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Counseling and Student Affairs

Practice Preparation Sequence and Departmental Approval for Practicum and Internship Placement Policies

To enroll in practicum and internship, all students must fulfill the requirements defined in the Practicum and Internship Manual for the program area specific to their placement.

Students must be admitted to a degree program in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs and complete the practice preparation courses* associated with their program areas with a grade of B or better in each course to establish eligibility for entry into Practicum (CNS 591). These courses are listed below:

Counseling Programs (CMHC & MCFC)

CNS 554 Group Counseling
CNS 555 Social and Cultural Diversity
CNS 558 Counseling Theories
CNS 559 Techniques of Counseling
CNS 560 Professional Studies in Clinical, Family and School Counseling

Students must complete practice preparation courses associated with their program area with grades of B or better in each course AND a Practicum (CNS 591) with a grade of B or better to be eligible to enroll in their first Internship.

Students must complete their first Internship with a grade of B or better to be eligible to enroll in their second Internship (CNS 596).

Finally, to enroll in a practicum or internship, students must have secured a placement site and have completed the forms identified in the practicum and internship manual specific to their program. When the forms and placement site are approved by the clinical coordinator for their program, the clinical coordinator will then authorize enrollment in the appropriate practicum or internship section.

*Practice preparation courses are those courses that provide skill, attitudinal, and ethical preparation necessary for placement in a mental health or marriage and family site.

Video Media Format

Students must submit video assignments in a digital format (e.g., DVD or USB drive).

Students are responsible to ensure that all videos they bring to supervision or submit to meet course requirements are compatible with the video playback equipment and software available to their course instructors or supervisors. No deadline or grade consequence will be waived for inability to provide an assignment in an appropriate format. Students should be certain that the videos they submit or bring to supervision are acceptable to their course instructors or supervisors in advance of course due dates and supervisory meetings.


If course instructors allow audio recordings for supervision or course requirements, students are responsible to ensure that the audio media they submit or bring to supervision can be played using equipment available to the instructor or supervisor.

Video and Audio Security

Videos or audio recordings of counseling sessions in CSA classes will meet HIPAA standards for security. This standard states that a video or audio recording must, at all times, be in a double lock security situation.

For example, if you store a tape in a locked file cabinet (lock 1) in a room that has a locked door (lock 2), you have met the double lock requirement.

Transporting a video to and from practicum, internship or other classroom sites represents a potentially challenging situation. For example, a video in a locked car (lock 1) does not constitute double lock security. Ways of creating a double lock security situation include storing the tape in a locked portable file cabinet or brief case within the car (lock 2).

All students will be required to sign a statement acknowledging that they understand and agree to comply with this Audio and Video Security policy

Video Lifetime and Destroying Procedures

At the conclusion of each semester, all video and audio recordings will be erased.

The Purpose of the Comprehensive Examination

  • Western Kentucky Graduate School policy stipulates that all students enrolled in master’s-level programs in the University must successfully complete a culminating experience of their master’s-level studies. In the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs the culminating experience is the Comprehensive Examination.
  • The Department’s Master’s-level Comprehensive Examination is intended to be a fair and rigorous test of the student’s mastery of important areas of professional knowledge in (a) the fundamentals of student affairs or counseling theory, research, practice, and ethics/policy, and (b) theory, research, practice, and ethics/policy pertinent to the concentration or specialty in which the student is enrolled (i.e., Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, or Student Affairs). The examinations require each master’s student to demonstrate the ability to understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate concepts, ethical principles, policies, research, research design, strategies, techniques, and values derived from the student’s graduate preparation.

Eligibility Criteria for the Comprehensive Examination

  • Students either must be in their final semester of academic study or have completed their all their content courses within the six-year limit, as defined by the Graduate School, for completion of all degree requirements. In addition, students are required to have passed CNS 598 Research and Program Evaluation in Counseling and must have completed all program requirements with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • The student MUST have on file in the Department Office and/or the Graduate Studies office:
    • Form C – This form should be filed during the first 12 hours of course work. If the graduate school does not have this form on file by the completion of 12 hours, a registration hold will be placed on the student’s record. This hold will not be lifted until the Form C, with all appropriate signatures, is approved by Graduate Studies and is on file in the Graduate Studies office as well as the Departmental office.
    • Form D – This form is to be filed between 12 and 21 hours of completed course work (The Graduate Studies office prefers that at least 21 hours be completed for master’s-level programs requiring more than 36 hours for the degree). If the Form D is not on file in Graduate Studies after the student has completed 21 hours, a registration hold is placed on the student’s record for the following registration term.
    • Comprehensive Exam Application – Written comprehensive examination applications can be obtained on the CEBS website.
    • The exam is offered three times per year: once during the spring, fall, and summer terms. Dates of the test are available well in advance. Therefore, students have ample time to plan their schedules according to the test date. Dates are set by the Office of the Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. Please refer to the CEBS website for specific dates.
    • Applications are due one month prior to the examination. This deadline is strictly administered. Please follow directions on the application for the Comprehensive Examination to ensure that your application will be processed in a timely manner.

Guidelines for Completing the Comprehensive Examination

  • All students will have the same amount of time and follow the same examination procedures unless an exception is pre-approved and authorization has been received from the Departmental Comprehensive Examination Coordinator after consultation with the ADA coordinator.
  • Exceptions to the rules and procedures stated above will be determined by the Comprehensive Examination Coordinator, the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs, the policies of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Form E - A report to the Graduate Studies verifying successful completion of the Departmental Comprehensive Examination is required. The Coordinator of the Comprehensive Examinations submits this form.

The policy for grading comprehensive exams for the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs (approved 9/22/2016)

  • Students must have a passing score on the multiple choice portion and/or the essay portion (if required). Essays will be evaluated with a scoring rubric. The rubric scores will be converted to percentages. The converted percentages from the rubrics and the percent correct on the multiple choice exam will then be averaged for the combined score.
  • In the event that a student does not achieve a passing score, the department faculty will decide on a remediation plan. Possibilities of remediation include an oral or written exam.
  • In the event that a student does not pass this remediation plan, a further remediation plan will be developed at the department faculty’s discretion.

Students must demonstrate A or B level counseling skills to receive credit for Internship (CNS 595 or CNS 596). Thus, students who do not achieve an A or B in Internship will not receive credit for Internship and must repeat the course in its entirety.

Department Policies

Course Prerequisites

Persons who are not currently enrolled in a Department of Counseling and Student Affairs program and want to complete academic courses must document completion of departmental course prerequisites or their equivalent from a CACREP accredited program. All substitutions for prerequisite courses from other CACREP programs will be accepted only with department head approval. Students enrolled in a Department of Counseling and Student Affairs program are expected to meet course prerequisites. Waiver of course prerequisites will require department head approval.

Second Masters

The Department of Counseling and Student Affairs conforms to the Western Kentucky University's Graduate Studies policy regarding the admission of applicants who previously have obtained a master's degree (See below.).

WKU Graduate Studies Second Master's Guidelines

The student who wishes to earn a second master's degree from Western Kentucky University must apply for and gain admission to the new program and satisfy all requirements (specific course work, research tool, thesis, etc.) for the new degree. No more than 12 hours of previous course work, whether transferred from another university, from the previous master's degree at Western (or a combination of the two) or as a non-degree seeking student at WKU may be used to fulfill program and research tool requirements. Any course work used must be earned within the six years allowed for the second master's degree program (see Graduate Catalog).

School Counseling Master's Degree Graduates Requesting Enrollment in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Internship for LPCC or LMFT Licensure.

School counseling degree graduates, regardless of institution, who want to fulfill course requirements in order to secure licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor must first apply and be admitted to the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling or Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program depending on the license they wish to pursue.

Enrollment in Academic or Clinical Courses by Persons Not Enrolled as Degree Seeking Students in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs Programs

Students who have not been admitted to a program or who are not currently pursuing a program in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs are not eligible to enroll in any of the department's clinical courses (CNS 590, 591, 595, or 596). To enroll in clinical courses students must first apply to the appropriate program, be admitted to the program, and meet all course prerequisites.

Plagiarism Tutorial

Incoming students are required to complete the plagiarism tutorial at https://www.indiana.edu/~istd/ Students will sign a statement that they have successfully completed this tutorial during their new student orientation meeting.


Self-plagiarism is defined by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) as an author presenting their "previously published work as new scholarship (p. 16)." It is thus unethical for students to use work previously submitted to meet a course requirement (e.g., a course paper) to meet a course requirement in another course. Doing so will result in remediation procedures. Students are advised that self-plagiarism will be treated as plagiarism and that the same disciplinary procedures will be used as those implemented for plagiarism.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is an essential component of an academic community. Every student is responsible for fostering and maintaining a culture of academic honesty by committing to the academic values of honesty, integrity, responsibility, trust, respect for self and others, fairness, and justice. In addition, students are expected to abide by the code of ethics for their profession and the student code of conduct for the university.

Violations of academic integrity include cheating, plagiarism, or lying about academic matters. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another writer's words, concepts, or sequence of ideas without acknowledging that writer properly. This includes not only direct quotations of another writer's words, but also paraphrases or summaries of another writer's concepts or ideas without acknowledging the writer properly (i.e., citing them). Cheating includes behaviors such as giving or receiving data or information under any circumstances not permitted by the instructor. Lying about academic matters includes falsification of data or information as part of an academic exercise, or knowingly providing false information to a faculty member.

Students who have plagiarized an assignment or otherwise cheated in their academic work or examination may expect an "F" for the assignment in question or"F" for the course, at the instructor's discretion. All incidents of cheating or plagiarism, reported by the instructor, will follow the Student Remediation Process as described in the departmental Graduate Student Handbook. Please note: The University uses web-based products to detect plagiarism.

Attendance is required during all scheduled class meetings. Exceptions will be determined in consultation with the department head. Consequences for unexcused absences include receiving an "F" or "Incomplete" in the course; and will be determined in consultation with department head.

In addition to the requirements for transfer of credit posted in the current Graduate Studies Catalog, the following policies and procedures are applied in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs.

In cases where a student wants to complete a course from another institution for the purpose of transfer of credit after their initial enrollment in any degree, certificate, or certification program in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs, the following process is used. 1. Students must supply the syllabus and, in programs that are not CACREP accredited, the curriculum vita of the instructor for the course they would like to substitute for a required course. The syllabus will be evaluated to determine if the course meets the same CACREP standards covered in the similar course offered in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs and the curriculum vita is used to assess the instructor’s qualifications. Students must obtain approval from the Counseling and Student Affairs department head, advisor, and instructor PRIOR to enrolling in the course they would like to use for transfer of credit. 2. Clinical courses (i.e., group, techniques, practicum, and internship) are not considered for transfer credit. 3. Students must supply an official transcript showing a grade of B or better in the course before a course substitution form is filed by their advisor. All regulations presented in the Graduate Studies Catalog apply.

Students must ensure that the course they intend to use for transfer of credit has at least 3 semester credit hours. In programs that offer quarter hour courses, courses must be at least 5 quarter hours of credit to satisfy transfer of credit conditions for one three semester hour course.




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 Last Modified 11/20/18