Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC)

Master of Arts in Counseling at Lakeland University

Dedicated to preparing students for one of three areas of professional counseling

The Lakeland University master of arts in counseling (MAC) degree is designed with the working professional in mind; so students can complete their degree at a pace that fits their careers and personal schedules. The MAC program offers opportunities for intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. 

Non-degree-seeking status is also available for those wishing to strengthen an existing major, develop a new area of interest, or complete professional requirements.

Continue Your Counseling Education

Lakeland University's master of arts in counseling (MAC) degree is a 48-60 semester-hour professional graduate training program. The MAC program is dedicated to preparing students for one of three professional counseling areas:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: meets the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) requirements for a Wisconsin Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • School Counseling: approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and is approved for licensure and certification as a Wisconsin School Counselor
  • Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs: meets all the standards currently endorsed by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), and professional competencies endorsed by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).

3 Areas of Professional Counseling

Lakeland University's Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program builds on the university's mission in its dedication to the personal growth and professional development of graduate students in counseling. The MAC program prepares graduate students to be ethical practitioners, leaders, and scholars. The faculty provides an environment that facilitates students' ability to think critically, reflect with personal insight, and to work within an increasingly diverse and global society.

Instructors are practicing professionals — many holding terminal degrees — who blend experiential learning with in-class instruction. Practicums and internships afford ample time for observation and client contact.

Professional school counselors are employed in elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools. Through their leadership, school counselors address all students’ academic, career and personal/social development needs by implementing a comprehensive school counseling program. School counselors provide services to students, parents, school staff and the community. Their major functions include providing direct services to students by delivering school counseling core curriculum (classroom sessions), individual student planning, and responsive services. School counselors also provide referrals for additional assistance, consultation, and collaboration working with parents, teacher other educators, and community organizations.

Students entering the clinical mental health counseling track intend to focus their work in settings such as community mental health centers, inpatient facilities, vocational or employment counseling agencies, family service agencies, correctional institutions, private practice, or social service agencies. Their work can vary depending on the setting in which they work and the population they serve. Community counselors find themselves working with children, adolescents, adults or families many of whom have multiple issues ranging from mental health disorders and addiction to disability and employment needs.

Students entering the higher education counseling & student affairs track plan to seek employment in post-secondary settings such as community colleges, technical colleges, public and private colleges, and universities. The foundation of the emphasis in higher education counseling & student affairs is built on the essential counseling knowledge and skills that promote the success of student affairs professionals. While there are numerous and diverse opportunities in the field of higher education counseling & student affairs, past MAC graduates have found positions in college and university counseling centers, residence life, admissions, financial aid, career services, academic advising, and special programs such as providing services for culturally diverse and international students on college and university campuses.

Lakeland University Master of Arts in Counseling

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission into a graduate program at Lakeland University, an applicant must submit:

  • A completed Application for Admission and a non-refundable $50.00 application fee.
  • All official transcripts from undergraduate coursework including an official transcript from a regionally accredited institution of higher education indicating completion of a baccalaureate degree with a minimum cumulative grade point-average (GPA) of 2.75 on a 4.00 point scale.
  • Military transcripts, if applicable.
  • Two letters of recommendation indicating the applicant’s potential for success in the graduate program. M.A. in Counseling applicants must use the program-specific form.
Letter of Recommendation

Additional requirements to those listed above under General Admission Requirements:

  • An application with a non-behavioral science undergraduate degree is required to show evidence of nine (9) semester hours with grades of "B-" or better in coursework related to human services or behavioral sciences.
  • A completed personal essay
  • A current resume
  • A formal interview
  • Submission of a Criminal Background Check via CastleBranch

Note: Candidates with a GPA below 2.75 but at 2.5 or above are encouraged to talk with a William R. Kellett School admission advisor.

Upon being admitted, and with approval of the MAC program director, up to 9 graduate semester hours of coursework at a “B” or better and relevant to the MAC curriculum may be accepted in transfer from regionally accredited institutions of higher education. Transfer courses must have been taken within 10 years prior to application

Personal Statement Criteria

Make Your Goals A Reality

Why Lakeland?

Don't put your life on hold to earn your graduate degree. Build a schedule that meets your needs with options for 7- and 12-week courses, evening classes and the ability to join class remotely. 

  • Flexible delivery formats:
    • Onsite: In class one night per week at one of our six center locations
    • Online: participate weekly when it works best for you
    • Online Live: attend live classes virtually from anywhere one night per week
    • BlendEd Live: attend classes in-person or online … you choose each week
  • Financial aid, scholarships and discounts are available
  • Individualized advising and career development suppor
MAC Student Handbook

Frequently Asked Questions

Before making a decision to apply for the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program there is a lot to think about. Here is a list of frequently asked questions, including answers that we hope will help you make an informed decision.

Lakeland's MAC program is dedicated to preparing students for one of three professional counseling areas: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs and School Counseling.

In order to graduate with a master's degree in counseling beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program requires 60 credits, the School Counseling program requires 51 credits and the Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs program requires 48 credits.

All MAC courses are 3 credit courses. Students must register for at least 6 credits to qualify for financial aid. To be considered full time, students must register for 9 credits per semester. Most students can complete their degree within 3 years. Completing the program depends upon when a student enters the program, which area of emphasis the student decides to pursue and how many courses they are able to take each semester.

