Online Master's Degree in School Counseling

Online Master's Degree in School Counseling

Make an impact in the lives of children and teenagers

Gwynedd Mercy University’s 60-credit M.S. degree program prepares students for certification as K-12 school counselors in Pennsylvania and is aligned with components of the American School Counseling Association’s (ASCA) National Model. The program's format allows students to learn course content online and put theory into practice during two required weekend residencies and subsequent fieldwork experiences.

GMercyU’s program is based on a scholar practitioner model, meaning that students are expected to cultivate both academic accomplishment and interpersonal competence.  School Counseling students are provided with a solid academic foundation that includes courses in counseling skills, human development, research methods, group counseling, multicultural counseling, counseling theory, techniques in school counseling, and school counseling orientation. Coursework is supplemented with ample experiential learning, which gives our students hands-on opportunities to work in schools and help children and adolescents navigate difficulties with family, teachers, and peers.

School counselors play a key role in the development of children and teenagers, especially when times are tough at home or in the classroom. 

Typical responsibilities for school counselors may include:

  • Helping students build healthy coping skills through individual or small group instruction.
  • Serving as an advocate for students who are struggling personally or academically.
  • Collaborating with teachers, parents, and administrators in service of student well-being.
  • Linking students and their families to community resources and support.
  • Providing guidance for high school students as they make future career and educational plans.
  • Employing developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive strategies to optimize student success.

GMercyU offers one of the top school counseling programs in PA that will help you succeed in starting your career as a school counselor. In our program, you’ll benefit from personal attention and mentorship provided by our experienced and caring faculty members. Moreover, you’ll be treated as a working professional who can meet our high standards for academic and clinical performance and ethical behavior.  

Our results bear this out: between 2018 and 2020, our graduates had a 100% pass rate on the school counseling certification test.

Additionally, students who enroll in this degree will be eligible to pursue certification and/or licensure, the requirements for which vary by location.

School Counseling Program Curriculum

Our Master’s Degree in School Counseling consists of 60 credits of course work. The core curriculum makes up 30 of those credits, and the other 30 are within the concentration.

CNS 507 Disabilities in the School Counseling Setting 3 credits
CNS 508 Needs of English Language Learners in the School Counseling Setting 3 credits
CNS 523 Intervention of Techniques of School Counseling 3 credits
CNS 525 Organization of School Counseling 3 credits
CNS 536 Group Counseling and Facilitation Skills for the School Setting 3 credits
CNS 608 Internship II (SC) 3 credits
CNS 609 Internship III (SC) 3 credits
CNS 610 Internship III (SC) 3 credits
CNS 527 Electives 9 credits

See the core curriculum on our Master's of Counseling page. See all course descriptions in the graduate catalog.

*Licensure: This program was designed to meet the licensure requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you reside in a different state, you should carefully review your home state’s licensure requirements prior to enrolling in this program. For more information, please visit our Program Licensure Requirement page.


Next Steps

Admission Requirements

We will consider you for admission to our school counselor degree program based on your academic ability, expression of interests and goals, life experience, and personal interview.  

To apply, you must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education;
  2. Demonstrate completion of the following undergraduate prerequisites:
    1. 3 credits in General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Theory or another foundational course
    2. 3 credits in Research Methods or Statistics;
  3. Submit official transcripts from all academic institutions attended;
  4. Demonstrate achievement of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (see below if your GPA was lower than 3.0 and you do not currently hold a graduate degree);
  5. Complete of the Gwynedd Mercy University Graduate Application and pay the application fee;  
  6. Submit two letters of recommendation from:
    1. An academic who can attest to your academic ability (preferred), and
    2. A professional or supervisor who can attest to your professional qualification, abilities, and temperament for the field.  
  7. Complete a personal statement (3-5 pages maximum) that address the following:
    1. Who you are and your reasons for choosing a career in school counseling;
    2. Why you have chosen GMercyU’s school counseling program;
    3. What being a school counselor means to you, and personal characteristics that make you uniquely suited for such a career;
    4. Your expectations of learning in an online program and your ability to meet those expectations;
    5. How you plan to complete the field placement demands of the program.
  8. Attend a personal interview with program staff.

NOTE: If your GPA was lower than 3.0, you must provide proof of acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  We require a combined score of 292 or higher, and you must also complete the analytical writing test.

The GRE requirement is waived for applicants who currently hold a graduate degree or applicants who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Transfer Credits

You may transfer up to six (6) credits of graduate work completed at an accredited institution for comparable courses in the GMercyU program, provided you earned at least a B in each course. Transfer credit decisions are made on an individual basis.  

Contact Us to Get Started

Complete this form — it's your first step for applying to our Master's in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree!

Then an admissions counselor will contact you to answer any questions and help as you assemble all the components of your admissions file.

School Counseling Career Outcomes

Potential job titles for school counselor masters program graduates include:

  • Academic Advisor
  • Academic Counselor
  • Advisor
  • Career Counselor
  • Guidance Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Student Advisor
  • Student Counselor

There's no time like the present to invest in school counseling programs and earn your Master's Degree in School Counseling today!

PreK-12 School Counseling Certification program    

The post-graduate PreK-12 School Counseling Certification program is a 48-credit program that offers graduates with a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education a pathway to certification as a PreK-12 School Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania. 

To become certified, students must:

  • pass the appropriate Praxis test
  • complete the required course work.

Students must complete a minimum of 24 credits at Gwynedd Mercy University. Up to 24 credits of required Pennsylvania Department of Education certification competencies can be waived based on the student’s prior course work.


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