Frequently Asked Questions

Master’s In Counseling Admissions

When is the next application deadline for Summer/Fall admissions?

October 15, 2023 is the application deadline to begin the Master’s in Counseling in Summer or Fall 2024. All application materials must be submitted by October 15 to be guaranteed full admission review.

How do I apply to the program?

All applications must be completed online. To apply to the counseling program, please submit an application to the Graduate School. Only completed applications are forwarded to the Director of the MA Program in the Counseling Department.

Completed Applications must include the following:

  1.  Application Form
  2.  Application Fee
  3. Official Transcripts for any completed undergraduate or graduate studies
  4. A statement of purpose which may include: how you came to decide to apply for a Master’s in the field of counseling, why you are a good fit for the field of counseling, specifically address your chosen concentration and how you believe diversity and social justice advocacy play a role in being an effective counseling professional. These statements should be 1-2 pages in length (single-spaced).
  5. Three letters of recommendation.
  6. A résumé  or Curriculum Vita

Use the following link for Graduate School admissions applications and process:

Why can’t I access the application for Fall 2024?

Please apply to the 2024 Summer term. If accepted and enrolled, you can choose to begin courses in either Summer or Fall 2024.

Do you offer rolling admission?

No. We accept applications once per year. The deadline is October 15 to begin the counseling degree the subsequent Summer or Fall semester.

When may I enter the program?

Applications for the Counseling Program are reviewed ONLY one time each year. The application deadline is October 15. Applicants are typically notified of their invitation to the Counseling Group Interview day by the end of January. Accepted individuals may enter the program in either the Summer or Fall semesters. Students cannot begin coursework in the Spring semester.

The Graduate School application does not currently include the Master’s in Counseling as an option. Why not?

If you do cannot select the Master’s in Counseling program on the graduate application, it is because we are currently in between admissions cycles. We recently had an admissions deadline for the previous cycle and are reviewing applications, thus we are no longer accepting new applications. Applications for the next admissions cycle will be available in late Spring. The deadline to complete those applications is October 15 in order to begin the program the subsequent year.

Are GRE or MAT test scores required to apply to the Master’s in Counseling?

No. GRE or MAT test scores are not required to apply to the Master’s in Counseling program at UNC Charlotte.

What are the counseling program’s admissions requirements?

Our admissions requirements are as follows:

  1. Possession of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university
  2. Overall GPA of 3.0 (with occasional exceptions)

In addition, applicants must submit the following:

  1. Brief statement of purpose- This is typically 1-2 pages in length (single-spaced). The statement of purpose may include: how you came to decide to apply for a Master’s in the field of counseling, why you are a good fit for the field of counseling, specifically address your chosen concentration and how you believe diversity and social justice advocacy play a role in being an effective counseling professional & any other information that you believe would benefit your application.
  2. Three professional references
  3. Official transcripts from all universities attended
  4. Résumé  or Curriculum Vita
  5. Your completed application and application fee

Does my undergraduate degree have to be in psychology or another helping field in order to be considered for admissions?

No. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree, but it can be in any field or major from an accredited university. There are no prerequisite courses for admission into the counseling degree program.

Will emailing or scheduling a meeting with a program director help my admission chances?

No. Although applicants are welcome to contact program directors with questions, such communication does not influence the admissions process or an applicant’s chances of acceptance into the program.

How can I make my application stand out?

We encourage applicants to ensure their applications are submitted and complete by the deadline (October 15) to be fully considered and reviewed for admission. This includes submitting all transcripts and recommendations. We also suggest that recommenders write full letters of recommendation to give us a fuller picture of applicants’ strengths and areas for growth. In addition, we suggest that applicants submit a statement of purpose that answers all of the prompts and gives us a clear picture of why the applicant wants to be a counselor and thinks our program is the best fit. Lastly, applications sometimes stand out when applicants demonstrate volunteer or work experience related to the counseling populations they hope to support. This could include children, adolescents, or adults, based on their interests. 

How can I check the status of my application?

You may check to see which of your materials have arrived at the Graduate School if you click on “Prospective Graduate Students” from the Graduate School admissions page.

I have a question about my application. Who should I contact?

For all application questions, please contact UNC Charlotte’s Graduate School Admissions. You can reach them at Note that the Master’s in Counseling Program Director does not have access to graduate applications until they are complete.

What is the admissions review process? Is an interview required?

Completed applications are forwarded to the Department of Counseling’s Director of the Master’s in Counseling Program for review by the Department of Counseling faculty members. Each application is independently reviewed by multiple faculty members. After these initial reviews, the top applicants are offered an invitation to attend the Group Interview Day. This interview day typically lasts several hours and is held virtually online. Final invitations for admission are decided upon the outcome of the application review and the Group Interview Day. Individuals who attend the Group Interview Day but are not invited for admission may be placed on a wait list, which means that if other invitations are declined, admission is still possible. If an applicant is not invited for an interview, they have not moved forward in the admissions process and their application is either places on a waitlist or denied. 

Can I transfer to UNC Charlotte’s Master’s in Counseling from another university?

Students interested in transferring to UNC Charlotte’s Master’s in Counseling program from another university must apply to the program following the standard admissions process. If accepted, they can work with their advisor to petition the Graduate School to transfer up to 18 credit hours towards their Master’s in Counseling.

Is admission into the Master’s in Counseling program competitive?

Yes.  The Master’s in Counseling program typically receives more than 300 applications and accepts only 100 students, with an acceptance rate of 30-35%. To make such challenging admissions decisions, faculty members assess applicants for their apparent fit for our program, passion for counseling, academic potential, life experiences, diversity, and other contributions to our program.

Master’s In Counseling Coursework

Is this the same as a degree in Psychology?

