California State University, Fullerton


Leah Brew

Education Classroom 405


Master of Science in Counseling
Marriage and Family Therapy
MFT Licensure Preparation

Leah Brew, Joseph M. Cervantes, Sapna Batra Chopra, Matt Englar-Carlson, Jeffrey Kottler, Olga Mejia, Thuy Nguyen, Mary Read, David S. Shepard, and Rebekah Smart

Graduate Adviser: Jose Cervantes
Admissions: David S. Shepard
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)
Licensure: Mary Read
Clinical Training Director: Mary Read
Off Campus Programs: David S. Shepard
Graduate Counseling Students
Association: Sapna Batra Chopra
Chi Sigma Iota: Jeffrey Kottler
Alumni Association: Mary Read

The Department of Counseling offers a program leading to the Master of Science in Counseling emphasizing community counseling. The program is approved by the California State Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to meet the educational requirements preparing students for state licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT). We are also nationally accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Our emphasis is on training clinicians who can serve the needs of individuals and families in their communities. We train students to provide brief and long-term counseling while maintaining professional identities as counselors and marriage and family therapists.

The program strongly emphasizes a multicultural perspective. We prepare counselors who will be sensitive to the diverse heritages, lifestyles and special needs of individuals and families. Both our student body and faculty encompass a wide range of backgrounds and values.

Our theoretical orientation is grounded in humanistic, relational and integrative principles. This means that we are respectful of different counseling philosophies, flexible in our approaches depending on client and student needs, and united in our belief that relationships remain at the core of all helping encounters. We also believe that counselors can best help people by understanding the relationship of emotional distress to family dynamics and to the social and cultural contexts that shape their lives.

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Admission Requirements
The Department of Counseling accepts students once a year for its on-campus and every two years for its off-campus programs. The Department welcomes applicants from diverse academic, social and cultural backgrounds. International, minority, underrepresented and older students, and students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Preparation for the counseling profession is rigorous and multifaceted, necessitating the student’s development in interpersonal, self-reflective and academic realms. Admission is therefore based upon indicators of the applicant’s potential for becoming an effective counseling practitioner including, but not limited to, grade point average (GPA), letters of reference, personal statement, departmental interview and potential for success based on personal and professional evaluation of qualification, and is at the sole discretion of the Counseling Department’s Admissions Committee.

Admission is not based upon any single factor but on a composite assessment of all factors. The following are required for consideration to the program:

  1. An acceptable bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited institution
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 for the undergraduate degree
  3. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in four prerequisite behavioral science courses (or equivalents): counseling theory, research methods or statistics, abnormal psychology and human development. At least two of the four prerequisites must be completed at the time of entrance; any remaining prerequisite(s) must be completed during the first semester of enrollment
  4. Three letters of recommendation. These letters should address the author’s assessment of the applicant’s suitability for pursuing graduate studies and entering the counseling profession. At least one letter must be academic (i.e., written by a professor or an instructor). The Department understands that for some applicants, contacting former instructors is not feasible; in these situations, professional references, written by supervisors or managers who are familiar with he student’s work, are also appropriate
  5. An interview with department faculty
  6. The GRE is not required
  7. A detailed personal statement (1,500-3,000 words). This statement should inform the faculty about the applicant’s
    • educational background
    • personal biography and its relevance to the goal of becoming a counselor
    • strengths and weaknesses
    • understanding of the counseling profession, and motivation and suitability for entering it
    • long-term professional goals
    • This statement is very important because it enables the faculty to make informed decisions regarding admission

Application Procedures
Applicants must apply to the University and to the Department of Counseling.

  1. University application. Apply online to the university and mail one set of official transcripts from all colleges/universities to:
    • Admissions and Records
      California State University, Fullerton
      P.O. Box 6900
      Fullerton, CA 92834-6900
    • The application codes are: For on-campus program: COUNSELING (MARRIAGE FAMILY THERAPY)
      For off-campus program: COUNSELING (GARDEN GROVE CENTER) The online URL is
  2. Department of Counseling application. Send three letters of recommendation, personal statement and a copy of all transcripts to:
    • Department of Counseling
      California State University, Fullerton
      P.O. Box 6868
      Fullerton, CA 92834-6868
    • No separate department application form is required.

