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Master of Arts in Counseling | Counseling Degree | Graduate Degree Program

Master of Arts in Counseling | Counseling Degree

Master of Arts in Counseling

Are you interested in pursuing a degree in counseling? By nature, those called to a career as a counselor have a strong desire to help others and should be able to inspire respect, trust and confidence. In the human services field, counselors work in diverse community settings providing a variety of counseling, rehabilitation and support services. Their duties vary greatly as there are many specific areas a counselor may choose to specialize in, ranging from arts therapy to trauma counseling, and more.

Ottawa University’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) hybrid degree program includes 39 credit hours of core classes, 15 credit hours of concentration/elective courses and nine credit hours of field placement experience that will prepare students to apply for licensure in their state. Graduates of the MAC program are well-qualified professionals who have advanced their intellectual and academic development and have developed a greater understanding and knowledge of concepts, ideas and information in the profession through research, examination, inquiry and application.

Counseling Classes

To streamline the program, Ottawa University's Counseling Masters program is divided into a recommended yearly schedule with the field-placement component consisting of nine semester credit hours, completed in eight terms, for a total of 900 client contact hours. During the field component portion of this program, students will work in a community behavioral health agency for approximately 15-20 hours per week to gain hands-on experience.

The MA in Counseling program curriculum is designed to meet the educational requirements for counselor licensure in the states of Arizona, Kansas and Wisconsin. Requirements vary by state. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their state’s licensure or certification authority to assure that the degree meets their state’s requirements.  

The post-master’s Certificates of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) is a program reserved for master’s level professionals who have received a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

Counseling Concentrations

Graduate students pursuing the Master of Arts in Counseling degree have the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge in a specialty area by completing 15 hours in one of four concentration areas. You can tailor your MAC degree with one of the following counseling specialties:

Expressive Arts Therapy
• Gerocounseling
• Treatment of Trauma Abuse & Deprivation

Not all concentrations are available at all locations. Please consult your advisor regarding your options for MAC concentrations where you live. 

Why Earn a Masters in Counseling?

"Perhaps the greatest benefit to attaining a masters in counseling is that you are choosing a career path in which you help people live better lives. The rewards are fundamental to why one chooses to be a counselor. You will be helping people cope on a daily basis and will often see the results firsthand. In addition to impacting the lives of others and working in a field that you love, you will have the opportunity to explore new challenges and learn new things about yourself." - American Counseling Association

For curriculum and course descriptions please download a program overview.

Related Degrees

Master of Science in Addiction Counseling
Bachelor of Arts in Human Services

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling

Human Service Blog

If you are interested in learning more about the helping profession, then please visit our Human Services Blog Spot.

How to Become a Counselor

Top 10 Counseling Skills

Huge Employment Opportunities for OU Counseling Grads

For more information about earning your MAC degree at Ottawa University, contact us today!

Counseling | Counseling Degree is offered at the following locations.

  • Surprise, AZ (Residential Campus)
  • Overland Park, Kansas
  • Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Online

Education and Qualifications for Counselors

This program is designed to meet the educational requirements in the states of Arizona, Kansas and Wisconsin for licensure. Requirements vary by state. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their state’s licensure or certification authority to assure that the degree meets their state’s requirements.

Career Outlook for Counseling

There are numerous areas that counselors choose to work in, including schools, clinics, community mental health centers, family counseling centers, churches, hospitals, hospice programs, and private practice. Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as aging adults, college students, or children. Behavioral health counselors treat clients with a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems.

Upon completion of OU's Counseling Masters program and obtaining state licensure, job prospects may include work as either a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselor. The career outlook for counselors is expected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Upon completion of your Counseling degree, you will be prepared for pathways to a variety of careers.

Careers Related to Counseling

  • Community Health Workers
  • Correctional Treatment Specialists
  • Health Education Specialists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Probation Officers
  • Psychologists
  • Rehabilitation Counselors
  • School and Career Counselors and Advisors
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Social and Human Service Assistants
  • Social Workers

Professional Licensure Disclosure

  • This program meets professional licensure requirements in certain states, as outlined on the University’s Licensure Disclosure page. Students are advised to verify that they are located (or plan to seek initial licensure) in a state where Ottawa University’s program meets requirements. Students who have questions about a program’s status should consult with an enrollment advisor. Those who relocate to another state during their course of study may no longer be eligible to enroll in the program or receive federal financial aid, and they may not meet licensure requirements in their state.

Master of Arts in Counseling Courses
60-63 credit hours

Core Foundation Courses

Graduate Counseling Seminar in Clinical Foundations | 
PYF 7001 (3 credits)
Provides an overview addressing necessary foundations in the content areas of abnormal psychology,
developmental psychology, and theories of personality. Introduction to APA style and format.

Counseling Theories | PYC 7922 (3 credits)
Examination of theories of personality development and therapeutic processes. Consideration of techniques for counseling applications and professional consultation.

Social/Cultural Concerns in Counseling | PYC 7422 (3 credits)
Study of social, cultural and gender differences and issues related to counseling clients with various backgrounds, beliefs and concerns. Includes multicultural counseling techniques.

Counseling and the Helping Professions | PYF 7132 (3 credits)
Examines counseling process, instruction and practice in communication skills in counseling, history, development and practice of counseling as a profession, and how and where counseling is provided.

Human Growth and Development | PYC 7832 (3 credits)
Examination of psychological, social, intellectual, and physical influences on the development of personality and behavior patterns in children, adolescents and adults.

Group Counseling and Dynamics | PYC 7932 (3 credits)
Theories of group counseling. Includes techniques of observation, assessment and leadership in therapeutic groups.

Methods and Models of Research | PYF 7162 (3 credits)
Examination of models of research and application of scientific methods to investigate, analyze, and develop solutions relative to current issues in the field.

Professional and Ethical Issues in Counseling | PYF 8012 (3 credits)
Study of ethical, legal and professional concerns in the practice of counseling.

Psychological Testing | PYC 7802 (3 credits)
Examines use of standardized tests to study individuals, including test development, selection, administration and interpretation. Includes educational and mental health applications.

Life Planning and Career Development | PYC 7822 (3 credits)
Focus on theory, research, techniques and tools used in life planning, transitions and career development.

Theory/Techniques in Marriage and Family Counseling | PYC 8112 (3 credits)
Examination of traditional and contemporary theories of family systems and approaches to marriage and family counseling.

Advanced Psychodiagnostic and Treatment Planning | PYC 8040 (3 credits)
As a preparation for Clinical Internship, students will expand their knowledge of the multi-axial system, DSM-IV/DSM-IV-TR diagnostic categories, differential diagnosis, and treatment planning. Emphasis will also be placed on the clinical interview and other initial assessment techniques, as well as skills critical to selecting and evaluating treatment options.

Intro to Substance Addictions and Related Disorders | PYC 8142 (3 credits)
Introduction to patterns, causes, assessment and treatment of substance abuse and other addictive disorders. Student begins preparation of required portfolio.

Concentration/Elective Courses
15-18 credit hours - see concentration section for specific requirements for each specialty area.

Practicum 
300 hours and two semesters.

Internship 
600 hours and three semesters.



For curriculum and course descriptions please download a program overview.

Full Degree Catalog

University Accreditation

Ottawa University, as a whole, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Specific degree programs within our institution have also been accredited by relevant bodies within the field:

We are proudly recognized for our commitment to student excellence by the following designations:

Why Choose Ottawa
Almost all courses in Ottawa University’s programs are available online and accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. We make it easy for you to transfer credits in order to help keep tuition costs down. We also offer courses in accelerated 8-week terms in order to reduce your time to completion. These are just a few of the reasons why we are proud to be the best, fastest, and most affordable option locally in the Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix areas, as well as serving students nationally through our online degrees.

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