Counselor Education Department

John Sommers-Flanagan and Kirsten Murray, Co-Chair

The Counselor Education program educates students for employment in school (K-12 and higher education) and community mental health and human service settings. Counselors are practitioners, consultants, and coordinators who assist in problem solving, decision-making skills, personal growth and development, and individual, family school, and/or career issues. Counselors receive training in the eight core areas identified by the American Counseling Association Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs: human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, the helping relationship, group theories and methods, career and lifestyle development, client assessment and evaluation, research and program evaluation, and professional orientation. We offer a School Counseling M.A., a Mental Health Counseling M.A., and an Interdisciplinary M.A. Each option requires additional specialty courses and comprehensive written and oral examinations focused on the student's career track. The more advanced graduate degrees (Ed.S. and Ed.D.) develop depth, supervisory, and leadership skills in these areas.

The Department of Counselor Education is also the academic home for an interdisciplinary masters degree in Global Youth Development.  Students in this program are prepared for humanitarian and advocacy work, focusing specifically on youth and family development across cultures. Requirements include one year of campus-based course work and an approved internship of at least two semesters duration working with youth and family concerns. GYD is a Peace Corps Master’s International program, and the expectation therefore is that students will complete the Internship requirement by serving as U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers abroad. For further information and course listings, see:

Graduate Programs: The M.A., Ed.S., and Ed.D. are offered in Counselor Education. An interdisciplinary M.A. is offered in Global Youth Development.  Information regarding specific requirements and program options is available from the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences. For more information, please refer to the University of Montana Graduate Programs and Admissions Catalog.  Graduate programs are accredited by NCATE and CACREP.

Admission to Counseling: Applicants for this program should contact the Department for more specific admissions information. Requirements include official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended; three current letters of recommendation; and a letter of application stating academic and professional background, purpose in obtaining the degree, and thoughts about eventual employment and career direction. Applicants have the option to include GRE scores. Priority deadline is February 15th with complete applications reviewed after this date on a space available basis. Admission is competitive. 

Certification Requirements: The Counselor Education, M.A., School Counseling option, leads to licensure at the Class IV level.

Department Faculty


  • Catherine Jenni, Professor
  • John Sommers-Flanagan, Professor

Associate Professor

  • Kirsten Murray, Department Chair / Associate Professor

Assistant Professor

  • Veronica Johnson, Assistant Professor
  • Lindsey Nichols, Assistant Professor / GYD Director


  • Sara Polanchek, Clinical Director