Master of Education (MEd) — School Counseling

Program overview

Earn your master’s degree in school counseling from SPU’s nationally accredited program

Develop your skills to guide and advocate for children and youth within a framework of Christian faith and values. Become a school counselor equipped through research-based counseling intervention, and gain practical and theoretical knowledge that you can apply in real-life experiences. When you graduate from this nationally accredited Master of Education in School Counseling program, you will be eligible for licensure as a mental health counselor in Washington.

Learn how this graduate program in School Counseling enables you to advocate effectively for youth.

Program Overview

The School of Education Difference

Seattle Pacific was founded more than 125 years ago, and the University has been preparing some of the most sought-after educators in the region for more than 90 years. Today, entrance to School of Education graduate programs is highly competitive. Faculty members — each teaching his or her own courses and each holding a doctorate — have worked to develop rigorous programs of quality.

The School of Education at Seattle Pacific University offers more than a dozen graduate programs. You can choose from three doctoral programs, seven master’s degree programs, and five certification programs, all of which focus on developing competence, character, leadership, and service in educators. While many students train to become teachers, others prepare for roles as school counselors, principals, superintendents, district office personnel, or professors in higher education. SPU’s reputation in P–12 education in Washington and across the country is strong, and students who complete our graduate degree and certificate programs enjoy a higher rate of employment than the state's average.

Why Seattle Pacific for your Master of Education in School Counseling?

Today’s school counselors must possess the knowledge and skills to address a wide range of educational, career, social, and emotional issues faced by students. And graduates of our Master of Education (MEd) in School Counseling are eligible for licensure as a mental health counselor in Washington state.

As you develop your skills within a framework of Christian faith and values, you will be equipped to effectively assist young people through research-based counseling intervention. Prepare you for a career in school counseling by providing both practical and theoretical knowledge to apply in real-life experiences. The MEd in School Counseling at SPU is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

  1. Accomplished Faculty

    Expert, caring faculty have a desire to help students succeed. Faculty are known for mentoring their students during and following their educational programs. These professors model lifelong learning through scholarly activities of their own, publishing frequently, and presenting at professional conferences.

  2. CACREP Accreditation

    The MEd in School Counseling and ESA Certification programs are accredited by CACREP. Seattle Pacific is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. SPU certification programs are approved by the Washington state Professional Educator Standards Board. The School of Education is also a member of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education, and has a chapter, Sigma Phi Upsilon, of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling.

  3. Deep Character Emphasis

    Built on an character education foundation, the graduate programs at SPU offer first-class education through the lens of Christian faith and values. Students take ethics courses, and character issues are integrated throughout the curriculum.

  4. Flexible Format

    Designed for working professionals, courses are held on campus in the evenings. In the second and third year of the program, students take intensive Summer Session courses, which meet two to four days a week over the course of eight weeks. The Professional Core classes can be taken on campus or online.

  5. Connected Alumni

    School of Education graduates move on to purposeful careers in schools and district-level leadership throughout the country. When you obtain a graduate degree from SPU’s School of Education, you join a community of alumni who stay connected.

Related Master’s Programs

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Incoming students are introduced to the MEd in School Counseling program with foundational coursework during the summer, and then an experiential course in Autumn Quarter. EDCO 6600 Introduction to Systems Theory, conducted at SPU’s Blakely Island Field Station, provides new students with a clear understanding of the School Counseling program, including requirements, expectations, faculty, mission, and philosophy.

Program Objectives

  1. To prepare school counselors who can apply counseling theories, individual counseling approaches, and group counseling approaches to promote the intellectual, social, and career developmental of their students.
  2. To facilitate the development of school counselors who are clinically skilled, ethical, and committed to the delivery of effective services to students and their families.
  3. To train students for excellence in consultation and referral, coordination of comprehensive programs, research, and assessment for the purpose of helping students achieve the school’s learning goals.
  4. To prepare school counselors who can effectively apply the principles of academic, career, and social emotional development to promote the growth mindsets and behaviors of their students.
  5. To prepare school counselors who exemplify a cultural orientation that includes cultural humility, cultural responsiveness, and a commitment to social justice.
  6. To promote professional self-care and a wellness orientation.
  7. To integrate the whole person of the school counselor for a life balanced in the devotion of one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength. As faculty and students, we will seek to model Biblical principles such as honesty, integrity, compassion, self-discipline, congruence, redemption, commitment, and community.

