The Master’s Degree

The Department of Human Development Counseling offers three concentrations accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP):

  1. Community Counseling Concentration (now Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
  2. Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Concentration
  3. School Counseling Concentration

These concentrations allow graduates to provide counseling and consulting services at a professional level in a wide variety of environments. Career options for graduates in the clinical mental health and marriage, couple, and family counseling concentrations include counseling in mental health, correctional, social welfare, rehabilitative, and human relations agencies, institutions, and environments. The school counseling concentration is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and prepares candidates for a Professional Educator License with a School Counseling endorsement. Since opportunities for employment within each of these concentrations vary widely, prospective students should consult an advisor before choosing a career option.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has accredited the community counseling (now clinical mental health counseling), school counseling, and marriage, couple and family counseling concentrations. Successful completion of the curriculum for these concentrations leads to eligibility for certification through the National Board of Certified Counselors, and/or State of Illinois licensure.

HDC students are encouraged to join the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the Illinois Counseling Association (ICA). Students preparing for a career in mental health counseling are encouraged to join the American Mental Health Counseling Association (AMHCA). Students preparing for a career in school counseling are encouraged to join the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and/or the Illinois School Counselor Association (ISCA). Students who are pursuing or have completed the M.A. degree in the marriage, couple and family counseling concentration may apply for membership in the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC), the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and/or licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Consultation with the department’s marriage, couple and family counseling concentration coordinator is required.


Academic advising for HDC students is very important, and students should contact their advisors regularly. An advisor will be assigned by the department upon successful completion of the admissions process.

Grading Policy

HDC department majors must earn grades of B- or better in HDC 501, HDC 511, HDC 512, and HDC 513. If a C+ grade or lower is earned in any of these courses, the course must be retaken. HDC majors must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. In other courses, a maximum of six hours of C grades is allowed provided that a minimum GPA of 3.0 is reached at time of graduation and an approved Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration.

NOTE: Students also should refer to the campus policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees section of this catalog.

Expected Professional Competencies

Before graduating, degree candidates must demonstrate competencies and dispositions related to personal development, such as the ability to communicate effectively with others; professional development, such as the ability to conceptualize client concerns and to provide appropriate intervention through an individual or group relationship; and social development, such as the ability to collaborate effectively within a treatment team context.

In addition to these general competencies, students are expected to develop specific CACREP core-related knowledge and skills necessary for the client populations with which, or for the settings in which, they intend to work. Such specialized knowledge may be obtained through projects designed to meet individual course requirements.

Each department course may contain an applied or experiential component in addition to the didactic component, and some courses specifically emphasize experiential learning. These courses require application of professional skills in simulated and/or real settings. Students should, therefore, expect to demonstrate understanding of ethical behavior in the counseling profession as well as evidence of effective interaction skills with clients. All master’s candidates must be familiar with the HDC policy on clinical experience and should consult their advisors about satisfying its provisions. All degree candidates must demonstrate graduate-level performance in reading, writing, and speaking English.

Degree Requirements

A total of 61 semester hours is required for a master’s degree in Human Development Counseling in all three concentrations:

HDC 501 Fundamental Issues and Ethics in Counseling 1 3
HDC 511 Theories of Counseling 3
HDC 512 Prepracticum 3
HDC 513 Group Counseling 3
HDC 515 Multicultural Counseling 3
HDC 521 Developmental Counseling 3
HDC 524 Career/Lifestyle Counseling 3
HDC 525 Alcoholism and Substance Abuse 3
HDC 533 Family Dynamics 3
HDC 543 Consultation and Crisis Intervention 3
HDC 546 Psychopathology and the DSM 3
HDC 575 Appraisal Techniques in Counseling 3
HDC 577 Research Methods 3
HDC 585 Comprehensive Examination Registration 1
HDC 587 Professional Experience: Practicum 3
HDC 590 Professional Experience: Internship 1-10
Concentration 12
Total Hours 61

HDC 501 must be taken during the student’s first semester. 

Master’s Closure

In addition to course requirements, students are required to pass a comprehensive examination that tests knowledge from the department’s required course work. Completion of the closure requirement is satisfied once a student registers for the comprehensive exam (HDC 585), and passes both the multiple choice and clinical case presentation portions of the examination. Students must register for the comprehensive exam during the last semester of their internship, and after completion of required HDC courses. Students must consult their advisors for further information on the master’s closure requirement.

Students who take HDC 585 and do not pass both the multiple choice and clinical case presentation portion of the exam while enrolled must register for HDC 586 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each fall and spring until the exam is passed. Students who do not pass the clinical case presentation portion of the exam must also enroll in one credit hour of HDC 590 and provide additional professional counseling services at an approved clinical site.