The mission of CIU’s Clinical Counseling Program is to offer professional training in clinical mental health counseling within a biblical worldview in order to provide Christ-like therapeutic relationships for healing and growth. The training model focuses on the heart (personal and spiritual development), the head (professional knowledge and research), and the hands (effective interpersonal and clinical skills).
- In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements for Columbia International University graduate-level programs, applicants must submit a specific essay and reference form for the Master of Arts in Counseling program and participate in an online interview. Applicants must satisfy the following:
- Bachelor’s Degree: Have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 GPA in their major field of study, or a minimum 3.0 GPA for the last 60 credits in their undergraduate degree. Students with a lower GPA may document their ability to succeed in a graduate program in one of the following ways:
- Complete a minimum of nine graduate-level credit hours from an accredited college or university with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and a minimum 2.7 (“B-“) grade in each course
- Complete a minimum of 18 graduate-level credit hours from an accredited college or university with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
*International applicants must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s level degree.
- Have completed a master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
- Prerequisites: Have a minimal understanding of the language and concepts of psychology to be successful in the program. Therefore, the following undergraduate courses with a minimum 2.0 (“C”) grade (or a score of 50 on the CLEP or 55 on the DANTES examinations) are prerequisites for full admission:
- Introduction to Psychology or General Psychology
- Developmental, Lifespan Developmental, or Human Growth and Developmental Psychology within a social science or educational program
Applicants without these courses can be conditionally accepted pending successful completion of the courses.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete these courses as soon as possible, as they will not be allowed to take counseling courses that have these undergraduate courses for prerequisites.
- Personal Readiness: Show evidence of potential success in forming effective and culturally relevant interpersonal relationships in individual and small-group contexts and relevant career goals to the program.
- Interview: Following the receipt of all application items, applicants meeting the initial requirements will be invited to participate in an online interview.
Residency and Transfer Policies
A maximum of 12 credits will be considered for transfer toward the “Counseling Core” from another accredited school. No transfer of credit will be accepted for the following courses: CNS 5305 - Applied Biblical Foundations of Counseling , CNS 5306 - Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling , CNS 5313 - Personal and Spiritual Development , CNS 5342 - Foundations of Marriage, Family Counseling , CNS 6909 - Advanced Counseling Techniques , CNS 6910 - Counseling Practicum , CNS 6931 - Internship I , CNS 6932 - Internship II . Transfer credit must be approved by the student’s advisor and the dean.
Non-Degree Seeking Students
Students accepted as non-degree seeking students or students in other graduate-level programs at CIU may take a maximum of 12 graduate hours in the Master of Arts in Counseling degree. Admission into a course does not imply admission into the Master of Arts in Counseling program. Students may choose from the following courses: CNS 5075 - Multicultural Counseling , CNS 5306 - Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling , CNS 5310 - Counseling Theory , CNS 5330 - Professional Orientation and Ethics , CNS 5342 - Foundations of Marriage, Family Counseling , CNS 5410 - Research, Statistics, and Evaluation , and CNS 6015 - Advanced Multi-Cultural Counseling . Internship courses are open only to Master of Arts in Counseling students.
Admission to candidacy in the M.A. in Counseling program is a checkpoint to ensure that students are progressing appropriately in their professional skills, academic understanding, and personal and spiritual development in order to continue toward internship and graduation. Details of the application process for candidacy are found in the Program Handbook. All undergraduate psychology prerequisites must be completed and credits transferred to CIU before candidacy can be granted. Students who wish to pursue candidacy must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater. Students are responsible for submitting their application to candidacy to the Director of Training and Internship.
- Students are responsible for completing and submitting all documents related to candidacy for review by the Director of Training and Internship before mid-October.
- All undergraduate psychology prerequisites must be completed and all external credits must be transferred to CIU before candidacy can be granted.
- Students must have completed the following nine courses before candidacy can be granted: CNS 5306 Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, CNS 5310 Counseling Theory, CNS 5313 Personal and Spiritual Development, CNS 5330 Professional Ethics, CNS 5342 Foundations of Marriage and Family Counseling, CNS 5420 Psychopathology, CNS 6310 Human Growth and Development, CNS 6410 Counseling Techniques, and CNS 6440 Group Counseling.
Program Hours, Practicum, Internship
The M.A. in Counseling program requires 66 credit hours for graduation. This total includes nine hours of electives that may be chosen from the following areas: addictions, children and adolescents, crisis, family, marriage, member care, and sexuality.
A practicum experience of 150 hours with a minimum of 40 hours of direct services and an internship of 600 hours with a minimum of 240 hours of direct service are required as part of the 66 course credits. Students typically complete the program over a three-year period.
The M.A. in Counseling program meets the requirements for the academic coursework and clinical training for licensure as a Professional Counselor Associate (LPC/A) in the state of South Carolina. While the standards for licensure in South Carolina are similar to other states, students who wish to pursue licensure from another state should research the requirements for the state in which they intend to practice. Any program changes must be approved by the student’s advisor and dean early in the program. Most states require a minimum of two years postgraduate supervised practice before full licensure is granted.
The time limit for completion of all requirements is seven years, measured from the date a student begins coursework in the M.A. in Counseling program.
Students must satisfy the following requirements in order to graduate:
- Complete all practicum, candidacy, and internship requirements
- Complete all required hours of specified coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and no grade lower than a “C”
- Receive a satisfactory faculty recommendation based upon emotional, spiritual, and professional health and maturity