FAQs for Current Ed.M. Students | Counseling Psychology | Counseling & Clinical Psychology

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Counseling Psychology

In the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Department

FAQs for Current Ed.M. Students


How do I get an advisor?

At the beginning of your first semester at Teachers College, you will be assigned an advisor. Depending on various circumstances like sabbaticals or leaves, all effort will be made to maintain the same advisor-student relationship during your enrollment at TC.

What if I would like to have a different advisor after I’ve been in the Program a while?

Due to workload concerns, it is often not possible to change advisors. If you would like to change advisors, please consult with the Program Coordinator. Check with the Program Office regarding advisor availability during the summer sessions. 

When and how can I see my advisor?

During the academic year, all advisors are available during their office hours scheduled each week. You should pick up a list of office hours from the Program Office at the beginning of each semester. If you are unable to meet with your advisor during his/her office hours, please contact him/her directly for an appointment. Advisor email addresses and phone numbers can be found on the list of office hours handed to you during Orientation. 

Most advisors are quite responsive to email queries during the semester. However, please keep in mind that faculty may not be available to respond during times when school is not in session and/or during the summer. Please check with the Program Office to see which advisors are holding office hours during the summer. 

Master of Arts Degree/Comprehensive Exam

What is the M.A. en passant?

The M.A. en passant is a 32-point Master of Arts degree that students may elect to earn en route to the Ed.M. "En passant" refers to the fact that the program does not offer the M.A. as a terminal degree; rather, at the time the Ed.M. is awarded, the M.A. is awarded as well, having been completed "in passing." The M.A. en passant makes it clear on students’ resumes that the Ed.M. is a more advanced degree than a masters alone. In order to earn the M.A. en passant, students must complete several required courses at Teachers College (see Ed.M. Handbook for further details) and take a Comprehensive Examination in Psychological Counseling.

What is the Comprehensive Examination?

The Comprehensive Examination is a take-home exam that provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their capacity to integrate the variety of learning experiences that have constituted their graduate training to that point. The Comprehensive Exam is required for the MA en passant.

When do I take the Comprehensive Examination?

The Comprehensive Examination can be taken when a student has completed or is in the process of completing a total of 45 points toward his/her Ed.M. degree. Please note that the Comprehensive Examination can only be taken during one administration in each of the fall and spring semesters. The Comprehensive Exam must be completed within one week. Watch for announcements regarding exam dates and registration posted on the Bulletin Board by the Program Office or via direct email.

When and how do I apply for the M.A. en passant?

Students are eligible to apply for the M.A. en passant in or after the semester in which they complete at least 45 pointstoward the Ed.M. A green M.A. degree application must be filed with the Registrar’s office on or before the stated deadline (February 1 for the May degree award; August 1 for the October degree award; November 1 for the February degree award). When listing course work on the degree application please refer to the Ed.M. Handbook, available in 428 Horace Mann. Please note that students should only list 32 points on the degree application regardless of how many they have actually completed.


What is Fieldwork?

Fieldwork is a two-semester, 600-hour, practical counseling experience completed in an agency, hospital, school, etc., setting with a client population appropriate to the student’s area of interest. Students work as counselor trainees, involving themselves in the life and daily activities of the field setting. Students have a supervisor at the site, as well as regular contact with the Fieldwork Coordinator here at the college. You are expected to work in the field setting a minimum of two days per week for two full academic semesters. 

When and how do I enroll in Fieldwork?

For full-time students, fieldwork is normally completed during the second year of study after completion of the prerequisites. Students interested in beginning fieldwork must attend an orientation meeting one semester before they plan to engage in fieldwork, typically in the Spring. Before a student can actually register for the course, he/she must have approval from the Fieldwork Coordinator’s office. For more information please contact:

Dr.Defne Akol, Fieldwork Coordinator
422E Thompson

Do I have to choose my own fieldwork site?

Yes. It is important that each student picks a site in tune with his/her interests. No one can do that for you. Just as a person interviewing for a job wants to ensure that the place and people he/she will be working with is right for him/her, so should a student want to ascertain firsthand whether a fieldwork site is appropriate.

When and how do I start looking for a fieldwork site?

Students should begin the search for their fieldwork site early in the academic semester prior to the one in which they intend to register for fieldwork (typically the Spring in order to register for fieldwork in the Fall). To assist you in your search, there is a file cabinet in the Fieldwork Coordinator’s office (422E Thompson) containing information on sites where students have previously completed fieldwork. After attending the fieldwork orientation meeting, students can begin contacting the sites he/she is interested in and arranging for interviews. You also may seek advice from the Fieldwork Coordinator and your advisor.

