Our Counseling programs give you the knowledge and tools to change lives for the better. The programs in our Counseling Division are designed to prepare individuals for positions in a variety of counseling professions. Following the 8 core competencies outlined by CACREP, the Division's objectives are to prepare counselors who will ethically promote the well-being of individuals, families, mental health organizations and communities located in metropolitan, rural and global settings.
We offer six degree master's degree programs, a Ph.D., and five graduate-level certificates within the Division. Follow the links below to learn more about each program. When applying, please select the appropriate concentration in the online system.
- Graduate Certificate Programs
- Master's Programs
- Addiction Counseling [Note: this is a new program that has not yet been accredited]
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
- Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling [Note: this program is not currently active. Please check back in 2025]
- School Counseling
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
- Doctoral Program
Five of our Master's degree programs and our Doctoral program are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Our MS in Rehabilitation Counseling is currently ranked #20 in U.S. News and World Report's list of best Rehabilitation Counseling programs!
Points of Pride
The Counseling Division is nationally ranked and known for its high quality, dedication to its students, and impact on the community. Some of our core points of pride include:
- We are the largest Counseling program in the state in terms of student enrollment
- We have more Counseling concentrations than any other program in Tennessee (six at the master's level)
- We have the only Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/ Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling program in the state, and it is ranked 20th in the nation
- We have the only MS program in Addiction Counseling in Tennessee
- We have the most diverse student population of any Counseling program in Tennessee
Five mission statements provide structure and purpose to the Department of Counseling. First, the Mission Statement of the University provides a framework for focusing on engaged scholarship, learner centered programs, and responsible stewardship. Second, the College of Education specifies the preparation of candidates to serve a diverse community. Third, The Mission Statement of the American Counseling Association (ACA) defines Professional Counseling and identifies the role of the Professional Counselor in various settings. Fourth, the mission statement of the counseling program connects the preceding mission statements to the art and science of educating Professional Counselors. Finally, each counseling concentration has developed a specific mission statement to further develop the precepts outlined by the counseling department mission statement. From these documents, the department faculty members have identified eight over-arching program objectives for student learning outcomes.
Counseling Program Mission
The University of Memphis Counseling programs are dedicated to:
- Providing a learner-centered environment for students to engage in experiential learning activities while also fostering the students' development of self-care and self-reflexive practices that will support their continued success as counselors beyond graduate school.
- Fostering multicultural competence and social justice through increasing self-awareness and respect for human dignity and diversity.
- Training ethical and competent counselors with a repertoire of skills grounded in evidence-based practice to engage in with the diverse communities in which they live.
- Assisting emerging counselors in developing a professional counselor identity that values a developmental, strengths-based, wellness approach to helping clients enhance their quality of life.
- Students will develop a professional counselor identity consistent with respective credentialing for specialty area (e.g. licensure, certification) and demonstrate professional and ethical behavior consistent with professional codes of ethics in their interaction with fellow student/colleagues, faculty, and clients that values a developmental, strengths-based, wellness approach to helping clients enhance their quality of life.
- Students will develop cultural knowledge, self-awareness, skills, and strategies for counseling and advocacy within a diverse community
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of theory and practice as they relate to diverse developmental experiences across the lifespan and in diverse contexts and settings.
- Students will describe and apply a variety of career counseling theories, models, assessment, and techniques and how they apply to diverse populations in a global community.
- Students will demonstrate an ability to create an environment conducive to developing counseling relationships consistent with client goals and evidence based skills in assessment, counseling, case conceptualization, treatment planning, and documentation.
- Students will understand principles of group dynamics, including group processing components, developmental stage theories, group members' roles and behaviors, and therapeutic factors of group work that include group leadership or facilitation styles and approaches and characteristics of various types of groups.
- Students will demonstrate ethically and culturally competent test and non-test assessment selection, administration, scoring, and interpretation skills related to academic/educational, career, personal, and social development, including risk assessment in a variety of settings.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to identify, critically evaluate, and apply quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research to inform and evaluate counseling practice.
Please see our Counseling Graduate Student Handbook for more detailed information about specific program plans and objectives.
An evaluation of our program for all objectives can be found here: 2020 Annual Report- Department of Counseling
Licensure and Certification
Many educational programs offered by the University of Memphis lead to professional certification and licensure within the State of Tennessee. Counseling is one such program. Students should be aware that licensure and certification requirements vary from state to state and are subject to change at any time. Licensing agencies or boards also may have requirements in addition to an earned degree.
The University of Memphis has not made a determination whether the University of Memphis's programs will meet all of the licensure and certification requirements in each US state or territory. The University of Memphis recommends that students who are not Tennessee residents or who plan to seek licensure or certification outside the state of Tennessee to please contact the appropriate licensing agency or board prior to enrollment in an academic program designed to lead to licensure or certification and discuss their plans with an advisor.
For Counseling programs, the best place to obtain current licensing board contact information listings maintained by the American Counseling Association which may be found here. Additional sources for information on professional licensure and certification may be found here and here.
Scholarships and Funding
Students in the Ph.D. program in Counselor Education and Supervision receive funding via Research and Teaching Assistantships. Our RAs and TAs receive tuition remission and a monthly stipend.
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program may apply for funding through the Memphis Disadvantaged Students Scholarship (MDSS) funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Eligibility is based on HRSA criteria. Students funded by the MDSS must be enrolled full-time and in good academic standing. The MDSS pays all tuition and fees for 9-credit hours per semester and a small stipend. Contact Dr. Steve West for more information.
Students in the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling programs may apply for funding provided by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The RSA Scholarship intended to fund the tuition, fees, and stipends for master's students in either. The intent of the grant is to increase the number of rehabilitation counselors prepared to work in vocational rehabilitation settings. Students interested in this scholarship opportunity should contact Dr. Steve Zanskas for additional information.
Applicants are selected during the fall and spring semesters based on their undergraduate record, graduate record (where applicable), Graduate Record Examination results, personal interview conducted by program faculty, a completed goal statement, letters of recommendation that address the applicant's suitability for the counseling profession, ethics, and demonstration of diversity related endeavors.
Program admission for concentrations in the Counseling program:
1. Applicants must apply to the Graduate School and to the program. The Master of Science degree in Counseling is a limited access program; not all eligible candidates are admitted. To be considered for admission, applicants must provide:
- Official undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts of all academic work completed;
- Submit a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score if undergraduate GPA is below 3.5 (strongly recommended);
- Complete a program admission application including appropriate goals essay;
- Provide three letters of academic and/or professional reference; and
- Undergo an interview with the faculty.
2. Deadline for the completion of all admissions requirements is March 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester. The program selection committee selects students after all application materials and the personal interviews are completed.
- All college transcripts and test score information should be sent directly to Graduate Admissions.
University of Memphis – Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4082. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. University of Memphis is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.