Master's Degree in School Counseling

Earn a master's degree in School Counseling through George Fox's school counselor program.

Become a School Counselor

A Master of Arts, or Licensure Preparation Program, in School Counseling from George Fox University will prepare you to become a professional school counselor. As such, you will combine the roles of mental health professional and educator in working with children in public or private schools.

You will know how to develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive developmental school counseling program aligned with the American School Counselor Association's National Model. You will facilitate students' personal/social, career, and academic development through classroom guidance and both individual and group counseling. As an educational leader you will advocate for all students' holistic development and to that end consult and collaborate with parents, teachers, administrators, and other community members.

George Fox's school counseling programs are rooted in the belief that:

  • Students have physiological, psychological, relational, spiritual, and educational needs
  • School counselors should be able to articulate the integration of their faith with their identity and practice as professional school counselors
  • School counselors need to use appropriate and ethical school counseling and guidance skills when working with students, families, schools, and community systems
  • School counselors need to possess skills for working effectively and respectfully with students of different ages, diverse backgrounds, varied developmental stages, and varied cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities
  • School counselors must think critically, transform practice, and promote justice

Employment Outlook

Graduates of the program can expect favorable job prospects, according to US News & World Report, which ranked school counseling No. 6 on its " Best Social Services Jobs" list. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of school and career counselors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Spiritual Integration

Because of George Fox University's identity as a Christian university, the programs in the Graduate School of Counseling are grounded in and shaped by our commitment to an integrated understanding of the Christian faith and mental health that embraces diversity and promotes justice.

Our approach to spiritual integration does not specifically prepare graduates to be Christian counselors or work at faith-based organizations.

All together, our students are learning how to integrate the worldview of any person they work with, whether or not they share the same spiritual perspectives.

»  Learn more about spiritual integration

Licensure

There are three paths available to move you toward a K-12 Initial School Counseling License.

Track I: Counseling master's degree available to individuals with 2+ years of documented experience as a licensed Oregon teacher.

Track II: Counseling master's degree available to individuals without 2+ years of licensed teaching experience. Included with Track II is a 6 credit sequence that includes a 200 hour teaching practicum.

Licensure Only: Certificate in school counseling available to individuals with a master's degree in a mental health profession.

Advantages of the George Fox School Counseling Program

  • Courses taught from a systemic perspective
  • Opportunities to interact with students who are pursuing other mental health professions
  • An environment that encourages the integration of faith and learning
  • Prepares grads for a blended professional identity as both educational leaders and mental health professionals
  • Full time, accessible, widely trained faculty
  • Flexible schedules (day, evening and weekend classes) for working adults
  • Two-, three-, and four-year program options
  • A convenient Portland Center location
  • Accredited by Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
Expand All

Curriculum Plan

Complete the following:

This course examines both the content and process of the Christian faith as well as its implications for clinical practice. Explored are an introduction to spirituality in mental health, basic hermeneutics as applied to Christian Scripture, basic theological concepts, the relationship between theology and psychology, health and toxic faith systems, spiritual development, spiritual/religious assessment, the spiritual/religious orientation and value system of the therapist, and treatment interventions in the spiritual/religious realm.

Complete the following:

