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Become A Future Hilltopper With The Department of Counseling  and Student Affairs

Become A Future Hilltopper With The Department of Counseling and Student Affairs

What are the Differences between Counseling and Other Helping Professions?


The Department of Counseling and Student Affairs offers Master of Arts in Education (MAE) degree programs in:

JUMP programs in counseling and student affairs are also offered for undergraduate students who may wish to count 12 graduate hours toward both their undergraduate and graduate degree in counseling or student affairs.

*The Department is not currently accepting applications to the School Counseling program. However, the Department does provides certificate, certification, Rank I, and an Educational Specialist degree in Counselor Education designed for those with a master’s degree in School Counseling.

You may complete up to 4 courses as a non-degree seeking student before you are enrolled in a program. You must gain the approval from the class instructor to enroll in the course and comply with all departmental policies. For example, to enroll in a practicum or internship course, you must complete the practice preparation sequence and all required paperwork in addition to gaining approval from the clinical coordinator. Please note that completing courses as a non-degree seeking student does not meet the eligibility requirements to receive financial aid and we cannot guarantee it will complete your requirements for state licensure or national certification.

To learn more about the differences between counseling and other professions such as psychology and social work, visit https://www.wku.edu/csa/counseling/professional_differences.php

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Degree Programs, Certificates, and Endorsements

The Department of Counseling and Student Affairs offers a MAE in Counseling. Included in this degree option are two concentrations students may choose for their programs of study to their primary areas of interest: 

Both are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Learn about the value of  CACREP-accreditation.

The Master of Arts in Education degree in Student Affairs is designed to prepare students to obtain entry and mid-level student affairs professional positions. Through a theory-based yet applications-oriented program, students gain necessary skills and competencies to succeed in a variety of student affairs units and postsecondary settings. The Counseling and Student Affairs faculty comprised of academics and practitioners cultivate active partnerships with student affairs professionals to provide a living learning laboratory for student professional development. Program content covers three broad areas: theoretical foundations, professional practice, and administrative effectiveness. Individual students are also provided with opportunities to focus on specific content areas which may be of particular interest.


This interdisciplinary certificate program prepares students to provide counseling, education services, and/or support services to individuals experiencing addiction issues. Individuals who complete the program will be knowledgeable about the various components of addictions and gain skills related to their professional field such as prevention strategies, assessment procedures, intervention skills, treatment planning, and recovery support. This program is appropriate for both licensed eligible mental health professionals (i.e., Professional Counselors, Social Workers), as well as bachelor level employees (i.e., mental health support professionals, human resources administrators and staff).

This certificate program is for graduate students who are interested in the college and career readiness of P-12 students; with a specific focus on interacting and intervening with this target population, as well as developing professional relationships with school-related stakeholders. The College and Career Readiness (CCR) certificate is created to support the career and college readiness needs of local, regional, and national P-12 students. It is offered online through WKU’s Bowling Green campus; courses are taught by CNS faculty with the integration of experts from local businesses and schools. Students will have opportunities to participate in action research and service learning consultation activities. This certificate program plays a leading role in Kentucky’s economic and social development by preparing CCR graduates to prepare P-12 students to join a high quality educated workforce in an area of local, regional, and national need. Additionally, it meets the needs of area schools by providing specific training to the personnel being hired or asked to work with students in the areas of college and career readiness. It also serves to help build and maintain networks between districts and industry in Bowling Green.

The Certificate in Career Services (CCS) is designed to provide helping professionals with advanced knowledge and skills needed to better serve students and clients within the context of a volatile and ever changing employment landscape. Graduates of this certificate program will be better prepared to assist students to be more engaged in the educational experience through appropriate academic major and career choice, which may lead to higher retention of current students and successful transition to the workforce. Moreover, the CCS program complements the master’s degree programs in a wide variety of helping professions.

College campuses have become increasingly internationalized in recent decades. International student populations have grown, study abroad has become a standard of the higher education landscape, and as a result, the student population has developed new needs. The Certificate in International Student Services offers graduate-level students preparation to manage educational exchange, lead campus internationalization, and provide international student services. Students pursuing the Certificate in International Student Services may complete the certificate program by itself or along with the MAE in Student Affairs. Successful graduates will have earned their certificate through theory-based instruction, application of material through internship, and an international experience.

Student and Graduate Testimonials

Ryan Barker

CMHC student

The department of counseling and student affairs can be summed up into three areas: personal growth, professional growth, and fun. Being a student in the Counseling program at WKU has helped me grow personally. The program really makes you take a look at yourself as a student, a future counselor, and as an individual. It then provides you the chance to do whatever you want with what you find, whether that be to accept yourself or to change yourself. My experience here has also helped me grow professionally. The department has provided me with a multitude of opportunities to grow myself in my profession and as a student leader. The courses and professors here really encourage you to learn as much as you can about the profession, and where you might fit into it, as well as making connections with practitioners out in the community. Lastly, my experience as a student within the department of counseling and student affairs has been fun. I feel like I've learned a multitude different things about being a counselor, but I also feel like I was able to learn these things and still have some fun while doing it. I've made many friendships within my cohort and department; and having these friendships make even the not so fun times fun. Overall, being a part of this department has been a tremendous experience, one that I am very glad to have been a part of.

Cayce A. Brewer

MCFC Graduate

“The courage to be imperfect.” –Alfred Adler
Like any other brand new student beginning the program I was very nervous and tried to do everything “by the book.”  Thankfully, due to encouragement from staff and acceptance from peers, my perception was eventually altered. My experience at WKU’s Graduate Counseling program not only shaped me into an authentic, professional Marriage and Family Therapist but, even more importantly, into a humble human. I was welcomed into the program as a person and colleague, not just a student. My experience in the program influenced my final goal to become a professor and return this favor to future professionals in the counseling field.

Kayla Clark

LPCA, NCC; CMHC graduate

Pursuing my Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling not only validated my long love for the profession as a career but taught me more about myself that I could have ever imagined. Class was more than just learning about how to be a therapist, it was also learning who I was, why I was who I was and who I wanted to be as a growing person and professional. I am forever grateful for my education and my experience in the Counseling Program. 

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 Last Modified 4/5/21