The mission of the Counseling Department is to prepare counselors to be competent practitioners and agents for positive personal and social change.

Candidates may choose a plan of study leading to a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Counseling with a specialization in one of these areas:

  • Career Counseling
  • College Student Services
  • College Student Services (CSS) & Professional Clinical Counseling (PCC) (pending BBS approval)
  • General Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) & Professional Clinical Counseling (PCC) (integrated emphasis)
  • Pupil Personnel Services: School Counseling (SC) (PPS Credential in School Counseling)
  • Pupil Personnel Services: School Psychology (SP) (PPS Credential in School Psychology)

We also offer post-master's degree Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential specializations:

  • PPS Credential in School Counseling (SC)
  • PPS Credential in School Psychology (SP)

With the permission of their advisor, students may complete more than one specialization by taking additional courses and successfully completing all field placement requirements for the chosen specializations.

The Counseling Department aims to prepare counselors to competently address the whole person, given the individual’s socio-political and cultural context.  Faculty members are committed to a holistic, multicultural approach to counseling, synthesizing physical, intellectual, psychological, emotional, interpersonal, socio-cultural, and spiritual processes and emphasizing the systemic interconnection among these dimensions of our lives. Within this framework, the goal of counselor education matches that of counseling: the empowerment of the whole person, the family, the school, and, ultimately, of the community.  The faculty members prioritize the healthy personal and professional development of counselors-in-training, as well as their cultivation of self-awareness (particularly in regard to the therapeutic relationship and client-counselor differences), knowledge, demonstration of counseling skills, and ability to critically evaluate and integrate information relevant to this profession. Students are provided with the theoretical and research-based knowledge, experiential practice, supervision, and personal attention needed to become competent counselors.  Master of Arts degree students are required to complete practicum and field experience placements in diverse community, school, and/or college/university settings that are appropriate to students’ career objectives and designed to make them more well-rounded counselors.

The Counseling Department specializations are designed for people who wish to work in schools, colleges, family service agencies, private practice, or a variety of other counseling settings.  

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"My experience was rewarding and provided the best possible preparation for the licensing board exams. The programs are professionally constructed. The classes are tailored to working with real-life clients, not just theoretical people in dry vignettes. The faculty is first-rate; each professor is an expert on his or her subject and is very accessible outside of class hours to provide additional support and guidance. [The staff] were very good at helping direct us to the appropriate field placement for our varied career goals. The graduates of SMC are all exceptionally suited to work with a variety of clients and are all well-equipped to hit the ground running. The training is superior, both from a theoretical and practical perspective."

- Tonya Lemmon, MFT, Counseling Department graduate

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Mailing Address

Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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