General Academic Requirements (Master's Degrees)

Program Design

The design of the graduate program is unique in that each core course consists of six sessions for a minimum of 36 clock hours. This format dictates that there be a variety of instructional strategies including lecture, group projects, small group discussions, multimedia presentations, guest speakers, and instructor-student interactions.

Academic Load

The Graduate Counseling Program considers a course load of twelve semester credits hours as full-time and a course load of six semester credit hours part-time. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid directly for criteria of full-time and part-time status as related to financial aid. Eligibility for student loans at the graduate level requires a student be enrolled in at least 3 credit hours each semester.

Advising and Admission to Candidacy

Upon entering the Graduate Counseling Program, students are informed by letter as to the name of their Trevecca academic advisor. All advisors are full-time professional educators with the University. The assigned advisors continue to advise the students throughout the program. On occasion students are reassigned advisors because of changes in their program of study.

Students are encouraged to maintain contact with their advisors. There are three structured times in which students meet with their advisors and/or progress in the program will be evaluated.

  1. In the letters they receive designating their advisors, students are encouraged to contact their advisors to set up a meeting to discuss their program of study and/or any other concerns they have about the program. This meeting is to occur during the student’s first semester of the program. It is at this meeting that any transfer credit hours are evaluated. This is also the time for students and advisors to jointly prepare a schedule of course work depending on the program of study and whether or not students are taking a full-time load of twelve hours or a part-time load of six hours.
  2. By the end of the semester in which students complete twelve (12) hours in the program (not counting transfer hours), the admission to candidacy form must be submitted. This is a critical point in the program. Students may take up to six additional hours while going through the candidacy process. Failure to submit an admission to candidacy form or failure to receive approval for candidacy will delay or terminate a student’s completion of the program. No degree seeking student will be permitted to take more than eighteen hours without a completed and approved admission to candidacy form. There are two levels of approval: Continuation of Program and Continuation with Remedial Action. In the latter case, specific recommendations for remedial action must be successfully completed by a designated timeline set by the advisor. Remedial action may involve but not be limited to professional therapy, testing, taking a break from the program, or engaging in specific activities that will encourage growth. Students failing to remediate within the designated timeline will be placed on probation and a notice given for dismissal from the program if remediation is not forthcoming or successfully completed by a newly established timeline set by the program director.
  3. The third evaluation takes place toward the end of the program of study (prior to students starting their practicum experiences). At this point, transcripts are evaluated to determine if the necessary courses have been completed prior to initiating the practicum experience and to ascertain that the transcript is accurate. A plan to complete any necessary courses or electives is agreed upon between the student and the academic advisor. Also, any remedial issues identified earlier in the program or recently surfaced remedial issues must be resolved before students are permitted to start their practicum experiences.

It is important to note that evaluations of students go beyond academic performance. Students may demonstrate academic excellence but fail to demonstrate the professional conduct and clinical skills needed to work with clients in practicum/internship settings. When issues occur, our goal is to work with students. If remediation is not successfully completed by designated timelines, a student will be placed on probation and eventually dismissed from the program. Dismissal from the program can also be implemented without any prior remedial action or probation, if there is a serious violation of anything that normally results in restriction or discipline as a mental health professional (moral or ethical violations), any serious misconduct in violation of school policies (ex: plagiarism), or failure to represent the University in a professional manner (ex: at a practicum/internship site).

Those who teach and supervise students in the Graduate Counseling Program are encouraged to identify students who they believe may have issues of “suitability” as it relates to entering the mental health profession. Professor/Supervisor Concern Regarding Student Preparation forms are provided to all full-time and adjunct professors and supervisors. Concerns filed by professors and supervisors are passed on to those who advise students in the program to be considered during structured evaluation times.

In cases of remediation, probation, or dismissal, students may appeal decisions of academic advisors and/or the director of the graduate counseling program to the University Provost.

Students receiving a grade below B- are also counseled prior to the next course or courses. This counsel may take the form of a letter from the director or assistant director of the graduate counseling program.

Grading

The grading system for this program is as follows:

Quality Points Per Semester Hour
Exceptional A 4.0
A– 3.7
Superior B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B– 2.7
Average C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C– 1.7
Passing D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D– 0.7
Failing F 0.0
Incomplete I 0.0
Withdrawal W 0.0

NOTE: Exceptions to this scale will be noted in course syllabi.

