Master’s program expanding

A bachelor’s degree is on the horizon for many students here at Northern Kentucky University. But for some of those students, their education will not stop at the undergraduate level.

NKU will offer two new master’s programs. A master’s degree in community counseling will begin in the fall, and the master’s in school counseling will begin this summer.

“Currently, we have 14 programs,” said Dr. Carole Beere, associate provost for outreach and dean of graduate studies. Bringing the total to 16 is just the beginning of “a strategic plan for the roll out of new graduate programs,” Beere said.

Beere expects the new programs will be attractive to prospective students as well as serve an important need in the community.

At this point, NKU is the only college in Northern Kentucky to offer the Master of Science in community counseling. “Unlike a master’s degree in psychology, the Master of Science in community counseling allows individuals to pursue private practice,” said Dr. Jacqueline Smith, director of the Master of Science in community counseling program and assistant professor in the department of Social Work and Human Services.

The master’s degree in community counseling prepares graduates for careers in a variety of settings, such as mental health centers, schools, government, businesses and industries.

“With the increasing need for counselors in the tri-state, finding a job in this field should not be a problem,” said Tonya Short, administrator at Little Psychological Services.

Students can enroll in this program on either a full-time or part-time basis. “The program will be offered year-round, exclusively during evening hours and weekends,” Smith said.

Smith’s expectations about the program are positive. “We are looking at the future of this program with bright-eyed optimism. We’re not just offering a new program, we’re actually meeting a need,” Smith said.

The degree in school counseling is also expected to be successful. “It’s safe to say that there is also a great need for counselors in the school system,” Deedra Derrick, graduate education specialist said.

“It is preferred that students already have a certification to teach when applying for this program, but individuals with other degrees can apply,” Derrick said.

Derrick said that the program can be completed in two to three years, and graduates will be prepared for careers as school counselors.

Both master’s degrees are in some form of counseling. However, the master’s degree in community counseling is offered through the department of Social Work and Human Services, and the master’s degree for school counseling is offered through the education department.

This expansion of programs throughout the graduate level is expected to continue. Beere said that the growth is consistent with the university’s strategic plan that states it will, “Increase our enrollments of upper-division undergraduate students and graduate professional students.”

NKU is making efforts to attract students that might otherwise choose larger, more expensive universities or colleges. “We offer high-quality applied programs, small classes, scheduling targeted to the working professional and affordable tuition,” Beere said. “Our graduates report being very pleased with the education that they received at NKU and with the networking opportunities that resulted from the fact that so many of our graduate students are working professionals.”

A complete list of graduate programs can be found at and in the NKU catalogue.