Program Components

Coursework for the MEd in School Counseling with ESA (School Counseling) Certification includes the following:

Foundations and Research Core

School Counseling Core

Education Block

If you do not hold a valid teaching certificate, you 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.


The 600-hour internship is a vital, integrative experience in which students conduct supervised counseling in a school setting over the course of an entire school year (three quarters). You are expected to begin your work at your internship school site at the beginning of the school year and finish the experience the last week of the K–12 school year.

This internship’s primary objective is the provision of practical experiences in the duties and activities of the school counselor. It requires the cooperative efforts of the student, a faculty supervisor from the SPU School of Education, and an approved school district site supervisor who is certified as an ESA school counselor with a minimum of three years’ experience as a school counselor and training in supervision. To correspond with CACREP standards for the counselor education program, the internship includes a minimum of 600 hours. A thesis option is also available.

Comprehensive Examination

A written Comprehensive Examination is required for this program as a tool to help synthesize and apply information gained throughout the course of study. The online exam consists of multiple choice questions and open-ended questions.


Upon successful completion of the program, you will be eligible for Residency Level Educational Staff Associate certification to work in K–12 settings in the state of Washington, and will also be eligible for licensure as a Washington state mental health counselor. Additionally, you will be recommended to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for an Initial Educational Staff Associate Certificate. Candidates are required to submit a formal application to the Certification Officer in the School of Education to be recommended for certification.

ESA Certification in School Counseling Only

People who otherwise qualify to enter the MEd in School Counseling program and already have a master's or other advanced degree need not complete a second master's degree in school counseling in order to obtain Educational Staff Associate Certification as a school counselor.

It is generally only necessary to complete the major courses (minimum of 69 credits), the internship (9 credits), and the comprehensive exam. If you do not already have a background in education, you will be assigned the Education Block requirement.

Upon successful completion of the program, you will be recommended to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for an Initial Educational Staff Associate Certificate in Washington state. Candidates are required to submit a formal application to the certification officer in the School of Education to be recommended for certification.

Program Schedule

The MEd in School Counseling coursework is generally spread over a three-year period, beginning in Summer Quarter with Professional Core coursework. During the regular academic year, each class meets one night a week, generally from 5:00–7:35 p.m. In the second and third year of the program, students are required to take intensive Summer Session courses, which meet two to four days a week over four weeks. The Professional Core classes can be taken on campus or online. During the first two years, students can expect to take two or three classes each quarter.

Suggested Course Sequence

Your Three-Plus Year Course Plan may be customized to meet your needs.

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Cher Edwards

Professor, Counselor Education & Doctoral Programs
PhD, Ohio University

Phone: 206-281-2286
Office: Peterson Hall 412

Jordan Shannon

Assistant Professor of Counselor Education
PhD, Syracuse University

Phone: 206-281-2275
Office: Peterson Hall 403

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Continuing Education

To meet the changing needs of adult learners, Seattle Pacific University offers a wide range of programs and courses to meet the needs of today's professionals. With competitive credit and program rates, these personal and professional development opportunities make lifelong learning very affordable. As the largest provider of continuing education credits for teachers in Washington State, SPU's Center for Professional Education is focused on the current needs of K-12 educators.

Courses taken for credit and numbered at the 5000 level are graduate-level courses and are designed primarily with the needs of teachers and other professionals in mind for the purpose of meeting certification, endorsement, district pay lane requirements and other professional needs. These Graduate-level courses may be considered to meet elective requirements in some cases.

Still have questions? Review FAQs.

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Tuition and fees for 2022–23

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per credit

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application fee

See additional fee details.