MAC courses are offered in each center on a rotating basis in the fall, spring and summer semesters and are designed with the working professional in mind. Most of the MAC courses are 12 weeks in duration except for the summer semester which is a shorter semester. Many of the courses in the MAC program are delivered in a face-to-face format which means these courses are held Monday-Thursday from 6 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. (end-time may change depending on the length of the specific semester). Some of the MAC face-to-face courses are also approved to be offered in a six-week weekend format and meet on Friday night and Saturday morning. Finally, some courses are offered online and in a BlendEd Live format.


Practicums are field experiences that provide the opportunity for graduate students to observe and get a "feel" for how a professional in the student's specialized counseling area performs his or her job responsibilities. Many times during practicum the student is somewhat limited in what tasks the practicum supervisor, practicum instructor and on-site staff feel the student is prepared to handle. In the end, however, all practicum experiences can be different depending upon the placement and the student's prior and current knowledge, skill and disposition for their particular area of counseling. Lastly, the practicum is usually only a couple of hours a week, whereas internships are considered to be full- or half-time placements.

Compared to practicums, internships take on more of a "real job" feel where supervisors encourage students to focus on independent application of their skills and knowledge throughout the placement experience. During internships, supervisors have more of a management role as they oversee students' workload and performance much as an administrator in an actual employment setting would. Internship involves an expansion of task expectations and more of a hands-on involvement with "clients." In addition, the internship instructor is required to observe the intern at least one time during the internship placement to evaluate the student's performance and progress.

Selecting a placement site is one of the most important aspects of the practicum and internship experience. At your practicum and internship site you will be offered a unique opportunity to obtain experience in the type of setting in which you may eventually be employed. Therefore, we believe it is essential that students select sites that are consistent with their professional goals and objectives. Who knows better than you what will work for you and be a good match between you and your on-site supervisor? You will receive guidance and help, if needed, from your advisor.

Students begin looking for and exploring various possible practicum sites between their second and third semester in the program. Students are required to complete about two-thirds of their coursework prior to being approved to register for their practicum.

Finding a suitable internship site can be a lengthy and difficult process, and it is suggested that students begin this process at least one year prior to when they expect to begin their internship. The recommendation is that for a fall internship site, students will need to be networking during the prior fall term in September or October. Internships are the culminating courses within each of the three professional counseling areas.

The current job market for those entering in the field of professional counseling is very promising. The outlook for professional counseling positions continues to increase nationwide at a rate of 26 percent, while school counselors and higher education counselors is increasing at the rate of 12 percent. There are higher needs for professional counselors in all three areas in other parts of the country, so it would be wise to check out the current job market in other states as well.

While most licenses in Wisconsin are not guaranteed to be portable, the MAC curriculum does prepare our graduates to meet many of the licensure requirements found in many other states in both clinical mental health counseling and school settings. More information about licensure for clinical mental health counselors can be found on ACA's website. For school counselors information about licensure can be found on the ASCA website.

Students who plan to seek employment as counselors in states other than Wisconsin are advised to contact the school or agency in that state which certifies or licenses counselors in the appropriate setting.

When you first meet with your MAC advisor, you will be asked to think about one of three counseling areas as your primary focus. Once you have "declared" your primary focus, you are welcome to continue to pursue adding additional areas of emphasis, keeping in mind that you will have to meet all the course requirements found within any additional areas you might consider. In all cases, you are welcome to pursue more than one of the three professional counseling areas.

Yes. Students typically take up to two or three courses during the summer sessions.

Ongoing enhancements to Lakeland University's Master of Arts in Counseling program continue to position graduates for exceptional career flexibility and success.

Lakeland's MAC program recently earned several new endorsements that will benefit students and graduates for years to come:

  • Lakeland's 60 credit MAC Clinical Mental Health Counseling program now includes pre-certification for substance abuse certification. When LU MAC students graduate within the 60 credit program they have always had the opportunity to apply for their professional counselor in-training license (LPC-IT) and now they can also apply for substance abuse certification.
  • Students in Lakeland's MAC program are now eligible to take the National Counseling Exam (NCE) while they are in enrolled in their master's program. Previously, and currently at other institutions, students must wait until after they graduate before taking this critical exam. Now, LU students can take a proctored exam twice a year while they are completing their MAC degree.

Continuous enrollment is completion of a minimum of one 3-semester hour course each of two-semester periods. Student are required to apply for readmission before registering for courses after a period of non-enrollment exceeding one semester. If degree requirements have changed since the time of the student’s last admission to the MAC program, the student degree plan will be revised in accord with any newer revisions to the curriculum.

In order to receive an Initial Educator license in a pupil services category (i.e., school counselor) under s. PI 34.31, an applicant must successfully complete an approved graduate program at an accredited college or university and receive institutional endorsement. This is based on demonstration of proficient performance of knowledge, skills, and dispositions (KSDs) related to the seven pupil services standards. All state- approved professional education preparation programs in Wisconsin require student assessments of content knowledge and authentic assessment of the proficiency of the candidate. In the MAC program, this requirement is met through successful completion of the school counseling Portfolio including a Portfolio Presentation during the student’s Internship II course, as well as having a GPA of a 3.5 or above prior to Internship I. If a student does not meet the 3.5 GPA prior to Internship I, he/she will be required to take and pass the school counselor Praxis II prior to Internship I as demonstration of content knowledge. Passing scores for the Praxis II are established by the State Superintendent. Wisconsin uses Educational Testing Service (ETS) Praxis II: Subject Area Tests for all licenses except world languages.


Earn your post-masters counseling certification

Graduate counseling certification programs are designed for individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling from an accredited institution, and who are interested in acquiring additional knowledge and skills leading to licensure in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling and certification in Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs.

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