This highly-regarded graduate program for working students teaches how to integrate counseling and leadership skills to support students and schools through transitions.

School counselors perform a vital role in facilitating change — for students, teachers, parents, and schools as a whole. The School Counseling program emphasizes social justice and helping skills that are applied in the context of a comprehensive counseling and guidance program. School counseling students become multiculturally competent and skilled social change agents, achievement advocates, and educational leaders who address issues of equity to help youth reach their educational, career and personal/social potential.

Program Features


The faculty's commitment to excellence is grounded in the program's mission and reflected in its accreditation. The School Counseling program is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the leading accrediting body for graduate counseling programs. The counseling program also meets or exceeds the standards set for by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) in the state of Washington. Find out more about the CACREP accreditation here.

Integrating Counseling and Leadership

The foundation for this school counseling program is belief in the dignity and worth of every individual, with a focus on diversity, ethics and social justice. The program expects its graduates to take an active role as change agents who are dedicated to improving conditions for personal growth and enhanced academic and career success.

As schools increase their focus on student achievement of standards, state-required assessment and expanded requirements for high school graduation, school counselors must be prepared to participate in the educational process. They must also possess finely honed counseling skills to support others during times of change. As transition specialists, school counselors are strategically positioned to help students and families adjust to normal developmental stages, unexpected changes in personal or social situations, increased pressure for academic performance, and changing requirements for success in school and beyond. Because of their broad role in school settings, school counselors have contact with virtually all students and teachers. In that capacity, they identify and respond to school-wide issues that impede academic and personal/social development.

Counseling faculty provide educational experiences and support for school counseling students to develop strong clinical skills they will use in a variety of settings: individual and small group counseling, referral to outside agencies, classroom instruction for grades K-12, educational placement and career guidance, school-wide initiatives, and professional development for other staff. Throughout their learning experience at Seattle University, school counseling students form close relationships that lead to a strong professional network after graduation.

Program Mission 

As a premier program in the Pacific Northwest, the mission of Seattle University's graduate counseling program is to prepare diverse, ethical, reflective, clinically skilled, and multiculturally competent counselors to become leaders and advocates who confront injustice and provide quality service in diverse communities. Click here to find out more about the program objectives.

What impact does a school counselor have?

Said Ahmed, Bailey Gatzert School Counselor, speaks with a student.

At Bailey Gatzert Elementary, just blocks from SU's campus, sixty of the school's 375 students are technically homeless and over 92 percent live at or below the poverty line. When a generous gift to the College of Education funded a full-time counselor at Bailey Gatzert, the impact was clear. In just one year, the proportion of students with more than five unexcused absences fell from 45 percent of students to only 24 percent. As interns at Bailey Gatzert, COE counseling students benefit from this partnership by gaining valuable field experience. "We believe we have the dream team," says Principal Greg Imel.