Master of Education in Educational Counseling

This program is designed for aspiring academic advisors or counselors who want to work in community colleges and four-year colleges or universities. 

Educational counselors and academic advisors play a vital role in the lives of college students. Equip yourself with the skills to help students overcome challenges and achieve their academic and career goals. Learn how to deconstruct college and university systems and advance educational equity. 

Program Overview

The Master of Education in Educational Counseling (EC) program will prepare you with an in-depth understanding of counseling, higher education systems and theories of student development.

Through this program, you will:

  • Learn to advance educational equity for historically marginalized students. 
  • Select and apply for fieldwork opportunities from USC’s strong network of community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.
  • Receive mentorship and guidance on your specific research interests with the option to complete a thesis under the direction of a faculty chair.
  • Grow in a supportive community learning with leading professors and practitioners who will nurture your ability to create change. 


The EC program curriculum examines the role of counselors and advisors in colleges and universities and the needs of a diverse student population. The program blends a counseling-based theoretical foundation with practical application in student development and higher education.

Component Courses Purpose
Counseling 6 Gain a foundation in the theory and practice of counseling in a variety of settings.
Student development and higher education 8 Become familiar with student development theory and the dynamics of college and university institutions.
Research methods and data analysis 1 Conduct and use research to address real-world challenges and interests. 
Fieldwork experience 1 Gain supervised experience in a variety of higher educational settings.
Seminar or thesis 2 Conduct a research or assessment project to address an existing problem in the field of educational counseling.

Seminar or Thesis

You can choose to enroll in a series of seminar courses or complete a thesis. In the seminar courses, you will work in a small group to assess a program or department of a local college or university that supports students. As part of this project, you will work collaboratively with the program administration and staff to identify an action plan, collect and analyze data and develop recommendations for improvement with an emphasis on equity. 

If you select the thesis option, you will complete an original research paper under the guidance of a faculty chair and committee. You will develop a research proposal, go through the institutional research board process (IRB), collect and analyze original data and provide recommendations related to an existing problem in the field. 


As part of the curriculum, you are required to complete a minimum of 210 hours of fieldwork under the supervision and guidance of a professional in the field. The fieldwork course will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your field experience, connect theory to practice and strengthen your professional philosophy and identity.

Graduate Assistant Positions

Graduate assistant positions provide hands-on experience in higher education settings and preparation for your desired career. While the majority of EC students obtain graduate assistant positions on the USC campus, the city of Los Angeles is home to many colleges and universities, including local community colleges. Graduate assistant positions are often compensated by an hourly wage, tuition remission, or, in the case of residential education, room and board.

With the support and guidance of our team, you can select and apply for paid and unpaid opportunities tailored to your personal goals throughout your time in the program. However, we recommend that you first interview for opportunities at the annual USC Rossier Preview Day for incoming students.


As an applicant, you will be automatically considered for several USC Rossier scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. There is no need to submit a separate application for these scholarships. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated dedication to the USC Rossier mission and other distinguishing characteristics. Priority consideration is given to those who apply in rounds one and two. 

View USC Rossier’s scholarship finder to identify other scholarships and funding opportunities. You do not have to be admitted to apply to these scholarships. Carefully note the scholarship application deadlines, which may occur before the final program application deadline. 

Financial Aid

The USC Office of Student Financial Aid provides information regarding various types of financial aid and financing options.

To be considered for financial aid, you must apply by filing the FAFSA by May 6, 2022. After you apply, the financial aid office will determine your financial need and inform you of the federal or private loans that are available to you.

Career Outcomes

Graduates of our program work at community colleges and four-year colleges or universities. Other graduates enter PhD and EdD programs immediately, often working in the field full-time or part-time as they earn their doctorate.

Common career paths include:

  • Academic counselor or tenure track counselor at a community college 
  • Academic advisor/counselor 
  • Student support specialist ( graduation and retention, transfer, etc.) 
  • Admission officer 
  • Administrator (directors of advising, program coordinators, etc.)

Our graduates work in programs and departments including:

  • Career services
  • Alumni services
  • First-year experience programs
  • Transfer centers
  • Dream resource centers
  • Student athlete support services
  • Accessibility support centers
  • Multicultural centers  
  • Academic resource centers 
  • Orientation and outreach programs
  • Student life
  • Residential life/housing
  • Admission
  • Dual enrollment services and welcome centers
  • General counseling centers
  • Student support services (i.e., EOP&S, Puente, Umoja, CARE, CalWorks, etc.) 

