A student proposing to major in any of the degree programs in the department or to seek certification through the department must be fully admitted as an HPC student or, in exceptional circumstances, have received approval by the HPC department chair prior to taking any course. 

Personal and Professional Expectations of Students

The HPC faculty expects students to demonstrate a commitment to: (a) Gaining the necessary knowledge as identified in program objectives, (b) Understanding and following appropriate ethical standards, (c) Developing facilitative interpersonal skills, (d) Developing the personal qualities necessary to integrate and apply their knowledge and skills, (e) Using good judgment and appropriate emotional functioning prior to contact with clients in any practicum or internship. Those students who are recovering from a personal addiction to alcohol or drugs are expected to have 12 months of continuous sobriety prior to registering for the Practicum and 15 months of continuous sobriety prior to registering for the internship.

Students in HPC will be reviewed by the appropriate faculty at the time a student's program of study is under consideration, at the time application is made for candidacy and at any other time when there is a concern.

If there is a question as to whether or not a student is meeting the departmental expectations, the student's advisor will give feedback both orally and in writing regarding the concern(s) and step(s) needed to rectify the situation.

After a review of progress, if improvement is not being made, the student might be given additional time, might be asked to stop taking courses for a specified period of time or might be dismissed from the program/department. If the student does not agree with the faculty or advisor, the student may first appeal to the department chair. If not satisfied, the student may appeal to the RCOE Dean, then to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and/or appropriate committees on campus. The student should remember that "Appalachian reserves the right to exclude at any time a graduate student whose conduct is deemed improper or prejudicial to the best interest of the University" (Graduate Bulletin 1995-1997, p. 68).

Recruitment of Students Representing a Variety of Subgroups and Subcultures

Appalachian State University is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants. Moreover, Appalachian State University is open to all people and actively seeks to recruit and enroll students from diverse populations.

Admissions Process for Master's Degree - Summary of Basic Requirements

Application materials are submitted on-line to the Graduate School.

  1. Have a baccalaureate degree from a college or university of recognized standing. Although the undergraduate major of each applicant is not limited to specific fields, the student may be required to take specific courses in other departments (e.g. psychology or education) as part of or in addition to the regular degree program.
  2. Submit a report of scores from the Aptitude Section of the Graduate Record Examination which is administered by appointment at the testing centers of many universities and senior colleges.
  3. Submit a completed on-line application and the application processing fee to the Graduate School office. This application includes: biographical information; two complete transcripts of all previous college work, unless done at Appalachian; three reference ratings; and an admissions questionnaire for the program to which you are applying. Since space in one or more of the programs may be filled prior to the deadline, applications should be submitted as early as possible, preferably between three and twelve months prior to planned enrollment.
  4. The Graduate School office will certify whether the applicant meets minimum Graduate School requirements.
  5. The Admissions Committee of the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling will make a recommendation to the Graduate School regarding acceptance. Often, the applicant will be asked to meet with the Admissions Committee. In rare incidences, an applicant who fails to meet all of the entrance requirements may be considered for admission if other outstanding characteristics and experiences are documented.

Additional Admissions Information including:

  • Admission Requirements
  • Application procedures for degree and certificate programs; non-degree seeking or school licensure only
  • Admission Deadlines
  • Admission Criteria and status for degree or certificate students
  • Undergraduate enrollment in graduate level courses

may be found at https://graduate.appstate.edu/graduate-admissions

Advisors/Program of Study

Each student is assigned an academic advisor. The student is expected to meet with his/her advisor periodically and must have their program of study approved prior to completing 50% of the minimum required hours for their program. For CMHC and PSC programs the program of study must be approved prior to completing 30 semester hours and for MFT and SAA programs the program of study must be approved prior to completing 24 semester hours.

Changes in the program of study can be made only with the approval of the advisor, the department chairperson, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Course work taken without the approval of the advisor will not automatically be applicable towards the degree.

Pre-Registration for Courses

All students are strongly encouraged to pre-register for classes. By pre-registering, students greatly enhance the likelihood of getting courses when they need them.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to graduate study does not carry with it admission to candidacy for the master's degree. Admission to candidacy may be considered after the completion of two semesters of graduate study in the appropriate university degree program.

  • Admission to candidacy is contingent upon the recommendation of the applicant's advisory committee.
  • To be considered as a candidate for the degree, an applicant will be expected to have demonstrated ability to do satisfactory and creditable work at the graduate level and have a 3.0 or better GPA.
  • The student normally must qualify for candidacy before taking an individual or independent study and the comprehensive examinations.

Changing Majors

Each student is accepted into a specific program within the department (i.e. clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, professional school counseling, student affairs administration). A student may not switch to another program without making a formal written request and receiving the prior approval of his/her advisor, the new program admissions committee, and the department chairperson. A student who wishes to change to another department must have the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and of the department into which he/she proposes to transfer before the change is made. Acceptance into a particular program/department does not guarantee acceptance by another program/department.

Multicultural Prospective

Cultural diversity has become the norm in our society. Viewing cultural diversity as the norm means that students need to learn about the experiences, cultures, histories, and perspectives of people from a variety of ethnic, racial, gender, and social class backgrounds. Therefore, all courses in the department are taught from a multicultural perspective.

Curriculum Requirements

*Note: These are excerpts only; see the current Graduate Bulletin for details and additional policies/processes.

