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 Review 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 $15,000 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. 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

$2,201 per unit (estimated)

Estimated cost of attendance


  • On Campus

Next Deadline

December 1st, 2023

See all deadlines

Start Date

Week of August 21, 2024

Class Times

Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 6:40 p.m. or 7 to 9:40 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.

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Vincent D. Austin

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergraduate Institution: California State University East Bay

"Nothing is impossible for you to accomplish, getting into the Rossier program, and any other goals you have for yourself. Just have faith in the man above and in yourself and it will happen!"

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Thania Cabral

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Reseda, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara

"As a First Generation Mexican-American, I never envisioned myself pursuing a master's degree, let alone at USC! The support I have received from my cohort, Rossier's faculty and staff has made my graduate school experience that much more enjoyable."

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Michael Atmos Corvera

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Buena Park, California
Undergraduate Institution: Orange Coast College and Cal State Dominguez Hills

"As a first-generation student, I did not believe I would ever attend USC, but I am grateful I believed in myself to belong. I feel like I can be my authentic self and have the support from everyone within the program. My advice, never tell yourself you are not capable."

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Moises Gonzalez

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Santa Monica, California
Undergraduate Institution: Santa Monica College and University of California, Santa Barbara

“The graduate program at USC Rossier has been a wonderful experience. My cohort is filled with other students who care about their profession and the program. Rossier students have access to lots of support both inside and outside the organization.”

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Jose G. Bermejo Jr.

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Anaheim, California
Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Fullerton

"At first, I didn't believe that pursuing higher education was the right fit for me, however after beginning my journey here at Rossier I found confidence from both faculty and peers to say that I belong here and so should you."

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Alexis Linares-Sierra

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: South Gate, California
Undergraduate Institution: Santa Monica College and University of California, San Diego

"It doesn't matter where you begin your journey. It matters on how you progress throughout and who you decide to connect with. You create your own story and can choose how you want it to be."

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Keily Molina

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara

"Being the first in my family to pursue a master's degree took a village to get me here. The professors, advisors, and my cohort are amazing and my greatest support system."

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Kimberly Morales

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Panorama City, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

"As a first-generation student I feel welcomed and supported by the USC Rossier School of Education. I am holistically supported as student and as a thriving professional. I truly value the community I have built with the cohort, faculty, and staff!"

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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