All required materials must be received by the University Office of Admissions and Records and by the Department of Counseling office by the deadline date. Late applications will not be reviewed.

For more information about admissions, please contact our Prospective Student Adviser at 657-278-3042, or e-mail us at

Application Deadlines
Applications are due March 1 for the fall semester on-campus program and Nov. 1 for the spring semester off-campus program. For further information, contact the Department of Counseling at 657-278-3042 or email us at Also check the Department of Counseling website for information on deadlines:

All successful applicants are initially admitted as conditionally classified graduate students. They are invited to attend an orientation session before classes begin, and are encouraged to join the Graduate Counseling Students Association (GCSA).

Each student is assigned to an adviser upon admission to the department. Advisers provide academic assistance, help students develop official study plans, recommend them for classified standing and advancement to candidacy, and monitor their progress throughout the duration of enrollment.

Students should consult their adviser on a regular basis. It is especially important to initiate contact with an adviser as soon as possible during the first semester of enrollment to verify enrollment in any remaining prerequisite courses and to discuss preclassification requirements.

The department requires that students take at least six units per semester. Students working full time are strongly advised against taking more than six units per semester because of the demanding nature of the program; however, students should be aware of time limits for completing the degree and the possibility that they may be unable to enroll in a specific course because of class size limits or other factors.

Classification and Advancement to Candidacy
Admission to the department as a conditionally classified student does not guarantee advancement to classified standing.

Each student undergoes a comprehensive evaluation in the semester prior to his or her beginning Practicum (Counseling 530). This evaluation determines advancement to classified standing and to candidacy. Advancement requires a 3.0 GPA and the faculty’s ongoing assessment of the student’s aptitude and suitability for the counseling profession, progress in skill development, interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, readiness to see clients, and ethical and professional conduct. A student who receives more than two grades below “B-” (2.7) is automatically disqualified from the program. Students may also be placed on administrative academic probation for reasons other than cumulative and/or study plan GPA and may be disqualified under certain conditions, including failure to demonstrate a level of professional competence or fitness commensurate with the standards of the counseling discipline. See the “Graduate Regulations” section of this catalog for details concerning advancement to classified standing, candidacy, probation and disqualification.

The curriculum comprises 60 units (plus an optional one-unit child abuse workshop required for licensure). Full-time students typically take three to four courses during the fall and spring semesters, and one or two summer courses. Part-time students typically take two to three courses during fall and spring semesters and one course in the summer. In the semester prior to beginning their first practicum, students apply for Classified Standing. Classified students are designated trainees by the state MFT licensing board, and begin to provide counseling services and accrue hours toward the 3,000 hours required for state licensure.

COUN 500 The Counseling Profession (3)
COUN 502 Career Counseling (3)
COUN 511 Pre-Practicum (Basic Counseling Skills) (3)
COUN 518 Human Development and Functioning (3)
COUN 520 Modes of Individual Counseling (3)
COUN 521 Research in Counseling (3)
(first half of the final research project)
COUN 522 Techniques of Brief Treatment and Assessment (3)
COUN 523 Counseling and Culture (3)
COUN 524 Child and Adolescent Counseling (3)
COUN 525 Psychopharmacology (3)
COUN 526 Professional Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling (3)
COUN 527 Systems of Family Counseling (3)
COUN 528 Groups: Process and Practice (3)
COUN 530 Beginning Practicum (3)
(fieldwork in a community agency)
COUN 535 Addictions (3)
COUN 560 Appraisal in Counseling (3)
COUN 562 Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 584 Advanced Practicum (3)
COUN 590 Advanced Counseling Techniques (3)
COUN 597 Final Project (3)
(second half of the final research project)

