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California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Counseling & Guidance; Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs
What college at the institution does this program reside in?
College of Science and Mathematics
What department within the college does this program reside in?
School of Education
Program Director contact for this program:

Jodi Jaques
Coordinator Counseling & Guidance
California Polytechnic State University-SLO
School of Education
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0713
How is the program offered?
  • Courses taken on a campus (residency)
What is the program's primary area of focus?
  • Counseling
What is the mission and/or objectives of the program?
The mission of the Counseling and Guidance graduate program is to prepare caring and culturally competent higher education counselors and student affairs professionals emphasizing student success for ALL. We embrace a polytechnic, “learn by doing” approach throughout the program.

The Counseling and Guidance program with a focus on Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs is designed to prepare students for a variety of student affairs positions in post-secondary institutions. The program possesses a flexible opportunity for graduates to be working towards ensuring student success for all individuals in various postsecondary settings and community programs.

The program has a strong counseling/helping professional emphasis. In addition to extensive practice during coursework focusing on these skills, students complete extensive internship experiences (minimum of 600 hours) in at least two different settings.

What is the pedagogical philosophy of the program?
Given that our university is a polytechnic institution whose guiding motto is “Learn by Doing”, the graduate program’s pedagogical philosophy is very applied in nature and focuses highly on student learning and student success. Thus, we employ multiple teaching and learning strategies that include collaborative learning projects, integrated cross-course learning activities, case studies, “real world” action research projects, extensive field internship experiences and structured reflection regarding student performance relative to learning outcomes. We strive to create a culture of inquiry that encourages graduate students to think creatively and strategically. An overarching pedagogical goal of the program is to increase our student’s cognitive complexity and tolerance of ambiguity. We continually and actively strive to translate theory into practice and encourage our students to apply their knowledge out in the “real world” as much as possible.

What are the learning outcomes of the program?
All candidates who complete a credential, master's degree, or doctorate in the School of Education will: Be Qualified, Competent, and Caring Professional Educators Candidates will demonstrate subject matter mastery, pedagogical and professional knowledge, and dispositions toward ethical practice that shape change as well as promote educational equity and equal access to learning for all students.

Integrate Principles and Practices of Professional Fields to Support Student Learning Candidates will demonstrate the ability to translate theory into practice through Cal Poly's learn-by-doing approach, and utilize knowledge-building technologies to foster learning, mentoring, and leadership.

Engage in Cross-Disciplinary and Collaborative Practices Candidates will understand the relationships of one discipline to another within their particular profession, and demonstrate the ability to establish collaborations and partnerships to enhance professional practices and support student success.

Demonstrate Authentic Assessments Designed for Student Success, Individual Growth, and Program Improvement Candidates will develop and use assessments that are data-driven, involve multiple sources and opportunities, are linked to professional standards, and are used to modify programs and practices.

Effect Sustainable Communities in a Multicultural Environment Candidates will assume leadership roles in schools, communities and their professional associations to shape change, ensure tolerance and inclusion, and advance principles of social justice. Candidates will promote comprehensive schooling to support educational equity for and access to college and career preparation.

Engage in Professional Practices Candidates will demonstrate reflective practice, uphold professional standards, and enact dispositions for both personal growth and advancement of the education field. Candidates will initiate the practice of life-long learning by engaging in professional associations and establishing personal professional growth plans.

In addition the Counseling & Guidance developed several disposition statements that evolved from the School of Education learning outcomes:


1.1 Responsibility and Accountability - Acts ethically, responsibly, and with integrity; and is considerate, respectful, punctual, and appropriate in appearance, in conduct, and in all interactions with students, families, mentors, and colleagues. Upholds confidentiality, as the cornerstone of the Counseling Profession. Is creative and self-reliant in finding solutions to problems and managing dilemmas. Is open to constructive feedback from others, manages situations of conflict and their own stress appropriately, and takes responsibility for own actions.

1.2 Creating Positive Climate — Develops interventions and programs that provides equitable access to opportunities for all students. Promotes a climate in which learning is valued and on-going. Provides choices to enable all to share in and contribute to social and intellectual life. Upholds fair and equitable standards for conduct that encourage responsibility, mutual respect, and civic values, and that safeguard the physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being of each and every student.

Ethical Practice

2.1 Cross-Cultural Competence —Promotes respect for self, students, families, and cultures. Demonstrates belief that everyone can learn and values human diversity and equity in the learning environment. Examines own biases and prejudices and develops necessary awareness, attitudes, knowledge, and skills for effectively and respectfully educating and mentoring people whose culture differs from their own.

