Human Development Counseling

Master of Arts
Office Phone: (217) 206-6504
e Location: BRK 332

The Department of Human Development Counseling offers three concentrations accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP):

  1. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  2. Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Concentration
  3. School Counseling Concentration

These concentrations allow graduates to provide counseling and consulting services at a professional level in a wide variety of environments. Career options for graduates in the clinical mental health and marriage, couple, and family counseling concentrations include counseling in mental health, correctional, social welfare, rehabilitative, and human relations agencies, institutions, and environments. The school counseling concentration is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and prepares candidates for a Professional Educator License with a School Counseling endorsement. Since opportunities for employment within each of these concentrations vary widely, prospective students should consult an HDC faculty advisor before choosing a concentration.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has accredited the clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and marriage, couple and family counseling concentrations. Successful completion of the curriculum for these concentrations leads to eligibility for certification through the National Board of Certified Counselors, and/or State of Illinois licensure.

HDC students are encouraged to join the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the Illinois Counseling Association (ICA). Students preparing for a career in mental health counseling are encouraged to join the American Mental Health Counseling Association (AMHCA). Students preparing for a career in school counseling are encouraged to join the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and/or the Illinois School Counselor Association (ISCA). Students who are pursuing or have completed the M.A. degree in the marriage, couple and family counseling concentration may apply for membership in the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC), the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and/or licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Consultation with the department’s marriage, couple and family counseling concentration coordinator is required.

The Master's Degree


Academic advising for HDC students is very important, and students should contact their advisors regularly. An advisor will be assigned by the department upon successful completion of the admissions process.

Grading Policy

HDC department majors must earn grades of B- or better in HDC 501, HDC 511, HDC 512, and HDC 513. If a C+ grade or lower is earned in any of these courses, the course must be retaken. HDC majors must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. In other courses, a maximum of six hours of C grades is allowed provided that a minimum GPA of 3.0 is reached at time of graduation and an approved a Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration.

NOTE: Students also should refer to the campus policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees section of this catalog.

Expected Professional Competencies

Before graduating, degree candidates must demonstrate competencies and dispositions related to personal development, such as the ability to communicate effectively with others; professional development, such as the ability to conceptualize client concerns and to provide appropriate intervention through an individual or group relationship; and social development, such as the ability to collaborate effectively within a treatment team context.

In addition to these general competencies, students are expected to develop and demonstrate specific CACREP core-related knowledge and skills necessary for the client populations with which, or for the settings in which, they intend to work. Such specialized knowledge may be obtained through projects designed to meet individual course requirements, as well as demonstration of skill throughout their clinical experience in practicum and internship.

Each department course may contain an applied or experiential component in addition to the didactic component, and some courses specifically emphasize experiential learning. These courses require application of professional skills in simulated and/or real settings. Students should, therefore, expect to demonstrate understanding of ethical behavior in the counseling profession as well as evidence of effective interaction skills with clients. All master’s candidates must be familiar with the HDC policy on clinical experience and should consult their advisors about satisfying its provisions. All degree candidates must demonstrate graduate-level performance in reading, writing, and speaking English.

Degree Requirements

All HDC majors must declare their concentration selection by completing a Change of Curriculum form and submitting it to the Office of Records and Registration.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Concentration
School Counseling Concentration

A total of 61 semester hours is required for a master’s degree in Human Development Counseling in all three concentrations:

HDC 501Fundamental Issues and Ethics in Counseling 13
HDC 511Theories of Counseling3
HDC 512Prepracticum3
HDC 513Group Counseling3
HDC 515Multicultural Counseling3
HDC 521Developmental Counseling3
HDC 524Career/Lifestyle Counseling3
HDC 525Alcoholism and Substance Abuse3
HDC 533Family Dynamics3
HDC 543Consultation and Crisis Intervention3
HDC 546Psychopathology and the DSM3
HDC 575Appraisal Techniques in Counseling3
HDC 577Research Methods3
HDC 585Comprehensive Examination Registration1
HDC 587Professional Experience: Practicum3
HDC 590Professional Experience: Internship1-10
Total Hours61

Master’s Closure

In addition to course requirements, students are required to pass a comprehensive examination that tests knowledge from the department’s required course work. Completion of the closure requirement is satisfied once a student registers for the comprehensive exam (HDC 585), and passes both the multiple choice and clinical case presentation portions of the examination. Students must register for the comprehensive exam during the last semester of their internship, and after completion of required HDC courses. Students must consult their advisors for further information on the master’s closure requirement.

Students who take HDC 585 and do not pass both the multiple choice and clinical case presentation portion of the exam while enrolled must register for HDC 586 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each fall and spring until the exam is passed. Students who do not pass the clinical case presentation portion of the exam must also enroll in one credit hour of HDC 590 and provide additional professional counseling services at an approved clinical site.

Degree Program Program Type Dept Application Materials and Admission Criteria Prerequisite Course Requirements Department ADM Review Dept Conditional Admits Dept Appeal Process
Human Development Counseling MA On campus *Applications are considered for fall admissions only

Phase 1:
*3 Recommendation Forms

Phase 2:
*Written essay and group interview

Full Admission: Minimum GPA of 3.00 for last 60 credit hours of undergraduate degree or cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75.

Application Deadlines:
*To ensure consideration for full admission, all Phase 1 application materials should be postmarked by January 31. In order for late applications to be considered, materials should be postmarked by June 15.
N/A HDC Department Admissions Committee N/A Applicants who are not admitted may request to reapply for the next admission cycle


HDC 446. Family Law. 3,4 Hours.

Topics include divorce, domestic violence, illegitimacy, adoption, child support and custody, parental control, abuse and neglect laws, issues affecting the elderly, domestic law reform, and the impact of the women's rights movement. Course Information: Same as LES 446, SOA 454, SWK 446, and WGS 446. Not for Freshmen or Sophomores.

HDC 449. Preventing and Coping with Burnout. 3 Hours.

Burnout (definition, causes, research), along with strategies for prevention and coping (individual, interpersonal, and organizational).

HDC 501. Fundamental Issues and Ethics in Counseling. 3 Hours.

Examines personal and professional values, goals, objectives, and professional roles and functions of the counseling profession. Topics include professional ethical codes and legal issues involved in counseling practice. Course Information: Required as first core course. Students receiving a grade of C+ or lower must repeat this course.

HDC 502. Advanced Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling. 3 Hours.

This course will critically reflect on the foundations and components of ethical maturity and decision making within the helping professions. Additionally, this class will explore the nexus of ethics and the law as it pertains to the field of counseling. This will be accomplished through an examination of legal considerations associated with conducting clinical work in an ethical manner.

HDC 511. Theories of Counseling. 3 Hours.

A study of major counseling theories including existential, humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, systemic, and other related approaches to counseling. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501 or concurrent enrollment. Students receiving a grade of C+ or lower must repeat this course.

HDC 512. Prepracticum. 3 Hours.

Focuses on intensive laboratory practice of a basic sequence of listening and other skills with attention to advanced relationship skills, case interpretation, and evaluation skills. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501 or concurrent enrollment; and HDC 511 or concurrent enrollment. Students receiving a grade of C+ or lower must repeat this course.

HDC 513. Group Counseling. 3 Hours.

Examines group development, dynamics, theory, approaches, and leadership styles. Laboratory experience included. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501, HDC 511, and HDC 512. Students receiving a grade of C+ or lower must repeat this course.

HDC 515. Multicultural Counseling. 3 Hours.

Literature and research on counseling services for persons of culturally diverse backgrounds, focusing on treatments that are indigenous to minority clients; cross-cultural dimensions of the counseling relationship; and approaches, techniques, and interventions applicable to the mental health needs of minority clients. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501 or concurrent.

HDC 521. Developmental Counseling. 3 Hours.

Examines the implications of client development for counselor behavior in the helping relationship. Delineates counseling knowledge and skill appropriate to the various levels of affective, behavioral, cognitive, and interpersonal development.

HDC 524. Career/Lifestyle Counseling. 3 Hours.

Relates data from personality-based and developmental models of career choice to achieving a satisfying career/lifestyle. Includes information about occupational, technological, and educational resources, needs of special populations, goals of guidance and counseling, and techniques of career/lifestyle decision making. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501.

HDC 525. Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. 3 Hours.

In-depth overview of the field of alcoholism and substance abuse. Topics include the physiological/biological effects of drugs, the psychological correlates of drug use, societal issues and concerns, theories of addiction, treatment and relapse issues, regulation and legislation, ethical issues, and accreditation/certification standards.

HDC 531. Developmental School Counseling. 3 Hours.