No, a Master’s in Counseling is different from a Master’s in Psychology. Although both degrees share a focus on helping others,  the content and use of a psychology and counseling degree are different. A counseling degree is a terminal degree that leads graduates to become licensed counselors, not licensed psychologists. Counselors also use an overall wellness approach and address problems from developmental perspectives. A psychology Masters degree is not terminal and a PhD or PsyD must be completed to be a psychologist practitioner. Psychololgists also use a medical or scientific model to support clients, rather than a developmental one. 

What are the concentrations in the counseling program?

We offer three primary concentrations:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling

Students can also complete an additional secondary concentration in Play Therapy or a graduate certificate in Gerontology while completing their degree in either Clinical Mental Health, School, or Addiction Counseling.

May I take classes prior to admission to the program?

Students may take courses prior to admission into the program. The university policy is that students may take up to six course credits prior to formal admission. To do this, individuals must apply to the Graduate School as a Post Baccalaureate student. The application for a Post Baccalaureate student is separate from the application for the MA program and must be completed each semester a Post Baccalaureate student wants to take courses. Applications for the Post Baccalaureate program can be obtained from:

Note: Applying to become a Post Baccalaureate student and taking courses as a Post Baccalaureate student does NOT guarantee admission into the Master’s Counseling Program. Applying to the Post Baccalaureate program and the Master’s Counseling Program are separate processes and completion of counseling courses as a Post Baccalaureate student does not guarantee that a student will be admited into the Master’s Counseling Program.

Which classes may I take before being admitted into the program?

The following counseling courses are open to Post Baccalaureate students if there is space available. To enroll in these courses, permission of the Instructor is required. Please contact the Instructor of the course one week before the starting date of the class to determine availability in the class. Post Baccalaureate students may NOT enroll in any courses apart from those on the list below.

  • CSLG 6101 Ethical & Professional Issues in Counseling
  • CSLG 6104 Counseling Across the Lifespan
  • CSLG 6150 Career Development and Counseling
  • RSCH 6101 Educational Research Methods
  • CSLG 7601 Counseling and Spirituality
  • CSLG 6205 Counseling Older Adults
  • CSLG 6164 The McLeod Institute on Addiction (requires attendance of the McLeod Institute on Addiction conference in May and corresponding follow-up assignments)

Please note that taking classes as a Post-Baccalaureate does not guarantee admission in to the program. The application process remains the same as it is for all prospective students

If I have taken graduate courses at another university, can I transfer course credits? 

Maybe. Students who began coursework at another university may petition to transfer up to 18 credit hours towards their Masters in Counseling. Those hours cannot have been applied to another degree. Requested transfer hours must also be reviewed and approved by the Graduate School and the Department of Counseling. To begin the petition process for transferring credit hours, students should contact their advisor. 

Can I apply to begin courses in the Spring semester?

No. New students can only begin the Master’s in counseling degree in the Summer and Fall semesters.

Can I attend part-time?

Yes. Some students earn their Master’s in Counseling by completing courses on a part time basis, taking only 1-2 courses per semester. However, all Master’s students at UNC Charlotte must complete their full degree in seven years. This time to degree begins when a student takes their first course in the program of study, including post-baccalaureate courses.

How long will it take to complete the program?

Most students complete the Master’s in Counseling at UNC Charlotte in 2-3 years. Students can outline their own program of study timeline with their advisor to take into account their availability, work/life balance, and course offerings.  Students who desire to complete the program in two years must begin coursework during the first summer after acceptance into the program. Students cannot take more than four courses (12 credit hours) in one semester.

When and what time are courses offered?

Many courses are offered during the day and evening hours Monday through Thursday. Most evening courses are specifically offered from 5:30pm -8:15pm. A select number of classes are offered online or as a “hybrid” course, using a combination of face-to-face and online learning methods.

Funding the Master’s in Counseling

How much is tuition?

Please refer to the Office of Financial Aid for current information about tuition costs: steps-financial-aid

Is there any financial assistance available?

Master’s in Counseling students can access the financial assistance resources of UNC Charlotte, including loans, grants, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. More information is available here:

How can I earn a Graduate Assistantship?

Graduate Assistantships are paid, part-time employment positions on campus that may include funding for tuition, health insurance, and/or a living stipend. The Department of Counseling does not assign Master’s Counseling students to graduate assistantships, however students are encouraged to research assistantship opportunities available on campus through the website: Past counseling students have completed successful graduate assistantships with the University Center for Academic Excellence, Office of Identity, Equity, and Engagement, University Career Center, and other groups on campus. 

Counseling Advising

What should incoming students know about advising?

All incoming students in counseling are required to attend the New Student Orientation and Advising Day typically held the March of the year of admission. Incoming students are assigned an advisor who is identified in their admission letter. Students should not register for any classes without first corresponding with their assigned advisor.

How often should I meet with my advisor?

After the New Student Orientation and Advising Day, students should meet with their assigned advisor some time during their first Summer or Fall semester for a formal meeting to complete the projected Program of Study. Students should then meet with their advisor every year or semester until graduation.

Can I change my advisor?

Yes. Students may change their assigned advisor according to the proper protocol outlined in the Master’s in Counseling handbook.


Other Questions?

Please contact the following individuals with additional questions:

Director of Master’s in Counseling: Dr. Clare Merlin-Knoblich

Director of PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision: Dr. Kristie Opiola,  

Director of Clinical Field Experiences: Dr. John Nance,

Director of Testing: Dr. Tabitha Haynes,

Director of the School Counseling Program: Dr. Taryne Mingo,

Director of the Addiction Counseling Program: Dr. Jack Culbreth, 

Director of the Play Therapy Concentration: Dr. Phyllis Post,

Director of the Gerontology Program: Dr. Cynthia Hancock,