This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2020-21 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goal

The M.Ed. in Counselor Education with a concentration in couples and family counseling is a 60-credit-hour program designed to prepare students for careers as counselors in clinics, health care centers, schools and private practice. The program focuses on training to address a range of personal and professional problems faced by individuals, couples and families through a systemic framework. The course sequence meets the educational requirements for both the licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist as set by the state of Virginia Department of Health Professions. The couples and family counseling concentration meets the licensure requirements for other states, however certain states have different requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to check with the state licensure board to verify the necessary requirements to be eligible for licensure and to plan on meeting those requirements. The program requires a minimum of two years of study to complete.

The faculty makes every effort to assist students in individualizing a graduate program to match their professional needs and interests. However, individualization takes place in an environment of legitimate constraints revolving around institutional, accreditation and licensure requirements. Faculty members view each program as more than simply an aggregate of courses, and students should plan all program work with their faculty advisers.

Student learning outcomes

Professional orientation/professional identity/continuing education

  1. Students display knowledge and understanding of the historical and philosophical foundations of the counseling profession, including counselor professional identity, and display necessary skills in applying this knowledge and understanding to professional practice.
  2. Students demonstrate the ability to adhere to legal and ethical practice.
  3. Students understand the importance of continuing education and are committed to seeking continuing education throughout their careers.

Helping relationships/group work/career development/wellness

  1. Students display knowledge and understanding of counseling processes applied to individuals, couples, families and groups, including knowledge of how to design, implement and evaluate programs related to academic, career and personal/social development of clients.
  2. Students display knowledge and skills related to responding to crises, emergencies and disasters.
  3. Students participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs that promote wellness, as well as prevention and intervention services.

Human development/wellness

Students display knowledge of theories of learning, personality development, transitions and resilience, and use this information as a basis for facilitating optimal development and wellness.

Social and cultural diversity/social justice and advocacy

  1. Students display knowledge and understanding of diversity and equity issues and how these issues impact clients’ couple and family functioning, as well as academic, personal and career opportunities.
  2. Students display multicultural competencies including appropriate sensitivity, skills and advocacy in working with diverse clients.
  3. Students display knowledge and understanding of the relationship between counseling programs and family systems, including an understanding of factors that promote family wellness, and work to promote equity in relational health and family functioning among disenfranchised groups.


Students display knowledge and understanding of multiple factors that may affect personal, social and academic functioning, and possesses knowledge and skills to identify, evaluate and implement appropriate needs assessments and consequent interventions.


Students display knowledge and understanding of research and evaluation, including understanding of how data are used to inform decisions, and students display skills and professional practices in appropriate collection, analysis and use of data.

For couples and family counseling concentration

  1. Students display knowledge of the family systems models that guide the practice of couple and family counseling and demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, articulate and implement interventions from a systems perspective that fosters family wellness.
  2. Students display knowledge and understanding of the role of systems on individual and family development and strategies to enhance family wellness.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

Students accepted into the counselor education program must make satisfactory progress toward their degrees. Students who earn unsatisfactory grades and/or exhibit unprofessional conduct may be terminated from the program. More specific information about satisfactory academic progress can be found on this website.

Apply online at

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
M.Ed.Summer or FallJan 15GRE or MAT

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Bachelor’s degree
  2. Three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education
  3. Statement of intent
  4. Transcripts of all previous college work
  5. Personal interview 
  6. Satisfactory scores on the GRE or MAT

Please visit the School of Education website for further information.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  2. Grade requirements: Receipt of a grade of C or below in two courses constitutes automatic dismissal from the program. Courses with a grade below C cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  3. Internship requirements: Students must complete an approved internship.
  4. Testing requirements: Students must provide an acceptable score on a comprehensive program examination.

Curriculum requirements

Human development and learning
CLED 615Lifespan Development: A Gender Perspective3
EDUS 660Research Methods in Education3
Core courses
CLED 600Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice in Counseling3
CLED 601Theories of Counseling3
CLED 602Techniques of Counseling3
CLED 603Group Procedures in Counseling3
CLED 605Career Information and Exploration3
CLED 606Assessment Techniques for Counselors3
CLED 607Multicultural Counseling in Educational Settings3
CLED 609Couples and Family Counseling Practicum3
CLED 612Seminar in Counseling3
CLED 640Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling3
CLED 641Advanced Family Counseling3
CLED 644Sexuality Counseling3
CLED 645Couples Counseling3
CLED 650Addiction Counseling3
CLED 660Mental Disorders, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning3
CLED 672Internship6
Total Hours60

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Communications and Enrollment Management
(804) 827-2670

Additional contact
Naomi Wheeler, Ph.D.
Assistant professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-1332

Program website: