Through the master’s in counseling program, you will learn from a supportive faculty and gain practical experience in a diverse, urban setting.

The mission of the Counseling program at UMKC is to prepare students to meet the psychological, social/emotional and educational needs of individuals, couples and families from diverse backgrounds.  Based on national and state standards for excellence in counselor preparation, the MA program in Counseling prepares students to be reflective, integrative practitioners who effectively use scholarship and research to successfully work as professional school counselors and licensed professional counselors in diverse settings.  This mission is reflected in our curriculum, requirements for graduation, and program objectives.

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Program Features

  • Students complete 45 credit hours of core classes and 15-18 credit hours in their emphasis area
  • Classes are delivered primarily in a face-to-face format, with some online courses available
  • Students are trained to become competent counseling practitioners who are eligible for licensure or certification in Missouri and Kansas (for licensure eligibility in other states, please review those states’ requirements)
  • Students complete two consecutive semesters of practicum (10 hours/week)
    • Students in the Couples and Family and Mental Health emphasis areas complete this in our in-house clinic, Community Counseling and Assessment Services
    • Students in the School Counseling emphasis complete this in area K-12 schools
  • Students also complete two consecutive semesters of internship (17 hours/week, the vast majority take place during regular business hours)
  • Full-time students typically complete the program in 2 ½ to 3 years

Emphasis Areas

Couples and Family

  • Understand family dynamics and relationship systems
  • Learn major theories and interventions in couple and family counseling
  • Be prepared to work therapeutically with diverse couples and families in varied family life cycles

Mental Health

  • Understand the mental health needs of diverse clients
  • Learn major theories and interventions of counseling
  • Learn skills to provide counseling to a wide range of clients

School Counseling

  • Learn to define, manage, deliver, and assess a comprehensive school counseling program
  • Acquire the knowledge and skills to promote K-12 academic, social-emotional, and career success for all students
  • Work with K-12 students in diverse school settings across the Kansas City area during practicum and internship experiences
  • School counseling scholarship available for fall 2023 admitted students.

Program Information

The Masters of Art in Counseling Program at University of Missouri- Kansas City is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) for the period of Jun, 2024 through August, 2032. For more information, visit the MPCAC website.

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Counseling and Counseling Psychology
Our Training Values

The Counseling program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City value cultural diversity as including racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds, national origins, religious, spiritual and political beliefs, physical abilities, ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Faculty and students are expected to be respectful and supportive of all individuals, including, but not limited to clients, staff, peers, and faculty who are different from themselves in terms of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status. It is essential that students and faculty work to create a climate of safety and trust for all concerned.  Our program fosters an inclusive atmosphere and is committed to actively recruiting and retaining faculty and students of diverse backgrounds.  We recognize the importance of removing barriers to the recruitment and retention of students and faculty from historically underrepresented groups, and understand that diversity broadens and deepens our educational experience and prepares students to succeed in an increasingly and complex pluralistic society.

As a profession, counselors not only disavow oppressive attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, but actively work to advocate for social justice and against oppression. As mandated by the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) Code of Ethics, we seek to train students who will advocate for and positively embrace all types of diversity. Thus, enrollment in the program is seen as a commitment to the process.

Standards for student and faculty behavior must exceed the idea of “non- discrimination.” Both faculty and students of the Counseling program are expected to take active roles in stopping bigotry and combating racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, religious intolerance, and other forms of invidious prejudice. No behaviors that result in physical or psychological abuse, harassment, intimidation, or violence against persons or property will be tolerated.

We understand that students will not enter the program free from bias and prejudice. Nevertheless, successful completion of the program requires a genuine desire to examine one’s attitudes and values and to learn to work effectively with “cultural, individual, and role differences including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status” (APA Ethics Code, 2002, Principle E, and Standards 3.01 and 3.03; ACA Code of Ethics, 2014, B.1.a, C.5, E.8, F.2.b, F.7.c, and F.11.a, b, c). Stated simply, being unwilling to examine the effects of one’s attitudes and values on one’s work is unacceptable.

Students are required to honor not merely the Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, but also to be familiar with and to abide by the various Guidelines published by the APA and ACA, which address issues of diversity including but not limited to the: Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients, the Multicultural Guidelines, and the Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults. All of these guidelines can be found on the APA website and the ACA website.

