School Counseling - Elementary (PK-8), Master of Science in Education

Offered by Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Family Science

Program Information and Admission Requirements


The school psychology and school counseling programs are accredited by Nebraska State Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Admission Requirements

Those planning to be full-time students in School Counseling programs should obtain full admission to their chosen program of study the semester prior to their enrollment by completing the following steps:

  1. Complete the UNK Graduate online application. All materials listed below are uploaded with the online application:
    1. $45 non-refundable application fee.
    2. Academic history-official transcripts of all previous academic work.  If your GPA falls below the UNK Graduate Studies minimum expectation of 2.75, please upload a Low GPA Statement with explanation for your past academic performance, how you be successful academically at the graduate level (minimum 3.0 GPA), and why you should be admitted as an exception to the GPA requirement.
    3. Resume with requested information.
    4. "Motivation for becoming a school counselor" essay.
    5. Three electronic professional references. Forms are automatically sent to recommenders when application is submitted.
  2. When all materials have been received, the Office of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach will conduct an initial evaluation. Applicants meeting admission requirements for graduate study will be forwarded to the Department for consideration and recommendation.
  3. Applicants must participate in the CSP Department admission interview/intake process which occurs each semester. When the application is complete, the CSP Department secretary will send the applicant a confirmation of this meeting via electronic mail to the preferred email address indicated on the application.
  4. Department recommendations for admissions are submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach.
  5. Letters with admission decisions (i.e. an unconditional/full status, conditional/provisional status, or denial) are mailed from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach.


All students are assigned an academic advisor within the department upon admission.

Application for Candidacy

To be eligible for candidacy (i.e. approval to continue coursework and "stand" as a candidate for the degree), the student must have fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. If you were conditionally admitted, this condition must have been met.
  2. Application for Candidacy must be made prior to completion of half of the required credit hours on the student's program of study.
  3. A grade of B or higher in CSP 855 with a B or higher.
  4. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
  5. Demonstrate professional fitness and competencies.
  6. Adhere to ethical standards.

Failure to meet any of these conditions can result in denial of the Application for Candidacy.

Comprehensive Examinations

All students seeking degrees and/or endorsements are required to complete comprehensive examinations. The examinations may be written, oral or both. Additionally, in order to successfully complete a degree program, students must meet the expectations outlined in department academic progress and ethical conduct policies (see respective Program Handbook for more detailed information).

NDE School Counselor Endorsement 

Non-Teacher Pathway

(School Counseling Endorsement +12)

The Nebraska Department of Education changed Rule 24 requirements Fall 2017 allowing professionals with any undergraduate degree (no longer limited to teacher education degrees) to become school counselors by taking 12 credit hours of online, teacher educator field-based training in addition to completing a master’s degree in School Counseling. 

Provisional School Counselor Endorsement

With Nebraska Teaching Certificate:

Students with a Nebraska teaching certificate must complete 50% of the UNK School Counseling Master’s Degree coursework to qualify for provisional endorsement.  

Without Nebraska Teaching Certificate:

Students without a Nebraska teaching certificate must complete 75% of the UNK School Counseling Master’s Degree program (i.e., minimum 33 credit hours) and TE 831 (6 credit hours of Transitional Certification Program) to qualify for provisional endorsement.

School Counseling Program Mission and Objectives

Elementary and Secondary

The mission of the Counselor Education Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is to graduate knowledgeable and clinically skilled professional counselors who are competent to work with and advocate for diverse clients in a variety of settings, with special emphasis in rural mental health. The program helps students develop a strong counselor professional identity through ethical and competent practice as well as expanding self-awareness. Thus, graduate students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal development.

The general objective of the School Counseling major is to prepare professional counselors to deliver quality counseling services in elementary and secondary schools. Employment for school counselors is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2008-2014, which is faster than the average for all occupations. States require elementary schools to employ counselors. Expansion of the responsibilities of school counselors also is likely to lead to increases in their employment. For example, counselors are becoming more involved in crisis and preventive counseling, helping students deal with issues ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to death and suicide.

The School Counseling major will:

  1. Possess knowledge of the historical background of school counseling programs.
  2. Understand the philosophy and functioning of school counseling programs.
  3. Possess the ability to design and implement a program evaluation.
  4. Know the roles, duties, and responsibilities of a school counselor.
  5. Possess the knowledge to make referrals inside and outside the school system.
  6. Possess the knowledge to function on a child study team.
  7. Be knowledgeable of the diversity within the school environment and be able to recognize the needs of children from special populations.
  8. Be able to function as a consultant to other school personnel.
  9. Be familiar with the legislation and policies relevant to school counseling.
  10. Understand the process of coordinating the guidance curriculum within the structure of the total school curriculum.
  11. Know how to function as an advocate for the students.
  12. Know how to present guidance-related programs to school personnel and parents.
  13. Understand and be able to implement the Nebraska Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Program Model.
  14. Possess knowledge of standardized tests commonly utilized by school personnel.
  15. Possess knowledge of career exploration and decision-making.
  16. Be able to work with families on a therapeutic and educational level.
  17. Possess skills to provide group guidance and group counseling in the schools.
  18. Understand the legal and ethical issues of the school counseling profession.

Counseling and School Psychology Mission Statement

The Department of Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) promotes a field-based scientist/practitioner model in order to prepare culturally competent and compassionate professionals at the graduate level to provide service and leadership in school counseling. The focus of the scientist/practitioner model within the CSP department is to create practitioners who understand, critically evaluate and effectively use the research base within their profession in order to make decisions and guide practice. CSP is an interdisciplinary department committed to work towards equity and social justice within the College and University, our professions, and throughout the broader society.

The school counseling program is accredited by Nebraska State Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The Nebraska Department of Education Rule 24 Requirements allows professionals with any undergraduate degree (no longer limited to teacher education degrees) to become school counselors by completing 12 online credit hours (TE 831 and TE 832) of teacher education field-based training in addition to the UNK master’s degree in School Counseling.

The following program meets the academic requirements for endorsement by the State Department of Education.

All students are required to complete an exit survey during the semester of graduation or program completion.

Required Courses
CSP 802Research Methods In Psychology and Education 23
CSP 805Child and Adolescent Development and Interventions 13
CSP 855Techniques of Counseling3
CSP 856Multicultural Counseling 23
CSP 860Theories of Counseling 23
CSP 861PSchool Counseling Organization and Practice 23
CSP 865Group Counseling3
CSP 870Marriage and Family Counseling 13
CSP 875Career and Lifestyle Development 23
CSP 885Practicum in Counseling and Guidance 13
CSP 893Internship in School Counseling I 22
CSP 894Internship in School Counseling II 22
CSP 901Ethical, Legal and Professional Practice in Schools 23
CSP 905Behavioral Problem Solving Assessment 13
CSP 957Problem Solving Consultation 13
Total Credit Hours43

Blended courses


On-line courses