Masters of Education in Professional Counseling

Program Director:
Paula Danzinger Ph.D.
Phone: (973) 720-3085
Office: Valley Road Building, Room 3001

The Professional Counseling Program consists of two separate concentrations. The School Counseling concentration is a 48-credit concentration directly leading to certification as a school counselor in the state of New Jersey. The Mental Health Counseling concentration is a 60-credit concentration directly leading to eligibility as a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), the first step towards obtaining the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in the state of New Jersey. (NOTE: a passing score on the National Certification Exam is required in order to apply for the LAC and/or LPC.)

The Professional Counseling Program also offers post-master's courses for students holding a master's degree and who need additional course work in order to obtain either certification as a school counselor or licensure as an LPC.

These programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Program Outcomes:

Professional Counseling Assessment Report 2014.pdf

Program Statistics:

There are approximately 120 matriculate students in the Professional Counseling Program. Out of those students approximately 80% are female and 20% male. The racial makeup of students is approximate 85% white with 10% Hispanic and 5% African or Caribbean American. Approximately 96% of matriculated students graduate from the program in the expected time frame, three years for full time students and four years for part time students.

This year, 2014, there were 16 graduates from the Clinical Mental Health concentration and 17 graduates from the School Concentration. Out of the 33 graduates, 23 took the National Counselor Exam this year. Out of those 23, 21 passed giving the program a pass rate of 91%.


In order to be considered for admissions to the M.Ed. in Professional Counseling Program, you must first meet the requirements for admission to the University (see the William Paterson University Graduate Catalogue for details).

Admissions decisions for the Professional Counseling Program are made by a committee of program faculty. Students are evaluated on five criteria: 1. their cumulative undergraduate GPA with any graduate GPA factored in, 2. their score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or their verbal score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), 3. their written essay, 4. their letters of recommendation, and 5. their interview with counseling faculty and in -person writing sample (to be done at the time of interview). Each criterion is given a numerical value (see rubrics below). If a student scores a total of 10 or less they will not be admitted to the program. If a student scores a total of 12 or more, they will be admitted (though student may be deferred to the next semester depending on course availability). If the student scores a total between 10.1 and 11.9, it is at the discretion of the program faculty whether or not the student will be asked to take a non-degree course before an admissions decision is made.

For admissions to the Professional Counseling Program you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average in the range of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale or a master’s degree from an approved college or university with a graduate grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. (If a student has a low GPA without having a graduate GPA to factor in, the student may try raising their GPA score by taking at least 12 credits in advanced undergraduate courses [it is suggested the applicant consult with counseling faculty before taking courses.] If the student is able to achieve a GPA in those courses of a 3.5 or better, they may resubmit their application for consideration.)
  • A satisfactory score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • An essay (prompt will be found on the program website)
  • An interview with counseling faculty to include an in-person writing sample
  • Two professional recommendations

Admissions Rubric

GPA 6 pts. total
GRE/MAT 5 pts. total
Writing Samples 5 pts. total
Essay 4 pts. total
Letters 3 pts. total
2.75-2.99 2 pts.
3.00-3.24 4 pts.
3.25-3.49 5 pts.
3.50-4.00 6 pts.
<3.70/<144 0 pts.
370-380/144-145 1 pt.
381-395/146 2 pts.
395-420/147-148 3 pts.
421-450/149-150 4 pts.
451-500/151-153 5 pts.
>501/>153 6 pts.


Addresses prompt/Well written 4 pts.
Well written without prompt or prompt not well addressed 3 pts.
Prompt addressed, writing fair 2 pts.
Addresses prompt/poorly written 1 pt.
No prompt/poorly written 0 pts.

Letters of Recommendation 1.5 point per letter for 3pts. total

Professional letter/Highly recommended 1.5 pt.
Professional letter/recommended 1.0 pts.
Nonprofessional 0.5 pts.

Writing Sample Scoring

Target = 5 Satisfactory = 3 Unsatisfactory = 1
Written expression Ideas are clearly expressed and well developed, minimal grammatical and mechanical errors Ideas are clearly expressed, some grammatical and mechanical errors Ideas are not clearly expressed and or many grammatical and mechanical errors
Conceptualization and critical analysis skills Presents a clear understanding of underlying issues Presents some understanding of underlying issues Poor insight
Client recognition Demonstrates ability to recognize viewpoints of all involved in a nonjudgmental manner Demonstrates ability to recognize viewpoints of the majority of those involved in a nonjudgmental manner Demonstrates the ability to recognize the viewpoint of only one or none of those involved or is judgmental
Appropriate recommendations Makes appropriate recommendations which include professional referral for each member of the family Makes appropriate recommendations but does not mention professional referral or limited referral Makes inappropriate recommendations, no professional referral mentioned
0-2 =1 pt.
3-8 =2 pts.
9-12 =3 pts.
13-16 =4 pts.


Students may take up to 6 semester hours [2 courses] as a non-degree student at the discretion of the Program Director. Non-degree students may only take 1 course per semester. Students are required to meet with the Program Director or program faculty before approval is granted to take non-degree courses.

Important Information Regarding School Counseling Certification

Due to the new rules, effective January 2004, a New Jersey Standard teacher's certificate is no longer required to obtain School Counseling Certification.

Course Requirements:

Click on the links below to learn more about course requirements for the School and Agency Counseling concentrations.

School Counseling Concentration »

Mental Health Counseling Concentration »

Master Schedules (NOTE: schedules are subject to change at any time, without notice.)
Fall 2011 - Summer 2015 (Link under construction)

Program Concentrations:

After starting the program, if students desire to change concentrations they will need to re-apply to the program in order to do so. Advisement by Program Director and/or program faculty is required.

Exit Requirements:

  • The student must complete 48 credits (School Concentration) or 60 credits (Mental Health Concentration).
  • Included in the 48-credit (school) and 60-credit (mental health) programs are a two (2) semester sequence of practicum/intership (school concentration requires school placement and mental health concentration requires agency placement).
  • Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination which carries no course credit, and is required of all students.
  • Satisfactory completion of a counseling portfolio. Requirements will be provided.

*Please be advised that the admissions requirements, curriculum, and course schedules are subject to modification.

Faculty Contacts

LaShauna Dean, Ph.D.
Phone: (973) 720-3923
Office: Valley Road Building, Room 3004

Karen Decker, Ph.D.
Phone: (973) 720-3442
Office: Valley Road Building, Room 3111

Michelle Gimenez-Hinkle Ph.D.
Phone: (973) 720-3971
Office: Valley Road Building, Room 3112

Timothy VanderGast, Ph.D.
Phone: (973) 720-2471
Office: Valley Road Building, Room 3013