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5 Courses to Expect in a Counseling Degree Program

Counseling Degree Program Courses

  • Diversity in Counseling
  • Theories of Counseling
  • Ethics in the Counseling Profession
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling
  • Group Counseling

In addition to a variety of general education classes, there are several program-specific courses to expect in a counseling degree program. Some of these courses may vary depending on students’ individual areas of specialization, but there are a handful of courses that are required for degree completion regardless of the area of specialization. Five of these courses are described briefly within the sections below.

Related resource: 30 Most Affordable Christian Master’s in Counseling Online

1. Diversity in Counseling

With our population becoming more and more diverse, cultural awareness and sensitivity have become crucial in the counseling profession. To meet this need, most higher education facilities require students enrolled in counseling degree programs to complete a course known as Diversity in Counseling. In addition to examining the theories of diversity in counseling, this course also explores such topics as cultural biases and assumptions, diverse communication practices, and how beliefs and practices affect communication.

2. Theories of Counseling

Another course that students may expect in a counseling degree program is Theories of Counseling. This class delves deep into the theories explaining the different approaches used in counseling. As an upper-level course, students will also be taught how to build their own theories for counseling sessions. Other areas of study include how counselors can facilitate change, how theories can dictate treatments, and how theories can help clarify the understanding of clients and their problems or issues.

3. Ethics in the Counseling Profession

Just as with many other professionals today, counseling professionals must adhere by a certain set of ethical principles to protect themselves as well as their clients. These principles are set and monitored by the American Counseling Association. To help students understand these ethical principles, most counseling degree programs require completion of an ethics course such as Ethics in the Counseling Profession. The content of this course may vary but often includes the history of counseling professions, how counseling impacts society, and ethical decision-making in counseling.

4. Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling

Proper assessment and evaluation is essential when conducting group counseling sessions. Because of this, most counseling degree programs also require students to complete a course known as Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling. During this course, students will learn how to choose proper assessments, analyze data collected, determine the reliability and validity of assessments and data, and how to apply the results of assessments to diagnosis and treatments.

5. Group Counseling

Group Counseling is another course that students may expect in a counseling degree program. Counseling in group sessions is very different than what is required for individual counseling, and this class addresses the unique issues involved in directing effective group counseling sessions. Samples of the content of this course include stages of group development, theories of group counseling, group counseling techniques and dynamics, and ethics and diversity in group counseling.

From general education and psychology courses to sociology and program-specific courses, there are many classes that counseling majors will need to complete to earn their degrees. Program-specific courses may vary depending upon areas of specialization, but five courses to expect in a counseling degree program regardless of areas of specialization are described above.