Learn more about topics related to the School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs by reading the Counseling Programs FAQs listed below.

Program and Course Information

How long will it take to complete the program?

The Graduate School sets a 7 year time limit for all master’s degree programs over 30 credits. The Department has an internal requirement that students must complete the program within 5 years. Length of time to degree varies depending upon your concentration, and the number of credits taken per semester. Students enrolled full time (12 credits per semester) are able to graduate within 2 years, including summers. Students enrolled with 9 credits or less per semester generally take 3 years, including summers. We recommend using the Academic Planner feature in PAWS to plan out your time to degree completion.

How many credits are required for the MS in Educational Psychology School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations?

The School Counseling concentration requires 48 credits, and the Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration requires 60 credits. Students are admitted to their concentrations of choice. Advisors are assigned to students on the basis of their concentrations. Advisor approval is required for any changes in concentration, or to pursue dual-licensure.

When are courses offered?

Generally, courses are offered in the evening. Day sections of various courses are available from time to time. We also offer some courses online. The program is designed to maximize student access to courses. Students who plan to work full-time should be aware that practicum placements are 20 hours per week and usually involve daytime hours.

Where can I see upcoming course offerings?

Upcoming course offerings can be found on the UWM Schedule of Classes webpage.

Counseling Programs Requirements

Is field experience required for completion?

Yes, both concentrations require two semesters of practicum experience. Students seek placements in sites appropriate to their concentrations. See the Counseling Program Student Handbook for more details.

May I complete my fieldwork/practicum requirements at my place-of employment?

Yes, however, the Counseling faculty discourage this practice because of potential conflicts-of-interest between students, supervisors, and clients. Students who seek to complete fieldwork/practicum requirements at their places-of employment need authorization from their advisors.

Will I have to disclose personal information in course or program-related activities?

Yes, a number of our courses include experiential components in which students are expected to disclose personal information to some extent. Many courses also require personal exploration in papers and class exercises as part of the educational process. Although rare, students may also be encouraged to seek psychotherapy when their personal problems are judged to be preventing them from performing their training-related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.

Is a background and criminal-history check required for the program?

Due to Wisconsin Department of Instruction regulations, a criminal background check is required for admission to the School Counseling concentration. After program review, applicants to whom admission is offered will receive instructions for completing the criminal background check through a third-party service called CastleBranch.

Additionally, some practicum placement sites may be required by the Wisconsin Caregiver Law to have such checks on file. For practicum placement, background checks will be conducted by the School of Education. If a student’s records contain certain types of investigations, convictions, or arrests that involve harm to persons in vulnerable populations, the student’s background check records will be sent to the placement site, and it is possible the student will not be able to participate in clinical placements.

Counseling Programs Admission

How do I apply to the program?

All application materials must be submitted to the UWM Graduate School by the Nov. 15 Priority Deadline or the Feb. 15 Final Deadline. All completed applications received on or before the final deadline date will be held by the Counseling Area for the Admissions Committee meeting held shortly after the stated deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum of 18 credits of work in the social sciences or related areas with an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0.
  • Applicants who do not have the required GPA shall be required to submit additional information; e.g., the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller’s Analogies Test (MAT) scores.
  • Depending on the applicant pool, some applicants may be admitted who do not meet the required GPA.

The counseling programs require 3 letters of recommendation. These letters must be submitted through the application’s electronic recommendation feature by the recommenders themselves. Letters uploaded or sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

UWM Panthera Graduate Admission Application

Who can I contact if I have questions about my application?

You may contact the UWM Graduate School at gradschool-staff@uwm.edu or 414-229-6569, and/or reach out to our Graduate Program Admissions Coordinator Peggy Kuhnz at kuhnzpa@uwm.edu or 414-251-8536.

After Applying to the Program

Once I apply for admission, how soon will I be notified about the decision concerning my application?

Notification will generally be within 4 weeks following the stated deadlines. All applications are held until that date. The date of an application’s arrival does not influence admission decisions.

Of those who apply, what proportion of students are admitted?

Generally, about one-half to two-thirds of the applicants who apply are admitted.

Are assistantships available?

No, for the most part, assistantships are reserved for doctoral students. This is because almost all of our assistantships are teaching assistantships and those teaching classes must have at least one degree higher than the class level they are teaching.

What happens if I am not admitted?

There are two primary reasons applicants are denied admission. First, our programs have many more applicants than we can accommodate. There is simply not enough space in our programs to admit all qualified applicants. Second, past academic performance is a very important consideration in the admissions process. Applicants who have satisfactory academic credentials and are not admitted can reapply and will be considered again during the next admissions cycle.

Already Have a Masters or Want to Transfer?

If I have a master’s degree in a related area, must I complete the entire program and a second master’s degree?

Not necessarily. Your advisor can work with you to develop a course-of-study that will complete the certification requirements. Depending upon your initial master’s degree, 24-42 additional credits may be required.

Will classes taken before admission apply towards my degree?

Only graduate credits may be considered. However, there is no guarantee that graduate courses taken before admission will count towards one’s degree. Credits that have already counted towards a completed degree cannot be double-counted towards a second degree, though they may count towards licensure. It is up to the individual’s advisor to determine whether up to 12 credits taken within the past 5 years are acceptable.

How many units may be transferred from another graduate program?

Twelve graduate credits, or the equivalent, may be transferred if the credits are accepted by the Graduate School and are approved by one’s advisor.

Must I be a teacher to enter the program to become a school counselor?

No, under the current school counselor certification standards, no teaching experience or internship is required. Please note that there are significant changes in the curriculum fieldwork/practicum requirements as a result of new Department of Public Instruction standards. All graduates of the school counseling track are eligible for certification as an Initial Educator: K-12.

Is the program accredited?

The program has full accreditation from The Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).

As well as receiving a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, what licenses are available to graduates?

Two different licenses and/or certifications are available: 1) All graduates with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meet initial criteria for the Licensed Professional Counselor (Department of Safety and Professional Services). Students in the School Counseling concentration are eligible for certification as: 2) Initial Educator: K-12, five-year license (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction).