2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Dec 03, 2023  
2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Affairs Counseling, MS

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Derek Seward, PH.D., Sims Hall, Suite 440 315-443-2266, dxseward@syr.edu

Core Faculty

Dr. James Bellini, Professor & Department Chairperson
Dr. Melissa Luke, Professor
Dr. Derek Seward, Associate Professor
Dr. Caroline O’Hara, Assistant Professor

Program Description

The Master of Science in Student Affairs Counseling prepares counselors for post-secondary educational settings who will have the knowledge and skills to promote and enhance the healthy development of all students in those settings. With the current context of higher education and some of the challenges present, it is a critical time for counselors to be engaged in the services and supports offered to undergraduate and graduate students. Our program emphasizes critical counseling skills that provide a foundation for professionals to meet the needs of both students in crisis and those who are engaged in developmental transitions during the collegiate experience.

  • Student Services and Advisement
  • Residence Life
  • Campus Substance Abuse Programs
  • Athletic Departments
  • Rape Crisis Centers
  • University Career Centers
  • Multicultural and International Students’ Offices
  • Judicial Affairs’ Office

As part of the program, students acquire skills in individual and group counseling, career counseling, and multicultural counseling. Additionally, students complete 12 credits of content knowledge about various aspects of higher education. Upon completion of the program, students are immediately eligible to become National Certified Counselors with the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Programs include extensive fieldwork opportunities in which students gain hands-on experience working with college students and clients in a wide range of counseling and educational settings. Students work closely with their advisor, and the fieldwork coordinator to identify settings that meet their individual interests and career goals. The faculty is nationally recognized for their leadership in the profession and all classes are taught by skilled experts and experienced clinicians.

The faculty is deeply committed to the growth and development of their students; faculty work closely with both our master’s and doctoral students. Students are trained in the most current practices and research in counseling and provided the opportunity to develop their skills and succeed in their chosen area of specialization. The department’s goal is to prepare national leaders in counseling. We provide constructivist and experiential learning environments in our classes and are committed to reflexive leadership. We seek to develop a diverse group of professionals who will excel in knowledge, skills, commitment, and service in a wide range of educational and community settings.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Synthesize historical and contextual dimensions of professional orientation, assessment, research, career, theory, and lifespan development

2. Explain group dynamics and construct clinical interventions that foster development

3. Apply ethical, empirically grounded, and culturally relevant strategies and models in counseling practice 

4. Develop advocacy and leadership principles and practically apply them in the context of professional college counseling and student affairs

5. Apply social and cultural diversity theories, models, and multicultural competencies in counseling practice and research

6. Explain the history, roles and responsibilities, current trends, and ethical and legal considerations of college counseling and student affairs

7. Apply student development theories, and assessments specific to college counseling and student affairs to devise strategies to assist individuals in higher education settings

S.U. Re-Accredited through 2017:

The Department of Counseling and Human Services is focused on program quality which is exemplified through our commitment to accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP accreditation provides recognition of the quality and scope of training as well as assures students that the program is stable and committed to meeting professional benchmarks of quality. Our three master’s programs (Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Student Affairs Counseling) and our Counselor Education Ph.D. program are currently accredited by CACREP. We are pursuing re-accreditation, and as is expected of accredited programs, we are currently completing the self-study process in preparation for an accreditation site visit. CACREP accreditation is critical as you compare programs in that counselors must be graduates of a CACREP program as of 2022 to be credentialed as a National Certified Counselor. Accreditation also streamlines licensure and credentialing processes for professional counselors.​


In our admission process, we consider multiple facets of an applicant’s portfolio and background because we believe that successful counselors need to be interpersonally skilled, highly self-aware, professionally mature, academically prepared for graduate work, and committed to the values and philosophies of the counseling profession and the Department of Counseling and Human Services at Syracuse University. Therefore, academic, interpersonal, professional, leadership, and personal components are integrated in our admission decision process.

The Department of Counseling and Human Services faculty seeks to admit individuals who are personally and academically prepared to be successful in completing the master’s degree program in Counseling.  Within these parameters, the faculty is committed to admitting students who represent diverse backgrounds or who have special abilities to serve a diverse population. Admission is highly competitive and conducted three times a year.

Major Requirements

The M.S. in Student Affairs Counseling is a 48 credit hour program.

Transfer Credit

The Graduate School at Syracuse University allows students to transfer in up to 30% of the credits required for a master’s degree from other academic institutions. Only courses taken within the last seven years in which grades of “B” or better were earned can be transferred.  Once matriculated, decisions about transfer of specific courses, as well as decisions about whether any course may be used to waive a required course, are made by the student’s advisor in consultation with appropriate faculty. Some courses (for example, Practicum) taken elsewhere may not be used to substitute for the same course at SU.

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