Published September 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the six top master’s degrees in counseling in Kentucky.
If you’re thinking about earning your master’s or Ph.D. in Kentucky, take a look at these top-ranked schools. With appropriately named colleges Like Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, and Northern Kentucky University all on one list, students across the state have easy geographic access to some of the region’s best counseling programs. Sorry, there’s no such thing as Southern Kentucky University, although 6th-ranked Murray State is just 15 minutes from the Tennessee border!
Click here to see the methodology we used for this best master’s in counseling degree ranking.
6. Murray State University
Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Ed.S.; School Counseling, M.A.
Counseling master’s degree students at Murray State University have their choice between a traditional MA in Counseling and an Education Specialist degree, the latter of which includes a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Murray State has worked its way into the upper echelons of counseling graduate programs by offering way more than a simple curriculum delivery system. At this school, you’ll build experience outside the classroom through activities like Chi Sigma Iota, an international honors society that provides a forum for discussion, networking, and socialization within the counseling profession. In addition, the Counseling and Assessment Center – which specializes in mood disorders, learning problems, and autism (among other topics) – provides a source of much-needed on-the-job training for graduate counseling students.
Tuition and Fees: $22,080/yr
5. Eastern Kentucky University
School Counseling, M.A.Ed.; Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.
At Eastern Kentucky University, counselor education isn’t just about supplying a manual of therapeutic techniques and clinical terminology. It’s also about pushing students to become “critical and creative thinkers” who possess the communication skills, respect for diversity, and calming disposition of a professional counselor. EKU’s two CACREP accredited master’s degrees in counseling feature a rigorous set of classes in line with national standards, including Addiction Disorders Counseling (CMHC track) and Administration and Consultation in Counseling Services (School track). Students in these programs can also find resources and peer support through Epsilon Kappa Upsilon (EKU’s campus chapter of Chi Sigma Iota) and local conferences.
Tuition and Fees: $11,970/yr
4. Lindsey Wilson College
Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.Ed.
The Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development at Lindsey Wilson College isn’t your average counseling program. Located in the small town of Columbia in South Central Kentucky, LWC is uniquely positioned to serve “diverse populations,” particularly students in rural Appalachia who may otherwise lack access to quality education. Given the college’s compassionate mission, it’s no surprise that LWC has the most affordable master’s degree in counseling in Kentucky. While the program is not approved by the Kentucky Education Standards Board, it is CACREP-accredited and can lead to professional licensure not just in Kentucky, but also in surrounding states like Virginia, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Tuition and Fees: $9,084/yr
3. Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY
Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.S.; School Counseling, M.A.
At Northern Kentucky University, counseling master’s degree students have their choice of accredited programs in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling. Although each curriculum features a distinct course list, both counseling graduate degrees share a set of clear objectives. And while the department officially lists four distinct goals for its students, NKU’s counselor education mission essentially boils down to a singular objective: to prepare competent, skilled counselors with the ability to succeed in a variety of occupational settings. But the university’s school counseling program deserves special accolades; not only has it obtained both CACREP and NCATE accreditation, but it also earned a “best practice” designation by the American School Counselor Association.
Tuition and Fees: $12,588/yr
2. Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling, M.A.E.; School Counseling, M.A.E.; Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.E.
If you could describe the perfect counselor education program, what adjectives would you use? What about a program that is “relevant,” “practice-oriented,” and “culturally aware”? This is how Western Kentucky University self-describes its many accredited counseling master’s degrees, which include tracks in Clinical Mental Health, School, and Marriage and Family Counseling. As an added bonus, students on the academic path to become school counselors can also pick up an endorsement in Individual Intellectual Assessment along the way. And if you have some extra time on your hands, consider applying to the Specialist in Education program. Although it requires a significant investment – 30 credits beyond what is required for a master’s degree – it allows you to obtain a school counseling major while acquiring expertise in an area of personal interest.
Tuition and Fees: $13,060/yr
1. University of Louisville
Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.Ed.; School Counseling, M.Ed.
Like most of the other schools on this Kentucky master’s in counseling degree ranking, the University of Louisville offers tracks in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling. However, the University of Louisville is the only option on this list to rank among the most productive research programs in psychology and psychiatry (according to Thompson Reuters Essential Science Indicators). For counseling master’s degree students, this means access to respected faculty who are up-to-date on the latest practices in the field. Of course, you’ll also have the opportunity to complete your own investigative work through internships and practicums with local organizations.
Tuition and Fees: $18,171/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best graduate degrees in counseling in Kentucky.
See also: Frequently Asked Questions about Counseling Schools, Degrees and Careers
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators