College Student Development & Counseling (MS/CAGS)

The College Student Development and Counseling Program (CSDC) at Northeastern University aims to create mindful, action-oriented leaders, specifically in the field of higher education and student affairs. It is the goal of the program to focus on counseling, college student development, the history and philosophy of the student affairs profession, and the organization and administration of the field. The program will provide emerging professionals with the academic and experiential background that will allow them to be able to design, create, and administer student personnel programs that teach leadership, foster development, value diversity, and compliment the academic experience of college students.

Program Overview

The program has a long history of providing its students with practical experience in which they put the theories and skills that they learn in the classroom directly to use. With more than 120 colleges and universities within a sixty-mile radius of Boston, we offer many opportunities for students to practice in various collegiate settings. These practicum experiences prepare students to work in entry level and mid-level management in the field. Typical careers for which students are prepared for include:

  • Academic advising
  • Student activities
  • Orientation
  • Career counseling

  • Judicial affairs
  • Service learning
  • Cooperative education
  • Residential life

Degree Options
Masters of Science

Our curriculum consists of 12 (3 credit-hour) courses and two (3 credit-hour) practica which are competency-based. The curriculum subscribed for the College Student Development and Counseling program is typically established for completion in four semesters or two years. Students who wish to take one or two courses per semester may do so by initially enrolling as a special student status and will proceed to gain admission at a later date.

CAGS

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Psychology Education and the Community
The certificate is for those who already hold a masters degree in higher education administration or other areas but want to gain an advanced knowledge in college student development and higher education administration. The program is individually tailored to the candidate’s specific curriculum needs from the courses offered as part of the M.S. degree.

Application Due Dates

Fall – August 1

Spring – Dec 1

Contact Information
Vanessa Johnson, Ed.D.

Vanessa Johnson, Ed.D.
Program Director
430 Int’l Village
Tel: 617.373.4634
v.johnson@neu.edu

Curriculum

The curriculum subscribed for the College Student Development and Counseling program is typically established for completion in four semesters or two years. Students who wish to take one or two courses per semester may do so by initially enrolling as with a special student status and will proceed to gain admission later on.

All students are required to take CAP 6300: Introduction to College Student Development during their first semester of enrollment concurrently with CAP 6200: Counseling Theory & Process.

CSDC Curriculum
Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is a hallmark of Northeastern University and its educational mission. As such, the College Student Development and Counseling program provides students with field opportunities that will prepare new professionals for working in entry level and beginning management positions in the college student development field. These positions are offered in departments and offices, which may not directly address the academic concerns of students, but are a vital part of the social, emotional, and moral development of student.

Sample Schedule

  • Fall Semester

    • CAEP 6300    Intro to College Student Development
    • CAEP 6200    Counseling Theory & Process
    • CAEP 6235    Vocational, Educational & Career Development
    • CAEP 6202    Research, Evaluation & Data Analysis

  • Spring Semester

    • CAEP 6301    Planning & Administration of Student Affairs Programs & Services
    • CAEP 6303    Financial Aspects of Higher Education
    • CAEP 6203    Understanding Culture & Diversity
    • CAEP 6262    Evaluation & Outcomes and Assessment

  • Fall Semester

    • CAEP 6302    Law and Ethics in Higher Education
    • CAEP 8402    College Student Development Practicum I
    • CAEP 6230    Health Issues in Counseling or Approved Elective

  • Spring Semester

    • CAEP 6215    Groups: Dynamics & Leadership
    • CAEP 8403    College Student Development Practicum II
    • CAEP 6305    Special Topics: Community College Administration and Services

Portfolio:

At the culmination of two years within CSDC , students are required to submit a portfolio that demonstrates their understanding of professional competencies through learning, practice and reflection. The portfolio is intended to become a tool for candidates to use with potential employers. Students are asked to create two versions: print and online. The portfolio will be separated into different sections that will demonstrate the student’s level of mastery for each professional competency as it relates to the individual’s knowledge base and practice.

Admission Requirements

Candidates for admission are expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Personal statement of goals and expectations
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0
  • GRE or MAT, TOEFL or IELTS
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal interview with faculty
  • Personal meeting with current students

The program faculty reviews your credentials to assess the likelihood of your successful completion of the program and your potential for contribution to the field of college student development and the community at large.

Students are accepted into the program based on undergraduate grades and GRE or MAT scores, which are reviewed by the program director. Applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution and whose native language is not english must also take the TOEFL or IELTS.

Other Information

Practicum

Northeastern University has a long history of providing its students with practical experience in which they put the theories and skills that they learn in the classroom directly to use in work settings. Boston, with more than 120 colleges and universities within a sixty-mile radius, offers many opportunities for CSDC students to have practical experiences in various collegiate settings.

The CSDC program provides students with field opportunities that will prepare new professionals for working in entry level and beginning management positions in the college student development field. These positions are offered in departments and offices, which may not directly address the academic concerns of students, but are a vital part of the social, emotional, and moral development of students.

Each institution provides co-curricular support services in determined by the administration and staff of the university and the needs of the specific student population. Therefore, each practicum experience requires a variety of skills, which are discussed and developed in the Practicum Seminar.

The practicum experience consists of two consecutive courses taken in the fall and spring semesters of the second year. The student must complete a 300-hour practicum to meet graduation requirements. The 300 hours should be divided into the two semesters at 150 hours per semester or 10 to 12 hours per week.

Many students find their practicum experiences through referrals from classmates, colleagues, or professors. A program faculty member must approve all arrangements prior to the beginning of the practicum experience. Some students create their own practicum by contacting administrators at the institution and in the department for which they would like to work. Students are expected to stay at one site for the entire academic year. They can arrange a practicum at any site that meets their needs and interests.

Current practicum functional areas:

  • Academic Advising
  • African American Center
  • Asian American Center
  • Career and Transfer Services
  • Dean of Students Office
  • Disability Services
  • Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Center
  • Graduate Admissions
  • Greek Life
  • International Student Services
  • Registrar’s Office/Transfer Advising
  • Student Activities
  • Student Affairs Research and Assessment
  • Student Conduct
  • Residence Life
Assistantships

Not to be confused with the practicum experience, an assistantship helps in financing graduate study while also providing important practicial knowledge. In return for financial assistance, students work a set number of hours in various functional areas of student affairs. Mulitple assistantships are avialable at Northeastern Unviersity and at local colleges. Although abundant, assistantships are competitive and therefore it is strongly recommended that all admissions materials be submitted by February 1, 2012 for priority assistantship consideration. The total financial benefit of an assistantship varies as some include tuition assistance as well as room and board.

Assistantship functional areas at local colleges:

  • Academic Advising
  • Career Services
  • Commuter Student Services
  • Cultural Centers
  • Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Center
  • Greek Life
  • Leadership Development
  • Orientation and First-Year Programs
  • Residence Life
  • Student Activities and Programming
  • Student Health Services

For more information contact: csdcassistantships@gmail.com.

Placement Contracts

Graduates:

If you are scheduled to attend your practicum, internship or advanced fieldwork this coming academic year, a “request for contract,” must be submitted to our department. The University requires a signed contract between the placement site and the University. You are not responsible for the signing or generating of the contract as there is a procedure already in place; however, we cannot generate a contract unless there is a request for one. Please use the link below to submit your request. Please allow up to 2 weeks to process your request.

DO NOT DISREGARD this message. Be advised, without a contract, legally you cannot start your fieldwork.

You may follow up on your request with Monique Clarke at (617) 373 -2485 or m.clarke@neu.edu.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Request a Contract

History of Program

The College Student Development and Counseling program at Northeastern University emerged from the School Counseling program. Traditionally the program offered an Ed.D. in School Counseling. During the 1960’s and as a result of the guidance movement, new disciplines including career, school, and college counseling sprung forth. A student driven initiative resulted in the development of masters programs in these areas for students were more interested in community counseling and college counseling. In the mid-sixties, Dr. William Quill supervised the community counseling program and Dr. Tom Harrington became the first Director of the College Counseling Program. Dr. Harrington had extensive experience in College Student Personnel. Dr. Robert Read was an advisor to the College Student Personnel program and eventually became the next director of the program. He served as the director of the program for seven years. At the time of Dr. Read’s tenure as director, the program had approximately 25 students enrolled in practicum experiences in the field of student personnel.

Dr. Jane Fried became the program’s director in 1989, working closely with Dr. Reed. They made a great team by coupling his experience in school counseling with her expertise in college student development administration. Dr. Fried spent much of her time updating the curriculum and the mission of the program. She reflected in an interview that there were shifting paradigms in student activities. During the early years of the profession housing and residence life were the central themes in student life. Today, she says that housing only occupies about 20% of the student affairs agenda.

During Dr. Fried’s tenure as director of the program, the program changed from granting a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) degree to that of granting a Masters of Science. The curriculum of the College Student Development and Counseling Program came to include all aspects of student affairs including financial aid, enrollment management, residence life, health and wellness, student activities, academic advisement, career services, and practice oriented education.

When Dr. Fried departed Northeastern University in 1998, Dr. Larry Litwack became the interim director of the program. During his two years as the director, the program adopted a course on Law and Higher Education.

In fall 2005, Dr. George Thompson became the program’s second full-time faculty member. Dr. Thompson received his doctorate in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Georgia. He brought a wealth of experience and knowledge in student affairs administration, student development theory, disability services, and career counseling. In spring 2009, Dr. Thompson departed from Northeastern University. During his four years as an Assistant Professor, the program established and introduced an advanced college student development theory course. The course builds off of what students learn in introduction to student development and helps students gain a greater understanding of existing research and implementation of student development theory in practice. As the average college student evolves student affairs practitioners with greater student development theory background are needed. This course addresses this need and prepares CSDC graduates for the evolving students they will encounter.

Dr. Johnson has worked to develop a completely unique course in group dynamics. The second year students in the CSDC program take Dr. Johnson’s group dynamics course during their final semester. The course gives students background and foundation to help them interact, manage, lead and advise groups of students, professionals and colleagues. The course implements a unique aspect as students work in the same small groups for the entire semester and each class period is run by these small groups presenting on the projects they have been working on. It truly provides a dynamic environment for students to not only learn about, but to experience group dynamics.

While realizing the growing trend in assessment in student affairs and the need for student affairs practitioners trained in assessment methods, Dr. Johnson decided a new course was needed in the program. Dr. Johnson worked with Dr. Catherine Pride, an assessment practitioner, to develop a new course in assessment practices in student affairs. Students learn the basics of assessment and then through a group project apply best practices in assessment to a functional area of student affairs through the design of a written assessment plan.

Today, Dr. Vanessa Johnson is spearheading the program’s development as it prepares student affairs professionals for the 21st century.

The program addresses issues of increased diversity and globalization, burgeoning technological adaptations/advancements, financial constraints, and a changing political culture. New courses continue to be added to the core curriculum in response to these changes in college communities. The program continues to embrace the practicum experience as a laboratory for student affairs professionals to develop and refine skills needed to advance in the rapidly changing field of college student development. Dr. Johnson was responsible for converting the program from the quarter system to the semester system. Under the semester system, Dr. Johnson has introduced more courses that relate to the understanding and practice of student affairs while continuing to embrace the student development aspects of student affairs administrators.

Apply to the College Student Development and Counseling Program.