PPS Admissions FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about Admission to the
CSUDH School Counseling program:
- Q: What degrees or credentials are offered in the CSUDH School Counseling program?
A: We offer a MA degree in Education, Counseling option as well as a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential in School Counseling, with an optional authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA). The PPS credential is required to work as a school counselor in the CA public school system. The MA in Education, Counseling option degree will also allow you to serve as a college counselor. PPS credentials are not required for college counseling work.
- Q: What is the timeline for completion of this program?
A: It typically takes full time students 2 years to earn their MA degree. This timeline would be accomplished by taking 12 units for 4 Fall and Spring semesters or by taking summer courses and lightening the Fall and Spring loads. We do not permit students to take more than 12 units a semester.
Note that it is also completely acceptable to finish the MA program at a slower pace by taking between 6-9 units each semester. The PPS credential takes an additional semester(s) of Fieldwork (600 hours) following the completion of the MA exam and MA coursework.
Students who enter with a MA degree in Education, Counseling, Psychology, or Social Work are not required to earn our MA degree and can apply to just the PPS credential. If there are transferrable courses from previous MA work, then students often complete the program earlier. If you are in this situation it is recommended that you see a faculty advisor to determine the best program plan for you.
- Q: Do I need to be a teacher to be eligible for admission into the program?
A: While it is beneficial experience to have been in education or psychology, these backgrounds are not required for admission to the program. We have many students who have come from outside these fields and are equally successful as those who have a teaching background.
- Q: Do I need to take the CBEST?
A: If you wish to be admitted to the PPS portion of the program, all sections of the CBEST must be passed. If you have no intention of earning the PPS and just want to earn the MA degree, then you do not need to take the CBEST
- Q: What if I haven't passed the CBEST yet, can I still apply just for the MA degree?
A: Yes, you can apply for just the MA and formally add the PPS objective to your program of study once you pass the CBEST. However, it is strongly encouraged for you to have the CBEST passed prior to application if you intend on eventually applying for the PPS. Note that students will not be able to begin their final fieldwork for the credential unless the CBEST has been passed and the PPS has been formally added to the objective of study.
- Q: What is the Certificate of Clearance and how do I get one? Do I need to get this if I want to pursue the MA degree only?
A: The Certificate of Clearance verifies that you have completed the CTC's fingerprint, character, and identification process, which is required for students working in the public schools. Because all of our MA and PPS students must obtain public school experience, all students must be cleared by CTC. If you have a valid teaching credential or current emergency teaching permit you do not need to get the Certificate of Clearance.
Students will not be accepted into the program without the Certificate of Clearance (or teaching credential). The Certificate of Clearance must be no older than one year of the date of application to the program.
Livescan fingerprinting applications can be picked up on campus at either the GED office (COE 1410) or the Student Services Center (SCC 510). There are several places to have the fingerprints taken, including the CSUDH University Police Station. For more information, please go to www.ctc.ca.gov/help/application/cert-of-clear.html
- Q: Can a family member, friend, or an individual from my church write one of my letters of recommendation?
A: While these people may know you well, we need to have the letters of recommendation be written by those who have served as your employer, supervisor, or professor so that they may speak to your potential as a future counselor based on their supervisory role with you. Letters of recommendation must also be written on letterhead of the place of employment of the referee within one year of application to our program. Letters can either be sent directly to the Student Services Center or enclosed within your program application. In both cases, letters must be sealed with the referee’s signature across the back of the seal.
- Q: Do I need to take the GRE?
A: The GRE is not required for program application, but rather is an option for applicants whose GPA is less than the minimum 3.0 required
- Q: What if my GPA is less than a 3.0?
A: If you have less than a 3.0 GPA in your last 60 units of upper division or graduate study, then you have three options: a) take the GRE and earn a target score of 1000, b) take the MAT and earn a target score of 500, or c) take as many upper division or graduate courses necessary to bring your GPA up to a 3.0 prior to applying (due to time and cost, note that this last option is not recommended unless you are barely under the gpa requirement) .
Note that a gpa of at least 3.0 is required for consideration of your program application. Additionally, because application to the program is competitive, meeting the gpa requirement alone does not guarantee admission to the program.
- Q: If I want to take coursework to raise my GPA, what courses would you recommend? Can I take any of your program courses before I apply or am admitted?
A: The best course to take prior to program admission is SPE 460 Intro. to Special Education, which counts towards the PPS credential and can be taken through Open University. Note that even though this course is a prerequisite, it is not required to be taken before program admission.
If you still wish to take courses beyond SPE 460 to raise your gpa, you can also choose other courses of interest to you as long as they are upper division (300 or 400 level at most universities). Taking lower division courses (e.g., community college coursework) will not count towards building your GPA.
In general, we do not recommend that applicants take courses to raise their gpa unless it is just under 3.0, due to the time and cost in taking coursework. Furthermore, taking any courses prior to admission to the program does NOT raise one’s chances of acceptance to the program.
PPS courses (those that begin with the PPS prefix) are only open to admitted counseling students.
Although it is not recommended due to the reasons mentioned above, prospective students are technically allowed to take GED 500, GED 501, and GED 503 through Open University. If you choose to take any of these GED courses prior to admission, be aware that doing so does NOT guarantee or increase one's chances of admission. Also, only a maximum of 9 units can be transferred into the program. Thus, if you have taken graduate coursework elsewhere that you think may be transferrable to our program, it is not recommended to take courses before program admission as you may exceed the transfer limit. If you have questions, please check with an advisor prior to taking any additional courses. GED courses taken prior to program admission will need to be formally transferred in at the time of degree check.
- Q: What are my chances of being accepted / how many students do you accept?
A: The chances of acceptance vary each semester depending upon how many applications we receive and how many courses we are able to offer for the newly admitted class of students, which is affected by budget and staffing.
- Q: What happens after I submit my application?
A: Assuming that you submit both a complete program application to the School of Education Student Services Center and the University application online through CSU Mentor, your application will be reviewed by the admissions committee. Application review typically begins once the program deadline date occurs. Approximately one month after this deadline, selected applicants will be invited for personal interviews on campus for the final part of the admissions process. The committee will then make final admissions decisions and letters of notification mailed to all applicants.
Thank you for your interest in our program and best wishes,
CSUDH School Counseling Faculty