Department of Psychology

Headshot of Heather Noble


Heather Noble, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology
P: 816-501-2969 / E:

MS in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Avila University is a 60-62 credit hour degree program designed to provide specialized education in the field of counseling psychology. The program is designed to help graduates meet the educational criteria required for licensed mental health counselors in Kansas and Missouri and is accredited by MPCACMPCAC recently approved the counseling program’s accreditation for 10 years – valid through January 2028! Fall 2019 MPCAC Annual Survey data can be accessed here.

The Avila University Department of Psychology is committed to the scientist-practitioner model to train masters-level counseling psychologists for the delivery of mental health services in a variety of settings, such as private practice, mental health clinics, counseling centers, and human service agencies. Students who earn a masters degree in counseling psychology will be able to assist people experiencing social, behavioral, and personal mental health problems through a variety of approaches and learned techniques.

The internship requires a 750-hour field experience completed between one semester of practicum and at least two semesters of internship. The internship class begins at 4:00 pm. The table below is representative of the number of hours needed at a clinical site.

29 hours per weekSummer/Fall or Spring/Summer (24 weeks)
22 hours per weekFall/Spring (32 weeks)
18 hours per weekFall, Spring, and Summer (40 weeks)
Average number of internship hours required per week as determined by the semesters during which internship is completed.

MSCP Mission Statement:

The Avila MSCP program is committed to the scientist-practitioner model to train masters-level counselors for the delivery of mental health services in a variety of settings. Students who earn a master’s degree in counseling psychology will be prepared to assist those experiencing social, behavioral, and personal mental health problems through a variety of approaches and learned techniques, integrating key elements of a client’s cultural or social context. Students will leave with the abilities to evaluate evidenced- based treatment approaches, integrate respect for the dignity and well-being of others, and advocate for both the common and individual well-being.

Counseling Program Frequently Asked Questions.

Program Requirements – 60 credit hours

  • PY 602 Orientation to Counseling Professions
  • PY 605 The Helping Relationship I
  • PY 615 Career Development
  • PY 617 Research Design and Analysis I
  • PY 621 Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • PY 630 Theories of Counseling
  • PY 645 Personality Assessment
  • PY 650 Biological Bases of Behavior
  • PY 656 Multicultural Counseling
  • PY 660 Theories and Methods of Group Counseling
  • PY 665 Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders
  • PY 693 Ethics and Professional Development
  • PY 694 The Helping Relationship II
  • PY 695 Internship
  • PY 698 Treatment of Disorders

The remaining 12 credit hours may be completed by pursuing a concentration or completing 12 hours of elective credit.


Students in the Counseling Psychology program have the option of pursuing a concentration utilizing some or all of the 12 hours of electives in the program.

Child and Adolescent Counseling
Students in this concentration complete coursework on the intricacies in working with youth populations. Coursework in this concentration enables learning through an immersion in family dynamics and issues related to children. Courses include family systems : theory and treatment, topics in abnormal psychology and topics in counseling. Students have the opportunity to select a site for their internship experience that specializes in counseling children.

Couples and Family Counseling
Students in this concentration complete coursework that relates to working the couple and family unit. Coursework in this concentration focuses on the learning dynamics and therapeutic approaches when working with couples and families. The classes in this concentration includes couples counseling, family systems, human sexuality, and selected topics in those areas. This concentration does not meet the eligibility requirements to become licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Psychological Assessment
Students in this concentration complete coursework that relates to psychological assessment and analysis. Coursework in this concentration focuses on understanding and applying concepts, measures, research designs, and statistical analyses as they relate to cognitive, social, and interpersonal processes.  The classes in this concentration include Advanced Cognitive Processes, Individual Intelligence Assessment, Advanced Social Psychology, and Research Design and Analysis II. This concentration is ideal for those students interested in pursuing licensure as a master’s level psychologist in Kansas.

Students in this concentration will focus on areas related to psychological research and statistics and lab experiences.  Students interested in completing a master’s thesis as part of their degree program should pursue the Research concentration.  The concentration includes 14 additional credits hours and includes: Research Design & Analysis II and III, Research Experience I, and Master’s Thesis.  Students interested in pursuing a doctorate are encouraged to speak with their faculty advisor about the research concentration.  Students are admitted to the concentration after they begin the program. 62 credit hour program.

For course descriptions, please view the graduate academic catalog.

Non Degree / enrichment college credits
Students needing additional college credits or specific coursework for transfer or licensure can take 9 credits (more with approval) through the Avila Department of Psychology non degree / enrichment college credit option. Contact the Enrollment and Retention Manager at 816-501-0419 or

Alumni Profile: Abhi Dutt

Q: Why Avila? There are a lot of places to get your degree, why here?
A: It was important to me to learn about counseling through the perspective of the scientific-process followed in academic psychology. Avila University’s Master of Science in Counseling Psychology was salient to my choosing this program.

Q: What makes Avila special/unique/inspiring to you? 
A: I became acquainted with Avila University several years before enrolling in the Counseling Psychology program. I had spent two years at Jerusalem Farm, a non-profit home repair organization in the low-income Historic Northeast of Kansas City. Avila was the fiscal sponsor that got Jerusalem Farm off the ground in 2012. During this time, I was introduced to the work and charisma of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the founders of Avila University. I noticed that, as an institution, Avila is anchored in the Sisters’ values of social justice and ministry of relationship. I thought surely in today’s world any institution that puts ‘their money where their mouth is’ must be an institution of integrity and depth.

I found that to be true in Avila’s Counseling Psychology program. The faculty and staff are relational, competent, and committed to the students. The program has a strong emphasis on counseling with a multicultural perspective and a broad worldview. The professors not only teach but personify fidelity, justice, and beneficence, and other professional values of counseling. During my 3 years in the program I have been prepared to be a professional counselor who understands that building a therapeutic alliance with person-centered skills and evidence-based interventions is pivotal to the process of change in counseling.

Alumni Profile – Allison Marquis

Q: What makes Avila special/unique/inspiring to you?
A: The staff consists of intelligent professors who are extremely passionate about what they do! They are willing to work with you and help you in any and every way possible.

Q: What do you want to do with your degree?
A: I am currently working as a counselor specializing in substance use disorders and loving it! I would love to teach as well as take on some sort of leadership role in the future.

Q: How has Avila helped you reach that goal?
A: All of my professors guided me and helped me reach my goal. They prepared me for the National Counseling Exam, CPCE, as well as wrote many recommendations for me. They also taught me many things that you just can’t learn in a textbook!

Alumni Profile: KaMara White

Q: What makes Avila special/unique/inspiring to you?
A: Avila holds a special place in my heart mainly because of the professors. They truly cared about me along with my personal goals in the counseling field and beyond. They believed in me and helped me to push through every assignment. They are inspiring and their mentorship and support continues beyond graduation.

Q: What do you want to do with your degree?
A: I use my degree in everyday life as I believe that my counseling degree is transferrable in all fields. I currently work in healthcare operations and I manage clinical and non-clinical teams. Through the program and internship experience, I learned how to effectively communicate, create and accomplish goals, show compassion and empathy; and most importantly, I learned a lot about myself. I plan to utilize the skills that I learned in a private practice for teens and adolescents in the very near future

Q: Were there any particular instances during your coursework where a faculty member mentored you?
A: My professors mentored me during the Practicum course and it was very constructive. They gave me advice on my counseling skills and how to perfect the skill that was innate within me. They told me that it was ok “to be silent” during a session and how to ask open-ended questions to help engage clients.

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