Program Requirements

Online Program Delivery:
If you are applying for the online program, please visit our online program section for specific program requirements.

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling is one of several programs in the Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology (CSEP). The curriculum involves the equivalent of four (4) semesters of full time study (12 credits per semester), requiring a minimum of 48 credit hours (44 of which are required) and often totaling 50 or more credit hours. Usually, students complete the program on a full time (12 credits or more per semester) basis. Occasionally, situations arise which necessitate part-time program involvement. Part-time study must be closely coordinated with the academic advisor.

Continuous Registration

The program must be completed within four years of the date of matriculation. An extension of this time limit may be petitioned, but students may be required to take additional course work or show currency in other ways. Students need to maintain continuous registration each academic year (fall and spring semesters) from the time they matriculate until they graduate. Students who have not registered for at least one credit during each semester after admission through graduation will need to pay a $350 fee reactivation fee, and/or may need to reapply for admission to the program, per Graduate School policy. (See Leave of Absence policy below.)

Illness or other personal reasons may require an interruption in study. Students can petition for a leave of absence, usually one year in length, when it is impossible for them to maintain registration. Time on leave of absence does not count against the four-year limitation, and the requirement for continuous registration is waived. If students anticipate the need to be absent, they must file a request for leave, prior to the beginning of the semester beginning their leave period. Petitions filed after leave has begun may be denied, and will incur a $350 fee to be reinstated, if approved. If you plan to take a leave of absence, please contact your advisor immediately to review your options. To discuss the necessary documentation required for a leave of absence, please contact Jennifer Austin (jhaustin@buffalo.edu) for online students or Jennifer Rosseland-Bates (jmr1@buffalo.edu) for students on campus.

Clinical Training Experience

Practicum and internship placements must be arranged through the Rehabilitation Counseling program Clinical Coordinator, Dr. Omayra Munoz, (716) 645-1118, e- mail: omayramu@buffalo.edu. Currently, the Clinical Coordinator is a part-time staff member in the department who is responsible for overseeing linkages between students and cooperating counselors and their agencies. She is also responsible for securing and maintaining Affiliation Agreements between the University and cooperating agencies (e.g., rehabilitation facilities, mental health clinics, substance abuse treatment centers, private rehabilitation companies).

1. Field Work

Field Work and Counseling Techniques is the first of three sequential courses that provide a clinical experience component to the program. The expectation is that the student may not have had previous training or experience working in rehabilitation. This course provides basic training in counseling skills and prepares students for the practicum and internship experiences. Students are expected to complete assignments that include locating, visiting and exploring facilities and programs that employ Certified Rehabilitation Counselors to increase awareness and understanding of the field of rehabilitation counseling and the role and function of a rehabilitation counselor.

The counseling skill and technique building component of this course requires weekly class participation.
While enrolled in the Field Work course, it is expected that students will locate and secure an appropriate site for the Practicum experience and formulate ideas for the internship placement. The student individually chooses placements with the assistance of the university Clinical Coordinator.
Additional materials to explain guidelines, expectations, procedures, and policies for placement sites will be reviewed and discussed throughout the course.

2. Practicum (150 clock hours under supervision at the approved practicum site)

Practicum is the second of three sequential courses that provide a clinical experience component to the program. The clinical/field portion of the Practicum course should allow the student a chance to thoroughly learn about one particular agency, its clientele, and the method of operation. Client contact may begin with pre-counseling, information gathering, or observation of an individual, group or family session. In preparation for the Internship experience, it is expected that students will begin counseling with a small caseload under the close supervision of their on-site and university supervisor/instructor, including audio or videotaping of counseling sessions when possible (after securing agency and client permission).

The Practicum placement course is designed to examine the values, beliefs and behaviors of individuals from diverse populations. Students will advance cultural and ethical competence, increase sensitivity and encourage personal growth. The course will introduce students to counseling approaches, rehabilitation issues, and learn about the role and function of a rehabilitation counselor. The supervised rehabilitation counseling Practicum experience includes a minimum of 150 clock hours of agency contact time (10 hours per week for 15 weeks) with a total of at least 40 clock hours of direct service to individuals with disabilities, in addition to coursework and class time. Students must arrange their schedules with their on-site supervisor to ensure they meet these minimum requirements. At least one hour of weekly individual supervision with the on-site supervisor is required.

