James Madison University

Admission to Program

Successful candidates for admission to the Counseling and Supervision Program must demonstrate exceptional academic aptitude; extensive experience in the counseling field; potential to become a scholar, leader and advocate of counseling; and ability to develop greater expertise in applying technology to the profession. The initial screening is based on a comprehensive and integrated review of all the material that the applicants have submitted.

The application target date for the Counseling and Supervision program is January 15. The specific criteria for admission include the following:

  • Completion of an advanced degree (M.A., M.S. or Ed.S) from an entry-level graduate counseling program.  Applicants must have graduated from a counselor education program of at least 48 credit hours.
  • Completion of 60 credit hours of graduate counseling coursework necessary for licensure as a professional counselor.  Candidates must submit official transcripts documenting the completion of both undergraduate and graduate degrees, including courses that meet requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
  • A history of academic success. The graduate transcripts must demonstrate readiness to succeed in doctoral level coursework.
  • Resume.  Candidates should submit a resume detailing their counseling-related training, work experiences, and scholarship.
  • Supportive references.  Three individuals must complete and submit reference forms.  At least one individual should be well acquainted with the candidate’s academic potential.  At least one person should be a supervisor or trainer who can discuss in detail the applicant’s counseling skills.
  • Professional writing sample.  Application materials must include a published article, conference paper, or academic paper in the field of counseling.  The sample should be between 10 and 25 pages and written in APA format.
  • Personal statement. Candidates must offer a personal statement of at least 2,000 words describing themselves and their specific interests in counseling. They are encouraged to go beyond the grades, honors, and work record that they have already provided on the application form. Instead, they are invited to share the personal qualities and life experiences that have contributed to their potential to become successful doctoral students in counseling. Finally, they should describe the professional goals and scholarly interests they plan to pursue by completing doctoral training.
  • TOEFL or MELAB scores, if an international applicant. International candidates for whom English is not their primary language must submit official test scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 550 on the written tests and 220 on the computer-based test. Applicants must have taken these tests within the past two years.

The application must be complete in order for you to be considered for the program. We complete a full-day interview with the top applicants sometime during the middle of February. Please be prepared to reserve these dates in your schedule so that you can attend if invited. As a part of the final admissions process, applicants complete a criminal history check.

Application Website:

Application Timeline: The application will open on October 15 and the target date is January 15. All application materials should be received by January 15 in order to ensure consideration by the program.
Program Begins: Summer or Fall
Required by The Graduate School
Required Electronically:

  • Application       
  • Application fee         

Send official transcripts to The Graduate School. The preferred method is an electronic copy sent via eSCRIP‐SAFE. For more information, please check the Graduate School Website: http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective/admissions.shtml 

If an electronic copy is not an option, unopened paper copies can be sent to:
The Graduate School
James Madison University
17 West Grace Street MSC 6702
Harrisonburg, VA 22807


  • The Counseling Programs of James Madison University are pleased to offer the 19th annual Summer Institute in Counseling. This year's workshop offerings emphasize the theme of creative responses to client concerns, with a focus on creativity and self-care. Registration will open in mid-April, with more information about workshop descriptions and registration information available then. Details
  • Dr. Debbie Sturm is New DirectoróBeginning this fall, Dr. Sturm is the Director of Counseling Programs. She will continue as Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.
  • Dr. Michele Kielty and Dr. Renee Staton to Coordinate School CounselingóDrs. Kielty and Staton are now sharing the duties of coordinating the School Counseling Program.
  • Dr. Lennie Echterling Continues as Doctoral Program CoordinatoróDr. Echterling remains the Coordinator of the Ph.D. in Counseling and Supervision Program.