Master's Program

The Counseling Program requires a two step admission process. Step 1: Applicants must submit the following material and, at minimum, must meet the criteria noted.

  • Earned bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale

  • Completed Application Packet which includes:

    • application form including a $35.00 non-refundable fee

    • Three supplemental recommendation forms

    • Personal statement of professional goals

    • One official transcript from each University where you received credit

The Counseling program strongly encourages applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds.
Our program is enormously strengthened by a student body with a variety of life experiences.

Step 2: Upon review by the Counseling faculty, applicants who meet the preceding criteria for admission will be selected for an on campus interview. While on campus applicants will complete a proctored writing sample (if applicable).

Admission into the master's degree program is based upon (a) potential and aptitude for graduate study, (b) career goals consistent with the profession of counseling, (c) potential for forming positive interpersonal relationships, and (d) personality attributes linked to successful professional development as a counselor (e.g., self awareness and self acceptance). Quantitative (e.g.,GPA) and qualitative measures (e.g., letters of recommendation) are used to make admission decisions. The purpose of the application process is to determine "goodness of fit" between an applicant's strengths and goals and those of the counseling program.

Application deadlines

Fall admission:

  • Mid January

  • Mid April

Interview dates
Fall admission:

  • Early February

  • Early May

Call 605-677-5250 for specific application deadlines and interview dates.

All students who are admitted to the program must complete a 12-credit hour trial course sequence. This trial period is the first 12 hours taken by the student once enrolled. At minimum, the student must meet a grade point average of 3.0 in each of the retention trial courses. The retention trial period must include:

  • COUN 761: Counseling Theories & Socio-cultural Foundations (3 credit hours)

  • COUN 786: Pre-Practicum (3 credit hours)

All students are reviewed twice each year to evaluate student's performance. Performance in the trial sequence must meet minimum grade expectation (3.0 overall GPA; 3.0 in each of the trial courses) and other criteria (knowledge, skills, ethical behaviors, and dispositions).

Ed.S. Program

The Counseling Program requires a two step admission process. Step 1: Applicants must submit the following material and, at minimum, must meet the criteria noted.

  • Earned bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale

  • An earned Master's degree in counseling or a counseling related field with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale (Note: Specialist students must complete studies in all CACREP entry-level standards)

  • The GRE General test is required with a minimum of 147 in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections

  • Completed Application Packet which includes:

    • application form including a $35.00 non-refundable fee

    • Three supplemental recommendation forms

    • Personal statement of professional goals

    • One official transcript from each University where you received credit

The Counseling program strongly encourages applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds.
Our program is enormously strengthened by a student body with a variety of life experiences.

Step 2: Upon review by the Counseling faculty, applicants who meet the preceding criteria for admission will be selected for an on campus interview. While on campus applicants will complete a proctored writing sample (if applicable).

Admission into the specialist degree program is based upon (a) potential and aptitude for graduate study, (b) career goals consistent with the profession of counseling, (c) potential for forming positive interpersonal relationships, and (d) personality attributes linked to successful professional development as a counselor (e.g., self awareness and self acceptance). Quantitative (e.g., GRE Scores) and qualitative measures (e.g., letters of recommendation) are used to make admission decisions. The purpose of the application process is to determine "goodness of fit" between an applicant's strengths and goals and those of the counseling program.

Application deadlines

Fall admission:

  • Mid January

  • Mid April

Interview dates
Fall admission:

  • Early February

  • Early May

Call 605-677-5250 for specific application deadlines and interview dates.

All students who are admitted to the program must complete a 12-credit hour trial course sequence. This trial period is the first 12 hours taken by the student once enrolled. At minimum, the student must meet a grade point average of 3.0 in each of the retention trial courses. The retention trial period must include:

  • COUN 761: Counseling Theories & Socio-cultural Foundations (3 credit hours)

  • COUN 786: Pre-Practicum (3 credit hours)

All students are reviewed twice each year to evaluate student's performance. Performance in the trial sequence must meet minimum grade expectation (3.0 overall GPA; 3.0 in each of the trial courses) and other criteria (knowledge, skills, ethical behaviors, and dispositions).

Ph.D. Program

The Counseling Program requires a two step admission process. Step 1: Applicants must submit the following material and, at minimum, must meet the criteria noted.

  • Earned bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale

  • An earned Master's degree in counseling or a counseling related field with a minimum grade point average of 3.5 based on a 4.0 scale (Note: Doctoral students must complete studies in all CACREP entry-level standards)

  • The GRE General test is required with a minimum score of 150 in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections

  • Post-Master's professional work experience is strongly recommended

  • Completed Application Packet which includes:

    • application form including a $35.00 non-refundable fee

    • Five letters of recommendation

    • Five supplemental recommendation forms

    • Personal statement of professional goals

    • One official transcript from each University where you received credit

The Counselor Education program strongly encourages applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds.
Our program is enormously strengthened by a student body with a variety of life experiences.

Step 2: Upon review by the Counseling faculty, applicants who meet the preceding criteria for admission will be selected for an on campus interview. While on campus applicants will complete a proctored writing sample (if applicable).

Admission into the doctoral degree program is based upon the applicant's (a) academic criteria and plan, (b) potential and aptitude for graduate study, scholarship, and research, (c) career goals for leadership in counselor education and supervision and/or advanced counseling practice, (d) interpersonal characteristics related to professional counseling.

Application deadlines

Fall admission:

  • Mid April

Interview dates
Fall admission:

  • Early May

Call 605-677-5250 for specific application deadlines and interview dates.

Students may be fully admitted to the Doctoral program but they are required to complete a trial term of course work and preliminary examination followed by an oral interview with members of the program faculty to continue full admission (see doctoral program retention policy). The trial term includes:

  • COUN 858: Theoretical Approaches to Counseling (3 credit hours)

  • COUN 895: Counseling Practicum (3 credit hours)

  • EDER 860: Advanced Statistics: Correlational Analysis (3 credit hours)
    Or
    EDER 861: Advanced Statistics: Experimental Analysis (3 credit hours)

Successful passage of the trial-term course work, the preliminary examination process, and the maintenance of a grade point average of 3.5 or above allow students to continue full admission.

International Students 

More information for international students is available through the Graduate School.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

More information for non-degree seeking students is available through the USD Online and Off-Campus Education.

If you are a prospective student with a disability and need assistance or accommodations during the admission/application process, please contact the Director of Disability Services, 119B Service Center North, USD, Vermillion, SD 57069. Phone: 605-677-6389 Fax: 605-677-3172 Email: disabilityservices@usd.edu