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2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  Apr 19, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Counseling and Rehabilitation, M.A.

Academic Program

The Master of Arts (M. A.) in Counseling and Rehabilitation is a 60 semester-credit hour program that prepares professional counselors. This MA program includes a specialization in clinical rehabilitation counseling, which equips graduates with specialized knowledge and skills related to disability and disadvantagement-related issues.

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

Graduates are specialized professionals who assist persons with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, addictions-based and other disabilities, as well as other forms of disadvantagement. They help these individuals deal with personal, interpersonal, and societal problems; plan careers; pursue educational goals; and find and maintain employment. The counseling process involves communication, goal setting, and facilitating personal growth or beneficial change through advocacy, psychological, vocational, social, and behavioral interventions. Clinical rehabilitation counselors also work with individuals, organizations, and advocacy groups that address environmental and social barriers that create obstacles for persons with disabilities. In effect, they build bridges between persons with disabilities, their families, communities, and work places. They also collaborate with physicians, psychologists, and others in assisting persons with disabilities in pursuing their educational, vocational, and independent-living goals. Because employment is a major focus for persons with disabilities, clinical rehabilitation counselors work closely with employers and representatives of the business community to identify job opportunities and to make work environments more accommodating.

Major employers of clinical rehabilitation counselors in South Carolina include both public and private agencies, hospitals, and behavioral care settings such as the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department, and the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Other employers include a variety of addictions treatment agencies, local hospitals, and other care settings.  Clinical rehabilitation counselors also serve as consultants to educational institutions, insurance companies, and industry. The profession of clinical rehabilitation counseling also has an important role in providing rehabilitation and transition services for school-aged children and adolescents, with focuses on transitioning from high school to college, or from education to employment. Also, geriatric services are provided to older persons who are experiencing changing lifestyles and health problems. Increasingly, workers injured on the job receive rehabilitation counseling services through private rehabilitation companies and employers’ in-house disability management and employee assistance programs. Persons who have severe disabilities that limit opportunities for full-time competitive employment may also be assisted through independent-living service programs and supported employment arrangements developed and provided by rehabilitation counselors.

Admission Standards

Submitted materials, academic background and performance, work and volunteer experience, and personal interview findings are all considered in the admissions process.  We consider the following information before inviting candidates for a personal interview:

  • Bachelor’s degree GPA
  • GRE or MAT scores
  • TOEFL scores (for international students)
  • Two letters of reference
  • Statement of intent that address why you want to pursue a career in rehabilitation counseling, relevant experience and plans for completing the program requirements

In making admissions decisions, we consider all factors listed above, as well as each applicant’s potential for forming effective counseling relationships.

How to Apply

Prospective students apply online through the USC Graduate School.  The program reviews admissions throughout the year and new students may begin their studies in Fall or in Spring semester. For additional information, please contact the Student Services Coordinator at 803-434-4296. You may also visit the program website.

Program Accreditation

On July 1, 2017, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) assumed responsibility for carrying out the mission and vision of the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). All graduate programs that were formerly accredited by CORE are now accredited by CACREP. The USC Rehabilitation Counseling Program’s 48 credit hour degree was most recently accredited by CORE in 2012 and received a full 8-year accreditation (2012-2020). That program is accredited as a rehabilitation counseling program by CACREP through 2020 under the former CORE standards. The USC Rehabilitation Counseling Program intends to seek accreditation for the updated 60 credit hour program as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program, under current CACREP standards, when the reaccreditation process begins in 2019.

Learning Community

The program utilizes a Learning Community approach to the professional development of clinical rehabilitation counselors. We believe that a diverse group of faculty and students working collaboratively to help students reach academic and professional goals best prepares students for success. We value diversity in age, gender, race and ethnicity, educational background, sexual orientation, ability status, and other multicultural characteristics. We encourage applications from all interested potential students, including persons from historically and typically underrepresented groups.

As a member of the clinical rehabilitation counseling Learning Community, students can expect to get to know the core counselor education program faculty as well as student peers. In addition to courses that meet in real-time and are open to both in- person and distance students, the program includes Learning Community in-person days during which faculty and students engage in hands-on learning and professional development.

Minimum Degree Requirements

Students complete a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of required coursework. Key content areas of study include professional counseling orientation and ethical practice, social and multicultural diversity, human growth and development, career development, counseling and helping relationships, group counseling and group work, assessment and testing, and research and program evaluation. Required coursework in clinical rehabilitation counseling, medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, rehabilitation assessment, the world of work, psychopathology, assessment of mental disorders, addictions counseling and rehabilitation, and professional issues in clinical rehabilitation is also included.

