Counseling Frequently Asked Questions

Read through our most-asked questions about obtaining your masters in counseling.

Do I have to take the GRE?  

No, the CMU Counseling Program does not require the GRE. 

I am thinking of getting a Masters in Social Work, a Masters in Psychology or a Masters in Counseling, what is the difference?

Social work, psychology, and counseling are closely related fields with slight differences in philosophy and training. 

  • A MSW (Master of Social Work) trains students to be either a therapist, a school social worker who provides services to children diagnosed with learning disabilities in a K-12 setting, a case manager in a hospital setting (like a care coordinator), or an administrator.  The focus of the program is on social/systemic explanations for individual problems.  Students who want to be therapists learn skills during their internship while taking courses in all areas of social work.  They begin the internship immediately and learn as they go. This degree is best for individuals who want a broad education with options to work in many areas. 
  • A Master’s in Counseling trains students to be clinical mental health, school, or addiction counselors.   A counseling program’s focus is to train students to provide individual and group counseling, career counseling, consultation, assessment, diagnosis and crisis, and trauma counseling. Counseling programs focus on wellness. Students learn counseling techniques from faculty, practice in a 100-hour practicum, and complete an internship at the end of the program.  This degree is best for individuals who want to work directly with clients in a variety of settings, but not for students who might want to work in a hospital at some point as a care coordinator or a social work administrator. 
  • A Master’s degree in Psychology trains students to work with clients as a therapist.  The difference between psychology and counseling is the heavy focus on assessment and pathology in psychology.  Psychology students learn to administer and score IQ tests and personality tests. They are not trained in career counseling and take three courses in assessment.  They complete the internship at the end of the program.  This degree is best for students who want to do assessment/testing or go on to a Ph. D in Psychology.

I applied and haven’t been invited to an interview yet.  When will I be notified?

The CMU Counseling Program currently has limited ability to take applicants each semester.  Acceptance is competitive. The faculty review all applicants and strive to make decisions quickly, but response time to applications may vary.  

Can I get credit for my work experience? 

No, licensing and accreditation requirements require students to complete all required coursework. 

Can I complete my practicum and/or internship after hours and on the weekends?

Practicum and Internship sites that offer evening (after 5:00 pm) and weekend hours are extremely rare.  Students should plan their work schedules around completing practicum and/or internship hours during a regular workday.

Can I complete two concentrations? 

Yes, but the only reason to complete two concentrations is if you want to be a school counselor AND provide counseling outside a school, in a state outside of Michigan. 

I want to finish in 1.5 years, can I go faster? 

No, becoming a mental health professional requires time to learn and apply complex concepts.  The full-time program takes 2.5 years, the part-time program takes 3.5 years. 

Can I start getting my practicum or internship hours in the first year of the program? 

No, practicum and internship are capstone experiences that occur at the end of your program. 

Can I complete my practicum and/or internship at my current job?

Maybe, but only if your current employer has a position that only a Master’s level clinician or School Counselor should perform. 

Can a student choose Telemental Health as an internship/practicum site?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the total experience.

Can I start taking classes during my undergraduate years?


What undergraduate degrees (minor/major) are considered applicable for applying to the counseling program? Are there any that wouldn’t be considered?

We take all majors/minors.

If I applied to the online program, would I be eligible to apply for the GA position(s)?


If I were to be accepted to an online program, would I be required to stay in the online program for the duration of the program, or is there the opportunity to transfer to on-campus? 

Students should apply to the site they plan to attend.  Space is limited so transferring from online to on-campus or on-campus to online is discouraged. 

Contact us if you have additional questions