What Are the Best Schools for a Counseling Degree?

Review the typical characteristics of a school with a good program in counseling. Read about three top-ranked schools with counseling programs, and explore the degrees each school offers in this field. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Counseling Degree Program?

Counseling degree programs come in many forms, so you'll want to do your research to find out which schools have the programs you're interested in. Mental health counseling, school counseling, marriage and family counseling and community health counseling are all options. Programs that offer multiple options for clinical work will provide you with the opportunity to work with people from many different backgrounds. You should look for schools that offer programs at the graduate level, since all states require you to have a master's degree or higher in order to become licensed as a counselor.

What are Three Top Schools Offering Counseling Degree Programs?

Columbia University in New York, NY

Columbia University is a private school enrolling roughly 27,500 students each year. It ranked fourth on U.S. News & World Report's list of national universities in 2016. That same year, The Princeton Review placed Columbia 13th on its list of Colleges That Pay You Back. Columbia's programs in psychological counseling are administered through its Teacher's College. Once you graduate from the master's degree program in counseling, and achieve any necessary licensure, you can become employed in health centers, colleges, hospitals and a variety of other settings. The Ph.D. program in counseling psychology can provide you with a rigorous grounding in research and practice. The following degree programs are available:

  • Master of Education in Psychological Counseling
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

New York University

This private school ranked 32nd on U.S. News & World Report's list of national universities for 2016. U.S. News also ranked NYU's graduate psychology programs 30th in the nation. The Department of Applied Psychology at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development administers counseling programs that focus on incorporating and disseminating research conducted at the school. Faculty in the department will allow you to contribute to research projects with laboratory and field-based components. The following degree programs are available:

  • Master of Arts in Counseling for Health and Wellness
  • Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance: School and Bilingual Counseling
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern University ranked 12th on U.S. News & World Report's list of best national universities for 2016. It was also included on The Princeton Review's list of best Midwestern colleges for the same year. Northwestern offers graduate programs in counseling through the Family Institute. The Institute operates a counseling center with specialized programs, including those for anxiety and depression, LGBT clientele and adoptive families, through which you can complete practical hours. Northwestern offers the following counseling degree programs:

  • Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
  • Master of Science in Marriage/Family Therapy

Other Counseling Schools and Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Boston University4-year, PrivateBoston, MA
Radford University4-year, PublicRadford, VA
University of Northern Iowa4-year, PublicCedar Falls, IA
La Salle University4-year, PrivatePhiladelphia, PA
Westminster College4-year, PrivateSalt Lake City, UT
National University4-year, PrivateLa Jolla, CA
Cornerstone University4-year, PrivateGrand Rapids, MI
Huntington University4-year, PrivateHuntington, IN
Johns Hopkins University4-year, PrivateBaltimore, MD
Rowan University4-year, PublicGlassboro, NJ

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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