As part of the 60 credit hours, students complete a 150 hour practicum and a 600 hour internship in approved community agencies. Students must receive a passing grade on the pre-practicum assessment before advancing to practicum.

Students may individualize their professional preparation by electing to participate in student organizations at the university, state, and national levels and by working with faculty members on rehabilitation research projects.

Students must receive a passing grade on the comprehensive assessment project in the semester in which they intend to graduate.

The Curriculum

The 60 credit hour curriculum includes thirteen (13) required courses, three (3) clinical rehabilitation specialization courses, a practicum, an internship, and one (1) elective.

Required Courses (39 credit hours)

EDCE 510 - Introduction to Counseling   

RCON 605 - Culture and Disability   

EDPY 705 - Human Growth and Development   

RCON 725 - Career Counseling Theories and the World of Work   

RCON 601 - Helping Relationships: Fundamentals of Counseling Practice   

RCON 711 - Rehabilitation Counseling Theories and Practice II   

RCON 720 - Group Counseling in Rehabilitation Settings   

RCON 714 - Rehabilitation Assessment   

RCON 702 - Introduction to Rehabilitation Research and Program Evaluation   

RCON 704 - Ethics in Rehabilitation Counseling and Helping Relationships   

NPSY 757 - Psychopathology for Counselors    

NPSY 758 - Classification and Assessment of Mental Disorders   

NPSY 760 - Addictions Rehabilitation   

Specialization Courses (9 credit hours)

RCON 700 - Foundations of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling   

RCON 733 - Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability   

RCON 734 - Professional Issues in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling   

Field Experiences (9 credit hours)

RCON 880 - Counseling Practicum in Clinical Rehabilitation   

RCON 883 - Internship in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling   

Electives (3 Hours)

A partial list of electives includes the following:

RHAB 540 - Assistive and Adaptive Technology   

RHAB 752 - Disability and Sexuality   

RHAB 753 - Rehabilitation and Severe Disability   

NPSY 761 - Dual Diagnosis   

NPSY 763 - LGBT Issues Counseling and Rehabilitation   

Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes are organized by educational objectives that reflect knowledge and skills for professional counseling and for specialized practice in clinical rehabilitation counseling.

Educational Objective 1 - Students will demonstrate knowledge and competencies required for successful practice in the field of professional counseling. 

  1. Describe the history and philosophy of the counseling profession and its specialty areas.
  2. Describe how student-centered and client-centered cultural factors may influence the counseling relationship across a variety of helping settings.
  3. Identify ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimal development and wellness across the lifespan.
  4. Identify and apply theories and models of career development and career decision-making.
  5. Demonstrate the intentional use of interviewing and basic counseling skills. .
  6. Discuss and demonstrate counseling theories and related techniques.
  7. Plan and carry out purposeful counseling group activities. .
  8. Understand and describe the basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing and other assessment techniques.
  9. Interpret and report the results of scholarly research and program evaluation.

Educational Objective 2 - Students will be able to demonstrate specialized knowledge in working with individuals with disabilities to achieve their personal, social, psychological, and vocational goals

Foundations and Contextual Dimensions

  1. Describe the history and development of the rehabilitation counseling profession and the roles and functions of clinical rehabilitation counselors.
  2. Select and utilize screening and assessment strategies that are reliable and valid for persons with disabilities.
  3. Develop a comprehensive individualized rehabilitation plan for a person with a disability.
  4. Describe the neurobiological basis for addiction and co-occurring disorders. .
  5. Identify and address the functional effects of the symptoms of mental disorders on the educational, vocational, cultural, and social experiences of individuals.
  6. Conceptualize and write-up a formal diagnosis using current classification systems, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
  7. Identify, understand, and strategically utilize community services and resources related to the provision of individualized rehabilitation services.


  1. Utilize career- and work-related assessments, including job analysis and transferrable skills analysis.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of client concerns and develop approaches for addressing these in a community-based rehabilitation setting.
  3. Develop and implement individualized service plans that reflect principles of client choice and self-determination and include theory-based and evidence-based counseling and rehabilitation services.

Credentialing Information

Program graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) and either the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) that leads to counselor licensure in South Carolina and several states. It is important to note that each state has its own licensing board with its own counselor licensure requirements. The program’s website provides additional information about certification and licensure.

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact the Program Director or the Student Services Coordinator at 803-434-4296. You may also visit the program website.