Probation/Suspension Policy

Any student making a grade of C- in any course will be automatically placed on academic probation. He or she may continue in the program but must repeat that course with a later group.

Each student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) each semester to remain in academic "good standing". If the cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, after the completion of nine semester hours, the student will be placed on academic probation for the following semester. Upon regaining the required cumulative average (3.0), the student will again be in good standing; however, if the student does not increase the cumulative average to 3.0 during the probationary semester, he or she will be placed on academic suspension for the subsequent semester and may reapply to the Admissions Committee for reinstatement after a three month waiting period. The student will be assigned to a later group if reinstated by the Admissions Committee.

Any student making a grade of D+ or below in any course will be automatically placed on academic suspension. After a three month waiting period, the student may petition to return to the program. If reinstated by the Admissions Committee, the student must repeat the course and achieve a grade of C or better. A maximum of two course grades of C+ or C are permitted.

Any student receiving more than one grade of D+ or below will be permanently dismissed from the program.

Remediation Procedure

  1. A student can be placed on a remediation plan for reasons including but not limited to the following concerns: academic performance, academic honesty (i.e., plagiarism), unethical and/or unprofessional behavior, emotional well-being, pattern of inflexibility/rigidity, suitability for the profession, tardiness/absences (class or practicum/internship), writing skills, interactions with cohort/faculty, or insufficient progress (including missed deadlines) completing degree requirements/dissertation.  While this list is not exhaustive of all issues that could necessitate a remediation plan, it reflects some scenarios.  In some cases, the severity of an issue may not allow for remediation and may necessitate immediate academic probation or dismissal from the program.
  2. Concerns regarding a student that could lead to a remediation plan will be communicated to the program director either through the candidacy application/review process or at any point during the program via the Professor/Supervisor Concern Regarding Student Preparation form made accessible to faculty.  Faculty may also communicate concerns to the program director at any point and are not limited to the candidacy process or Professor/Supervisor Concern Regarding Student Preparation form.  
  3. Student is notified by the program director and/or academic advisor through either a face-to-face meeting, phone call, or in writing (email or mailed letter) of concern(s) that have necessitated the development of a remediation plan.  The purpose of the remediation plan is to support the student’s progress in the program.
  4. Regardless of how the student is notified of the remediation plan (verbal or written), the plan will ultimately be communicated in writing and provided to the student with a copy maintained in the student’s academic file.
  5. A written remediation plan will include a time limit for completion.
  6. When the time limit for completion of the remediation plan has been reached, the student’s success in fulfilling the requirements of the remediation plan will be reviewed and noted by the program director and/or academic advisor.
  7. If the student successfully fulfills the remediation plan, the student will continue in the program, but future concerns may result in immediate dismissal from the program without a degree.
  8. If the student fails to fulfill the remediation plan, the student will be considered for dismissal from the program without a degree.

Program Dismissal

While failure to fulfill a remediation plan could result in dismissal from the program, a student can be dismissed from the program without a prior remediation plan for reasons including but not limited to the following concerns:  academic performance, academic honesty (i.e., plagiarism), unethical and/or unprofessional behavior, emotional well-being, pattern of inflexibility/rigidity, suitability for the profession, tardiness/absences (class or practicum/internship), writing skills, interactions with cohort/faculty, or insufficient progress (including missed deadlines) completing degree requirements/dissertation.  This stated list of concerns is not exhaustive of all issues that could necessitate dismissal from the program.

In cases of dismissal from the program, students may appeal a dismissal decision to the University Provost.  Appeals must be made in writing and received by the University Provost within 15 days of the dismissal decision date. The decision of the Provost is final.

Course Evaluation and Assessment

A Course and Instructor Evaluation is completed by students at the end of each course. The Graduate Counseling Program administrative assistant receives and compiles these evaluations into an anonymous summary report. In order to maintain high quality instruction in all classes, instructors receive the results of the evaluations after all grades have been submitted. Evaluation of the program takes place at the Comprehensive Exam.

Student Professionalism

Membership in Professional Organizations

To promote students' professional development, the Graduate Counseling Program identifies specific professional organizations of which students will become members. Students are required to maintain these memberships while in the program.

