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.      Documentation that they have passed the CBEST (a requirement to obtain the PPS credential in School Counseling). Effective for Fall 2018 admission, all PPS applicants should be able to document a good faith effort to meet this requirement by taking the CBEST. Students beginning the program for the Fall 2018 must pass the CBEST by the time their first semester begins in Fall 2018
    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.
  • Have a BA degree - preferably in psychology or other related behavioral sciences. School counseling students shold have some first hand knowledge of the K-12 school system.
  • Submit and complete all of the Department application forms by the required deadline.
  • Be enrolled or have applied to Sonoma State University. (CSU application for SSU is available from Admissions & Records.)
  • 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


The Fall 2018 Departmental Application Has Passed.


FAQ's - General Information

  1. Do letters of recommendations need to be in sealed envelopes with the recommenders name written on it?  NO and Admissions does NOT need letters of recommendations just the department does.
  2. 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.
  3. What if I don’t know if a prerequisite is what I need?  Send a course description to Lisa Kelley: and she will have a faculty member look at it for approval.
  4. How many sets of transcripts do I need?  2;  one for the department and one for the University;  we do not share transcripts.  If you are having transcripts sent separate from your application have them sent to Counseling Department, NH220, at the address of the University; and the other transcript will go to Admissions: Attn:  Rosanna Kelley. 
  5. 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.
  6. When will I hear something? The average wait time to receive notification after the deadline can range between three and four weeks
  7. Can I drop my application off?  Yes you can, and if the department is closed there is black locked mailbox to the right of the counseling department’s front door.  Office hours vary, as this is a one person office. 
  8. How will I know if my application was received? Please send Lisa Kelley: an email to verify that your application was received. Please use some sort of tracking method for your application; example Federal Express.
  9. If you have questions regarding fees please go to the Graduate Studies website: and click on the Fees/Charges link.

Application to the University

In order to apply to the University, you must submit the California State University Application and all other documents required to the Admissions & Records Office. It is now possible for you to submit your university application on-line.

If you are already enrolled as an unclassified graduate student, this step is not necessary.

If you are currently enrolled and will be graduating, you must reapply to the University.

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

Applicant Responsibilities:

  • Keep copies of all your supplemental materials for your records (Department application, autobiography, etc).
  • Request letters of recommendation as soon as you can and have them sent directly to you - keeping them to email to the Department ( with your complete packet. (You might consider giving them a deadline a month prior to the January 5 deadline.) You may wish to ask five people for letters of recommendation in case someone does not come through by the deadline.
  • Request two sets of transcripts. You will need one set of official transcripts sent to Sonoma State University (Admission and Records), and one set of official transcripts to submit to the Counseling Department. Unsealed transcripts provided by applicants are not acceptable. If you are applying to SSU, be sure to promptly respond to the request for transcripts from Admissions and Records. Remember to request a set of transcripts from SSU for the Counseling Department! The Counseling Department would like transcripts from all the institutions from which you received a degree and/or took any relevant (behavioral science) course work.
  • Your complete packet must be received in our office by the Deadline Friday, January 5, 2018. Include: emailed: Information Sheet, Autobiography, Letters of Recommendation in one email to, and mailed transcripts (in sealed envelope) get a tracking number from your carrier, i.e. Fedex. Mail transcripts for deparmtental applicaiton to the Department address: SSU-N220, 1801 E. Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park ATTN LISA KELLEY.
  • You must either be enrolled at SSU as a post baccalaureate student or have submitted a CSU Graduate Application to Admissions & Records before the end of January.

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 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.