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To practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California, a license issued by the State Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) is required. Our 60-unit program with the MFT concentration is designed to prepare students to meet licensure requirements (Business and Professions Code, Section 4980.37). Students should note that licensure requirements extend beyond those of the M.S. degree and include an internship and passing official BBS examinations. It is the student’s responsibility to keep informed about licensure requirements as they are subject to change from time to time. An authoritative source of information is Statutes and Regulations Relating to the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy, Licensed Clinical Social Work, and Licensed Educational Psychology issued by the Board of Behavioral Sciences and available on the BBS website,

For further information, write to the Board of Behavioral Sciences, Department of Consumer Affairs, 400 R Street, Suite 3145, Sacramento, CA 95814-6240, or call them at 916-445-4933.

Students are designated trainees by the BBS and can accrue licensing hours after they have been classified by the department and begin their fieldwork practicum. A student can count psychotherapy received after they have begun their first semester in the program (maximum of 100 hours of psychotherapy equals 300 hours towards the 3,000 required to take the MFT license examination). Upon graduation, students have 90 days to register with the BBS as an intern. It is advisable to write to the BBS for a registration packet early (e.g., at the beginning of the last semester).

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Courses are designated as COUN in the class schedule.

COUN 252    Career and Life Planning

Description: Prerequisite: introductory course in Oral Communication and English Composition. Career planning is a continual process that occurs over the lifespan. Focus is on career, personal and educational awareness. Strategies include integrating skills, abilities, interests and values into the career search. Emphasis on decision-making and goal setting.
Units: (3)

COUN 350    Leadership Skills and Personal Development

Description: (Same as Human Services 350)
Units: (3)

COUN 380    Theories and Techniques of Counseling

Description: (Same as Human Services 380)
Units: (3)

COUN 449    Seminar on Child Abuse

Description: Prerequisite: Human Services 201 or Child/Adolescent Studies 301. Presents characteristics of child abuse and a review of current laws, appropriate procedures for intervention, and methods of community networking and referral.
Units: (1)

COUN 500    The Counseling Profession

Description: Prerequisite: graduate standing. The study of counseling as a mental health profession, including its history, current functions and future directions. Examination of the counselor as a professional, including educational goals, personal values, and cultural understandings. Opportunity to observe master counselors at work.
Units: (3)

COUN 502    Career and Lifestyle Development

Description: Prerequisite: completion of or concurrent enrollment in Counseling 500. Survey of career and lifestyle development throughout the lifespan. Major theories and strategies in career counseling. Integration of knowledge of career development with the practice of counseling.
Units: (3)

COUN 511    Pre-Practicum

Description: Prerequisite: completion of or concurrent enrollment in Counseling 500; or admission to the Concentration in School Nursing. Basic counseling skills, including establishing a therapeutic relationship, facilitating client self-exploration and understanding how one’s values influence the counseling process. Crisis intervention also will be addressed. Extensive role play practice.
Units: (3)

COUN 518    Human Development and Functioning

Description: Prerequisites: completion of or concurrent enrollment in Counseling 500 and 511. Integrated study of human development from infancy to old age and its effect upon individuals, couples, and family relationships. Emphasis on relevance to counseling. Role of human sexuality in lifespan development will be addressed.
Units: (3)

COUN 520    Modes of Individual Counseling

Description: Prerequisite: Counseling 511. Advanced study of major theoretical frameworks in counseling, including models of personality, definitions of individual dysfunction and approaches to treatment. Practice in case conceptualization and application of theories to counseling.
Units: (3)

COUN 521    Research in Counseling

Description: Pre- or corequisite: Counseling 530 or consent of faculty. Applied research methods and program evaluation. Comparative review and synthesis of inquiry approaches. Completion of literature review for anticipated Counseling 597 project. Instructional fee required.
Units: (3)

COUN 522    Techniques of Brief Treatment and Assessment

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 511 and 518. Advanced study of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM) with emphasis on detection and assessment of alcohol and substance, spousal or partner, elder, and child abuse, and human sexual dysfunction. Review of brief treatment models.
Units: (3)

