Early Access to the MA in Counseling

With the approval of a committee of counseling faculty, students maintaining an undergraduate cumulative and major GPA of 3.0 may take up to nine semester hours at the graduate level during their senior year. These hours will count towards the MA Counseling degree but not toward the bachelor’s degree. Students in the early access program must maintain a 3.0 or higher in all IPC courses. A student must be enrolled in at least 12 semester hours of undergraduate classes each semester that he or she is taking IPC credits under this option.

Application for MA Counseling Early Access is electronic and can be found at this website:


MA Counseling Early Access Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there an overload fee? As long as you do not exceed a combined enrollment of more than 18 hours in the semester there is not an overload fee. If you receive approval and enroll in more than 18 hours you will be charged the standard overload fee as stated in the Lindenwood Undergraduate Catalog.

2. How does this affect financial aid? It will not affect your financial aid – you are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 12 undergraduate hours.

3. What forms and signatures do you need? You will need to complete an application to the Early Access to the MA Counseling Program. This form can be obtained from the School of Education. You will need to submit this form to Dr. Michael Rankins in the Department of Counseling. Your academic records will be reviewed by a committee, and if you meet the requirements, your paperwork will be sent to the vice president for academic affairs for approval. You will be notified of your status and your counseling advisor’s name via email after the process has been completed. You will then need to meet with your advisor to complete an enrollment form and create a plan for completion of the MA Counseling after your undergraduate degree has been conferred.

4. Why would I want to do this? If you enter the Lindenwood MA Counseling program after graduation, both the total cost of the program and the time to complete the degree will be reduced, especially if you take MA Counseling courses in the summer term.

5. What is the maximum number of courses I can take prior to receiving my bachelor degree? Students are permitted to enroll in no more than six credit hours of IPC course work per semester and to complete no more than nine credit hours graduate work prior to receiving a bachelor’s degree.

6. Who can apply to the early access program? Any Lindenwood student in an eligible bachelor’s degree program who has completed a minimum of 84 undergraduate hours with a minimum cumulative and major GPA of 3.0 is eligible to apply.

7. What bachelor’s degrees work for this program? Students who intend to focus on graduate studies in Professional Counseling may complete a bachelor’s degree in any area. Students who intend to focus on graduate studies in School Counseling who do not complete a bachelor’s associated with teacher certification will need to complete nine credit hours of Education coursework in order to be eligible for the MA in Counseling degree, and for Missouri certification in School Counseling. This is a Missouri state requirement.

8. How much does this cost? Six hours per semester and no more than a total of nine credit hours will be included in your undergraduate full time tuition. Book expenses and lab fees for any IPC courses will be at your expense.

9. Is there a minimum GPA to remain in the program? Yes. You must maintain a minimum undergraduate cumulative and in major GPA of 3.0 and a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0.

10. Am I automatically accepted to the Graduate School once I have completed my undergraduate program? No. This allows you the opportunity to enroll in the Early Access MA Counseling Program. You will need to complete the process of applying to the Lindenwood Graduate Program.


11. Which IPC courses can I take for the MA in Counseling Early Access? You may only enroll in IPC 51000 Foundations of School Counseling or IPC 51100 Foundations of School Counseling, IPC 51200 Ethics & Professional Issues, and IPC 52100 Human Growth & Development.

12. How much longer will it take me to finish my MA in Counseling after my undergraduate degree is conferred? This depends on the number of hours you take each semester. When you are admitted into the graduate program for School of Education, you will create a customized plan for completion with an advisor. A typical “streamlined” timeline is below for the MA in Counseling Early Access, including IPC coursework taken before and after the student obtains the bachelor’s degree.

Fall Senior Year:

IPC 51000 Foundations of School Counseling or IPC 51100 Foundations of Professional Counseling

IPC 51200 Ethics & Professional Issues

Undergraduate Coursework

Spring Senior Year:

IPC 52100 Human Growth & Development

Undergraduate Coursework

Summer Graduate Semester I

Emphasis Area Course

Emphasis Area Course

Fall Graduate Semester II

Emphasis Area Course

Emphasis Area Course

Spring Graduate Semester III

Emphasis Area Course

Emphasis Area Course

Emphasis Area Course

Summer Graduate Semester IV

Emphasis Area Course

Elective Course

Fall Graduate Semester V

Elective Course

Internship or Field Placement

Spring Graduate Semester VI

Elective Course

Internship or Field Placement (Second Semester)

Comprehensive Exam

List of Eligible Undergraduate Degrees

In general, completed bachelor’s degrees are acceptable regardless of the area of emphasis. For students who have not completed a bachelor’s degree associated with teaching, and who are intending to complete graduate studies in School Counseling, it may be necessary to complete nine credit hours of EDU coursework in addition to the 48 credit hours of core and elective coursework.