Master of Science in Professional Counseling


All graduate degrees

The professional counseling program at Southern provides practical knowledge combined with a highly supervised clinical experience. Students receive abundant support and evaluation, so they enter practicums and internships well-prepared and graduate with confidence about working with clients.

Southern advantages

  • CACREP accreditation:  Both of the program emphases of the MS in Professional Counseling degree have been conferred accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). School Counseling is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). 
  • Christian-based: The program is grounded in Adventist Christian principles and designed to train professionals for work in any setting.
  • Diverse faculty:  The multicultural faculty members and widely varied professional experiences of the instructors and supervisors provide for abundant interpersonal growth and interaction.
  • Comprehensive program: Our program provides the academic preparation necessary for licensure anywhere in the United States.
  • Convenience: Late afternoon and evening classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays and are delivered via live, online instruction.
  • Flexibility and efficiency: Full-time students can complete the program in as few as six or seven semesters. Part-time enrolment is also available. Students wishing to expand their career and future work opportunities may complete a master's degree with dual emphases in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling by adding one semester to their regular CMHC plan of study.
  • Smaller classes:  Personal attention and group camaraderie are the well-designed result of limited class sizes.

Professional Counseling at Southern

Looking for a program that combines practical knowledge with a highly supervised clinical experience? Download our guide: An Inside Look at Southern’s Value-Based MS in Professional Counseling Programs.

Eligibility and prerequisites

  • Bachelor's degree:  A bachelor’s degree (in any area) from an accredited program
  • GPA requirement:  A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0

Admission process

  1. Graduate application:  Submit a graduate application (with non-refundable fee of $40). Apply now
  2. Transcripts:  Submit official college and university transcripts. Many institutions subscribe to the convenient transcript-request service at National Student Clearinghouse, or you may also contact your institution directly. Have your transcripts sent to the Graduate and Professional Studies office ( If you earned your prerequisite degree at Southern, you do not need to complete this step.
  3. Recommendations:  Submit three letters of reference as part of the required recommendation forms (completed by work supervisors or professors). The forms will be distributed as part of the online application process.  ?
  4. Statement: Submit a statement of purpose. View guidelines
  5. Resumé:  Submit your current resumé through your Application Status Page.
  6. Background check:  Successfully complete an approved background check. (Alternatively, verification may be submitted by your current employer.) Download Instructions
  7. Criminal-Record Release and Declaration:  Submit the Criminal-Record Statement. Your signature on this form gives the School of Education and Psychology permission to retain your criminal-history record and affirms that you are not a registered sex-offender.  Download form
  8. Personality test:  Complete a personality test, as required by the School of Education and Psychology.  Contact graduate programs manager, Mikhaile Spence, for information and instructions.
  9. Interview:  After submitting items 1—8, schedule an interview with the faculty. Schedule Faculty Interview

Application deadlines

Term U.S. Residents International
Fall June 1 April 1
Winter October 1 September 1
Summer April 1  Not applicable

International students

Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States are considered international students and must meet additional requirements for admission.

  • View international-student admission requirements »

    1. All non-U.S. transcripts must be submitted through one of the following approved credential evaluation agencies: Evaluations are to be sent directly to Southern, Graduate Studies, by the service. All evaluation reports are considered to be advisory. Southern reserves the right to make final equivalency decisions.
    2. Certification of English proficiency.
      See School specific requirements in the Graduate Catalog. Scores are valid for two years from the test date. Learn more at:
    3. Submit Declaration of Finances.
      International students must have financial resources sufficient to support themselves for the calendar year, in addition to an international-student deposit of $3,000 (USD). Download Form
      • To be issued an I-20 Form, students must also provide a letter from financial sponsors (including their name and address), as well as copies of bank statements for the last three months showing the balance history for the student's account or the financial sponsor's account.

International students who will be coming to Southern's campus need some additional information about travel documents and living on campus.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the International Student Services Coordinator at 423.236.2845 or

More Information

Is Counseling the Right Career Path for You?

Explore our counseling blog posts to learn about different career paths you can take with a Counseling degree and how to know whether earning an MS in Professional Counseling is right for you.

Course guide

Select an emphasis:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling emphasis prepares professional counselors for a variety of settings and with a variety of populations. The curriculum focuses on providing candidates with strong foundational knowledge and clinical practice. Coursework addresses areas covered by state licensing exams.

The School Counseling emphasis prepares professional school counselors to work in PreK-12 school settings. The curriculum provides knowledge and skills for addressing a variety of student issues faced in elementary, middle, or high school settings.


Ileanna Freeman
Ileanna Freeman

Director of Graduates Studies in Counseling


Colleen Mitchell
Colleen Mitchell

Visiting Assistant Professor

Tami Navalon
Tami Navalon

Assistant Professor

Penny Webster
Penny Webster

Visiting Assistant Professor

Ileanna Freeman
Ileanna Freeman


Tami Navalon
Tami Navalon

Assistant Professor

Get Started

Hello from Southern! I am looking forward to working with you as you achieve your academic and professional goals. Whether you are a recent graduate or nontraditional student, I want you to feel welcome, so please feel free to contact me by phone or email with any questions you may have. I am here to help!

Mikhaile Spence

Graduate Program Manager