It is possible for students to explore new settings if they are interested in a specific target population or want to do fieldwork in a special setting that has not been used before. However, this should be done only after consultation with the Fieldwork Coordinator’s office.

Practicum at  the Dean-Hope Center (CEPS)

What is Practicum (CCPJ 5360)?

Practicum in educational and vocational appraisal and counseling (CCPJ 5360) is a one semester course in individual counseling completed here at Teachers College, in the Dean-Hope Center for Educational and Psychological Services(CEPS). The Center is open to the public and operates on a sliding scale fee basis. Each student will be assigned to a group, consisting of up to five students and a supervisor. The group will meet once a week for three hours of supervision. In addition, students meet with or observe clients on their own time and are responsible for attending Case Conference.

School Counseling students should take Practicum during the fall semester of their second year, as it is a required course for their MA en passant application.

When and how do I arrange Practicum?

For full-time students, Practicum is normally taken in the second year, either Fall or Spring semester (please note that Practicum is generally NOT offered in the summer). The Program must hire supervisors in advance based on the number of students planning to enroll in Practicum for a given semester; therefore, students are required to complete and submit a Practicum application between April 15th and May 15th of the academic year prior to the academic year they plan to enroll in Practicum. 

Although we make every effort to assign students to their preferred semester, we cannot guarantee it. You will receive written notification about registration procedures prior to the semester you have been assigned to Practicum.

School Counseling students should take Practicum during the fall semester of their second year, as it is a required course for their MA en passant application.

Ed.M. Degree/Special Project

When and how do I apply for the Ed.M. degree?

Students should apply for the Ed.M. in the semester in which they will complete 60 credits, including all the required courses for that degree. A blue Ed.M. degree application must be filed with the Registrar’s office on or before the deadline indicated for the degree award (February 1 for the May degree award; August 1 for the October degree award; November 1 for the February degree award). Completion of the Special Project is part of the requirements for the Ed.M. degree.

What is the Special Project?

The Special Project is an integrative case study on a client or group that a student has worked with in fieldwork or practicum. It is normally completed in the student’s final semester (Spring or Fall only). If the student is completing the Program over the summer, he/she would complete the Special Project during the previous Spring semester. Students pick up the instructions and return the completed project a week later. Watch for announcements regarding exam dates and registration posted on the Bulletin Board by the Program Office or via direct email.

Jobs/Licensure/Doctoral Programs

What kind of jobs am I qualified for with the Ed.M. in Psychological Counseling?

Our graduates currently work as counselors in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, mental health centers, colleges, businesses, prisons, and substance abuse programs.

To provide examples of the kinds of career directions that our graduates follow, the TC Office of Career Services has generously provided us with the results of their most recent post-graduations surveys. Links to these reports are listed below, along with the page at which information about the Counseling Program begins.

2007 Graduate Survey Report (scroll to page 23)

2008 Graduate Survey Report (scroll to page 24)

2009 Graduate Survey Report  (scroll to page 25) 

Does the Counseling Program provide job placement?

While the Counseling Program does not provide job placement, we post any job notices we receive on the bulletin board outside the Program office. Teachers College has a Career Services Center, located in 44 Horace Mann (basement), which serves our students. Students may go there in person or call the Center at 212-678-3140. Periodically, programs involving career questions in our field are co-sponsored by the Career Services Center and the Program.

How can I become licensed or certified?

Although our program provides license-eligible training, we do not grant licenses or certificates -- only state governments can do that. For information about mental health counselor licensure in New York, please consult the student handbook and the New York State Education Department Office of the Professions. 

For information about school counseling certification in New York, please consult the student handbook and the NYS Department of Education at http://eservices.nysed.gov/teach/certhelp/CertRequirementHelp.do

Information about licensure and certification in other states should be obtained from the websites of their state regulatory agencies. 

What should I do if I am interested in pursuing a doctorate after I complete the Ed.M. degree?

Many Ed.M. students have doctoral work as a long-term goal. Students should keep in mind, however, that the Ed.M. is a terminal degree, and its completion is no guarantee of admission to a Ph.D. Program. The admission process for our doctoral program is completely separate from the Ed.M. admissions process, and students from our Ed.M. program apply to it in the same way as do students from any other program. We expect students to complete their Ed.M. even if they should be accepted into our doctoral program.

I have some other questions about the Ed.M program. Whom should I contact?

For admissions-related questions, please contact the Teachers College Office of Admissions office at tcinfo@columbia.edu. For program-related questions, please contact one of the program's graduate
student advisor: Silvia Alves-Nishioka (san2143@tc.columbia.edu).

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