An examination of key concepts in marital and family systems, including the family life cycle, as well as an introduction to various approaches to marital and family therapy. Core counseling skills as used in systems therapy will be taught and practiced. Prevention services as well as the roles of ethnicity and culture will be studied.
This course reviews basic concepts and skills of counseling individuals, including practice in applying those concepts and techniques in counseling situations during class. Emphasis is on conditions for effective helping relationships, attending and interviewing skills, basic theoretical assumptions, ethical principles, and professional orientation.
This course is designed to advance student understanding of theory as it related to clinical practice of counseling and therapy, including intake and assessment skills, the influence of the clinician, the development of interventions, crisis strategies, and treatment plans, consultation, file management, and the ethical treatment of clients, especially those from diverse and/or multicultural populations. Emphasis is placed on understanding the client(s) from systemic and developmental perspectives. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisites: GCEP 500 Introduction to Couple and Family Therapy; GCEP 501 Principles and Techniques of Counseling; GCEP 510 Human Growth and Development; GCEP 520 Personality and Counseling Theory; GCEP 530 Psychopathology and Appraisal; GCEP 540 Professional Orientation; GCEP 550 Group Theory and Therapy. GCEP 540 and GCEP 550 may be taken as corequisites. In addition, Clinical Mental Health students are required to have successfully taken GCEP 522 Advanced Clinical Skills and Marriage Couple and Family students are required to have successfully taken GCEP 514 Couple Therapy and GCEP 524 Family Therapy. Students must have (a) completed all prerequisites with a B or better grade, (b) applied and been accepted as an internship candidate, and (c) attended Internship Orientation.
The study of human growth and development recognizes that a complex interplay of biological, intrapsychic, relational, and social dynamics are in constant motion throughout one's lifespan. Therefore, this course examines human development from an ecosystemic perspective by surveying a variety of major developmental theories as applied across the lifespan and identifying the use of those theories in the practice of Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. The influence of cultural dynamics on human development is also considered, as expressed through dominant social values shaping our understanding and experience of self, family, gender, race, ethnicity, and spirituality. Emphasis is placed on applying developmental theories in the assessment and diagnosis of individuals, couples, and families, and in the educational environment.
This course is a survey of major contemporary theories of counseling and personality development with particular emphasis on the etiology, assessment, and treatment of psychopathological states as interpreted within various theoretical frameworks. The course surveys the major figures and their theories in the area of personality and counseling modalities. Theorists are examined to discover their views of anthropology, psychopathology, normalcy, behavioral, and relational assessment, in addition to their therapeutic goals and interventions. The course explores each theory in light of social and cultural diversity as well as the integrative impact of spirituality and religiosity on the development of the person. The systemic perspective, which recognizes that personality is embedded in various systems (family, relational, social, community and cultural), is considered throughout.
The primary objective of this course is to teach group leadership theories and skills, and to help students understand how proper group processes and methods can contribute to clients' mental health. Students will learn group leadership, group dynamics, theories of group development, group treatment planning, group assessment, and ethical considerations related to group treatment. Students will also take part in a community-based group experience. For students in Graduate School of Counseling programs only. Pre-Requisite: GCEP 501
This course examines theory, etiology, assessment, and treatment of addictive disorders in individual, marriage, couple, family, and group modalities. The course also provides insight into the collaborative nature of treatment in the field of addiction, providing opportunities for students to work with each other and professionals in the field to enhance knowledge of treatment interventions and treatment planning. Pre-Requisites: GCEP 500 and GCEP 501
Students will engage in all steps of the research process by participating in a collaborative research project that emphasizes the importance of research in the counseling profession, including work that informs evidenced-based practices in the field. Students participate in the ethical design, analysis, reporting, and evaluation of empirical research. Students will also learn to fundamentals of program evaluation, including needs assessments and strategies for program modification.
This course is intended to increase the student's understanding of the issues and dynamics in counseling across social and cultural lines. Students will explore the nature of society and culture and how these impact the counseling process. Students will examine several major spiritual traditions, with a view to understanding the implications for clinical practice with persons in these populations. Within each tradition, the following are explored: history and tradition; sacred writings; central doctrines; spiritual authority; faith communities; communal and personal disciplines/rituals; health/happiness and pathology; means of grace; social and cultural practice; relationship to creator/creation; gender, blood, and faith relationships; compare and contrast with Western Christian worldview; systemic analysis; and therapeutic implications. Attention will be given to developing understanding of gender, class, race, ethnicity, structure and roles within marriage and family work, and various lifestyles. No Pre-Requisites
This course offers a study of the basic concepts and principles of psychological assessment, including historical factors influencing testing and test construction. Students will also learn the statistical language and theory related to measurement error, scales of measurement, measures of central tendency and variability, reliability and validity. Students will learn about a selected group of assessment instruments and their range of applications in the field. Critical evaluation of assessment instruments will be included as well. This course is intended for Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health, Marriage, Couple and Family and School Counseling students only. No Pre-Requisites.
This course intends to deepen the student's knowledge base regarding the complexities of the human experience by examining neurological functioning and its role in human distress and recovery. Specifically, it explores the interplay between neurobiology, the social environment, and pharmacological interventions, and its influence on cognitive, affective, and behavioral functioning. The course offers an overview of neuroanatomy orienting the student to basic brain structure, advances in interpersonal neurobiology confirming the role of attachment relationships in brain development, and the role of interpersonal relationships and pharmacology in altering brain functioning.

Complete the following:

This course examines sources of biological and social risk that impede the development of personal wellness, academic achievement, and social competency in children and adolescents. Students explore the prevalence of these risk factors nationwide and in local communities, with emphasis on sources of resiliency that ameliorate risk and are enhanced by community, environmental, institutional, and cultural protective factors and opportunities. Students are exposed to and guided in assessing current, local partnerships between school, county, and community agencies addressing barriers that hinder children¿s personal, social, and academic functioning. Students also gain an understanding of the multifaceted role school counselors have as advocates for and designers of policies, comprehensive programs, and collaborative services that are equitable and responsive to the needs of diverse children and their families. Legal and ethical issues in working with these populations are addressed throughout the course. For students in School Counseling programs only; others by permission.
The goal of this course is to provide students with an concentrated study of various childhood and adolescent disorders. The etiology, diagnostic criteria, assessment needs, and recommended intervention and treatment strategies of childhood disorders will be presented. A focus will be placed on understanding the disorders in school settings, including the role of Individualized Education (IEP) and 504 Plans. An integrative perspective will be taken that acknowledges biological, psychological, social, and cultural influences and their interdependence, and is guided by the consideration of developmental processes that shape and are shaped by the expression of these disorders. Co-morbidities and developmental norms that help inform diagnostic decisions will also be discussed. For students in School Counseling programs only, others by permission. Prerequisite: GCEP 501
This course integrates theory, practice, and research to provide an overview of school counseling models, services, and skills. Students will learn the ASCA National Model and Oregon's Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Framework. They will become familiar with the roles and functions of the professional school counselor across levels. Students will understand different models of and develop essential skills in consultation, coordination, and collaboration. They will understand how school counselors advocate and take leadership for systemic change. Students will develop skills for designing, implementing, evaluating, and advocating for comprehensive school counseling programs that include all students and meet the needs of diverse student populations. Students will begin to develop a professional identity as school counselors. For students in School Counseling programs only, others by permission.
This course is designed to acquaint students with the foundational issues and resources of career counseling, the lifestyle and career decision making process, and comprehensive career-guidance programs for K-12 populations. Students gain an overview of the historical development of career counseling and a basic understanding of relevant theories. The interrelatedness of lived experience, life roles, and calling in career development for diverse populations is visited. Students are exposed to opportunities to gain both multicultural and social justice advocacy awareness, knowledge, and skills as they relate to lifestyle and career development for all students. Students will also identify the criteria necessary to plan, organize, implement, administrate, and evaluate a comprehensive K-12 career counseling program that addresses the career development of all students, along with an understanding of career and educational planning, placement, follow-up, and evaluation. In addition they are acquainted with cutting edge technology resources and assessment tools used in career counseling in schools. For students in School Counseling programs only. Pre-requisite: GCEP 501 Principles and Techniques of Counseling. For students in School Counseling programs only. Recommended prerequisite: GCEP 505 Strategies in School Counseling.
This course is preparatory for students' schoolbased internship experience, and is designed to acquaint students with the professional, legal, and ethical issues with which school counselors and school psychologists grapple. Students will become familiar with the ACA and ASCA or APA and NASP ethical codes, Oregon laws related to licensure and practicing as a school counselor or school psychologist, as well as the legal and professional responsibilities of school counselors and school psychologists, and will understand and experience how their values interact with the implementation of their codes. Students will also understand licensure and certification requirements relevant to their respective fields as part of their ongoing professional identity development. For students in School Counseling and School Psychology Programs only.
Internship is a supervised experiential learning component of the school counseling program. As such, students will gain hands-on experience under the direct supervision of a licensed and experienced school counselor in developing clinical skills for working with a variety of clients in a school setting, and experience in carrying out the full spectrum of tasks in which professional school counselors engage. Students will also participate in campus-based group supervision of the above process. Pass/No Pass. Corequisite: GCEP 512 Internship A: Early Childhood and Elementary School Counseling I or GCEP 516.
This course is intended to follow up GCEP 504 Childhood and Adolescent Disorders and operates in conjunction with GCEP 513 Internship A: Early Childhood and Elementary Counseling I or GCEP 517 Internship B: Middle Level and High School Counseling I. The student will explore comprehensive treatment planning strategies, including the development of written statements of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional symptoms; systemic processes; short-term objectives; intervention strategies, appropriate community referrals, and collaboration with the school systems and parents. Various therapeutic methods utilized in treatment and management of mental disorders will be presented. Pass/No Pass. Co-Requisite: GCEP 513 or GCEP 517