In addition, the university supervisor/instructor and students will meet for weekly university group supervision sessions, either on campus or via our virtual classroom for the online cohort (synchronous attendance via web-based video conferencing), augmented by individual university faculty supervision as needed. There will be direct and periodic communication throughout the semester between the site supervisor and the university supervisor/instructor and/or university Clinical Coordinator.

3. Internship (600 clock hours under supervision at the approved internship site)

Internship is the third of the three sequential courses that provide a clinical experience component to the program. The supervised rehabilitation counseling internship experience includes a minimum of 600 clock hours of agency contact time with at least 240 hours (300 hours is recommended) of direct service to individuals with disabilities, in addition to coursework. Students are required to conduct their internship at a site different from their practicum, and with a different population and supervisor.

Capstone Experience - Comprehensive Exam or Research Project/Thesis

A capstone experience is the final requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. The Capstone Experience requirement must be successfully met for graduation and the student will be dismissed from the program if it cannot be met. In order to complete this requirement, students must complete one of following four options:

  1. Pass the CRC examination
  2. Pass the faculty developed Comprehensive Exam
  3. Complete a Masters Research Project
  4. Complete a Master’s Thesis

1.) CRC Examination

Sitting for the CRC examination is a requirement of the program and the majority of students will fulfill the capstone requirement by successfully passing this exam. See section III.D. for more information on the CRC examination.

2.) Comprehensive Exam

Those students who do not pass the CRC exam may take the faculty-developed Comprehensive Exam to fulfill their capstone requirement. Students must score 70% or higher to pass the faculty-developed exam. This exam is delivered online, or in the classroom, in a multiple-choice format and covers the following content related to required courses: (1) Counseling Theory, (2) Career Development and Vocational Placement, (3) Tests and Measurements, (4) Rehabilitation Foundations and Professional Issues, (5) Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability. Graduation will be delayed for those who do not pass on the first attempt of the CRC exam or replacement faculty-developed exam. Delayed students must enroll for academic credit the following semester and work with their academic advisor or program director to review deficient exam areas and re-take the CRC exam the next time it is offered.

3.) Master's Research Project

The Master’s Research Project is designed to give students experience in independent scholarly inquiry through written research under the direction of an advisor. The project is typically begun during the fall semester of the second year, and submitted in final form no later than one month prior to graduation. Students should register for CEP 700 for two or three credits. Master’s projects are usually written with your major Academic Advisor but may be written with any faculty member, with the consent of all concerned. The same standards of quality of scholarship and writing will apply as would be used with a master’s thesis though the scope of the project may be less, or the range of possibilities greater. Typically, the student is expected to access refereed journal articles, as well as other sources of information, in the preparation of the project. The project itself can take many forms, but generally consists of three chapters, typically the 1. Introduction, 2. Review of the Literature, and 3. Summary / Conclusions / Recommendations. The project is graded by the advisor, or substitute if so arranged.

4.) Master's Thesis

The Master’s Thesis is more involved that the masters research project and requires that the campus student design a research study, form a thesis committee (advisor and two other faculty), propose the study, seek IRB approval, collect data, analyze results, produce a written thesis (Title page, Abstract, Table of Contents, Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, and Discussion of findings), and present his or her findings to your Thesis committee. The student’s advisor, who will serve as the chair of the Thesis Committee, must closely monitor this piece of original research. Before beginning the study and collecting data, the student must comply with the UB Institutional Review Board (IRB) standards. No research involving human beings can commence until a board comprised of faculty and community members has approved it. Students should carefully consider their ability to successfully complete a thesis without a delayed graduation. Interested students should consult with their Academic Advisors to find out more about the requirements of this option and should plan to begin work during their first semester.

