Health & Human Development

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Application Information


We review and admit prospective applicants beginning February 15th of each year. Successful applicants begin their course of study mid-June each year. Prospective applicants may apply online or download the application from the Graduate School.

Given that there are no undergraduate programs offered in counseling, we are willing to review applicants with a wide variety of undergraduate majors. Certainly, psychology, family science, and teacher education programs are natural feeder degrees for our programs; however, we do review and accept students with other academic backgrounds. The marriage and family and mental health counseling programs require the following prerequisites:

  • Statistics course
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Human growth and development

The school counseling program requires

  • Statistics course
  • Special education or special needs course
  • Human growth and development or child/adolescent development

While we prefer students to already have these courses, they may be taken during the program, but the prerequisites must be taken in addition to the 60 or 48 semester credits.

Students applying should have an undergraduate cumulative grade point of average of 3.0 or above (students with GPAs of 2.75 - 3.00 may be considered for provisional admission status). See details at the Graduate School's website. Applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam with their application. Preference will be given to those students whose scores exceed the 50th percentile. In order to be granted a graduate assistantship, the counseling program's verbal score standard is 151 (or 480 on GREs scored before November 2011). Applicants with GRE scores older than 7 years must retake the GRE.

As part of the application packet, students must supply three letters of recommendation and an application essay. Preferably, letters should be from former professors and employers and/or supervisors of volunteer positions.  Letters of reference may be submitted electronically due to time constraints or other issues but the original must follow, submitted in hard copy to the department. Letters may be included with other application materials, but they must be signed by the writer and in a separate, sealed envelope.

For our programs, the essay should follow the following format. The essay will be no more than four typed pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, and answer the following questions:

  • Why have you chosen this career path?
  • What strengths or assets do you bring to the program?
  • How have your personal experiences influenced your decision to pursue a career in the counseling profession?

All application materials must be received prior to February 15. These include

  • the application form
  • three letters of recommendation
  • transcripts
  • application essay
  • and GRE scores

Applications are reviewed by a faculty screening committee. Promising applicants are invited for a personal interview between mid-February and mid-March. It is strongly recommended that applicants attend the interview in person. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by approximately March 31. If space is still available, a second review is initiated in May. Students are expected to begin classes summer term (June), and may also need to work on required deficiencies during the summer.

MSU accepts approximately 25 students each year or approximately 8 students per program. After reviewing applications, admission committees for each of the programs decide which students will be asked to complete an interview with the admissions committee. Successful applicants will be offered positions in one of the three programs. Once all available positions in our programs have been filled, applicants will be notified of their admission status. Students may apply to our program in subsequent years.

MSU counseling students progress through our programs as a cohort, meaning that students in all three programs take most of their classes together in a prescribed sequence. After the first year, students in the three programs begin to branch out into program specific courses.

The Department of Health and Human Development honors diversity and appreciates the variety of perspectives and experiences our students, clients, and colleagues bring. We invite applications from all racial and ethnic groups, both genders regardless of sexual orientation, and from persons with disabilities. Counseling faculty are dedicated to recruiting and accepting a diverse body that is sensitive to the needs of our increasingly pluralistic society. We seek to add depth and richness to our program by admitting students with a variety perspectives and life experiences. 

Choosing a graduate counseling program is a challenging process and we hope you make your application decisions based on your life plans. Those of us who train counselors at Montana State University believe that we offer exceptional programs of study and hope that you will consider us as you make decisions about graduate school. On a lighter, but nonetheless important side, we would also suggest that Bozeman, Montana, is a wonderful place to live for two years while you pursue your career training.