The School Counseling Portfolio is the capstone of both the degree and licensure only programs, and is done concurrent with the student's final semester of internship. This multidimensional project includes four sections. In Part I the student will prepare a comprehensive paper detailing his or her theory of the nature of persons, the change process, healthy/unhealthy functioning, and the therapeutic process. In Part II the student will demonstrate the application of this theory in an actual case presentation through the use of video, session transcripts, and written reflection, thereby demonstrating perceptual, conceptual, and executive clinical skills. In Part III the student will present a 3- year growth plan, a counselor introduction statement, and a professional résumé. In part IV the student will provide work samples for each of the licensure standards for school counselors set forth by TSPC. This four-part portfolio will be evaluated by a GDC supervisor and a licensed professional school counselor (outside reader) from the community. Pass/No Pass. Co-Requisite: GCEP 513 or GCEP 517. Additional course fee required.
This course develops a basic understanding for the critical role data plays in school improvement efforts, and acquaints students with the conceptual and technical skills needed for designing and executing action research studies that professional school counselors can implement in classrooms and within the broader school system. Students gain an understanding of the following: data driven decision-making; methods for observing and recording behavior in school settings; problem definition and focus; data storage and retrieval systems; trustworthiness of action research, school visioning and improvement planning; and the role they play in a comprehensive school counseling plan. Emphasis is placed on defining and investigating problems that require the professional school counselor to implement strategies for improving their practice and student learning. Students are introduced to several levels of data usage and application, moving from state accountability requirements to mobilizing efforts to equalize access to high standards for all students. During this course students will complete a school profile, draft a critical question, create an action research design, submit an IRB, and conduct an initial literature review. This course is intended for Master of Arts in School Counseling Students. Corequisiste: GCEP 516 School Counseling Internship I.
This course continues the development of a basic understanding for the critical role data plays in school improvement efforts, and acquaints students with the conceptual and technical skills needed for designing and executing action research studies that professional school counselors can implement in classrooms and within the broader school system. Students gain an understanding of the following: data driven decision-making; methods for observing and recording behavior in school settings; problem definition and focus; data storage and retrieval systems; and trustworthiness of action research, as well as school visioning and improvement planning and the role they play in a comprehensive school counseling plan. Emphasis is placed on defining and investigating problems that require the professional school counselor to implement strategies for improving their practice and student learning. Students are introduced to several levels of data usage and application, moving from state accountability requirements to mobilizing efforts to equalize access to high standards for all students. During this course students will continue work on the action research project begun in Action Research Design I, completing a literature review, gathering data, and presenting the results. This course is intended for Master of Arts in School Counseling Students. Corequisite: GCEP 517 School Counseling Internship II.
Complete the following:
These courses are required for Track II students only.
This course, first in a sequence of two consecutive courses, is designed to fundamentally prepare students for the required student teaching practicum for Track II school counseling students pursuing an Initial School Counseling License who do not have teaching experience. Students will gain an overview of the historical aspects and progression of the educational system. The fundamentals of how to appropriately plan for student learning, organize curriculum, utilize a variety of instructional strategies, assess learning, and develop techniques for effective classroom management are also addressed. Meeting the needs of diverse learners while promoting academic success, personal/social, and/or career development will be emphasized. Students will plan and develop a 5-day integrated unit of study related to a counseling theme using a variety of instructional strategies that promote critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. Pass/No Pass. For students in School Counseling programs only.
This course, the second of two consecutive courses, will partially fulfill requirements for the school counseling licensure criteria established by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) for prospective school counselors who do not have two years of teaching experience in Oregon or out-of-state public or regionally accredited private schools (Track II). The classroom student teaching practicum will prepare prospective school counselors to work collaboratively with educators by learning about how today's schools operate, what guiding principles educators use, and how research-based practices are effective in the classroom in promoting academic success, personal/social, and/or career development. Prospective school counselors will have the opportunity to integrate educational concepts and instructional strategies within the classroom environment while also addressing the needs of diverse and multicultural learners through planned learning activities. Students will prepare and teach a work sample under the guidance of a cooperating teacher. Both formative and summative assessment will be a key component of the work sample. For students in School Counseling programs only. Prerequisite: GCEP 506 Classroom Teaching and Learning