The practice of counseling requires significant self-disclosure and personal introspection for the person receiving counseling. Counseling students must become comfortable working with the process of individual’s self-disclosure and introspection. Therefore, it is an essential training component of the Counseling Psychology and Counseling programs to provide assignments and classroom experiences that call for our students (i.e., counselors in training) to self-disclose and personally introspect

about life experiences to an extent not expected in other academic disciplines. As a result, the counseling faculty is committed to and expects an atmosphere of respect and confidentiality among our students.

Please note that we require that our students be willing to engage in self-examination (i.e., to disclose personal information in an academic context), and to learn to interact in an ethical and facilitative manner with individuals who are both culturally similar as well as different from themselves, in terms of both demographics and values.


(This statement has been adapted from the following Universities and/or Counseling Psychology Program Statements: Auburn University, Miami University, the University of North Dakota, and University of Missouri – Columbia)

Counseling Program Mission and Goals

The mission of the Counseling program at UMKC is to prepare students to meet the psychological, social/emotional and educational needs of individuals, couples and families from diverse backgrounds.  Based on national and state standards for excellence in counselor preparation, the MA program in Counseling prepares students to be reflective, integrative practitioners who effectively use scholarship and research to successfully work as professional school counselors and licensed professional counselors in diverse settings.  This mission is reflected in our curriculum, requirements for graduation, and program objectives.

Graduates of the Master of Arts in Counseling program demonstrate skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Counseling Theories. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the various major theories of counseling and skills in application of them. (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) A; MPCAC B5B).
  • The Counseling Relationship. Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in creating and managing the counseling relationship including counselor attitudes and behaviors that influence helping processes. (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) D; MPCAC B5B).
  • Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the cultural and social contexts of people and relationships (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) C; MPCAC B5C).
  • Career Development Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in career development. (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) F; MPCAC B5G)
  • Assessment Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in assessment (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) G; MPCAC B5E).
  • Research Methods Students will demonstrate knowledge of research methods and the use of research to inform evidence-based practice. (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) H; MPCAC B5F).
  • Professional Identity Students will demonstrate knowledge of and identification with the counseling profession (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) I; MPCAC B5A).
  • Group Theory and Skills. Students will demonstrate knowledge of group theory and counseling skills (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) E; MPCAC B5B).
  • Ethical Standards and Issues. Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in ethical practice. (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) I; MPCAC B5A).
  • Diagnostic Systems Students will demonstrate knowledge in psychological diagnosis using the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). (MO - 20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) J; MPCAC B5D).
  • Prevention and Consultation. Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in preventive intervention and consultation. (MPCAC B5B).
  • Human Development, Biological and Social Bases of Behavior. Students will demonstrate knowledge of theories of human development, biological factors in human functioning and sociocultural influences on behavior (MO-20 CSR 2095-2.010 (4) B; MPCAC B5H,I,J).
  • Supervision.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the role of supervision and skill in appropriately engaging with clinical supervisors during applied experiences (MPCAC B5K).

These goals are based on the Missouri Code of State Regulations (CSR) for Professional Counselors and the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council standards (MPCAC).  In addition to the overall program goals, the school counseling emphasis area has additional goals that meet Missouri Standards and Quality Indicators for School Counselors (MoSPE).

School Counseling Program Goals (Aligned with Standards)

  • Student Development - The school counseling program will produce professional school counselors who utilize their skills and knowledge of student development and behavior to promote the mental health and well-being of all students by facilitating their academic, personal/social and career development. (MoSPE Standard #1, Quality Indicators 1,2,3,4,5,6)
  • Program Implementation – The school counseling program will produce professional school counselors who collaborate with school and community members to plan, design, implement, evaluate and enhance the school and district-wide comprehensive guidance and counseling program to advance the academic, personal/social and career development of all students. (MoSPE Standard #2,Quality Indicators 1,2,3,4)
  • Professional Relationships – The school counseling program will produce professional school counselors who develop collaborative professional relationships throughout the school and community which support the comprehensive guidance and counseling program as well as the overall mission and improvement plans of the school and district.  (MoSPE Standard #3, Quality Indicators 1,2,3,4)
  • Leadership and Advocacy – The school counseling program will produce professional school counselors who serve as change agents, demonstrating leadership, vision, collaboration and advocacy for the on-going development of self, students, the comprehensive guidance and counseling program and the school. (MoSPE Standard #4, Quality Indicators 1,2,3,4,5)
  • Ethical and Professional Conduct – The school counseling program will produce professional school counselors who know, understand and adhere to current ethical and professional standards and legal requirements. (MoSPE Standard #5, Quality Indicators 1,2,3,4)
  • Cultural Competence – The school counseling program will produce professional school counselors who demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how human culture and diversity affects learning and development within the context of a global society and a diverse community of learners. (MoSPE Standard #1, Quality Indicator 4)

With the exception of a few weekend classes, our classes are held once a week, from 4:30-7:15pm or 7:30-10:15pm in fall and spring semesters. Summer semester is an 8-week semester, so classes are held twice a week in the same timeframes; there are some exceptions for summer practicum.