Professional Classroom Environment

A professional classroom environment is necessary for the growth and development of counselors-in-training. In an effort to encourage a healthy teaching and learning environment, students are to exemplify the professionalism expected of future mental health counselors. Characteristics such as attentiveness, curiosity, humility, approachability, flexibility, and mutual respect among peers and instructors are expected. In an effort to encourage such teaching environments, all students are expected to:

  • listen attentively, ask relevant questions, and demonstrate a positive attitude toward learning
  • respond in a positive manner to questions, suggestions, and/or constructive feedback
  • deal with classroom concerns directly/privately with the professor
  • be on time for all scheduled classes, including timely return from breaks
  • demonstrate cooperation with and mutual respect for peers
  • appropriately use computers and any other mobile devices for classroom purposes only and in a manner that would not distract from any activity such as devotionals, lecture, or other class presentations.

Master's Degree Requirements

To receive the master's degree, a student must meet the following academic requirements:

  1. Complete the required number of semester hours of credit with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Students earning a C- or below on any course will be required to repeat that particular course.

    While maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.0, two course grades of C+ or C will be allowed for graduate degree purposes.

  2. Submit candidacy form upon completion of 12 semester hours.
  3. Successful completion of a two-part comprehensive exam. Part I, a specialty exam in the student's program area (clinical mental health counseling/marriage & family) and, Part II, the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), which is prepared by the Center for Credentialing & Education, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). A passing score is required on both portions of the comprehensive exam. The student is responsible for paying a fee each time the CPCE is taken.

    Part I: The specialty exam will be successfully completed prior to a student taking the CPCE exam. The specialty exam will typically be taken during the practicum semester. If a student is unsuccessful in passing the specialty exam on the first attempt, he or she is required to contact his or her academic advisor, who will suggest preparation options for retaking the exam. A student who has not successfully completed the specialty exam after two attempts has the option of requesting a meeting with the program director, who will work with the student to establish a remediation plan. Remediation may involve (but not be limited to) a detailed study program, auditing a completed course in the area of weakness, or taking additional courses. Upon completing the remediation plan, the student may retake the specialty exam the following semester during the regularly scheduled exam time. A student who fails the specialty exam a third time will be terminated from the program without a degree. The specialty exam must be passed before the student is permitted to take the CPCE exam.

    Part II: After successful completion of the specialty exam, the CPCE exam can be taken during any of the three semesters of internship.A fee is due each time the student registers to take the CPCE exam. If a student is unsuccessful in passing the CPCE exam on the first attempt, he or she is required to contact his or her academic advisor who will suggest preparation options for retaking the exam. A student who has not successfully completed the CPCE exam after two attempts has the option of requesting a meeting with the program director who will work with the student to establish a remediation plan. Remediation may involve (but not be limited to) a detailed study program, auditing a completed course in the area of weakness, or taking additional courses.

    The CPCE exam is offered one time each semester. A student who fails the CPCE exam a third time will be terminated from the program without a degree.

    Special Note: Students who began the graduate counseling program prior to fall 2013 are required to successfully complete a one-part comprehensive exam (in place of the two-part comprehensive exam described above, which is required of students beginning the program as of fall 2013). For students taking the one-part comprehensive exam, typically the exam will be taken during the student’s first semester of practicum. If a student is unsuccessful in passing the exam on the first attempt, he or she is required to contact his or her academic advisor who will suggest preparation options for retaking the exam.

    A student who has not successfully completed the comprehensive exam after two attempts has the option of requesting a meeting with the program director, who will work collaboratively with the student to draw up a remediation plan. Remediation may involve (but not be limited to) a detailed study program, auditing a completed course in the area of weakness or taking additional courses. Upon completing the remediation plan, the student may retake the comprehensive examination.

    Retakes are scheduled individually with each student. A student who fails the comprehensive exam a third time will be terminated from the program without a degree.

  4. All requirements for the M.A. and M.M.F.C./T. degrees must be met within a six-year period after the student enters the graduate program. Any exceptions to the policy are granted by the director of the graduate counseling program.
  5. Submit an application for graduation.
  6. The residency requirement for the M.A. and the M.M.F.C./T. degree is 51 hours (60 hours - 9 potential transfer hours).

Summary of Steps toward the Master's Degree

  • Admission to master's degree program
  • Student membership required in two professional organizations
  • Appointment of faculty advisor
  • Initial meeting with advisor during first semester of program
  • Maintenance of good academic standing
  • Admission to candidacy submitted upon completion of 12 semester hours
  • Approval to pursue practicum placement
  • Application for graduation
  • Successful participation of the comprehensive exam.