Thank you for your interest in the counseling programs at the University of Nevada, Reno. Many of our prospective students have similar questions regarding admissions, completion, and financing their education. We have created this Frequently Asked Questions document to help you answer these questions. Please read the information carefully. If you have additional questions, contact the program coordinators:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply to the program?
For admittance to the program, you will need to submit the following:
- Letter of interest / Personal Statement. This letter should clearly state your preference for the Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling (MFCC); Clinical Mental Health Counseling; or School Counseling track. It should describe your process in deciding to become a counselor, and any para-professional counseling experience you have. Para-professional counseling is a requirement and includes shadowing a counselor or therapist, working with children or families, crisis call center, etc.
- Three Letters of recommendation. Professional letters should come from people who can attest to your ability to successfully complete the academic rigors of the program. Letters should also address your intrapersonal and interpersonal skills as these are important skills for the counseling profession. These can be paper letters or you can use the form from the UNR graduate school web site. Letters from relatives will not be accepted. Letters should speak directly to the counseling field.
- All official transcripts
- GRE scores. You need to take the general GRE. We do not require a specialty test.
Please send all materials to the Graduate School. When you have submitted your materials to the graduate school, you will be able to see if materials have been received and to manage your application.
Please note: We are unable to consider incomplete applications.
When are the admissions deadlines for the Master of Arts in Counseling?
January 15th for MFCC, School Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health tracks for beginning course work in the fall. This date is not subject to change. We will NOT accept applications with GREs taken after January 15th. Please check back with the program for updates.
What is the admittance schedule and are there interviews?
Applications are reviewed about the middle of February. Applicants who are invited for an interview are called in late February/early March. Notification of acceptance should be sent within two weeks of the interview.
How many applicants are accepted?
The number of applicants accepted depends on the number of students graduating, the number of students applying, and faculty resources. Within our accreditation requirements, we accept as many qualified applicants as we can.
What GRE score and GPA do I need?
We are unable to give an exact number as we look at the entire candidate, not just a GRE or GPA score. Grades, GRE scores, interpersonal communications, genuineness, appropriateness for the profession, commitment to the profession (para counseling), and knowledge of our program and licensing are all considered in our review process. If your GPA is low, it is possible to take additional undergraduate course to improve your GPA.
Where can I get information about taking the GRE?
You will need to find a testing center near you. Please use the following link to find a GRE testing location in Reno. Again, we will not accept GRE scores taken after January 15th.
What is para counseling?
Para counseling is exposure to the counseling profession from the counseling side, not as a client. We would like to see evidence of interest and commitment to the counseling field through volunteer work or previous work experience. Evidence of counseling experience is required of all successful applicants.
How many credits is the MA program?
- The Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling program is 67 credits
- The School Counseling program is 55 credits
- The Clinical Mental Health program is 65 credits
How long does it take to finish the MA program?
The MFCC program takes approximately 3 years (including summers) of full time enrollment. If you would like to go slower, you will need to determine how you will work course progression as you cannot take courses out of order. Please be aware that, while most courses are offered after 4, there are some daytime courses. Internship for the MFCC program requires clinic meeting, supervision and client sessions most of which take place during the day.
The School Counseling program takes approximately 2 or 2 ½ years (including summers) of full time enrollment. While most courses are offered after 4, there will be some daytime course requirements, especially internship.
The Clinical Mental Health program is 65 credits and will take approximately 3 years (including summers) of full time enrollment. While most courses are offered after 4, there will be some daytime course requirements, especially internship.
What degree will I earn at the end of the MA program?
Upon completion of the program, you will earn a Masters of Arts (MA) in either Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, or School Counseling, depending on which track you complete.
Can I apply to all three tracks?
No, we currently only allow students to apply to one track of choice. Please do your research regarding the track areas before applying!
When do I start my program?
Currently, the MFCC program begins in the Fall only. This is not likely to change. The School Counseling Program also begins in the Fall. The Clinical Mental Health Program is currently accepting applications for Fall.
Do I take classes year-round?
Yes. The MFCC, School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health programs are offered in flexible cohorts; meaning that students have a recommended series of courses but are allowed to self-pace through the programs. Please note that being a year-round program means that some courses are only offered in summer and some specialty courses are only offered every other year.
Can I start taking courses before I am formally admitted into the program?
Yes, you can begin taking courses before you are formally admitted into the program. To do this you would need to go to the UNR Graduate School website and apply as a graduate special. You can take up to 3 courses (9 credits) as a graduate special.
The courses you can take as a graduate special are the following:
- CEP 650
- CEP 705
- EDRS 700
If you would like to take a course not on this list, you will need special approval for it to count towards your degree.
Note: There are some challenges to taking courses as a graduate special. There is no guarantee of admittance because you have taken course work. In addition, our courses are ordered in a developmentally appropriate way for you to get the most out of each course. If you take courses out of sequence, this may affect the number of courses available to you in the following semesters. For example, if you take CEP 674 as a graduate special, when the semester comes where that class would usually go, it is your responsibility to determine if you need to take another course (for financial aid, for example). Taking courses as a graduate special may lead you to have semesters where you are taking minimal classes. The graduate school requires you to be enrolled in a minimum of 3 graduate credits to maintain good graduate standing, so "stopping out" for a semester with no coursework is not a possibility.
I can't go to school year-round. Do you have an on-line program?
We do not have an online counseling program.
Is there some type of exam I will need to take when I graduate?
In your last long semester in the program (fall or spring), you will be required to enroll in the comprehensive exam course (CEP 795). You will be given detailed information about the comps and other graduation requirements as you progress through the program.
Can I practice Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling when I graduate?
When you graduate, you will apply to the Nevada board of Marriage and Family and Clinical Professional Counselors. When you apply, they will review your transcripts, letters of recommendation and other materials. Upon approval, they will grant you internship status as an MFT-I. With this, you can begin acquiring the 3,000 hours towards licensure. Important to note: Licensure is between the board and the student.
After a certain point in the internship process, you will be allowed to sit for the National Marriage and Family Therapists exam. When you pass the national exam and complete your internship, you will be granted a Marriage and Family Therapists' license. Your MFT-Internship can be paid. For more detailed information, please see the Nevada Board's website
Marriage, family, and couples counselors are employed in several avenues. They work at agencies as well as in private practice. MFCCs are licensed to work with individuals, groups, children, adolescents, couples, and families. They can do parenting work as well as families.
If you would like to be licensed in California, you will need to contact the California Board to get specific information.
Can I practice Clinical Mental Health when I graduate?
When you graduate, you will apply to the Nevada board of Marriage and Family and Clinical Professional Counselors. When you apply, they will review your transcripts, letters of recommendation and other materials. Upon approval, they will grant you internship status as CPC-I. With this, you can begin acquiring the 3,000 hours towards licensure. Important to note: Licensure is between the board and the student.
After a certain point in the internship process, you will be allowed to sit for the National Clinical Mental Health (CMHC) exam. When you pass the national exam and complete your internship, you will be granted a Clinical Professional Counselor license. Your CPC-Internship can be paid. For more detailed information, please see the Nevada Board's website.
Clinical Professional Counselors are employed in several avenues. They work in agencies as well as in private practice. CPCs are licensed to work with individuals, groups, children, and adolescents.
What are enrollment, registration, financial aid, and other deadlines?
- Enrollment is handled through the Graduate School.
- Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Please check the Academic Calendar for all academic deadlines including payment, withdrawal, graduation application, etc.
- Information about the cost of your education, including out-of-state and international studies, can be found on our page about Cost Estimates
When do classes start and end?
Please see the Academic Calendar each semester.
Are there graduate or teaching assistantships through your program?
Our program does not offer graduate or teaching assistantships to Master's students. Other programs on campus do, however. The Graduate School offers additional information about student employment.
How is the program delivered and instructed?
The vast majority of the courses in the program are delivered face-to-face, though faculty often use online mechanisms to post material and grade assignments. Occasionally students have the opportunity to take a course weekend format or online. Until the Internship year of the program, courses are offered 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., 7:00 – 10:00 p.m., weekend, or online. When students begin their internship experience it is necessary to complete hours during the day, and the Internship course may be taught during the day.
In terms of instructional style, counseling courses are focused around the goal of engaging students. Small group discussions, role plays, films, demonstrations, and structured group exercises are common. Power Point presentations are used in some courses. Assessment methods vary by instructor, though all students are assessed throughout the program on the program objectives/student learning outcomes.