2.2 Collaboration — Actively engages in a community of learners that develops relationships, programs, and projects with colleagues in P-20 schools and educational agencies designed to improve the quality of education for each and every student and education professional. Contributes professionally to the field at local, regional, state, and national levels.

Shaping Change

3.1 Inquiry and Innovation — Is prepared to engage in and fosters in others life-long learning, continuous reflection, and research (on own practice or beyond). Creates learning opportunities for themselves and others. Maintains currency with professional knowledge, effective and ethical practices, and scholarship in the field. Tries new methods and tools. Incorporates knowledge-building technologies; critical, creative, and metacognitive thinking; conceptual understanding; independent and interdependent problem solving; and experiential approaches to learning.

3.2 Social Justice —Seeks to understand their own privileges and prejudices, the stereotypes embedded in educational materials, and the cultural bias institutionalized in schools and other education-related organizations. Works toward realizing a nation and world where all have basic human rights and actively seeks to eliminate social, political, and economic inequities. Promotes social and environmental responsibility. Independently and collaboratively identifies opportunities, goals, and avenues for social and organizational development toward excellence and equity. Empowers others to achieve organizational and personal goals.

According to the CAS Standards and Guidelines a "program should recognize the important educational opportunities that diversity among its students and faculty brings to student affairs preparation. Therefore, programs should encourage the recognition of and adherence to the spirit of multiculturalism by all who are allied with the program's educational enterprise." How does this program do that?
Our commitment to the recognition of and adherence to the spirit of multiculturalism is demonstrated through all material developed surrounding the program. The diversity of each cohort aids greatly in the development and experience for ALL students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the program. Therefore, students from diverse backgrounds in numerous areas, including ethnicity, religious beliefs, SES levels, age, sexual orientation, etc. and having diverse life experiences are highly sought after in our admissions process.

What is the cost of tuition?
$10, 008 Estimate/year
Which of the following are available to help defray the cost of tuition, fees and other related education costs (from the program and/or institution)?
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Travel Funding
On average, how many years does it take to complete the program?
Two years.

What is the employment rate of graduates from this program?
Approximately 90%

What are the professional contributions to the field made by graduates from this program?

If this is a master's degree program, what percentage of students go on to earn doctoral degrees?
Approximately 10%

Please describe the program's curriculum:
The Counseling and Guidance program is divided into three developmental areas: Introduction, Foundation and Application.

The first area is Introduction and consists of three courses completed during the first quarter: • EDUC 586: Introduction to Inquiry in Education (4) • EDUC 555: Introduction to the Profession (4) • EDUC 562: Higher Education Student Development (4)

The second area is Foundation and consists of eight courses completed during the second and third quarters: • EDUC 556: Multicultural Counseling (4) • EDUC 557: Career Counseling (4) • EDUC 560: Counseling Theories (4) • EDUC 564: Legal & Ethical Issues in Counseling (4) • EDUC 565: Measurement & Assessment in Counseling (4) • EDUC 568: Individual Counseling Techniques (4) • EDUC 588: Education, Culture & Learning (4) • EDUC 589: Research Methods in Education (4)

The third area is Application and consists of five courses and full time internship each quarter (approximately 20 hours per week at sites): • EDUC 561: Group Counseling (4) • EDUC 566: Leadership and Consultation in Counseling (4) • EDUC 587: Educational Foundations and Current Issues • EDUC 590: Research Applications in Education (4) • EDUC 573: Field Experience-Counseling (minimum of 12 units/4 per quarter)

How many credits are required to graduate?
72 quarter units (equates to 48 semester units)
Which of the following are required for graduation?
  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Internship
  • Capstone Project
How many of the program's faculty are full-time?
How many faculty are adjunct/part-time?
What is the faculty to student ratio?
Who are the current teaching faculty and what are their backgrounds and research interests?

What is the average size of the program's cohorts?
What percentage of students are full-time?
What percentage of students are part-time?
Please describe the diversity of the program's students:

When is the deadline to apply?
Application URL:
Financial Aid URL:
Who is encouraged to apply?

What are the requirements and criteria used for admission?

Is the GRE required?
On average how many applications are received each year?
On average how many students are accepted each year?
What makes this program unique from others?

Student References
Graduate References

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