Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the application deadlines?
A: Students can apply for the spring, summer, or fall semester.  Click here for the Application Schedule & Deadlines.  

Q: What information does the Admissions Committee consider when evaluating applications?
A: We are seeking candidates who possess strong interpersonal skills and strong academic credentials. The Admissions Committee will consider several factors when evaluating your application. Grade point average, strength of psychology preparation, letters of recommendation, and your personal statement are important.

Q: How many students will be admitted to the program each year?
A: A total of 45 students will be admitted to the program each academic year. For the fall semester, 25 students will be admitted to the program. The remaining 20 students will be admitted for either the spring or summer semesters.

Q: When do I learn if I am admitted to the program?
A:  The Clinical Counseling Psychology program adheres to a schedule for notification to applications, please visit Application Schedule & Deadlines.

Q: Can I take courses as a non-degree student?  
A: Unfortunately, no. Due to class size limits, the program does not allow students to enroll as a non-degree or non-matriculated student.

Q: What grade point average do I need to have?
A: One important consideration is your grade point average. A minimum GPA of 3.0, both overall and in psychology courses, is one of the criteria required for admission to the program.  However, the Admissions Committee may recommend admission if your GPA is below 3.0, but your GPA for the last 2 years is at least 3.0 and your performance in psychology courses at least 3.25. If you believe you have evidence of extenuating circumstances that explains a weak overall GPA, you should contact the Program Director regarding your application.

Q: Do I have to be a Psychology major to be admitted into the Clinical Counseling Psychology Program?
A: Admissions to the program does not required having completed your undergraduate degree as a Psychology major. However, you must complete at least 6 psychology courses at the undergraduate level before your application will be considered by the Admissions Committee. See the list of courses below that provide a strong foundation for the Clinical Counseling Psychology Program.

Q: What psychology classes do I need to have taken?
A:
Along with your GPA, the Admissions Committee will review the undergraduate psychology courses in your program of study. You must complete at least 6 undergraduate courses in Psychology. Preference will be given to applicants who have taken the following undergraduate courses:

General (or Introductory) Psychology
Psychology of Personality
Abnormal Psychology

In addition to these courses, preference will be given to applicants who have completed at least 2 courses that emphasize the research foundations of psychology. Examples of these courses are:

Social Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Psychology of Learning
Cognitive Psychology
Sensation and Perception
Physiological Psychology
Research Methods in Psychology
Statistics

Because the program requires students to have a broad knowledge of psychology when they enter the program, we can teach our foundation-level courses at a fairly advanced level. That allows our faculty to bring students to a sophisticated level of understanding of how these concepts are implemented in counseling activities or settings.

Q: What if I have not completed 6 undergraduate Psychology courses?
A: You can take courses to fulfill the admissions requirements through the continuing education program at any 4-year college or university.  We encourage you to apply while you are concurrently fulfilling the 6 undergraduate course requirement.  Please note that the Admissions Committee will not accept psychology courses taken at a community college to fulfill the admissions requirements.

You should contact Dr. Leonard Doerfler, Program Director, doerfler@assumption.edu, for review and approval before enrolling in an online course because the quality of these courses can vary significantly.

Q: Can I use graduate-level psychology courses to substitute for the 6 psychology pre-requisite coursework required for my application?
A: Many years ago the Admissions Committee decided that the prerequisite courses needed to be at the undergraduate level. The reason for that decision is that graduate courses in counseling and related programs have a strong emphasis on the application of psychological concepts and skills. In contrast, courses (sometimes courses with the same title) taught at the undergraduate level have a greater emphasis on theory and research related to the topic.

The reason for the requirement that applicants complete at least 6 undergraduate psychology courses is that the faculty wants students to have a solid background in understanding the research and theoretical foundations of the material we cover in our graduate courses.

Q: What documents do I need to provide for my application package?
A: Your application file will consist of the graduate application, application fee (waived for Assumption students and alumni), all official college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, current resume, and 600-word personal statement.  International candidates need to also provide official TOEFL scores and transcript evaluations.  As part of the admissions process, an interview is required for C.A.G.S. candidates.

Q: Do I need to take the GRE?
A: No. The program does not require that applicants take the GRE or other standardized tests.  The Admissions Committee considers a holistic approach of each candidate’s application in assessing their potential to successfully complete the graduate Clinical Counseling Psychology program. 

