Published November 2016
If you’re thinking about earning your master’s or Ph.D. in counseling and you live in Oregon (or you would like to) take a look at these top-ranked schools.
Out of all the state rankings of top counseling master’s degrees, Oregon deserves a special shout out. As it states on our methodology page, a counselor education program in any given state has to earn a score of at least 50/100 points in order to be included on the final ranking. In the vast majority of cases – and just as one would expect – this usually only applies to a portion of colleges on the original list (usually about half, give or take a few, and with the exception of states with fewer than five eligible schools in total). But this state has defied the odds, as all six of the universities with CACREP-accredited degree programs earned scores well above the threshold for inclusion. Go Oregon!
Located about an hour and a half outside of Portland, Oregon, the relatively small town of Corvallis looks pretty unassuming on a map. But the college that calls this town its home, Oregon State University, is anything but inconspicuous. OSU excels in a number of academic disciplines, but its counseling graduate degree program deserves special recognition – particularly its Ph.D. in Counselor Education, which is the only accredited program of its kind on the entire West Coast! But even if you’re not looking to advance your education all the way to the doctorate level, you may be attracted to Oregon State for its unique DRIVE Philosophy, which seeks to cultivate a campus atmosphere of “Dignity, Respect, Integrity, Value, and Equality.”
Tuition & Fees: $18,123
For an even more intimate, humbler small town experience, head south to Ashland, Oregon, the site of Southern Oregon University. This 6,000-student campus offers a cozy alternative for those who prioritize small class sizes, faculty attention, and close-knit learning communities. For students in SOU’s accredited master’s degree in counseling – which comes in both M.A. and M.S. forms – this atmosphere allows them to enjoy more one-on-one time with faculty and more opportunities to connect with classmates. But don’t be fooled into thinking SOU’s counseling graduate degree is just a social club; the program emphasizes practical learning above all and mandates pre-practicum, individual practicum, and group practicum experiences for all students.
Tuition & Fees: $17,622
One of two Christian colleges and the only seminary on this Oregon master’s in counseling degree ranking, Western Seminary brings a unique flavor to the table of counselor education. The curriculum checks all the usual boxes in experiential learning and hands-on coursework, but it also dishes out theological lessons designed to “connect both Christian worldview and compassion to the counseling profession.” Western Seminary also requires students to attend counseling sessions themselves – a choice that studies have shown to greatly benefit aspiring professional counselors, but which few officially programs integrate into their curriculum.
Tuition & Fees: $13,200
Named for the fearless explorers who went down in history as the first duo to traverse the western half of the United States (and who ended their journey near Portland, by the way), Lewis and Clark College has adopted a similarly adventurous spirit in its approach to education. The Graduate School of Education and Counseling provides a perfect example of this attitude in its top master’s in counseling degrees. In addition to the CACREP-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree, the college offers specializations and/or certificates in Addictions Counseling, Eating Disorders, and even Ecopsychology. The latter choice, which focuses on “understanding people’s emotional connections with the natural world,” is a particularly unique choice for students who want to explore uncharted territory.
Tuition & Fees: $19,386
The second of two Christian universities to make this list of the best counseling master’s degrees in Oregon, George Fox University aims to produce counselors who will “be known for bringing hope and healing.” It’s also one of only two schools in Oregon where you can earn an accredited degree in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling. But regardless of your chosen specialty, George Fox University will encourage you to make the most of the many opportunities it provides to get involved in research and tackle problems hands-on. If you’re wondering where to start, simply drop by one of the university’s reputable research centers, such as the NW Center for Play Therapy Studies.
Tuition & Fees: $14,592
If you live in Portland and you’re interested in earning an accredited master’s degree in counseling with a focus on marriage and families, you’re in luck. #2-ranked George Fox (which is located less than an hour outside the city) and top-ranked Portland State University are the only two places in the state that can fulfill your wishes. That being said, Portland State is no one-trick pony. Starting with its school counseling program in 1993, PSU opened another accredited program in 2010 and then another just this year, steadily establishing itself as a formidable player in counselor education along the way.
Tuition & Fees: $17,700
This concludes our ranking of the best graduate degrees in counseling in Oregon.
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