The VCU Department of Rehabilitation Counseling, formed in 1955, is ranked 6th in the nation in US News and World Report Rankings. The 60-credit master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling prepares students for multiple licensing and certification options after graduation including: 1) licensure as a professional counselor (LPC) in Virginia; 2) certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC); and 3) nationally certified counselor (NCC). Students have multiple options for completing the program ranging from accelerated (intended for those who are working part-time or less and/or don’t have other substantial life commitments outside of school) to part-time.
Until October 2023, our program is dually accredited by CACREP (as both Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling). Students planning to graduate after August, 2023 will choose from two concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling. Applications for admission in spring 2023 or later will distinguish between concentrations in the application package. The concentrations will contain the same course of study, except for a specific internship related to each concentration. Clinical Rehabilitation Students will have placements focused on vocational rehabilitation and employment (e.g., State VR, Choice Group, RRTC). Clinical Mental Health students will have placements focused on the provision of mental health services (e.g., residential mental health treatment, CSB’s).
Our program is dedicated to providing an inclusive education that focuses on the intersections of people's identities, and interweaves a mental health and disability focus into all coursework. Learn more about the available concentrations here.
Students are eligible to sit for the CRCC examination after they have completed 75% of the courses in their master’s degree program. Upon passage of the exam and graduation from the program, they are immediately qualified as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
For LPC in Virginia, students must complete 3,400 hours of supervised practice after the completion of their degree. While in their program, they will complete coursework required for licensure, as well as 600 hours of relevant supervised clinical experiences to be eligible to apply for licensure. After the completion of 3,400 hours, students will sit for an exam.
Distance learning students as well as in-state students may be interested in eventually becoming licensed in other states besides Virginia. The Department cannot guarantee that the current curriculum meets the individual licensure standards of every state. Students who may seek professional licensure in other states will work together with their advisors to determine requirements so that students will be informed of additional coursework they may need to be eligible for licensure in their preferred state.
- Full- and part-time students can be accommodated by the program. To be considered, all pertinent materials must be received in the department by Jan. 15 for a fall admission.
In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Satisfactory performance in undergraduate education (based upon official transcripts provided to Graduate Admissions)
- Three letters of reference (Letters from academics, such as instructors/professors or academic advisers, employers or supervisors are preferred.)
- A personal statement and three supplemental statements
- Current resume or curriculum vita
For more information about admissions requirements, please visit Admission Deadlines and Requirements.
To apply to the program, applicants must complete forms provided by the Graduate School indicating “Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling” as the curriculum.
All state board licensing information can be found here:
The minimum requirements for our CACREP-accredited Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling master’s degree are 60 graduate credits, including 48 credits of required didactic course work, 9 credits of internship, and 3 credits of electives.
For degree requirements, see samples of program timelines for accelerated schedules, regular schedules, and extended schedules, starting in either fall or spring, at Course Timeline
On campus and Distance Learning Modality Options
The program has both on-campus and distance formats for many classes. We also offer hybrid courses where distance and campus students are combined. Some distance courses may have synchronous components where students are required to virtually attend a class at a specific time. On-campus students are generally expected to take all courses in an on-campus during their first semester and at least 50% of on-campus courses overall. Students can petition the chair for exceptions on a case-by-case basis, and accommodations can be made, with a review of the larger context. The distance program is limited to students living a significant distance from campus and requires at least two courses that include intensive components with face-to-face instruction on campus (e.g., Counseling Techniques, Group Counseling). These on-campus experiences are structured in a several consecutive-day format.
Be advised that students that live within a 60-mile radius of Richmond, VA may be required to submit additional information regarding their preference to enroll in the DL program rather than the on-campus program. If you are a student located within this area, be advised that you will need to plan ahead, in conjunction with your adviser and/or clinical coordinator, if you need to enroll in a DL option of any course in the clinical sequence (e.g., 691, 692, 693/5/6, 612). The department suggests that students connect with their adviser upon entering the program to discuss their course of study related to DL/campus learning options.
Some of this context is in flux due to the pandemic. We will continue to be responsive to SCHEV, VCU and other pandemic-related guidelines.
The program includes a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship in an approved, supervised practice setting. Students can enroll in Internship after the completion of 30 credit hours in the program. Following graduation, students may practice in supervised settings such as community services boards, public and private rehabilitation settings, hospitals and other settings. The Virginia Counseling Board requires an additional 3,400-hour residency with 2,000 supervised counseling practice hours in order to qualify for independent practice as licensed professional counselors (LPCs).
Program Assessment Report - August 2023