Q: What advice do you have for what I write in my personal statement?
A:
The Admissions Committee will consider the match between your professional interests and Assumption’s program offerings. We recommend that you give considerable thought to the content of your essay as it is an important part of the evaluation process. Success in the counseling program and in the field requires high levels of responsibility, integrity, and interpersonal skill, as well as mastery of theory and research methodology. We are seeking candidates who have thought deeply about their place within the field of counseling. We encourage you to reflect this thought and to describe your preparation thoroughly in the essay you submit.  Your personal statement should be approximately 600 words that answer each of the following questions:

  1. Describe the academic preparation and skills that you have that you believe qualify you for the rigorous training involved in our master's program in Clinical Counseling Psychology. Discuss experiential and field-based experiences that you believe prepare you for our counseling program.
  2. Describe what you hope to accomplish academically during your graduate program and the career goals you have for yourself. Focusing on the actual job you would like to have five years after completing your graduate study will bring specificity to your essay.
  3. Describe the qualities that you see as essential for an effective counselor and then assess yourself in terms of these characteristics.

Q: Who should I ask for my letters of recommendation?
A:
The Admissions Committee requires that you submit three strong positive recommendations from your professors or other professionals for whom you have worked. Only letters that are academic or professional in nature will be considered. At least one recommendation must be from a professor you had for at least one course. The Admissions Committee considers recommendations from Psychology professors to be especially important in evaluating your application.

If you have been out of school for several years and are unable to obtain an academic reference, you must contact the Program Director for guidance in identifying individuals who can provide suitable recommendations. It is important to choose individuals who know your academic ability, research skills, or clinical work well.

Q: Where do I send my application materials?
A: Students are encouraged to apply online. Once we receive your application, we will start an official file and update you as materials arrive to the Office of Graduate Studies. Please send all supporting documentation to:

Graduate Studies
Admissions House
Assumption College
500 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609-1296

If you have any questions about your application or the admissions process, please do not hesitate to contact Graduate Studies at (508) 767-7387 or graduate@assumption.edu.

Q: Do you have weekend or online classes?
A: No, the program does not offer online classes. Classes are not offered on weekends.

Q: When are classes scheduled?

For Fall and Spring Semesters
Classes meet once a week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Classes are scheduled at 4:00 – 6:15 or 7:00 – 9:15.

For Summer Session
Classes meet once week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Classes are scheduled at 3:00 – 6:00 or 6:15 – 9:15.

Q: Do I need to take summer classes?
A: You will need to take classes during at least one summer session because the counseling practicum course is offered only during the summer session. Furthermore, some advanced intervention courses are offered only during the summer session.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program if I am a full-time student?
A: If you enter the program during the summer session, you can complete the program in 2 years (6 semesters). If you enter the program during the fall semester, you can complete your coursework in 2 years (6 semesters), but it will take another semester to complete all requirements for your degree because the program does not conduct oral exams during the summer session. If you enter the program during the spring semester, it will take at least 7 semesters (2 years and another semester) to complete the program.

*With a spring semester start, you will be able to complete the program without a semester with an overload course. 

Example: 

 Semester Start

  Semesters Enrolled

  Degree Conferred

  Spring 2017*

 7 Semesters: SP-17, SU-17, FA-17, SP-18, SU-18, FA-18, SP-19 (Oral Exam)

     May 2019

  Summer 2017

 6 Semesters:  SU-17, FA-17, SP-18, SU-18, FA-18, SP-19 (Oral Exam)

     May 2019

  Fall 2017

 7 Semesters:  FA-17, SP-18, SU-18, FA-18, SP-19, SU-19, FA-19 (Oral Exam)

    December 2019

Q: What is a full-time course load?
A: Full-time students take 3 courses (minimum of 9 credits) per semester. 

Q: How long does it take to complete the program if I am a part-time student?
A: You are welcome to take courses as a part-time student. A part-time course load is 1 or 2 courses a semester. You can take up to 7 years to complete the program – that would be one course per semester.

Q: How quickly do students typically take to complete the program?
A: Most students complete the program in 2 – 3 years. On average, students complete the program in about 7 semesters.

Q: Can I work while I take classes?
A: Classes are scheduled during the late afternoon or evening to allow students to work while they are taking classes. Some students work full time, but it is very challenging to hold a full-time job while taking a full course load. It will be particularly difficult and stressful if you try to work full time during your internship.

Q: What are the requirements for practicum & internship?
A: Practicum and internship is a 12-month clinical experience. You will enroll in the Practicum Seminar during the summer session. For your practicum, you will spend at least 10 hours per week at a community agency developing your counseling skills. For at least 40% of your time, you will provide direct counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, families, or couples.

During the fall and spring semesters you will enroll in the Internship Seminar. For your internship, you will spend at least 20 hours per week at a community agency. For at least 40% of your time, you will provide direct counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, families, or couples.

Q: Can I do my practicum and internship at the place where I work?
A: Students are rarely permitted to do their practicum and internship in the same place where they work. The practicum and internship experience is designed to help you develop new counseling skills that will advance your professional development and career. You will get the full benefit of the practicum and internship experience by working with different client populations or problems.

Q: How large are class sizes?
A: Class size will vary from as many as 25 students to as few as 5 students. Required courses may have as many as 25 students. Advanced assessment or intervention courses often have lower sizes – sometimes as few as 5 students. Practicum and Internship Seminar classes have 5 – 10 students.

Q: Are there opportunities to become involved with research?
A:  Yes. Several Clinical Counseling Psychology Program faculty have active research programs, and you are welcome to work with a faculty member on his or her research. Visit Faculty Page

The program also has close ties with the Psychiatry Department at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and other agencies in the community, and there are opportunities to become involved in research projects off campus.

Q:  What are the licensure requirements?
A:  The licensing requirements for Mental Health Counselors include at least 60 graduate credits, with specific courses in 10 content areas. There are other requirements related to practicum and internship experiences. Students who possess a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology with less than 60 credits would most likely have to take the additional coursework as part of a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study program (C.A.G.S.).  When the Admissions Committee schedules a C.A.G.S. applicant for an interview, the Committee will review the transcript and make a list of courses the applicant would have to take for licensure.

Q: Does the program offer fellowships or other forms of financial aid?
A: Yes. Each year the program offers 10 Graduate Fellowships. Tuition waivers are granted for 30 credits.  Fellowship opportunities are available to both new and returning counseling students.

A few other departments on campus offer graduate assistantships. Click here for more information on student employment.

Q: What does a Graduate Fellowship do?
A:  A Graduate Fellow works closely with a Clinical Counseling Psychology program faculty mentor for 2 semesters on advanced psychological research.  This experience is particularly beneficial for students who expect to apply to a doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology, as recent Assumption graduates have done.

Q: How do I apply for the Graduate Fellowship?
A: To apply for a graduate fellowship, send a letter of interest to Dr. Leonard Doerfler by the graduate fellowships deadline. The main purpose of the letter is to identify applicants who are interested in receiving a fellowship. Briefly describe any research experience you may have had, and/or your research interests. The letter does not need to be more than two or three paragraphs in length. All Graduate Fellowship candidates will be notified by the date outlined in the link above regardless of their semester start or returning date (spring, summer, or fall).  For more information click here: Graduate Fellowships

Q: Is the program accredited?
A: The program in accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.  The American Psychological Association does not accredit masters programs. 

Q: If I am admitted, can I defer my enrollment?
A: Students are strongly encouraged to apply to the semester in which they wish to commence their graduate studies.  Due to the competitiveness of Assumption College’s
Clinical Counseling Psychology program and the limited number of students admitted each term, students can only defer their enrollment in the case of extenuating circumstances.  Accepted students need to request their deferral request in writing to the Program Director and submit an enrollment deposit by the stated deadline for deferment consideration.

Q: I am looking to change careers. What should I do to be admitted into the program?
A: Applicants who are trying to change careers are welcome in the program. In recent years, applicants who left careers in sales, business, law, nursing, or education completed the program and are now working as a counselor. If you have not completed 6 undergraduate psychology classes, you must complete these preparatory courses. 

You are welcome to contact the Dr. Leonard Doerfler, Program Director, doerfler@assumption.edu, to discuss your career interests and to request feedback about selecting courses to fulfill the admissions requirements.