Most classes are scheduled to be in-person; however, it is always possible that we might need to pivot (e.g., severe weather, other emergency protocols) to meeting online for one or more weeks. If classes are taught online, a synchronous format is used with a few exceptions (meaning that you must be at class at a given time, with camera and microphone activated). These requirements are a result of the rules for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri, which stipulate that classes meeting core educational requirements allow for visual and verbal interaction between instructor and students.

If a class is not typically used to meet licensure requirements, it may be taught online asynchronously. Some of the program requirements and electives may be taught this way. Students in the program, however, should always check with their advisors about the status of a course taught asynchronously or in a blended format.

Applicants wishing to transfer courses into the program should know that any used to meet licensure requirements will likely not transfer if completed asynchronously.

Practicum for students in the mental health and couples/family emphasis areas are completed in our in-house training clinic, the Community Counseling and Assessment Services. Internships for these emphasis areas are completed in community settings. More information can be found under the Program Resources button on the home page in the Practicum and Internship file.

School counseling students complete practicum and internship in school settings. There are further requirements for school counseling students that can be found in the school counseling folder under the Program Resources button.

Practicum students should expect to spend about 10 hours per week in practicum (seeing clients or students, supervision meetings, documentation, etc.).  Internship requires 17-20 hours per week, including direct client contact and indirect hours (e.g., staff meetings, case conferences).

Application deadlines for the mental health and couples/family emphasis areas are not flexible (September 1 and March 1). Applications for school counseling are accepted on a year-round basis, but it is recommended that your materials be submitted at least one month prior to the semester you wish to begin the program.

Some classes can be taken by students not admitted to the program (i.e., visiting students). However, completing these courses does not in any way guarantee admission to the program.

Please note the following:

  • An undergraduate degree and admission to the university as a visiting graduate student are required.
  • Scheduling information provided below gives a general sense of when the courses are offered, but are subject to change.
  • If your goal is be become a licensed professional counselor in Missouri, any courses taken online to meet licensure requirements should be in a synchronous format (i.e., instructor and students are able to visually and verbally interact).


The following is a list of courses that can be taken prior to admission to the program, when they are offered, and whether they are core, emphasis area, or elective courses:

CPCE 5500 Introduction to Professional Counseling (Fall, Spring)
Course is required on all programs of study for the MA in Counseling

EDCI 5512 Strategies for Effective Classroom Management (Spring)
Course is required for all school counseling candidates who do not hold a teaching certification

EDCI 5517 Teaching Methods and Practices (Spring)
Course is required for all school counseling candidates who do not hold a teaching certification

EDRP 5508 Principles and Methods of Research (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Course is required on all programs of study for the MA in Counseling

EDRP 5510 Child Behavior and Development (Fall, Summer)
Course can be used as an elective in the MA in Counseling program

EDRP 5512 Adolescent Development and the School (Fall, Spring)
Course can be used as an elective in the MA in Counseling program

EDRP 5513 Advanced Developmental Science across the Lifespan (Fall, Spring)
Course is required on all programs of study for the MA in Counseling

TE 5404 Education of the Exceptional Child and Youth (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Course required for all school counseling candidates

We do not require any specific undergraduate major to apply to the counseling program. There is also no required prerequisite coursework.

Candidates should meet the admissions criteria found on the program’s homepage. An undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution is required, but there is no specific requirement for major. The faculty also look for candidates with clear professional goals that are consistent with our program goals and outcomes, have good interpersonal skills, and solid professional references. As of spring 2021, online interviews are required for applicants being considered for admission.  At this time, the Graduate Record Examination is not required.

The UMKC Master’s program in counseling is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council. MPCAC has received recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (see chea.org/chea-national-voice-accreditation for more information).