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credits to complete

Financial aid

Before applying for aid, you must first be admitted to a graduate program. Make sure you:

  • Enroll in at least 3 credits (or half-time) toward a degree or eligible certificate each quarter.
  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

You may take advantage of scholarships and loans. SPU does not have a deadline for graduate financial aid, though earlier is always better than later! 

Learn more about the FAFSA and applying for financial help.

Learn more about scholarships, assistantships, and loans available to graduate students.

Second master’s benefit

Students entering the Master of Education in School Counseling program with an advanced degree may take advantage of a second master's benefit at SPU. Through a petition process, students may receive a waiver for three foundations and research courses: EDU 6120, EDU 6975, and EDU 6976. Students who have earned an advanced degree need only complete EDU 6085, EDCO 6107, and EDCO 6974 in addition to all core ESA certification courses to earn a second master's at SPU. In total, students may complete certification and a second master's for 81 credits.


Find out more about administrative and other School of Education program fees.

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It is preferred that applicants have background studies in psychology, sociology, education, or another related field.  Students without sufficient background studies may be required to complete additional prerequisite coursework at the discretion of the faculty chair.


Applicants must submit the following items to Graduate Admissions:

  • Application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Official transcript documenting bachelor's degree (including official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended).
    • Note: To be considered official, transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope from the college or university. Transcripts may be delivered to Graduate Admissions as long as they remain in their original, unopened university envelope. Electronic transcripts received via eSCRIP-SAFE or Parchment Exchange are also acceptable.
    • If your degree is not from a US college or university, please arrange for your transcript to be evaluated by an accredited transcript-evaluation company, such as FIS or WES. Have the report forwarded directly to Graduate Admissions.
  • Résumé.
  • Personal statement, including long-term professional goals (maximum of 500 words).
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • If applicable, copy of teaching certificate.

Applicants who meet the regular application deadline requirements, including an initial screening of their complete application file, will be interviewed by a School Counseling faculty member.

All correspondence regarding the interview process will be carried out by email using the address provided in the application. Please set your email filters accordingly.


February 1. Late applications will not be considered.


Contact Graduate Admissions at 800-601-0603 or

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Frequently asked questions

How selective is admission to the SPU School of Education graduate degree programs?

This varies by program. Admission to some programs, such as the Accelerated Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science (AMTMS), Accerated Master of Arts in Teaching (AMAT), and MEd in School Counseling, is very competitive. Admission to each of SPU's graduate programs in education is standards-based, and all applicants must meet all standards for admission.

Can I continue to work while enrolled in a graduate degree program in the SPU School of Education?

Yes, in most cases. Most of the graduate degree programs offered by the School of Education are part-time programs, with classes offered in a variety of worker-friendly venues. Education graduate courses are scheduled at SPU or off campus, in the evenings, occasionally on Saturdays, and during the summer.

The Accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching (AMAT) and Accelerated Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science (AMTMS) programs are exceptions. They are one-year full-time programs due to their full-time internships.

Will I be eligible for licensure as a mental health counselor after receiving this degree?

Yes! Graduates of this MEd in School Counseling program from Seattle Pacific are eligible for licensure as a mental health counselor in the state of Washington.

Is it possible to complete a graduate degree from SPU's School of Education online?

The School of Education offers several fully online programs, including the AMAT-OnlineAMTMS-OnlineDigital Education Leadership, and Teacher Leadership programs. Please review the program pages for eligibility requirements.

Is a graduate program at SPU more expensive than comparable education programs at other universities?

SPU's graduate tuition rates are competitive with other accredited universities in Washington.

How does a graduate degree or graduate certificate from SPU compare with a similar degree or certificate from other universities?

SPU's School of Education has been offering a wide range of fully accredited master's and doctoral degrees in addition to graduate certificates for more than 20 years. SPU's reputation in P–12 education in Washington and around the country is strong, and students who complete our graduate degree and certificate programs enjoy a higher rate of employment than the state's average.

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