Academic Forms, Procedures and Deadlines

You will find that there are a number of academic procedures and deadlines that you will be responsible for, i.e. if you do not do what is required by the deadline you might find that your diploma is delayed. The way to find out about these procedures is to read UB Graduate School publications and GSE catalog, watch the places where announcements are posted (including around Baldy 409 and on the door of Baldy 413), and talk to faculty and other students. The major procedures are outlined below:

1. Application to Candidacy

Application to Candidacy (ATC): This is your statement of program and is the most important document required for you to graduate. This form must be completed and approved by your department the semester before the one in which you intend to graduate. The ATC form, and instructions for completion, can be downloaded from the Graduate School forms: http://grad.buffalo.edu/study/progress/forms.html.

All students are required to submit this original document by mail or delivered in person to Jennifer Rosseland-Bates.
Jennifer Rosseland Bates
409 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260

Exclusive of "S" grades, courses submitted for candidacy in a master's or Doctoral program must average a "B" (3.00 grade point average) or better.

2. Independent Study

If you wish to do academic work on a particular topic, but cannot find a suitable course, it may be possible for you to study what you want through registering for an Independent Study. You will be required to identify and work with a faculty member who is willing to serve as your Independent Study instructor. The number of credits you earn, what you study, and how you are graded are to be negotiated between you and the instructor. To get credit for the Independent Study, however, you must complete a brief form and have it signed by the instructor. Copies of this form must be filed with your Application to Candidacy in order for you to include the Independent Study as part of your degree. Copies of the form may be obtained in 409 Baldy.

3. M-Form

M Form: The multi-purpose form (M Form) is to be filed at least 30 days before graduation, certifying that, as far as the Department knows, you have completed all the requirements for your degree. The Program Director is responsible for completing this form and submitting on your behalf to the Graduate School of Education. Students do not need to complete or sign this form.

4. Grades

At the course level, students will be continually evaluated in terms of their mastery of course materials as well as their professional development. The course level evaluations are as critical as course sequences providing the base upon which professional practices are built. The Rehabilitation Counseling Program was designed to create professional, reflective, and effective counselors. The sequence of individual courses is strategically nested within the overall learning program and is intended to provide students with sequential experiences necessary to build the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for effective practice. Specifically, the courses are offered in pedagogically efficient sequence designed to build a base of theoretical knowledge and basic counseling skills and move toward more complex practical applications (i.e., ethical considerations, treatment issues, diagnosis, and treatment planning).
Grades. Grading practices follow certain Graduate School and University guidelines. Each instructor will announce specific grading policies in the class syllabus.

  • A minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0 is required for graduation. This GPA pertains to courses included on the approved Application to Candidacy.
  • It is expected that students will earn a B (3.0) or better in each required course in the program. If they earn below a B they may be put on academic review or probation. Those grades at C+ or below will have to be repeated until an acceptable grade is achieved.
  • If unavoidable events require an incomplete, a written contract with the instructor, including specific dates and procedures for completing the course, will be developed. The incomplete coursework must be completed within one year from the date of the “I” grade. After that time, I grades are converted to “U” grades. The “U” grade indicates failure without academic penalty and will not be computed in the grade point average

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Advisement and Communication

Each student is assigned an Academic Advisor (the program director or his/her designee) upon beginning his/her program. The incoming student is expected to initiate and maintain regular contact with his/her advisor throughout the program. The Academic Advisor is charged with overseeing the student’s academic progress through program completion. Students who are demonstrating difficulty in their coursework, professional development, or academic progress should work with their academic advisor to develop a plan for remediation.

Upon beginning the program, rehabilitation counseling students are required to obtain and activate their UB email addresses (this service is provided at no additional cost to you). You may activate your email address by contacting Computing and Information Technology (CIT) at http://ubit.buffalo.edu/students/. You may access your email from any of the computer labs or libraries on campus. Students who have their own computers may dial into the UB server and access at home as well. Students are responsible for checking their email on a regular, if not daily, to get announcements/information about deadlines, program changes, internship and job opportunities, and so forth. In many instances, email is the only vehicle used for announcements. In addition to email, announcements of interest to program students are posted on the bulletin board near the student lounge. You should plan to check that area regularly as well.