Mar 04, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Counseling Dual Degree: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling & Master of Arts in School Counseling

Alar Lipping, Ph.D., Interim School of Kinesiology, Counseling, and Rehabilitative Sciences Director 

Christopher Lawrence, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director

Dori Glance, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director


The Dual Degree in Counseling combines both a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in School Counseling, both CACREP-accredited programs.  A combination of these degrees will prepare students to be eligible for licensure as clinical mental health counselors and certification as school counselors.

Contact Information

School of Kinesiology, Counseling, and Rehabilitative Sciences Graduate Office - MEP 203; (859) 572-7892

Admission Requirements

Individuals applying must meet all requirements for admission to graduate study at Northern Kentucky University as defined by the Graduate Catalog at the time of application in addition to the following:

To be eligible for admission applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an overall minimum 2.75 undergraduate grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
  • Undergraduate coursework must contain 48 semester credits (or equivalent in quarter hours) in the liberal arts. 
  • Baccalaureate degree must show completion of a statistics course with a grade of C- or higher.

Application Process:

  1. Submit an online application and application fee to the Office of Graduate Education.
  2. Submit official transcripts of undergraduate and any graduate coursework sent directly from all institutions of higher education previously attended.
  3. Submit official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). This requirement will be waived for those individuals who have already completed a master’s degree.
  4. Submit the supplemental application including a 500-700 word essay demonstrating evidence of one’s potential to work effectively with people, reasons for wanting to become a professional counselor, any relevant work or volunteer experiences, and examples of important events that have influenced one’s career goals. Supplemental application is available on the Office of Graduate Education website. 
  5. Three recommendations from people (former instructors, supervisors, colleagues, etc.) who are qualified to evaluate academic and professional potential in the field of counseling. These must be submitted on counseling recommendation form.  Recommendations available on the Office of Graduate Education website.
  6. Submit a professional resume tailored to educational goals, including educational background, employment history, awards, and accomplishments.
  7. A criminal background check (state and federal) is required for admission to the program. For individuals currently employed in the public schools, a copy of their teaching certificate may be submitted in lieu of the background check.  Please contact the program at in order to obtain information on getting your background check completed.  Any costs associated with background check are the responsibility of the applicant.
  8. Successful completion of an interview with Counseling Program faculty and a positive recommendation from the admission’s committee for admission to the program, to ensure the candidate possesses the interpersonal characteristics and personal dispositions to uphold ethical standards of the counseling profession. 

The counseling program admits new students for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Admission to the counseling program is competitive, and admission decisions are based on a holistic evaluation of each applicant’s admission file.


Completion of these degrees (72 credit hours) corresponds with the academic and experiential standards outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP -  The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling also corresponds and is approved by the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Professional Counselors ( and the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board ( The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency ( requires an additional 300 hours of clinical counseling internship, which can be added to the curriculum at NKU.  The Master of Arts in School Counseling is authorized by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (KYEPSB) as well as accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Additionally, our degrees may meet the requirements for many other states though each state has unique application and licensure/certification requirements; please review the counseling licensure requirements for the states in which one might be interested. 

Total Hours: 72

Program Retention

The counseling program has additional academic standards, beyond those of the minimum university standards for graduate students. No student will be allowed to begin Practicum or Internship while on academic probation.  Furthermore, a student who receives an F in any counseling course, or any grade lower than a B- in the following courses (COU 600 , COU 601 COU 602 COU 640 , COU 641 , COU 650 , COU 690 , COU 691 , COU 692 , will not be permitted to continue in the program without the approval of the respective program director. 

Timeline of Clinical Practice Experiences:

1. Prior to enrollment in practicum (COU 690 ), students must have completed the following courses:

2. Application to Practicum or Internship. The semester prior to the expected start date for practicum (COU 690 ), students must submit an Application for Clinical Practice and Criminal Background Report to the Clinical Director or the respective Program Director.

3. Practicum:

  • The practicum course provides counseling students with direct opportunities to enhance their counseling skills within a structured, supportive environment. Students will be expected to demonstrate the intentional use of their counseling skills with clients in an ethical and culturally responsive manner.
  • Students will complete supervised counseling practicum experiences that total a minimum of 100 clock hours over a full semester; at least 40 of these hours must involve direct service with actual clients that contributes to the development of counseling skills.
  • Each week, practicum students will participate in one hour of individual and/or triadic supervision by a counselor education program faculty member, as well as one hour of weekly supervision by an onsite supervisor, as applicable.
  • Practicum students will also participate in an average of 1½ hours per week of group supervision on campus throughout the practicum course. 

4. Internship:

  • Building on the competencies developed in practicum (COU 690 ), internship students will be expected to increasingly demonstrate the full range of competencies expected by a professional school or clinical counselor.
  •  After successful completion of the practicum course, students must complete 600 clock hours of supervised counseling internship in settings relevant to their specialty area; at least 240 of these clock hours must involve direct service with actual clients.
  • Internship students will have weekly interaction with site supervisors that averages one hour per week of either individual and/or triadic supervision throughout the internship.
  • Internship students will also participate in an average of 1½ hours per week of group supervision on campus throughout the internship provided by a counselor education program faculty member.

State of Kentucky Provisional Counseling/Guidance Certificate

Upon completion of the 72 credit hour dual degree in counseling program the individual is eligible for the Kentucky Provisional School Counseling Certificate. This certificate is awarded by the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board with a recommendation from NKU. The initial Provisional School Counseling Certificate is valid for five years. The Provisional Certificate allows one to seek employment as a school counselor. One will have five years to complete the requirements for the Standard Guidance Certificate or renew the provisional certificate with additional coursework in counseling.  A CA-1 form must be submitted to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (KYEPSB) to apply for the certification.  Contact the Counseling Graduate Office at for questions on certification.

Completion of the 72 credit hour program master’s in school counseling program at NKU satisfies coursework requirements for the initial Ohio Licensure Application in School Counseling ( as well as coursework requirements for many other states across the country (see Each state has unique application requirements in addition to coursework, such as the school counseling Praxis, Pearson, etc. exam, so please review your home state’s school counseling licensure/certification requirements closely for the state you are planning to seek licensure/certification in.

Additional Information

Certifications are not automatic and must be initiated by the student.  Forms and processes of application for certification from Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (KYEPSB) are subject to change. For the most current application forms or processes go to the KYEPSB website ( Contact the counseling graduate office for additional information on university recommendations for certification.

No Praxis Exams are required at this time for School Counseling Certification.

* Requirements and passing scores for teacher/educator certification are subject to change. For the most current PRAXIS II testing requirements, go to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board website ( If you are certified/licensed or requesting certification/licensure in another state please check with your licensure board for your state testing regulations.

Exit Requirements

  • Application to graduate submitted by posted deadlines by candidate through the myNKU student portal.
  • Students will complete all coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Completion of all required courses used for the degree with a C or better.
  • Signed Counselor Education Handbook Acknowledgment.
  • Signed Code of Ethics for Counselor Education Programs.
  • Signed copy of Dual Counseling degree curriculum contract.

Students will complete all coursework following the academic policies of the university.  At the conclusion of their plan of study, all students must take a comprehensive exam (usually within their last two semesters of their courses) prescribed by the counseling education program faculty.  A passing score on the prescribed exam, in addition to successful completion of the academic coursework, is required for graduation.