Examines counseling in the school setting as well as the roles and functions of the professional school counselor. Examines salient themes and issues facing the field as well as school-aged children. Required for school counselor certification. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501.

HDC 532. Critical Issues & Considerations in School Counseling. 3 Hours.

This course will build on concepts learned during the foundations of school counseling course. School counseling candidates will be expected to critically examine current issues impacting the field and school-aged children. Since this class will be taken concurrently with practicum or internship, there will be an expectation that students will scrutinize the interplay between theory and practice.

HDC 533. Family Dynamics. 3 Hours.

Examines how members of a family interact with each other and to the family as a whole. Topics include: types of contemporary families; the family life cycle; theories of family development; family roles; interpersonal relationships (couple, parenting. sibling); aging; family stress; crisis and coping; family wellness; and management of family systems.

HDC 534. Introduction To Family Counseling. 3 Hours.

Major techniques of family counseling with emphasis on integration of theoretical constructs and therapeutic skills. Lecture, demonstration, and laboratory learning approaches used. Students analyze a family system and present projects demonstrating comprehension of systems-based theory and practice. Required for students enrolled in the MCFC concentration. Course Information: Restricted to Graduate students. Prerequisite: HDC 501.

HDC 535. Child and Adolescent Counseling. 3 Hours.

Designed to teach counseling students about theories of child and adolescent counseling as well as appropriate therapeutic interventions for children and adolescents. Focuses on age developmentally-appropriate interventions such as play therapy and on common childhood disorders in an effort to help counseling students differentiate between normal and abnormal childhood and adolescent behaviors. Required for students enrolled in the SC concentration. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501.

HDC 536. Divorce Counseling. 3 Hours.

For advanced students specializing in marriage, couple, and family counseling. Students develop and implement treatment plans to ameliorate problems experienced by persons separated from spouses. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 534. Restricted to Human Development Counseling.

HDC 537. Couple Counseling. 3 Hours.

For advanced students specializing in marriage, couple, and family counseling. Students develop treatment plans for dysfunctions occurring in marital or couple relations. Course Information: Required for students enrolled in the MCFC concentration. Prerequisite:HDC 501 and HDC 533 or HDC 534 or HDC 558. Restricted to Human Development Counseling.

HDC 538. Adoptive/Foster Family Systems. 3 Hours.

Examination of issues unique to adoptive and foster families, including perspectives, dynamics, development, and roles of adoptive parents, adoptee, birth parents, extended kin, foster children, foster parents, birth families, caseworkers, and counselors.

HDC 542. Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 3 Hours.

Provides clinical mental health counseling students with an orientation to mental health counseling perspectives. General principles and practices of community intervention, consultation, education and outreach will be emphasized, as well as characteristics of various human services programs in the community. An overview of mental health counseling, specific techniques for handling crisis situations, as well as practical skills such as writing clinical case reviews, treatment plans, case notes, handling insurance claims, and myriad counseling responsibilities in a mental health counseling setting will be explored. Required for students enrolled in the CMHC concentration. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501.

HDC 543. Consultation and Crisis Intervention. 3 Hours.

Provides students with an understanding of their roles and responsibilities in regard to consultation and crisis intervention. Models of consultation will be explored as well as the various settings and scenarios in which those models might be applied. Strategies and guidelines for intervention regarding crises, including both man-made and natural disasters, will also be addressed. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501.

HDC 544. Social Justice and Advocacy in Counseling. 3 Hours.

Professional counselors are called to be agents of change. Through this experiential course, students continue to advance multicultural knowledge, attitudes, and skills. In order to address issues of oppression, discrimination, and marginalization within communities, institutions, and cultures, strategies for influencing positive social change will be explored and applied. Required for students enrolled in the CMHC concentration. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501 and HDC 515.

HDC 545. Sexual Dysfunction and Family Violence. 3 Hours.

Training in family counseling methods relating to sexual dysfunction and family violence. This course is designed to assist counselors in developing skills in the professional treatment of these issues from a systems perspective. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 501 and HDC 533 or HDC 534 or HDC 558.

HDC 546. Psychopathology and the DSM. 3 Hours.

An introduction to the process of conducting a mental health assessment culminating in the formulation of a DSM diagnosis, utilizing the current version of the DSM. Crucial components will be considered, including physiological disorders contributing to psychological symptomology, dual diagnosis complications, family relationship issues, social stressors, psychopathology, and cultural issues. Emphasis will be placed on intervention strategies and development of critical thinking regarding diagnostic processes and case conceptualization skills.