Complete the following:

Note: Students are expected to follow the sequence GCEP 592, GCEP 593 beginning with the fall semester of the final year. Students who begin internship in the summer will register for GCEP 591 for 1 additional hour and GCEP 599 Treatment Planning for 1 additional hour, but will still need to register for and attend fall and spring internship. Students who continue internship into the following summer will register for GCEP 594 for an additional 2 hours.
The school counseling internship contributes to the development of a conjoint school counselor identity of both mental health professional and educational leader. It is a supervised experiential learning component of the school counseling program. As such, students will gain hands-on experience under the direct supervision of a licensed and experienced school counselor in developing clinical skills for working with a variety of students in a school setting, and educational leader skills for carrying out the full spectrum of tasks in which professional school counselors engage. Students will also participate in campus-based group supervision of the above process. Pass/No Pass. For Master of Arts in School Counseling students only. Prerequisites: Student must have (a) completed all other coursework with a B or better grade, (b) applied and been accepted as an internship candidate, and (c) attended the Internship Orientation (During spring semester of that year). Corequisites: GCEP 568 Action research Designs I and GCEP 515 Treatment Planning.
The school counseling internship contributes to the development of a conjoint school counselor identity of both mental health professional and educational leader. It is a supervised experiential learning component of the school counseling program. As such, students will gain hands-on experience under the direct supervision of a licensed and experienced school counselor in developing clinical skills for working with a variety of students in a school setting, and educational leader skills for carrying out the full spectrum of tasks in which school counselors engage. Students will also participate in campus-based group supervision of the above process. Pass/No Pass. For Master of Arts in School Counseling programs only. Prerequisite: GCEP 516 School Counseling Internship I. Corequisites: GCEP 569 Action Research Designs II, GCEP 518 Treatment Planning II, and 519 School Counseling Portfolio.

Note:

  • Internship requires a minimum of 600 clock hours of supervised school counseling experience in a public or approved private school per TSPC guidelines.
  • The teaching practicum for school counseling must be supervised and consist of a minimum of 200 clock hours in a regular classroom in a public or approved private school per TSPC guidelines. It must include a minimum of 75 clock hours of full responsibility for teaching and classroom management.
  • In addition to fulfilling the above course requirements, school counseling students in the master's program who seek the Initial School Counseling License will be asked to submit passing scores on the following assessments:
    1. ORELA Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment Examination
    2. Praxis II Specialty Area Test in School Counseling
    3. Fall 2014 applicants must submit official passing scores for one of the following basic skills tests: Praxis I Test or California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)

Master of Arts in School Counseling

Program length 2 to 4 years
Semester hours 57 (63 for Track II students)
Cost per semester hour $734*
Tuition cost for entire program $41,838* ($46,242* for Track II students)
Accreditation CACREP; approved by Teacher Standards and Practices Commission of the state of Oregon
Format In-person
Location Portland Center (near Tigard)

*All stated financial information is subject to change.

CACREP Accredited

Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs