Rehabilitation Counseling

Other Information

Graduate Catalog: CPCF

  • Admission requirements
  • Program details
  • Course descriptions

Application Deadlines

Department: Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

Graduate Director:
Dr. Bradley Kuhlman

Program Overview

The purpose of this program is that of educating students in the areas of rehabilitation and psychological services. Students develop the professional understanding, knowledge, attitude, and skill needed to assist individuals and groups with disabilities in achieving their maximum level of independence and functioning. The program provides a balance between technical rehabilitation knowledge and basic counseling competency and is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Counselor Education (CORE.)

The Profession

Rehabilitation counselors help people deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. They counsel people with disabilities resulting from birth defects, illness or disease, accidents, or the stress of daily life. They evaluate the strengths and limitations of individuals, provide personal and vocational counseling, and arrange for medical care, independent living, vocational training and job placement. The scope of problems in the rehabilitation field is expanding and the number of individuals with disabilities is increasing. Opportunities in recent years have been excellent in all areas of rehabilitation counseling. 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling is to educate students in the areas of rehabilitation counseling and psychological services, and to help them develop the professional understanding, knowledge, attitude, and skills needed to assist individuals and groups with disabilities in achieving their maximum level of independence and functioning. The program is specifically designed to encourage students to join and participate in appropriate professional activities and to develop enthusiasm for work in this field. With course work, interaction with professional staff, and direct experience, students will be provided the opportunity to:

  • Reinforce knowledge, understanding, and a professional attitude;
  • Attain the knowledge and skills to counsel diverse populations effectively;
  • Gain an understanding of the research process;
  • Master the principles of program design, implementation and evaluation;
  • Develop self-understanding and preparation for doctoral-level training or certification. 


Possible areas of employment are: State/federal rehabilitation programs, state services for the blind and visually impaired; comprehensive rehabilitation centers, sheltered workshops, chemical dependency treatment centers, private rehabilitation, worker's compensation programs, employee assistance programs and pain management centers.

Accreditation Specific to the Program

  • Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)
  • For a statement of outcomes from the Rehabilitation Counseling program, please see this link

Admission Information

  • Admission is competitive and selection is based on an evaluation of all factors.  Apply by the February 1 priority deadline.
  • The GRE requirement is currently under review by the program and University's Curriculum Committee.  It may not be necessary to submit a GRE for upcoming admission review. Please consult with the graduate director. 
  • Strong candidates will be invited to interview.
  • Complete a personal interview with representatives of the profession, advanced students in the program and the counseling faculty. An interview is required and is held in late February or early March.
  • For specific interview dates and an appointment, contact the departmental secretary. If attendance at an interview is totally impractical, the graduate director may designate an alternate method.
  • Admission decisions are generally not made throughout the year. The majority of decisions are made following early spring interviews. 
  • Typically, notice regarding admission decisions are made and sent to applicants within approximately 5 weeks after the admission deadline.
  • Applicants can enhance their chance for an admission offer by having all application materials in by the deadline and then demonstrating clear and compelling responses to the interview questions in the group interviews.
  • Careful attention will be given to previous work experience, academic background, scholarship, emotional maturity, multicultural experiences, interpersonal skills and commitment to the counseling profession.
  • The interview is most heavily weighted in the admission process.
  • If the occasion arises in which we do not have enough applicants to fill spaces after the February 1st deadline, we then conduct a second round of interviews in late spring.

Priority Application Deadline - February 1 for fall semester admission

Programs with a priority deadline will hold all completed applicant files until the application deadline date, then academic review will begin. The program will review all completed applications at one time (in a pool) and may request an interview as part of the process to award limited spaces. If space remains in the program, a second round of review and possible interviews will be held for completed files received after the priority deadline.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Length of Program — Measured by Semesters

  • Part-time student: eight semesters taking six credits per semester.
  • Full-time student: four semesters taking 12 credits per semester.
  • Evening classes are available.
  • This program may be completed in four semesters and one summer of full-time study by starting classes in fall semester.

Part-time Students

It is department policy to assist part-time students to complete the counseling program while continuing concurrent employment. Some daytime hours on campus are required for practicum and internship.

Following admission to graduate study, all part-time students must complete a minimum of nine graduate credits per year of course work, approved by their advisor, in order to maintain accepted status in the counseling program. Students must complete the pre-practicum core courses early in the program of studies.

Graduate Assistantship Overview

  • The number of graduate assistantship positions vary each year, and are available both fall and spring semesters.
  • Graduate assistants work 10 or 20 hours per week in a university program or with a faculty member on administration, course work or research projects.
  • Graduate assistantships require full-time student status.
  • An application must be submitted to the department chairperson. It is recommended that applicants for department graduate assistantships meet the March 1 deadline.
  • In addition, all applicants for department assistantships are required to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility and apply for a federal work-study assistantship.

Required Orientation Program

All new students (both part-time and full-time) must attend the fall semester orientation meeting held early in fall semester. (See the department secretary for details.)


Each new student will be assigned an advisor shortly after they are admitted. Part-time students will need to plan their schedules with their advisors. New full-time students have their first semester planned by the program. Information on a full-time course schedule will be sent to you.

Not all advisors are immediately available for conferences, particularly if the student is admitted during summer session. In these cases, any counseling faculty member can assist you.

Double Emphasis

A student may wish to complete a double emphasis to facilitate greater employability. The second emphasis must be completed with a minimum of 10 semester credits which are not included in the first emphasis program. A separate 600-hour internship must be completed for each emphasis. 

Supervised Counseling Practicum

This off-campus experience follows the pre-practicum core courses and provides for the application of theories and techniques to counseling experience.


Admission to graduate study does not constitute candidacy for a degree. Rather, a student who has been admitted to graduate study is advanced to degree candidacy upon the recommendation of the counseling faculty. Advancement to degree candidacy requires that the candidate must have:

  1. Completed between 12 and 36 semester hours of graduate study at St. Cloud State University with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Submitted to their advisor one completed program form signed by the student at the completion of the practicum.
  3. Clearly demonstrated the aptitude and ability to pursue graduate work and exhibited a commitment to counseling as a profession.
  4. Demonstrated potential for a successful career in the field of counseling.

Admission to degree candidacy is not an automatic process, but rather the advancement to candidacy is approved by all program faculty only after careful evaluation of all pertinent factors. Proposed program of study forms may be obtained from the departmental secretary, Room A253 of the Education Building.

Academic Review and Retention Policy

The faculty meet regularly to discuss the progress of students in the program. The following elements are reviewed:  academic progress and promise; counseling skills acquisition and development; personality traits or personal issues that may be interfering with progress in the program; legal and ethical issues. In the event there is faculty concern about a student regarding any of these areas, a  faculty member will meet with the student to discuss necessary remediation and steps to take toward improvement or to offer assistance to the student in finding a more suitable field of study. While there was preliminary evaluation of a prospective student's suitability for counseling at the time of admission, evaluation also occurs throughout a student's course of study. During the pre-practicum core, course evaluations are made by faculty as to whether students have developed the skills and personal characteristics necessary to proceed to practicum. During  practicum, regular evaluations are made by faculty to determine whether the student is prepared to proceed to internship, whether the practicum experience needs to be repeated or other assistance is necessary to continue in the program. During the internship, regular assessments are made by the site supervisor documenting the pre-professional progress and readiness for recommendation for graduation and certification and/or licensure. 

Supervised Counseling Internship

This experience follows the counseling practicum and is a final capstone experience which will provide counseling experience in a work setting. Rehabilitation counseling students must complete a 600-hour internship. The candidate must apply in writing to the internship coordinator by completing an internship placement request form before March 15 for all placements during the following academic year.