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Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling,
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track
Community Counseling Track


New Options to Complete the Degree!
There are now four options for completing the degree:

The four options are:
• Take your courses at the Scotch Plains campus if you live in Northern or Central New Jersey or the New York City area.
• Take your courses at the Stratford campus if you live in Southern New Jersey or the Philadelphia area.
• Take the degree entirely online.
• Take a combination of on-campus and online courses.

The degree can be completed on either a full time or part time basis.

Program Overview

The M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling is offered by the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions in the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions (SHRP).  Degree studies focus on educating students to be proficient providers of counseling services with a specialization in working with and within the community in an environment of diversity to empower people including those with disabilities to pursue career and related goals with success and satisfaction.  SHRP as a leader in health professions education is ideally suited to provide this program.

There are currently two degree tracks: the Community Counseling Track and the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track.  The Community Counseling Track is no longer open for new admissions.  The Community Counseling Track remains open to students currently enrolled in this Track.  Effective Spring, 2014, all newly admitted students are accepted for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track.  This Track requires 60 credits.  Information about curriculum requirements for both tracks is available in the section on curriculum. 

The degree is designed to enhance the career advancement of experienced people already working in the human services field as well as prepare people to enter the field.  Highly qualified personnel are needed to provide counseling services to individuals with psychiatric and other disabilities in community settings.  Professionals with graduate degrees in this area are in high demand in New Jersey and the surrounding region as well as nationally.  Employment settings include community-based agencies, state and federal government agencies, the insurance industry, and private practice.

Rehabilitation Counselors are counselors who have the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional counseling relationship with people who have psychiatric, developmental or physical disabilities to achieve their personal, psychological, social, and career goals.  Mental health counselors help people manage or overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with relationships.  Examples of what mental health counselors do include encouraging clients to discuss their experiences and process reactions to them in order to adjust to changes in life, guiding clients through the process of making decisions about their future, counseling clients about developing strategies and skills to change their behavior or cope with difficult situations, and coordinating services with other professionals such as psychiatrists.  While some disorders can be overcome, many others need to be managed.  Mental health counselors work with clients to develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses including developing and implementing strategies to encourage wellness.  Our program emphasizes approaches based on cognitive behavioral counseling.  This goal-oriented approach focuses on helping clients to understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones as well as teaching clients to eliminate unwanted behaviors and replace them with more productive ones.  

The M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, Community Counseling Track is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the area of Community Counseling.  The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track is accredited by CACREP. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track is currently accredited under the 2001 standards for Community Counseling programs as a Community Counseling program. This accreditation runs through March 31, 2018. The CACREP 2009 standards combine the Community Counseling and Mental Health Counseling standards into standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. We intend to seek accreditation for this track as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program when it comes up for reaccreditation, per CACREP guidelines.

The Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions also offers a M.S. degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation.   This 36 credit degree, available only online, focuses on the study of Leadership.  This degree is designed for individuals interested in careers in supervision and management, research or teaching in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation.  This is not a counseling degree and thus does not seek CACREP or CORE accreditation.  For additional information about the M.S. in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Leadership Track, contact Dr. Amy Spagnolo, Program Director, at (908) 889-2544 or by email at

Students in both tracks complete a common core of 13 courses (39 credits).  This course work provides students with a strong foundation in content areas such as theories of counseling, techniques and methods for counseling individuals and groups, human growth and development and the impact of disabilities, and ethical and legal standards of the profession.   Additionally, all students complete a practicum of at least 100 hours including 40 hours of direct service and an internship of at least 600 hours including 240 hours of direct service.  The practicum and internship are completed in agency settings consistent with the student’s choice of specialization.  These clinical experiences total 9 credits.  Students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track complete 4 courses (12 credits) in this specialization.  The curriculum including the specialized course work for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track is presented in the following section.

Curriculum:  M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling:  Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track


Course Number

Course Title


Core Counseling Courses – 39 credits

Counseling Core

PSRT 5102

Counseling Techniques I



PSRT 5323

Theories of Counseling and Personality



PSRT 5103

Human Growth and Development



PSRT 5242

Group Methods



PSRT 5313

Foundations of the Counseling Profession



PSRT 5315

Evaluation and Assessment



PSRT 5320

Social and Cultural Diversity Issues



PSRT 5201

Career Development Theory



PSRT 5030

Statistical and Research Methods



PSRT 5310




PSRT 5132

Medical Aspects of Disability



PSRT 5123

Community Counseling and Resources



PSRT 5403

Career Counseling and Consultation


Clinical Practice - 9 credits

Clinical Experiences

PSRT 6011

Practicum in Counseling



PSRT 6012

Internship in Counseling


Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track Specialized Courses – 12 credits

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization

PSRT 5101

Seminar in Principles and Practices of Psychiatric Rehabilitation



PSRT 5252

Addictions and Mental Illness



PSRT 5051

Seminar in Evidence-based and Promising Practices 




Course related to clinical mental health counseling


Total Credits



Course Schedules and Locations:

Students may complete the degree on either a full time or part time basis. The degree can be completed in two years of full time attendance or three years of part time attendance.  Students attend classes three semesters a year: Fall, Spring and Summer.  Students may start in any semester, but are encouraged to start in the fall or spring semester.  On-campus classes are held in the afternoon and evening.  A typical 15-week semester on-campus class meets once per week for three hours.  In many cases, students are able to schedule two classes in one day with one afternoon and one evening class.  Students must attend in the summer semester as certain required courses are offered only in the summer.

Classes are offered online and at two campuses, with convenient parking and access to public transportation:

Scotch Plains Campus - Located in suburban Union county, this campus is convenient to students in Northern and Central New Jersey, as well as New York.

Stratford Campus - Located in suburban Camden County at Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, this campus is convenient to Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.

Questions about the degree at the Scotch Plains Campus or Online:
Janice Oursler, Ph.D., NCC, CRC, Program Director
Telephone: (908) 889-2462 or email:
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

School of Health Related Professions

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions
1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076

Questions about the degree at the Stratford Campus:
Almaz "Mimi" Getachew, PhD, CRC
Telephone: (856) 566-2785 or email:

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

School of Health Related Professions

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions 
University Educational Center- Suite 2105
40 East Laurel Road, Stratford, New Jersey 08084






Rutgers School of Health Related Professions



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