HDC 555. The Neurobiology of Trauma. 3 Hours.

This course will focus upon providing students with an introduction to the history of the development of trauma theory, with an emphasis on the psychophysiology and neurobiology of trauma. The concept of resilience and its mechanisms will also be explored. Students will consider various forms of trauma, with particular emphases on developmental and complex trauma and their long-term effects as well as the traumatic sequelae of war, ethnic conflict and historical trauma.

HDC 558. Theories of Family Counseling. 3 Hours.

Theories and models of family counseling, emphasizing integration of issues relating to family treatment with systems theory. Family counseling issues will be compared across treatment models. Includes extensive readings and strong focus on clinical practice considerations. Required for students enrolled in the MCFC concentration. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 534.

HDC 559. Advanced Family Counseling. 3 Hours.

For advanced students interested in specializing in family counseling techniques. Students develop and implement family treatment plans in actual and/or simulated family systems and must be able to articulate at least two major family counseling approaches. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 534 and HDC 558.

HDC 575. Appraisal Techniques in Counseling. 3 Hours.

Basic theories and approaches to the psychological/educational appraisal of individuals and groups, including validity, reliability, and psychometric statistics. Includes contemporary issues, ethics, representative methods and tests, and use and interpretation of results in the helping process.

HDC 577. Research Methods. 3 Hours.

Review of research theories, designs, and statistics; implementation of research proposal and report; principles of program evaluation and needs assessment; computer applications; and ethical and legal considerations.

HDC 583. Master's Project Continuing Enrollment. 0 Hours.

This course is offered to those students who enrolled in HDC 582 as their closure option and were unable to complete that option. Students must register for HDC 583 for zero credit hours (one billable hour) in all subsequent fall and spring semesters until the project closure option is completed.

HDC 585. Comprehensive Examination Registration. 1 Hour.

Students must pass both the multiple-choice and clinical case presentation portions of the comprehensive exam for completion of this course and the program's comprehensive exam closure requirement. Refer to course description for HDC 586. Course Information: Prerequisite: Completion of all core coursework; may take concurrently with specialization and/or elective coursework (maximum of two courses). Approval of comprehensive examination coordinator required. 1.000 Credit Hours.

HDC 586. Comprehensive Examination Continuing Enrollment. 0 Hours.

Students who take HDC 585 and do not pass the exam while enrolled must register for HDC 586 for zero credit hours (one billable hour) each fall and spring until the exam is passed. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 585.

HDC 587. Professional Experience: Practicum. 3 Hours.

Professional experience in helping relationships within institutions/agencies that promote human welfare. Requires 100 clock hours on site. Admission by application to HDC professional experience coordinator, who coordinates placement in an appropriate setting. Requires demonstration of competence in process, relationship, attending, and influencing skills, as well as knowledge of major theoretical approaches to counseling. Registration limited and waiting list maintained. Required core course. Course Information: Credit/No Credit grading only. Prerequisite: HDC 501, HDC 511, HDC 512, HDC 513, HDC 515, HDC 546, and HDC 575.

HDC 588. Professional Experience: Practicum in Family Counseling. 3 Hours.

Focuses on the use of therapeutic knowledge and skills with families. Successful completion of the course requires demonstration of competencies considered essential for the professional building a career in the field of family counseling. Course Information: Prerequisite: HDC 513, HDC 515, HDC 534, HDC 546, HDC 558 and HDC 575. Restricted to Human Development Counseling.

HDC 590. Professional Experience: Internship. 1-10 Hours.

Requires minimum of 6 credit hours and 600 clock hours; additional credit hours require department approval. Course Information: May repeat for a maximum of 10 hours. Prerequisite: HDC 513, HDC 515, HDC 521, HDC 524, HDC 525, HDC 542 or HDC 531, HDC 533, HDC 546, HDC 575, and HDC 587 or HDC 588. For MCFC students: 2 of the 4 MCFC required courses - HDC 534, HDC 537, HDC 545, HDC 558. Restricted to HDC majors. 1.000 to 10.000 Credit hour.

HDC 599. Tutorial. 1-12 Hours.

Intended to supplement, not supplant, regular course offerings. Students interested in a tutorial must secure the consent of the faculty member concerned before registration and submit any required documentation to him or her.