Master of Science in Counseling

About our Program

The Department of Counseling makes every effort to disseminate current and applicable information about our program on a regular basis. The information contained here is intended to acquaint prospective students with the curricular requirements and appropriate application information they need to successfully matriculate into the program. In some instances, however, changes could have been made in policy or curriculum that are not contained here. If you have questions or are in need or assistance in the process of your selecting a program that is appropriate for your career goals, contact the coordinator of the program you are interested in. Visit the Faculty link for a list of faculty and their contact information.

Thank you for your interest in SF State and the Department of Counseling.

Graduate Programs

The Department of Counseling offers three master's degrees: the Master of Science in Counseling; the Master of Science in Counseling with a Concentration in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling; and the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. All graduates are eligible to take the National Counselor Examination.

Within the Masters of Science in Counseling There are four different counseling specializations -- Career, College, Gerontological, and School. School counseling students are eligible for the State of California Pupil Personnel Services Credential with a specialization in School Counseling (P-12).

Graduate Program Admissions Information

Application Procedure

Applications will open October 1st and are due no later than January 15th

  1. Read Application instuctions
  2. Complete Cal State Apply Application
  3. Pay the $25 Department of Counseling Application processing fee. See application for payment instructions

Information Sessions

3 information sessions will be conducted every year:


Application Parts

  • Division of Graduate Studies Application (Cal State Apply)
    • Resume
    • Unofficial Transcript
    • Prerequisites are not currently required
    • Personal Statement
    • Experience Summarys
    • 2 letters of recommendation
    • GRE (please see the admission instruction)
  • In-person interview (if required by program)

Career Counseling

The Career Counseling specialization prepares graduates to work in high school and college career centers and advising offices. Some graduates use this training to establish private career counseling and consultation practices while others enter career development centers in private industry and public agencies. The specialization interfaces career counseling with interpersonal development and family dynamics. Career counseling encompasses the well-being of the whole individual and how work and career relate to family, fulfillment and lifestyle. Multicultural and social justice foundations are integrated throughout the program. In addition, issues such as worker dysfunction, workplace violence and sexual harassment are covered in the curriculum.

College Counseling

The mission of the specialization/ emphasis in College Counseling and Student Personnel Work is to prepare master's level professionals to work in both counseling and student services roles at the community college and four-year college levels. More specifically, the program is designed to develop the ability to facilitate the development of college students in both cognitive and personal areas. Emphasis is placed on preventative, remediation, and developmental counseling skills. In addition to the core competencies of the master's program, the specialization/ emphasis develops knowledge and skills in the areas of group counseling, educational counseling, problem-solving and decision making, assessment, evaluation and research, teaching, consulting and management, supervision, and organizational development.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

SF State's CMHC program is uniquely designed to prepare students to work in the behavioral health workforce. Our students receive the counseling, case management, advocacy and health promotion knowledge and skills necessary to work with the most at-risk, vulnerable behavioral health populations including (but not limited to) those from historically marginalized communities, those with disabling and/or co-occurring health/behavioral health conditions, those with trauma, homelessness, substance use, and other chronic stress-related histories, and those facing daily social injustices, discrimination and microaggressions. Clinical mental health counselors work with individuals from a wide age range including transition-age youths to older adults.

Gerontological Counseling

The major objective of this emphasis is to provide training for students who want to do counseling with older persons consistent with the requirements for accreditation by CACREP and the National Board of Certified Counselors. It is the specialization's intent to focus on generic and specific efforts toward professional development, which includes basic communication skills, theoretical and developmental foundations, mental health assessment and the aging process. Consistent with the general mission of the Department of Counseling, the Gerontological specialization/ emphasis recognizes the need for close coordination with the field.

Marriage Family Therapy Counseling

The major objective of this specialization is to provide training for students in the field of marriage and family therapy consistent with State of California requirements for licensing and accreditation requirements for certification. We are guided by these requirements and by the emergence of mental health counseling as one of the major service providers for the community. As such, it is our responsibility to focus our generic and specific efforts toward professional development, which include theoretical and developmental foundations, psychodiagnostic skills, and a broad range of counseling and therapeutic abilities with a culturally diverse population. Consistent with the general mission of the Department of Counseling, the MFCC specialization recognizes the need for close coordination with the field and the maintenance of a responsive curriculum.

School Counseling

School Counseling is a program of professional specialization/ emphasis concerned with assisting students in public and private schools (Grades PK–12) with effective counseling and guidance programs and services that are designated to meet students' personal, social and career needs. The program is designed to expose students to both didactic and experiential learning. The program's focus is on children and adolescents becoming functional in a learning environment utilizing both preventative and intervention strategies.

Credential Programs

Pupil Personnel Services Credential: School Counseling Designation

Must Have Masters Degree in Counseling

The Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) only program is designed to accommodate those individuals who currently hold a master's degree in counseling or a closely related field and who wish to acquire a credential enabling them to work as a school counselor in a public school setting.

Undergraduate Programs

We do not offer a Bachelor's degree Major in Counseling. Please refer to the SFSU Bulletin for an extensive list of undergraduate academic programs.

Minor in Counseling

The minor offers four areas of study for all students.

The Field of Counseling: Students are introduced to the counseling profession through an overview of role and functions in career, college, marriage, family and child, mental health, and rehabilitation settings; historical perspective; professional identification; ethical considerations; and self-awareness.

Psychological Understandings: Students receive a general introduction to the field of counseling and psychological dynamics.

Decision Making: Students examine how individuals make choices and how decisions are made through self-assessment and evaluation by others. The study includes ethnic and cultural differences in the decision-making process.

Skills Training: The development of basic skills which include attending, responding, interpretation, and decision making. The training includes practicum experience in interviewing skills.