Jun 24, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Counseling, MS (Rehabilitation Counseling)

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Degree Requirements

Curricular Requirements (60 cr.)

The primary goal of rehabilitation counseling is promoting the vocational achievement and emotional adjustment of individuals with disabilities. The unemployment rate over the past 20 years for individuals with disabilities is consistently over 60 percent. One-fifth of Americans have some type of disability, and one in ten has a severe disability. With more than 20 million Americans with severe disabilities, the need for rehabilitation counselors is clear. The rehabilitation counseling curriculum is organized to identify the potential and to facilitate the development of its students and the individuals with disabilities with whom they work. The emphasis is on developing empathy and respect for the social foundations and cultural diversity of all persons by fostering each individual’s self-awareness, respect, and esteem. Students are provided opportunities to recognize, develop, and promote their own resources as a means of adapting effectively to their own environment and life conditions. The curriculum attaches particular importance to the role of adaptation in a person’s life. Students are prepared to make significant practitioner-oriented contributions to rehabilitation counseling and to enter upon study at the doctoral level, if they so desire.

General Requirements

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in the program’s core curriculum and in all subsequent coursework. A total of 60 credits is required.

In addition, stduents are required to complete a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship where they work for a vocational rehabilitation agency or community rehabilitation provider to gain clinical experience in working with individuals with disabilities. Before beginning the internship placement, each student must formally demonstrate the academic and personal readiness to be an ethical and responsible counselor-in-training. In their final semester, students are required to complete a capstone experience to demonstrate their ability to apply, integrate, and synthesize what they have learned.

Online option

The online option in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program operates on a cohort model, with all participants completing the program of study together over a two-year period. Clinical courses are taught during the first summer at UMass at facilities that also provide housing accommodations; all participants must be present for an intensive one-week session held in mid June (low-cost residential accommodations at UMass Dartmouth are provided to participants). Online components of those classes are completed prior to the in-person weeklong session. The remaining courses are delivered in a web-based, online format following the regular semester calendar. The program requires a 100-hour practicum in an approved placement site and a 600-hour internship, divided evenly between two semesters and consisting of supervised field experiences in public or nonprofit rehabilitation facilities. While engaged in all field work, students participate in an online seminar (a verbal live chat) where their experiences are examined in relation to current issues of concern in the field of rehabilitation counseling. Students are also expected to provide audio/videotapes of counseling sessions.

Required capstone

Rehabilitation Counseling students may choose one of two capstone options: a case analysis or a research project.

The clinical case analysis includes a tape and transcript of a counseling session and a detailed analysis of contextual, developmental, discrimination/exclusion, ethical, medical, psychosocial, treatment, countertransference, vocational, and rehabilitation issues as they apply to the case.

The research project involves writing and presenting original research addressing an issue of concern in the field of rehabilitation counseling. The work is initiated during the early part of the internship and includes discussing the identified issue and linking it to potential solutions. A primary focus is on whether the proposed solution is feasible for further implementation in the field of rehabilitation counseling. Faculty approval of the project is required at all stages.

Required field experience (700 hr., 15 cr.)

Required courses (45 cr.)

The program offers graduate courses in:

  • research in psychology
  • medical aspects of disabilities
  • foundations of rehabilitation counseling
  • principles of assessment
  • ethical standards and professional issues in counseling
  • abnormal psychology
  • case management
  • vocational rehabilitation and job placement
  • vocational development
  • counseling theories and practice
  • individual counseling
  • group counseling
  • lifespan human development
  • family therapy theories
  • multicultural counseling

Required courses include

Accreditation and licensure

The rehabilitation counseling curriculum is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). It prepares students to meet the academic requirements for licensure in the state of Massachusetts and achieve national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication. Also refer to the description of admission requirements listed under “Professional Preparation Programs for Educators ” in the “Academic & Administrative Policies ” section of this publication. The Counseling Program faculty recommend admission of applicants who present evidence of potential both to complete a graduate course of studies with distinction and to become thoughtful and responsive practitioners. For master’s applicants, such evidence normally includes:

  1. A minimum of five social science courses
  2. A distinguished undergraduate transcript with at least a 3.0 cumulative average
  3. All applicants must submit strong scores on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  4. Three strong letters of recommendation indicating the applicant’s ability to work well with others
  5. A statement of intent
  6. A group interview with other candidates and faculty members
  7. At least one year of paid or volunteer work in a mental health or equivalent setting is recommended.

Additional Requirements for CAGS Applications

Candidates must have maintained an overall 3.25 GPA while earning a master’s degree in counseling or its equivalent. All candidates are asked to visit the campus for a personal interview.

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