Frequently Asked Questions
What is Counseling?
Counseling is often defined differently depending on who is asked. In general, the key elements of counseling included prevention, development over the lifespan, wellness, social justice, and evidence-based practices. More specifically, we hold to the following definition of counseling
"Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals” (Kaplan, Tarvydas, & Gladding, 2003).
Are the programs CACREP-accredited?
The UNO Counseling Department offers CACREP-accredited (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and School Counseling (SC). The Student Affairs in Higher Education degree is not accredited.
How long does it take to complete a counseling degree?
Applicants considering the CMHC specialization should plan on a minimum of 2 years (Fall/Spring/Summer). The average time for completing the 60-credit CMHC degree is between 2-3 years as a full-time student (minimum 6 credits per semester).
The 48 credit SC specialization can generally be completed in 2-3 years with summer courses (including a required summer practicum).
The 39 credit Student Affairs in Higher Education degree (SAHE) can generally be completed in 2 years.
Is there a thesis requirement?Students are not required to complete a thesis for graduation. However, a thesis option is available and students interested in this option should express their interest to their advisor at the beginning of their program. Click for more information regarding the thesis process for clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and student affairs in higher education.
I work full time/during the day. Will I be able to take courses?
Yes, the majority of our courses meet in the late afternoon (approximately 4:30pm & and 7pm start times M-TH). With the exception of hybrid sections, courses are not held on Fridays. Courses in the Fall and Spring semesters meet once a week for 2:50 minutes, while summer course schedules vary considerably and should be closely checked before registering. On occasion, courses may meet on Saturdays a few days of each semester.
Are there pre-requisites for admission into the Counseling Department?
Applicants who do not have an academic background in the social/behavioral sciences are required to 9 credits from these areas. Of these 9 credits, 3 credits must include Abnormal Psychology*. Other examples of courses include, sociology, psychology, anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, etc. While an undergraduate course is acceptable, professional licensure laws and requirements vary slightly by state. As such, CMHC students are encouraged to take Abnormal Psychology at the graduate level.
*School Counseling students are also required to take Abnormal Psychology.
Will there be an admissions interview?
Yes, applicants interview with the faculty in small groups in the counseling department’s seminar room in Roskens Hall. Interviews last one hour and are considered by faculty as a critical element of the admissions process as they allow faculty to gain valuable perspective on the applicant’s fit for the department and profession.
Do I need recommendation letters?
Yes, UNO Graduate Studies and the department require three references from you. Reference letters should focus on those who can speak directly about the applicant’s academic and professional abilities, character, and fit for the counseling profession.
Can I take courses in the Counseling Department prior to being admitted as a degree seeking student?
Yes. You can apply to UNO as a non-degree student and can take courses when space allows. Classes open to non-degree students are: TED 8010 Introduction to Research, COUN 8110 Human Development and Psycho-Social Intervention Strategies, COUN 8226 Career Development and Lifestyle, and COUN 8686 and COUN 8696 (both substance/addictions course).
How competitive is entrance into the counseling program?
The UNO Counseling Department’s admission process is competitive-we generally have more applicants than available spots. The number of available spots is dictated by the need to remain within our CACREP mandated 10:1 student to faculty ratio for the CMHC an SC specializations. Decisions are based on both the submitted materials (letters of rec, personal statement, etc.) and the personal interview. Students not admitted on their first try may ask that their applications be reconsidered during the following application process.
Can I take the National Counselor Exam (NCE) prior to graduation? If so, how do I register?
Yes, one benefit of the CMHC program’s CACREP accreditation is that UNO Counseling Students can, with department and NBCC approval, sit for the NCE exam prior to graduation. Specific information regarding the exam is found under student resources.
Will I have an advisor to help me with my plan of study?
Yes, admitted students will be assigned a faculty advisor at the new student orientation held at the end of each semester for incoming students. Your advisor will help you select your courses for your first semester. You should work closely with this advisor for the remainder of your time in the program to ensure steady progress toward graduation.
Are there Graduate Assistantships available in the department?
Yes, the Counseling Department has two graduate assistantships that are available intermittently depending on the graduation dates of the current GA(s). However,
Applicants can apply for any graduate assistant at UNO and should regularly check the UNO Human Resources and Graduate Studies webpages for openings.