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Human Development Counseling (M.Ed.)

Department of Human and Organizational Development

Program Overview

Counseling begins and ends with the needs of human beings. Gain experience working with diverse populations in diverse contexts by earning a Human Development Counseling degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling from Vanderbilt University.

The HDC master’s degree trains you to translate sound theoretical knowledge and research into effective counseling programs as a clinical mental health or school counselor. In a rigorous and integrated program of study, you will acquire a strong theoretical grounding in human development, counseling paradigms, and change strategies.

Class sizes are intentionally small in the Human Development Counseling program and are designed to foster close working relationships between you, our faculty, and community partners. Such a personalized approach results in more productive classroom time and a more valuable field experience.

Specializations

The Human Development Counseling program offers two curriculum tracks:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: This track prepares you for a career in various social service agencies, mental health centers, and employee assistance programs, as well as other mental health organizations. Private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is an achievable goal if you pursue this track.
  • School Counseling: This track prepares you to work as a professional school counselor in grades K12. Program requirements lead directly to licensure as a school counselor by meeting all of the requirements established by the Tennessee State Department of Education. This track is also available online.

Accreditation

The master’s degree in Human Development Counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The School Counseling track is also accredited as part of institutional accreditation awarded by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The new online School Counseling degree is currently seeking CACREP accreditation.

National Counselor Exam and Praxis

Because the Human Development Counseling campus program is accredited by CACREP, you will be eligible to take the National Counselor Exam the semester before you graduate.

The exam is not a program requirement, but most students in both tracks sit for the exam before graduation. Of the 14 Clinical Mental Health Counseling students and 14 School Counseling students who took the NCE exam in 2017, 100 percent passed.

School Counseling students are required to take the Praxis exam as part of the requirements for licensure as a school counselor. Pass rate for this exam was 100 percent in 2017.

Program at a Glance

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Human Development Counseling

Department of Human and Organization Development

Program Director: Gina Frieden, Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Sherrie Lane
Admission Term: Fall
Credit Hours: 48-60
Priority Application Deadline: December 31* for fall entrance

* We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships on a space-and-funds-available basis.

Careers in Human Development Counseling

With two distinct tracks as part of the graduate program in Human Development Counseling, there are two common career paths for our alumni:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling students often seek licensure and enter positions as Licensed Professional Counselors in for-profit or nonprofit agencies, private practice settings, or at private or charter schools as a mental health counselor on staff. Some go on to doctoral study in counseling or related fields.
  • School Counseling students often obtain licensure and work as school counselors in public or private K-12 settings.

98%

of Human Development Counseling graduates were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation.

Click here to see a list of recent career placements:

Recent graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track have gone on to the following positions, among others:

  • Child and Adolescent Therapist, Thrive Counseling, Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Oasis Center, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Counselor, Rogers Behavioral Health, Chicago, Ill.
  • Mental Health Clinician, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Recent graduates of the School Counseling track have joined the following institutions:

  • American Academy of Innovation, Daybreak, Utah
  • Golden Gate Middle School, Naples, Fla.
  • Marist School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Nashville School for the Arts, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Oklahoma City High School, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Field Experience

Both tracks in the Human Development Counseling program include a practicum and full-year internship placement in a mental health, social service agency, or school setting under supervision.

You’ll develop fundamental counseling skills such as relationship building, basic assessment, goal setting, selecting interventions, and evaluation of client outcomes. Field experiences are designed to be supervised placements that are practice-oriented and provide a safe place to explore new skills.

The sites below represent a partial list of the opportunities available:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Practicum and Internship Sites

  • Bradford Health
  • Gilda’s Club
  • Hope Clinic for Women
  • Integrative Life Center
  • The Next Door
  • The Ranch
  • Vanderbilt Employee Assistance Program
  • Vanderbilt School Based Therapy
  • Youth Opportunity Center

School Counseling Practicum and Internship Sites

  • Cameron College Prep Charter School
  • Cheatham County Public Schools
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Pope John Paul II High School
  • Rutherford County Public Schools
  • St. Henry’s Elementary School
  • Sumner County Public Schools
  • University School of Nashville
  • Valor Collegiate Academy Charter School
  • Williamson County Public Schools

Program Curriculum

Through an experiential and humanistic training model, you’ll develop a strong theoretical grounding in human development and evidence-based practices within either program track: Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling.

This theoretical base is then shaped and honed through a 1-year internship experience that provides opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling track requires a 60-credit-hour program of studies. Included in this curriculum is a full-year internship placement in a mental health or social service agency setting under supervision.

Required Courses: 51 credit hours

  • HDC 6400 Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • HDC 6120 Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • HDC 6150 Counseling Diverse Populations
  • HDC 6130 Developmental Counseling Psychology
  • HDC 6440 Advanced Developmental Counseling
  • HDC 6100 Career Counseling
  • HDC 6010 Theories of Counseling
  • HDC 6330 Pre-Practicum
  • HDC 7950 Practicum
  • HDC 7980 Internship
  • HDC 6160 Group Counseling
  • HDC 6110 Appraisal and Assessment
  • HDC 6430 Diagnosis and Treatment Using the DSM
  • HDC 7810 Research in Counseling

You are required to choose two of the three following courses:

  • HDC 6410 Marriage and Family Counseling
  • HDC 6420 Trauma: Impact and Intervention
  • HDC 6340 Addictions

Elective Courses: 9 credit hours are required. Program electives are listed below.

  • HDC 6320 Theories and Techniques of Counseling with Children and Adolescents
  • HDC 6310 Developmental Approach to Personal Loss & Grief
  • HDC 7500 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Practice
  • HDC 6220 Counseling for College Access and Admission
  • HDC 7500 Special Topics in HDC: Human Sexuality: Theory and Interventions

School Counseling

The School Counseling track includes a 48-credit-hour curriculum with a full-year internship placement in a school setting. This curriculum includes 42 credit hours of required courses and an additional six semester hours of elective courses.

Required Courses: 42 credit hours

  • HDC 6200 Foundations of Professional School Counseling and Guidance
  • HDC 6120 Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • HDC 7500 Special Topic: Exceptional Education and the DSM for School Counselors
  • HDC 6150 Counseling Diverse Populations
  • HDC 6130 Developmental Counseling Psychology
  • HDC 6100 Career Counseling
  • HDC 6010 Theories of Counseling
  • HDC 6330 Pre-Practicum
  • HDC 7951 Practicum
  • HDC 7981 Internship
  • HDC 6160 Group Counseling
  • HDC 6110 Appraisal & Assessment
  • HDC 7810 Research in Counseling

Electives: 6 hours are required. Program electives are listed below.

  • HDC 6320 Theories and Techniques of Counseling with Children and Adolescents
  • HDC 6310 Developmental Approach to Personal Loss & Grief
  • HDC 7500 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Practice
  • HDC 6220 Counseling for College Access and Admission
  • HDC 7500 Special Topics in HDC: Human Sexuality: Theory and Interventions
Program Curriculum

Faculty

All core and affiliated faculty are engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary teaching and professional activities.

Nicole A. Cobb
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Bradley T. Erford
  • Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Andrew Finch
  • Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Anjali Forber-Pratt
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Gina Frieden
  • Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Nina Martin
  • Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology and Human Development
  • Director, Clinical and Developmental Research Track, Child Studies
  • Faculty, Human Development Counseling Master's program, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Maury Nation
  • Associate Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Heather L. Smith
  • Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development