Graduates of our program are routinely licensed in Missouri and Kansas, as well as other states in the U.S. For information about licensure in other states, contact the licensing board in those states, as licensure requirements vary by state.

Our grads do very well on licensure and certification exams.  Available data from Kansas and Missouri show that pass rates for the National Counselor Exam, the exam required for licensure as a professional counselor, exceed 97%.  Pass rates for the Missouri Content Assessment for school counselor certification also exceed 97%.

You can find out how to apply for financial aid and get your questions answered about it by visiting Financial Aid and Scholarships.

The cost of the program will vary based on where you live and other factors. The best way to get a rough idea is to explore the cost of attendance.

Generally, assistantships aren’t easy to come by for master’s students but there are some.  You just have to look around and ask various faculty and departments. We also routinely send information about student funding out to our program’s email listserv. The School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences offers some scholarships, along with those offered across campus. Applications for scholarships are generally due March 1 each year; information can be found here.

You can contact one of the individuals listed below. Due to the number of inquiries, please do so by email. Please also make sure that you have read all of the information included on this sheet, as well as the web links and handbooks. These resources will give you a better idea of what to ask.

MA Program Coordinator, Dr. LaVerne Berkel, at BerkelL@umkc.edu

School Counseling Coordinator, Marvalee Collins, at MCollins@umkc.edu

For more information about the program, contact:

LaVerne Berkel, PhD
Coordinator, Master of Arts in Counseling
BerkelL@umkc.edu
816-235-2444

Marvalee Collins, MS
Coordinator, School Counseling
MCollins@umkc.ed
816-235-6368

Admissions Information

  • Questions about the application process can be directed to 816-235-1318 or umkcccp@umkc.edu.
  • To apply, submit all required materials through the electronic portal futureroo.umkc.edu/apply 
  • Please Note: we do not provide feedback to applicants about their application materials or on the interview process. Admission to UMKC does not guarantee admission to the Master of Arts in Counseling degree program.

Admissions Criteria

  • The following are the minimum criteria. Note that we receive applications from many more qualified individuals than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum criteria will not guarantee admission.
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better
  • Alternative criteria may be accepted at the discretion of the admissions committee if there is good reason to believe the regular criteria do not adequately portray the student’s potential to do quality graduate work. Applicants may provide explanations for circumstances of not meeting the GPA criteria in the online application system.
  • No test scores are required
  • International applicants: Success in the counseling profession relies heavily on oral expression and, therefore, the counseling program requires that all non-native English-speaking international applicants demonstrate their proficiency in English, preferably by taking the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (iBT TOEFL).

    Applicants are expected to demonstrate their oral English proficiency by obtaining a score of at least 23 points (score range 0-30) on the speaking section and at least 20 points (score range 0-30) on the listening section of the iBT TOEFL before their applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Please be aware that the minimum admission score for the iBT TOEFL test set by the UMKC International Student Affairs Office is 79, and that this program requires specific minimum scores on the speaking and listening subtests in addition to the University requirement.

    While iBT TOEFL scores are strongly preferred, scores on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will also be considered as evidence of English proficiency. Applicants taking the IELTS are expected to demonstrate their oral English proficiency by obtaining a score of at least 7 (score range 0-9) on the speaking subsection of the IELTS and a 6.5 (score range 0-9) on the listening subsection. In addition, applicants are expected to obtain a score of 6.5 on the total IELTS before applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Please note that the minimum admission score for the IELTS test set by the UMKC International Student Affairs Office is 6, and that the division requires specific minimum scores and a higher overall score than the University requirement.

    NOTE: Both TOEFL and IELTS scores must not be more than two years old.

Required Materials

  • Official transcripts from an accredited institution showing the awarding of an undergraduate degree
  • Statement of Purpose: a concise statement (no more than 500 words) concerning your professional goals, professional interests, and experiences
  • Resume or curriculum vita
  • Names and contact information (including email) for three professional references. Identified individuals should be professional references. This excludes friends and family members. References should address your suitability for professional studies in counseling. Raters should have knowledge of your skills in most of the following areas: interpersonal and intellectual functioning, research, counseling, and written and oral communication.

Application Deadlines

  • Couples and Family and Mental Health: March 1 for Fall entry; September 1 for Spring entry. All materials, including letters of reference, must be received by the deadline for these emphasis areas.
  • School Counseling: Applications are accepted and reviewed year-round. It is recommended that all application materials be submitted at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student wishes to enroll