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School Counseling (M.Ed.)


School Counseling- Master's Degree with ESA Certificate
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Course Descriptions
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School Counseling (MEd) with ESA Certification


Peterson Hall


Be sure to read this important overview and information, including application information, about outcomes for graduate students in the Master of Education in School Counseling program.

A School Counseling "Certificate Only" program is also available for those who already hold a master's or other advanced degree.


The MEd in School Counseling program is designed to prepare you for a school counseling position in the elementary, middle, or high school.

This degree is nationally accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and its successful completion will qualify you for a Washington Initial Educational Staff Associate (ESA) P–12 certificate as a school counselor.

Program Requirements

A year-long, 9-credit Internship comprises a part of the degree program in school counseling. This vital, integrative experience, in which you conduct supervised counseling in a school setting, has as its primary objective the provision of practical experiences in the duties and activities of the school counselor.

The Internship includes a minimum of 600 hours participation in a variety of meaningful activities related to the competencies required by the state of Washington knowledge base for school counselors (WAC 181-78A-270), as well as those recommended by the School of Education.


It is recommended, but not required for admission that, for this program, you have previously obtained experience working as an educator (e.g., teacher, para-educator, teacher's assistant) and/or a bachelor's degree in Psychology, Social Work, Education, or a related field with one to two years' professional experience assisting children.

Exceptions must be approved through the chair of School Counseling by calling 206-281-2286.

Program Orientation

Students will be introduced to the program through the autumn Graduate Student Dinner hosted by SPU’s Graduate Center, as well as through an experiential course, EDCO 6600 Introduction to Systems Theory, conducted at Blakely Island Field Station.

Upon completion of the course, you will possess a clear understanding of the school counseling program, including its requirements, expectations, faculty, mission, and philosophy.

Course Content Delivery Methods

For all program courses, the course content and skill development are taught and learned through a wide variety of instructional methods, including didactic and PowerPoint and online presentations, experiential (in class and in K-12 school settings) activities, individual student and small group work, student presentations, professional speaker panels, in-class and in K-12 supervised skill practice, online discussions, etc.


If you otherwise qualify to enter the School Counseling Program and already hold a master's or other advanced degree, you need not complete a second master's degree in School Counseling to obtain ESA (Educational Staff Associate) Certification as a school counselor.

It is necessary for you to complete only the major courses (48 credits), Internship (9 credits), and Comprehensive Exam. Some coursework may be waived based on prior relevant graduate-level courses taken within the last five years.


A comprehensive, two-hour essay examination is usually completed during the last quarter of coursework or the quarter thereafter.

Comprehensive Exams are scheduled once per quarter. To take the Comprehensive Exam, you must have completed all school counseling courses (except the Internship). Contact the graduate programs manager ( one month in advance to schedule the Comprehensive Exam.


School Counseling students who do not have a valid Teacher's Certificate may be required, at the discretion of the program chair, to complete the "Education Block," which requires 100 hours of work in one classroom as a teacher's assistant.


Applicants must submit the following materials for admission into the program:

  • An online graduate application.
  • A $50 processing fee. (Make checks payable to Seattle Pacific University.)
  • A transcript from each college/university where a degree was obtained, a professional certification program was completed, and where any graduate coursework was taken. These must be official transcripts and remain sealed in the original envelopes. Transcripts may be mailed directly to The Graduate Center at SPU.
  • Scores from either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Official results must be sent directly to The Graduate Center at SPU. Test scores must be less than five years old to be valid. However, if the applicant has an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or higher, or has a master's degree from an accredited university, MAT or GRE scores are waived. Note: An alternative to submitting a GRE or MAT score may be available to certain applicants with permission of the chair of the school counseling program.
  • If certified as a teacher, school social worker, etc., submit a copy of the actual certificate. Washington state law does not require a school counselor to be certificated as a teacher.
  • A personal statement. Applicants are to submit a Word (or PDF) document, not to exceed 300 words, that includes a statement of personal academic and professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation. These letters should provide a current assessment of qualifications relative to past and future service in the professional setting, and capability for graduate study. Recommendations should come from present principals, supervisors, former professors, pastors, or colleagues.
  • The Moral Character and Personal Fitness Policy.
  • The Character and Fitness Supplement.

All applicants must also have a personal interview with the school counseling faculty.


Ted Hiemstra
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions

Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 111
Seattle, WA 98119-1922


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