COUN 523    Counseling and Culture

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 500 and 511. Theory, research, and techniques related to counseling people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Emphasis on role plays and skills applications.
Units: (3)

COUN 524    Child and Adolescent Counseling

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 500, 511, 518; and 520 concurrent. Course provides an overview of child/adolescent development theories and counseling frameworks, with emphasis on utilizing strategies, examination of ethical issues, and explores assessment techniques to evaluate the range of disruptive behaviors.
Units: (3)

COUN 525    Psychopharmacology for Counselors

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 500, 511, 518. Corequisite, 522. Course introduces counseling students to the biochemical basis of behavior and a general knowledge of the effects and side effects of the major classes of psychotropic drugs. Such knowledge is to make appropriate referrals and a comprehensive approach to treatment.
Units: (3)

COUN 526    Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling

Description: Prerequisite: Counseling 522. Pre- or corequisite, Counseling 523. Ethical and legal standards as related to critical professional issues, including child abuse, spousal or partner abuse, elder abuse, and substance abuse. The relationship and integration of values for the counselor’s role in practice, training, supervision, test usage, and consultation.
Units: (3)

COUN 527    Systems of Family Counseling

Description: Prerequisite: Counseling 511. Survey of family systems models, including Adler, Satir, Bowen, Haley, Minuchin, and others.
Units: (3)

COUN 528    Groups: Process and Practice

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 500 and 511. Basic issues and concepts related to group process. Demonstration of group leadership skills with an emphasis on self-reflection.
Units: (3)

COUN 530    Practicum

Description: Prerequisites: classified standing; Counseling 520, 523, 524, 526, 527; consent of fieldwork coordinator; and completion of or concurrent enrollment in Counseling 528. Supervised clinical practice with adults, families and children in approved community agencies. A minimum of 105 contact hours of counseling required for course completion.
Units: (3)

COUN 535    Addictions Counseling

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 500 and 511. Addresses etiology and treatment of addictive behaviors, (e.g., substance abuse, gambling). Theories linking addiction to biological, psychological, and other factors will be evaluated critically with an emphasis on developing effective recovery and relapse prevention programs.
Units: (3)

COUN 560    Appraisal in Counseling

Description: Prerequisite: Counseling 522. Theories and applications of psychological testing and other means of appraisal, as they relate to the practice of community-based counseling and marriage and family therapy.
Units: (3)

COUN 562    Couples Counseling

Description: Prerequisite: Counseling 527. The treatment of couples, including overview of current theories, assessment, goal-setting, interventions, ethical issues, and diversity issues. Assessment and treatment of spousal abuse. Study of sexual dysfunctions and sex therapy.
Units: (3)

COUN 584    Advanced Practicum

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 530 and consent of Fieldwork Coordinator. Advanced supervised clinical practice with adults, families, and children in approved community agencies. A minimum of 105 contact hours of counseling required for course completion.
Units: (3)

COUN 590    Advanced Counseling Techniques

Description: Prerequisites: classified standing; completion of Counseling 530. This course focuses on case conceptualization and the integration of advanced techniques into the student’s repertoire of counseling skills. Case presentations and analysis of videotaped sessions will be emphasized. Must be taken as part of the year-long practicum experience. May be taken four times for credit.
Units: (1-3)

COUN 597    Research Project

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 521 and consent of faculty adviser. Capstone program experience; taken final semester. Student conducts original research relevant to the counseling field.
Units: (3)

COUN 598    Thesis

Description: Prerequisites: Counseling 530; consent of graduate program adviser. Independent research culminating in a thesis. Recommended for pre-doctoral students. May be repeated for credit.
Units: (1)

COUN 599    Independent Study

Description: Prerequisite: consent of instructor or graduate program adviser. Research and development in counseling pursued independently with periodic conference with instructor. May be repeated for credit.
Units: (1-3)

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