The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has accredited the MA programs in School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In January 2017, after being reviewed on all 241 2009 Standards, CACREP accredited the School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs for eight years through March 31, 2025. As Dr. Carol Bobby, President and CEO of CACREP observed, “Programs receiving accreditation for an eight-year period deserve to be commended for the work completed throughout the accreditation process. This is indeed a worthy achievement.”
CACREP accredited the Fairfield counseling programs in 1986, the first programs in Connecticut to receive this accreditation.
Fairfield University’s Master of Arts in School Counseling degree offers counseling courses under the guidance of faculty members who are nationally recognized in the field. The program develops knowledge and skills in nine areas:
Students are provided with an excellent educational foundation that leads to a successful career path. Students can pursue a 48-hour Master of Arts (MA) degree in School Counseling or a Sixth Year Certificate (SYC) degree in School Counseling.
Application deadlines for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs are October 1st and January 15th.
In addition to preparing our graduates for certification and licensure, our programs provide opportunities that can serve to further our students' professional development or increase their readiness for post-masters studies. Many of these opportunities occur in the Counselor Education Lab and Training Center, a state-of-the-art campus facility, is home to our 3-tier practicum supervision model; a model often seen only in doctoral training programs. In addition to the standard coursework, our students have many opportunities to gain additional preparation in supervision, research, substance abuse counseling, and spirituality in counseling.
As students increase and refine their clinical skills they are encouraged to: participate as coaches in several core courses; participate as process observers for the group, career, and theories courses; lead training groups for police officers in how to preplan for corrective feedback in police supervision; and engage in research, writing, and professional presentations with faculty. Combined with ongoing supervision, these various opportunities solidify a set of teaching, research, and supervision skills, that when added to the high level of clinical training, create a bridge for entry into the professional field or post-masters studies.
Fairfield's faculty members include award-winning practitioners in the field. Read more about the 2015 Samuel T. Gladding Unsung Hero Award winner Bob Schmidt, who teaches in the Counselor Education Department.
Counselor Education Lab and Training Center
The Counselor Education Lab and Training Center is housed in Dolan West on the Fairfield University Campus. This state-of-the-art facility was created with the purpose of training our Counselor Education students.
Our training facility includes an office for the clinical coordinator, two seminar classrooms, an observation room with a two-way mirror, and six rooms equipped with iPad technology allowing faculty to observe and monitor students practicing counseling skills and interventions.
Our faculty in the Counselor Education Department is second to none, receiving some of the highest accolades in the profession.
Counselor Education Faculty:
We are extremely proud of our student body in the Counselor Education Department. They are dedicated and consistently achieve at the very highest levels.
Counselor Education candidates:
Counselor Education Department Fairfield University Program Outcomes Report for the Academic Year 2016-17
“Meaning systems are at the center of our work as professional counselors.” This simple and profound statement articulated by James T. Hansen in his 2016 text, Meaning Systems and Mental Health Culture, invites us as counselors to take the necessary time to listen with wholehearted attention to our clients’ stories in order to learn and understand the totality of their needs and concerns.
Hansen backs his statement with research evidence supporting the counselor-client relationship as having the highest association with positive therapeutic outcomes. This means that counselors must keep a keen eye on the impact and value of the therapeutic relationship we develop with our clients. This task is sometimes a challenge when counselors face demands of insurance companies, the marketplace, and expectations to provide evidence based treatment approaches, diagnosis, and symptom-oriented interventions, which can feel counter intuitive to meeting our client’s needs.
Yet when we as counselors in school and clinical mental health settings emphasize meaning systems and the role of the counselor-client relationship, we demonstrate our commitment to the humanistic narrative, which remains a distinguishing feature of our counseling profession and of our counseling programs at Fairfield University.
Our clients’ meaning systems, after all, are at the heart of our mission, our work, and our professional counselor identity.
Diana Hulse, EdD, LPC, NCC
Professor and Chair
Counselor Education Department
The Counselor Education Department faculty members acknowledge our obligation as gatekeepers to students who will pursue professional preparation as clinical mental health counselors or school counselors and to the larger public to be served by our graduates. In our role as gatekeepers, we value the need to create a climate of professional care and consistency from a compassionate, supportive view.
As a program within a Jesuit community, we maintain a primary focus on issues of social justice and the use of Ignatian pedagogy in our pursuit of academic, as well as clinical, excellence. We subscribe to a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each person; to the need to develop throughout the lifespan a greater sense of self-realization; to a commitment to serving a diverse society; to a commitment of service to others both for the prevention and remediation of life’s problems; and to the pursuit of the highest standards of excellence in the counseling profession.
Fairfield University is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, a county comprised of diverse communities that span urban, suburban, and rural constituencies, and include neighborhoods of tremendous affluence as well as intense poverty. Our student population consists primarily of individuals residing in the local suburban communities that our diverse location includes. We are committed to training our students to meet the needs of these diverse communities by including experiences throughout their training that provide exposure to a variety of settings. Within these experiences we provide students with support and opportunities for challenges that encourage them to become reflective and critical practitioners as they work with individuals in the pursuit of increased self-awareness and well-being.
Come meet our deans and faculty to learn more about our graduate programs.
View course catalog
Clinical Mental Health Counseling (minimum of 60 credits)
Social and Cultural Foundations (3 credits)
Human Development (6 credits)
Professional Orientation (3 credits)
Helping Relationship (6 credits)
Group Work (3 credits)
Lifestyle and Career Development (3 credits)
Appraisal (3 credits)
Research and Evaluation (3 credits)
Clinical Instruction (9 credits) *
Specialized Curriculum (18 credits)
Elective courses (3 credits)
CN 99-01 Comprehensive Exam in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which may be taken during the last semester of study or one semester prior.
