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Professional Counseling

teacher with child student

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) accredited program features internationally known faculty, two state-of-the-art community counseling clinics, and a rigorous curriculum focusing on experiential learning integrated with the application of didactic, research-based knowledge. Core tenets emphasized throughout the program include diversity, ethics, professional development, and self-awareness.

Students learn about the counseling profession and develop therapeutic skills through practical experience, knowledge, and personal reflection.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Kathy Ybanez-Llorente
Education Building (ED), Room 4012

Advisor Support
Courtney Webb
Education Building (ED), Room 4012

“The quality of education in the professional counseling program is superb. As the successful private practice owner of Respark Therapy and CEO of the Southwest Sexual Health Alliance, I am very thankful for the competent professors and the well-rounded education I received at Texas State.”

— Heather McPherson M.A. ’10, LPC-S, LMFT-S, CST

Course Work

The master of arts (M.A.) in professional counseling offers a required course sequence that builds skills through three levels, from basic to advanced, via didactic and experiential activities. The curriculum includes core foundations in theories, clinical interventions, assessment, ethics, diversity, and research. An internship is required for the capstone experience. Students can choose from four concentrations: clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; school counseling; and school counselor certification. Concentrations in clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; and school counseling are nationally accredited by CACREP, while the concentration of school counselor certification meets the requirements of the Texas State Board for Educator Certification in Texas.

Master's Degree Programs

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling 60 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling 66 Thesis No minor
M.A. Marriage & Family Counseling 60 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. Marriage & Family Counseling 66 Thesis No minor

Master's Degree + Professional Certification Program

Degree Concentration & Certification Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.A. School Counseling 60 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. School Counselor 48 Non-Thesis No minor

Professional Certification Exam
You will be eligible to take the Texas Education Agency school counselor exam upon successful completion of the school counseling concentration.
Aerial view of Round Rock Campus

Texas State Round Rock Campus
These programs can be completed in Round Rock, though taking courses in both San Marcos and Round Rock will result in quicker degree completion.

Current students score at the highest levels on state and national examinations and are strongly endorsed by community mental health agencies and schools for employment.

Program Mission

The professional counseling program believes that well-prepared counselors are involved and committed to a process of intentional growth-promoting pro-social autonomy, lifelong learning, and ethical behavior. These ideals are fostered within a dynamic and multi-modal learning setting in which diversity, critical thinking, self-in-context, scholarship, praxis, and the creation and integration of knowledge are celebrated.

The program will maintain the highest standards of counselor education which will continue to garner local, national, and international recognition in providing excellence in academic and clinical preparation for the development of counseling professionals.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Faculty present their research at national and international conferences and publish books, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles in top venues in their field. The range of research and clinical interests include:

  • play therapy
  • animal-assisted counseling
  • mindfulness
  • group counseling
  • addictions
  • domestic violence

Meet our faculty ›

  • sandtray therapy
  • clinical supervision
  • women and gender studies
  • child parent relationship therapy
  • ethics

Career Options

The professional counseling program is designed to provide the training and course work graduates need to become certified as Texas school counselors, Texas licensed professional counselors, or Texas licensed marriage and family therapists. The Institute for Play Therapy offers additional specialized training in play therapy, sandtray therapy, and animal-assisted counseling that could assist counselors in becoming Registered Play Therapists or certified in animal-assisted counseling.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard February 15 February 15
Spring October 1 October 1
Summer I February 15 February 15
Summer II February 15 No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a firm basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee(s)

  • $35 nonrefundable Texas Education Agency technology fee (if offered admission to the master's certification program)
    and either
  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • official GRE (general test only) required with competitive scores in the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections

  The GRE may be waived if you hold a master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If you hold a master's or doctoral degree (or the equivalent thereof) from an accredited international institution, the GRE may be waived on an individual basis.

  Review important information about official test scores.


  • informed consent form
  • resume/CV detailing:
    • unique competencies that would contribute to your aptitude for graduate study
    • personal experiences, such as volunteer work, that have helped prepare you for a role as a future counselor
    • any additional language skills
    • any technological competence and computer literacy
  • statement of purpose (maximum 750 words, typed and double-spaced) detailing:
    • your professional goals and the reason you are pursuing education and training in professional counseling, as opposed to another mental health discipline (such as psychology, social work, or counseling psychology)
    • your reason for choosing your specified concentration (clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling or school counseling)
    • your major strengths and weaknesses with respect to being admitted into this program
    • your perspective on diversity including: 
      • how you would contribute to and benefit from the richness of our professional counseling program
      • how you would increase inclusion of diversity in the counseling profession
  • three forms of recommendation (not general reference letters)

  Review important information about documents.

TOEFL Scores for school counseling and school counselor applicants

Applicants are required to submit TOEFL scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores with minimum individual scores of
    • 22 listening
    • 22 reading
    • 24 speaking
    • 21 writing

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.

TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Scores for clinical mental health counseling & marriage and family counseling applicants

Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

Your statement of purpose will be evaluated for content, style, and quality. While you may seek consultation and editing suggestions, this statement must be representative of your current level and style of writing and representative of what could be expected from you if accepted into the program.