Application Process

To be Eligible for the Program, you must:

  • Have a 3.0 grade point average. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 should include an explanation of any extenuating circumstances.
  • A course in Personality Theory is required for both the CMHC and School Counseling option. A course in abnormal psychology is required for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) option.
  • PPS applicants have additional prerequisites (beyond the Personality Theory class). These include:
    1.      A course in child development.
    2.      In order to apply to the PPS Program, documentation that you have passed the CBEST (a requirement to obtain the PPS credential in School Counseling).
    3.      Students accepted into the School Counseling track will need to provide evidence of a current and valid Certificate of Clearance prior to the start of classes.

  • All prerequisite courses should be completed before beginning M.A. classes in the Fall of the student’s entry year.  Students may enter the program with prerequisite courses that are not complete, but it is strongly discouraged because it will delay the student’s course of studies.  Prerequisite courses not completed by the end of the Fall semester of the student’s entry year will result in the student being blocked from entering classes in the Spring.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation are required, these must be submitted through Cal State Apply.
  • Have a BA/BS degree - preferably in psychology or other related behavioral sciences. School Counseling students should have some first hand knowledge of the K-12 school system. Persons admitted to the School Counseling program must have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in a subject other than Education.
  • Be enrolled or have applied to Sonoma State University through Cal State Appply:
  • Have a personal interview and a group interview is required for applicants considered for final review. In these interviews, questions may involve personal disclosure deemed relevant by the faculty for determing the applicant's readiness for beginning training for a career in counseling. All disclosures are held in strict confidence.
  • Certificate of Clearance

Apply to the University and Department via Cal State Apply for the Fall 2020 semester.

FAQ's - General Information

  1. What do I have to write on the State of Purpose in the University Application?  You write that you are applying to the Department and include an autobiography.
  2. What if I don’t know if a prerequisite is what I need?  Send a course title, course description and university name to Lisa Kelley: and she will have a faculty member look at it for approval.
  3. How many units can be transferred into the program?  up to 18 acceptable units; these transferrable units will not be looked at until you have been accepted into the program, then your faculty advisor will look at your transcript.
  4. When will I hear something? The average wait time to receive notification after the deadline can range between three and six weeks.

Application to the University/Department

In order to apply to the University/Department, you must submit the California State University Application/Department application through Cal State Apply:


Academic Foundation

A BA is preferred in one of the behavioral sciences and optimally, one with sound preparation in psychology. Abnormal behavior and personality theory are prerequisites for admission into the program in the MFT track. Personality theory and Child development are prerequisites for admission into the program in the PPS track. These courses must be completed before beginning courses in the Counseling Department. Take care of these early! If you wait until you are in the application process and you cannot find the right courses or are unable to enroll in them, you risk being turned down for admission into the program.

Description of the Application Process:  The entire application is submitted through Cal State Apply:


It is important to read all the information you receive to avoid missing a deadline or misunderstanding what is required. Please notify us if you do not wish to continue with the application process at any point during the process.

The Interview Process

  1. Completed files are screened by faculty teams. There are many more applications from qualified candidates than can be admitted, and the reading of the files constitutes the first part of the selection and elimination process. Candidates receive letters advising them whether or not they have been selected for an interview. The interviews are likely to be scheduled in the mid February to latter part of March. Please keep this time available. You will receive a letter via email.
  2. The Department has found that the interview provides very important data, and, consequently, it is required as a part of the selection process. Interview teams generally consist of two faculty members. International applicants and applicants living outside of the Western region of the U.S. (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California, Nevada, Arizona) may request to submit a video taped or Skype interview. (Contact the Department for further guidelines)
  3. On the basis of all of the data which have been brought forward, the faculty admissions committee determines the ranking of all of the candidates. It should be stressed that throughout the application process every attempt is made to quantify data and to assign numerical equivalents where appropriate.
  4. According to the rankings derived by the Committee, based upon the number of places available through current staffing, letters are sent to three groups of applicants:
    • a. Those invited as classified students
    • b. Those on a waiting list
    • c. Those not admitted

Every attempt is made to email these letters the week following the interviews.

As stated earlier, there are more qualified candidates than we can admit. We encourage people to apply again. We feel you should know that some candidates have been successful on the second and even third attempt.

It should be noted that the Department selects the best candidates for admission from each year's pool of new applicants.