*Grades of B or better are required in all clinical coursework.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Sixth Year Certificate
The clinical mental health counseling sixth year certificate program requires a minimum of 30 post-master's graduate-level credit hours, including clinical courses, and completion of requirements as outlined on a individual plan of study.
Applicants to the Counselor Education program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) and give promise of meeting the standards set by the School.
Formal Admission Process
Students seeking admission must submit:
Students from Non-English Speaking Countries
Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. A TOEFL composite score of 550 for the paper test, 213 for the computer-based, or 84 on the Internet-based test (iBT) with a minimum score of 21 in reading and 23 in writing is strongly recommended for admission. Fairfield's ETS code is 3390.
All application materials for formal admission should be sent to:
Office of Graduate Admission
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Phone: (203) 254-4184
Fax: (203) 254-4073
How to Apply
For detailed admission requirements, please refer to the links below:
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
To be considered for financial aid, Fairfield University requires students to complete a FAFSA form. For further information, visit the Office of Financial Aid.
What is CACREP, and why is it important to attend a university that is CACREP accredited?
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accreditation from CACREP is voluntary. Those institutions who wish to receive this accreditation are required to meet a rigorous set of program and faculty standards.
For the incoming student, a CACREP accredited program is beneficial for a few reasons:
When are applications due?
What are the prerequisites for entering the program?
Applicants for the Master of Arts degree must hold an earned Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.67 is strongly recommended. Applicants for the Sixth Year Certificate of Advanced Study must hold an earned Master's degree from an accredited college or university, completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00.
Can I take classes before I am accepted into the program?
Yes, you are able to take up to six (6) credits in the School Counseling program and up to nine (9) credits in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program as a non-matriculated student before being accepted into the program.
How long will it take to complete the program?
At a minimum, it takes 2 years. On average, it takes our students approximately 2.5 to 3 years to complete the program.
What types of classes will I be taking?
Classes will cover various topics including counseling theories, fundamental counseling skills, group counseling, multicultural issues, research, assessment, ethical and legal codes, and career counseling.
Will an advisor help me with a plan of study?
Yes. Once you are accepted into the program, you will receive a letter notifying you of your advisor's name. You will then be asked to contact your advisor to set up a meeting to discuss and design your plan of study.
Will I have the opportunity to take elective classes outside of my required classes?
Elective classes are offered in the program; however, depending on your plan of study, you may or may not have an opportunity to take them.
Will elective classes I take to earn a Master's degree count toward a Certificate of Advanced Study?
Are classes offered on the weekends or at night?
Classes are offered with the graduate student's schedule in mind. We offer weekday classes at night from 4:55-6:55 p.m. and from 7:15-9:15 p.m., as well as weekend classes.
How do I find a practicum and internship site?
The program's Clinical Coordinator will assist you in finding a practicum and internship site.
To begin the practicum process, you must first turn in a completed, signed, Application for Practicum to the Clinical Coordinator by the date indicated on the Departmental Calendar. Then, you and the Clinical Coordinator will arrange to meet to discuss your career objectives and the availability of practica sites within your area of interest. Once the availability of a practicum site is confirmed, you will be asked to contact the site to arrange an interview.
For internships, some students will stay at their practicum sites. In other cases, students will have identified sites through contacts that they have made during practicum experiences. Others will require assistance from the Clinical Coordinator in finding and securing an internship site. In all of these cases it is the student's responsibility to take the appropriate steps to secure a site within a timely manner, which will require meeting with or contacting the Clinical Coordinator to ascertain that a particular course of action or setting is appropriate.
Can I take practicum or internship during the summer?
Are internships one semester or a full year?
Internships are a two-semester (10-month), full-time commitment for those school counseling students who do not hold a Connecticut Teaching Certificate but wish to be certified as school counselors. For all others, the internship will consist of a 600-hour experience that can be completed in either one or two semesters.
If I am a certified teacher, is a full year internship required?
If you are a certified teacher and have completed 3 years of successful elementary, middle, or secondary public school teaching, a full year internship is not required. What you are required to complete to be eligible for certification as a school counselor in Connecticut is a 600-hour full-time internship in a public school which can be completed in one semester.
Is licensure required to work at a clinical mental health agency or as a school counselor?
You do not need to be licensed to work at a clinical mental health agency. You only need to be license-eligible, which you will be after completing the program. Licensure is also not required to work as a school counselor, but you do need to be certified as a school counselor which you will be upon completing the program.
What is the process for securing certification as a school counselor?
Upon successful completion of the 48-credit Master's program, passing the comprehensive exam and receiving formal faculty endorsement, a student will be eligible to apply for Connecticut State Certification as a school counselor, grades K-12. Certification is granted by the Connecticut State Department of Education. To apply for state certification, the student must submit a completed application form, an official transcript of graduate work from the Registrar's Office, and a personal check made payable to the State Department of Education to the Associate Dean of the GSEAP. Upon receipt of the student's application materials, the Associate Dean will confirm with the Counselor Education Department chair that the student has met all state of Connecticut and University requirements for school counselor certification and will complete the form. The Dean's office will either send the paperwork to your address provided or contact you to pick up to forward the application to the Certification Office of the State Department of Education.
What is the process for securing licensure as a counselor?
Counselors in the state of Connecticut are licensed through the Department of Public Health. Please visit the Department of Public Health for a list of requirements.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, financial aid is available. Visit the Financial Aid website for further details.
I still have questions. Where can I get further information?
Please come to one of our Graduate Information Sessions. Visit the Graduate Admission website for the schedule. You may also contact Dr. Diana Hulse, Program Chair for any additional information.
For more information about Fairfield University's graduate programs, please contact:
Office of Graduate Admission
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Call (203) 254-4184 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.