Required Courses: See the separate listing of courses required by each major and see advisor.

Thesis Option: See the Graduate Bulletin and advisor.

Course Load: A student may take no more than 15 hours during a regular semester and 12 hours in the summer.

Course Numbering: Graduate students may be admitted to courses designated 4500 to 4999 if they did not take them as undergraduate students. Normally, a student may not take more than 12 semester hours (non-thesis degree) or 10 semester hours (thesis degree) below 5000. Courses designated 5000 and above are limited to graduate students only.

Time Limit: Academic work, including transfer credit, taken no more than seven (7) calendar years before the year in which the graduate degree is awarded may be used to satisfy the degree requirements. Course work that is beyond the seven year limit cannot be used for the degree.

Grades and GPA/Grade Appeals

Retention Policy

Appalachian reserves the right to exclude at any time through due process a graduate student whose conduct is deemed improper or prejudicial to the best interest of the University. Graduate students who fail to maintain a cumulative grade average of at least 3.0 or who fail a course may not be permitted to re-register as degree candidates. However, students may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for consideration in extenuating circumstances which may constitute justifiable exceptions to this regulation. If the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research approves, students may be permitted to register at their own risk for an additional semester.

Credit by Examination

Upon the recommendation of a graduate student's committee and with the approval of the department chairperson, one course numbered 4500-4999 may be challenged by examination for graduate credit. Courses numbered 5000 and above may not be challenged by examination. Grades are not recorded for credit earned by examination.

Individual Study

Since regular class attendance is absolutely essential in meeting the objectives of departmental courses, the department permits taking a course listed in the catalog by individual study only in extremely rare situations. If a student requests to take a course by individual study, he/she must receive approval by the advisor, department chair, course instructor, Dean of the Reich College of Education, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Consistent with Graduate School policy, this request can be considered only after the student is admitted to candidacy.

Independent Study

With the approval of the advisor, instructor, department chair, Dean of the Reich College of Education, and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, a graduate student who has been admitted to candidacy may register for independent study in his/her major field. No more than six semester hours of independent study may be applied toward a graduate degree.

Transfer Credit

Students enrolled in a degree program should check with their advisor regarding the possibility of transferring appropriate graduate courses from another university. If graduate credit is approved for transfer, the grades earned must be at least a B and the credit must not be more than seven years old at the time the degree is awarded. The courses must be approved by the student's advisor prior to enrollment in such transfer courses.


Prior to contact with clients in any practicum or internship, students are expected to evidence good judgment and appropriate, emotional functioning. Those students who are recovering from a personal addiction to alcohol and/or drugs are expected to have 12 months of continuous sobriety prior to registering for the Practicum in Counseling and 15 months of continuous sobriety prior to registering for the Internship.

See separate sheet available in the departmental office listing the specific regulations and processes relevant to taking a practicum or internship. A student must receive approval from his/her advisor and the department chairperson prior to registering for any practicum/internship. The appropriate departmental request form must be filed during the preceding regular academic term for both the Practicum in Counseling and the specific program practice and internships.

Liability Insurance

Appalachian State University requires liability insurance coverage for all students enrolled in internship or practicum courses. Appalachian State University participates in a student insurance program with other constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina. The premium for insurance coverage is charged to each student's account along with other registration fees. For more information on liability insurance coverage, click here.

Comprehensive Examination

Although students may be required to participate in special departmental examinations at the beginning of their programs and/or at the time of candidacy, all students must perform acceptably on a comprehensive examination (normally written, but may be oral or both). The comprehensive is scheduled during the last one-third of the student's coursework. Written comprehensive exams are offered only once each semester. "Request to Take Comprehensive Examination" forms, available in the departmental office, must be submitted to one's advisor by the posted deadline. Students approved to take comprehensives will be notified in writing by the department chairperson.

National Teacher Examination (NTE)

Students in the Professional School Counseling program must achieve the minimum NTE scores currently required by the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction or equivalent scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Early in one's program, each certification student should check with his/her advisor to determine if his/her GRE scores meet certification requirements.

Financial Aid

Various kinds of financial assistance are available to graduate students: assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, loans, and work-study. The Graduate Office processes applications for all assistance except loans and work-study grants which are processed by the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Professional Associations

Students are strongly encouraged to join a relevant professional association and strongly encouraged to attend national and state meetings of these professional associations.


There is a file of positions available in the departmental office for students seeking employment. In addition, the Career Development Center is highly recommended to assist students preparing to enter the job market.

Endorsement Policy

Departmental faculty will endorse students only for positions for which they have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in that position. Likewise, students will only be endorsed for professional credentials (licensure and/or certification) for areas in which they have been properly trained.

Student Responsibility

The graduate student is entrusted with the responsibility for his/her own progress. He/she keeps an up-to-date record of the courses taken in his/her program and checks periodically with the advisor. Responsibility for errors in his/her program or in interpretation of regulations rests entirely with the student. It is the student's responsibility to initiate programs of study, candidacy, practicum, internship, and comprehensive exam requests as specified.

Second Master's

A student holding a master's degree may earn a second master's degree in another discipline. In all cases the required courses/experiences in a specific major must be completed successfully. See the Graduate Bulletin for further information.

For a comprehensive list of all Academic Requirements and Regulations please visit the Graduate Bulletin.