Program Details

Degree Awarded

Master of Education (ME)

Estimated Length

Full time: 21 months
Part time: 33 months



Program Cost


  • On Campus

Next Deadline

January 15, 2023

See all deadlines

Start Date

Week of August 21, 2023

Class Times

Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. or 7 to 10 p.m. Pacific Time

Take the Next Step

Meet our Student Ambassadors

Our student ambassadors can provide you with helpful insight through the lens of their own experiences. Connect with a student of your choice by email, and set up a time to talk.

EC Ambassador Belen Bazan

Belen Bazan Delgado

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Wenatchee, WA
Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington-Seattle

“I like our program’s cohort style and appreciate how supportive, encouraging, and caring my classmates are. Faculty and staff are very welcoming and approachable and have a vast amount of knowledge and experience.”

EC Ambassador Ailene Huang

Ailene Huang

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Undergraduate Institution: Glendale Community College, University of Southern California
“I chose USC because the curriculum tailors to both advising in a 4-year university and counseling in a 2-year community college. It’s a well-rounded program that allows me to explore my interests while gradually helping me to narrow my focus.”

EC Ambassador Antonio Tony Huezo

Antonio Huezo

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: East Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate Institution: East Los Angeles College and California State University of Los Angeles
“I began my education as a transfer student and I am now the first in my family in pursuing a master’s degree.”

EC Aanika Khatri

Aanika Khatri

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: San Diego State University

“Growing up as an Indian-American, there was always pressure from those around me to pursue a career in medicine, law, or engineering. However, I knew early on that those career paths did not align with my strengths or goals in life.”

EC Ambassador Alex Luong

Alex Luong

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Alhambra, CA
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Northridge
“After attending a prospective student event at USC, I was able to experience what a class session would be like and enjoyed how it was both lecture and discussion-based.”

EC Divina Montejano

Divina Montejano

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: South El Monte, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: Pasadena City College and Chapman University
“Everyone I've met within USC Rossier including faculty, staff and other students have demonstrated that they are about community and believe in creating a network of support during graduate school and even beyond.”

EC Ambassador Sarah Oh

Sarah Oh

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles
Undergraduate Institution: Biola University
“I feel holistically supported as a graduate student. We have access to a variety of personal and professional development workshops that prepare us to be leaders in the field.”

EC Ambassador Mary Rivas

Mary Rivas

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: South LA, Calif
Undergraduate Institution: University of Southern California
“My professors, cohort, and the staff are so genuine. My professors have been really great at creating a safe space for students to feel comfortable, allowing us to share our experiences and thoughts.”

EC Cesar Romero

Cesar Romero

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Anaheim, Calif.
Undergrad: California State University, Fullerton
“I almost went to law school! I thought that if I went to law school I would be "successful", but I realized that I could live a more fulfilled and joyful life working with students in the education field.”

EC Kenneth Samson

Kenneth Samson

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Monrovia, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles 
“I love the people surrounding me at USC Rossier! Not just the professors and the staff but my cohort as well. The professors are very approachable, and I benefit from hearing about their experiences in the field.” 

EC Ambassador Guadalupe Lupe Torres

Guadalupe Torres

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Undergraduate Institution: Cypress College and CSULB

“I am amazed and grateful to be surrounded by driven individuals who share a passion for helping students in their higher education journey.” 

EC Victor Valadez

Victor Valadez

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: Santa Barbara City College and UC San Diego

“I value the diversity of Rossier’s faculty and staff. It empowers me to have a sense of belonging and find community. The cohort establishes a common ground of inclusivity and acceptance.”

EC Ambassador Annie Villanueva

Annie Villanueva

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Reseda, CA
Undergraduate Institution: UC Riverside
“What I value the most is my connection with my professors and my cohort. I feel supported and can always communicate with them about anything that I am going through.”

EC Hector Pimentel

Hector Pimentel

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Arvin, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California Davis

“Being a graduate student at USC Rossier has allowed me to have insightful conversations with my cohort and classmates that’ll soon shift the narrative of BIPOC students and their access to education."

Program Outcomes


of EC alums said their USC Rossier education prepared them to be more effective in their career


of EC alums said their studies at USC Rossier prepared them well for future employment

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Program Contact

Beverly Yanuaria

Beverly V. Yanuaria, ME

Assistant Director, Office of Admission and Scholarships

Student taking notes

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