. All pre-requisite courses should be completed before beginning the counseling curriculum. These courses help prepare students for the counseling curriculum. It is expected that all prerequisite course work will demonstrate competency on the part of the student, therefore, grades below B- will require review.

How long does it typically take to complete the program?

It will take two years to complete the master’s program. In the M.S. Ed in Counseling Program, there are five sequence courses that anchor the curriculum, which means that each sequence course must be completed before beginning the next course. In the MA in MHC program, there is a more flexible curriculum course sequence that is guided by established course pre-requisites; program typically entails 2.5 to 3 years to complete including internships.

How many credits are required for full-time status?

A total of nine (9) credits per semester is considered full-time graduate study at Hofstra.

Is it possible to fulfill the program requirements part-time?

Yes, many of our working students pursue their graduate studies part-time under advisement. The only stipulation is that the program requirements must be completed within five years.

Can students begin the program in the summer session?

Students in the M.S Ed. in counseling Program and in the MA in MHC program can only begin the program in the fall and spring semesters. Professional Diploma students sometimes can begin in the summer, depending on the advised program of study.

Can students transfer credits from another university?

Based upon program director evaluation, up to 9 s.h. of equivalent coursework can be transferred toward program coursework. However, once matriculated students are discouraged from enrolling in courses at other universities. Permission from the program director must be obtained in any case.

When are classes usually scheduled?

Classes are typically scheduled in the evenings. Almost all Counseling Program courses are offered after 4:30 p.m.; with a majority scheduled after 6:30 p.m. Summer and Winter class schedules may vary and can include weekend hours as well.

What is the procedure for becoming NYS provisionally certified as a school counselor?

Students must master competency in the graduate curriculum as determined by program faculty and field supervisors at the completion of their field internship in order to provide evidence that they are ready to assume the responsibilities of a school counselor. At this point, students are qualified to file for provisional certification through the Hofstra University Certification Office, Hagedorn 129. After working as a full-time school counselor for two years, graduates qualify for permanent certification but must apply through Hofstra’s Certification Office. It is important to note that as graduates of one of the few programs in New York State holding approved status, MSED in Counseling graduates qualify for permanent certification in school counseling without having to take additional graduate course work beyond the 42 credit master’s program. Two years of experience in school counseling is the only post-graduate requisite.  The Hofstra University Certification Office is located in Hagedorn Hall, Room 129, and can be contacted at (516) 463-4216.

Is prior teaching experience required for admission into the program for the school counseling track?

Teaching experience is not a requirement for admission into the program but of course such experience (even on volunteer or parallel basis) is considered relevant/helpful when applying for school counseling positions.

What kind of field internship is required?

For the Master of Science in Education degree program internship placements are determined by the student’s specialization track. Those students in the school counseling tack must complete a supervised full experience in an approved k-12 school setting. College student development counseling students are assisted in finding internship placements in various college student affair/university settings. For the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling degree program a supervised internship in an approved mental health setting is required. Field internship students are expected to perform the duties and responsibilities of a counseling practitioner as carried out in that site. Counselor interns become a part of a professionally approved program in which they can observe, participate, and apply classroom learning to field situations.

How many hours are required to complete the field internship?

For the Master of Science in Education degree program, students are required to complete a minimum of 200 internship hours in an approved supervised internship setting. This typically entails two full days per week in a field placement, if undertaken in one semester. Internships may also be conducted over two (2) semesters. For the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling degree program students are required to complete a minimum of 600 internship hours, over the course of two semesters, in a mental health setting. The opportunity for a third semester of clinical internship (another 300 hours) can be taken by mental health counseling students in lieu of an elective under advisement.

Does Hofstra help with placement for internships?

MSED students receive guidance from their adviser on appropriate placement sites. However, students can suggest a site to the program director for potential placement upon evaluation of that site. MA in MHC students are advised into one of the pre-approved internship placements. New placement sites can be identified and suggested by students for potential contract review.

Is there a Thesis or a Comprehensive Exam that must be taken to qualify for graduation?

There is no thesis requirement for graduation. However, passing a comprehensive exam is required for graduation. The comprehensive exam assesses students’ mastery of the knowledge-base. The exam is taken in the students last semester and is offered in the fall and spring semesters. If a student fails this exam, he/she may take the exam again at its next offering.

Can students work full time while in the program?

The class schedule permits students to work full or part-time during the day hours, as courses are primarily offered in the evening. Most internships however, will require a day schedule.

What is the cost per credit at Hofstra for graduate courses?

The rates for graduate courses per credit may change on a yearly basis. Visit the Bursar site for up to date information.

Are there scholarships that students can apply for?

Limited funds are made available each year to Counseling Program students who express financial need. To be eligible for consideration, students must submit a brief letter of request by June 1 to the Program Director outlining financial need and specifically listing the number of credits intended to be taken during the upcoming fall and spring semesters. Typically, the University also makes monies available to support a Provost’s Scholar for one program student who is enrolled in full-time study and has achieved a 3.5 GPA and qualifies for nomination. Those students interested in applying for other forms of financial aid, such as loans and work-study, should contact the Financial Aid Office at 516-463-8000.

How and when should students apply for financial aid/scholarships?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be filed after January 1st every year, preferably no later than February 1st for new students and March 15th for continuing students, at www.FAFSA.ed.gov. A link will be provided for full time New York state residents to complete the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application following the FAFSA or students may apply at the TAP web site www.hesc.com . Toll free assistance is available for the FAFSA by calling 1-800-4-FEDAID and TAP at 1-888-NYS-HESC. By filing the FAFSA and TAP applications, students will be applying for all types of federal/state grants, student loans, and work study programs available at Hofstra. Loan applications should be processed no later than June 1st for the fall semester. For information on how to choose a lender please visit www.hofstra.edu/learnaboutloans . For a list of alternative loan lenders visit www.finaid.org/loans/privatestudentloans.phtml .

How is financial need determined?

Financial need is calculated by the FAFSA processor. The Financial Aid Office utilizes this need analysis to construct a financial aid package meeting the need as much as possible with a combination of student loans and work study. Scholarships and grants for graduate students are awarded by the individual departments. The Financial Aid Office can be contacted at 516-463-8000.

Are there graduate assistant opportunities at Hofstra?

The Office of Student Employment provides on-campus employment programs for students throughout their years at the University. Assistantships usually require a commitment of 24 hours per week on an academic year contract. Compensation takes the form of tuition remission and, in some cases, a cash stipend varying from department to department. On-campus, part-time graduate assistant positions that pay at an hourly rate are also available throughout the campus. Listings of these positions can be found at here

What is the general job outlook for counselors?

The US department of Labor reports that the employment outlook of mental health counselors is “bright” and expected to grow by 36 % from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
The school counseling field has become quite competitive in recent years. Therefore, it is important that students commit to mastering knowledge in the classroom and develop skills/experience in the field while pursuing a degree in counseling. This will enhance their overall marketability in such a competitive market. Hofstra’s Counseling Programs are a very well-regarded and our graduates tend to do well in their job search. Hofstra University’s Career Center also provides assistance in this area. Students are strongly encouraged to become involved in professional organizations and are advised to take part in professional development opportunities to further their knowledge of the counseling field.