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Master of Science in Counseling - Option in Student Development in Higher Education (SDHE)

Counselors serve valuable functions in fields of education, health and human services, and business. Their domains of practice include public and private educational institutions, medical facilities and allied health agencies, social service agencies and organizations, state and federal human service agencies and programs, correctional facilities, business and industry, and private practice. The program's philosophy is to introduce students to a variety of approaches to counseling, and to encourage the development of competencies within these approaches.

The program combines theory and practice utilizing on and off campus course work and field work assignments. Required courses are offered predominantly in the evening, but most field assignments require daytime participation during normal business hours defined by the off-campus sites.

Students coming from diverse experiential backgrounds are trained at the graduate level to be able to perform entry level duties expected by the counseling profession and its specialty areas. Students are prepared to assume future leadership positions in their area(s) of expertise after additional work experiences have been acquired in the field following graduation.

Students completing this option are employed in residence halls, financial aid, student activities, adult re-entry, admissions, career centers, academic advising, disabled student services, counseling centers, orientation, TRIO and Educational Opportunity Programs, multicultural affairs, and community outreach in two- and four-year institutions.


The following are required for admission to the program:

1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

2. Minimum 2.85 overall grade point average in last degree (not credential or certificate) earned from an accredited institution of higher education. Applicants whose overall GPA is less than 2.85 but meet the University minimum GPA requirement and who present compelling evidence of academic and professional potential either through recent academic performance and/or experiential background, may be considered for admission at the discretion of the program admission committee. 

3. International applicants have additional university application requirements including meeting the English language proficiency requirement. Please visit The Center for International Education (CIE) website at for more information.


Candidates must apply separately to both the university and the program by posted deadlines. Applications should be submitted at the same time. Program Option application deadlines may vary.
The application for Graduate Admission to the University is available online through CSUMentor ( One complete set of official transcripts must be submitted with the university application. This set of transcripts will be used to determine grade point average eligibility. Failure to submit transcripts in a timely manner will result in a delayed review of the application.

A separate application to the selected Counseling program Option must be submitted to the College of Education Graduate Studies Office (ED1-7). You may only apply to one program per year. A program Option application and directions can be downloaded at The program Option application does not require a set of transcripts.

Classified Admission

Successful applicants are admitted to the program Option with Classified Admission status.

Advancement to Candidacy - Clear Admission

Students should advance to candidacy as early as possible. For advancement to candidacy (Clear Admission status), students must:

1. Fulfill the campus Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

2. Complete COUN 510, COUN 513; EDP 400; SDHE 538, SDHE 593.

3. Maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all course work.

4. Resolve all incomplete grades.

5. Meet with the program coordinator and faculty advisor

6. Submit to the Graduate Studies Office an Advancement to Candidacy form signed by the program coordinator.


Take all of the following (51 - 57 units):

  • COUN 510 Law and Ethics for Counselors (3)
    Prerequisites: None.
  • COUN 513 Introduction to Clinical Interviewing (3)
    Prerequisites: None.
  • COUN 515 Counseling Theories (3)
    Prerequisites: COUN 513.
  • COUN 555 Cross-Cultural Counseling (3)
    Prerequisites: COUN 510, COUN 513, COUN 515, SDHE 538, or their equivalent upon approval of the instructor.
  • COUN 638 Group Counseling (3)
    Prerequisites: Admission to the MS in Counseling, and/or PPS School Counseling Credential, or School Psychology Program, COUN 510, COUN 513, COUN 515 or equivalent upon approval of instructor.
  • EDP 400 Introduction to Educational Research (3)
    (or equivalent)
    Prerequisites: None.
  • EDP 520 Quantitative Research Methods in Education (3)
    Prerequisites: EDP 400 or equivalent.
  • EDP 596 Program Evaluation in Education (3)
    Prerequisites: EDP 400 and EDP 520, or equivalent.
  • SDHE 516 Counseling the Adult (3)
    Prerequisites: COUN 515.
  • SDHE 538 Student Development in Higher Education (3)
    Prerequisites: None.
  • SDHE 547 Student Development Theory in Higher Education: Theory to Practice (3)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 538.
  • SDHE 548 Students in U. S. Higher Education (3)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 538.
  • SDHE 549 Management of Student Development in Higher Education (3)
    Prerequisites: None.
  • SDHE 593 Seminar in Professional Development in Counseling and Human Services (1)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 538 and SDHE 548 (must have completed or concurrently enrolled).
  • SDHE 643B Counseling Field Work: Student Development in Higher Education (3)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 516, SDHE 538.
  • SDHE 644B Advanced Counseling Field Work: Student Development in Higher Education (3)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 516, SDHE 538, SDHE 643B.
  • SDHE 693A Intermediate Seminar in Professional Development in Student Development in Higher Education (1)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 593.
  • SDHE 693B Advanced Professional Development Seminar in Student Development in Higher Education (1)
    Prerequisites: SDHE 593, SDHE 693A.

Take one of the following:

  • SCAE 560, SCAE 561, SCAE 562

Take one of the following:

  • EDP 698 Thesis (must take 6 units)
  • Comprehensive examination

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