Master of Education in School Counseling

Today, school counselors do much more than help students get into college and give advice. School systems look to them as advocates for the success of all students.

The Nicholls State University Master of Education in School Counseling program prepares students to provide a variety of counseling and guidance services in diverse educational settings.

The program emphasizes clinical training and K-12 field experiences while providing the background knowledge necessary for an integrated approach to counseling, collaboration and program development.

Graduates of the MESC program have obtained jobs in various settings and regions in the state

School counselors in PK -12 settings, including public, private, alternative, and charter schools. They have been hired in school systems throughout the region, including Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Mary, Iberia, St. John, St. James, St. Charles, Assumption, Ascension, Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

In addition to school counselor positions, graduates have also been hired as behavioral interventionists in schools.

Counseling positions in other agencies, such as Magnolia Services, Options for Independence, Early Steps, Clair House, Nicholls Academic Advising, Lafourche Drug Court, Louisiana Workforce, Lafourche Juvenile Justice and other social service agencies in the area.

Graduates sometimes opt to continue teaching in their school district as a master teacher, directors of curriculum, RTI director, etc.

The mission statement of the Masters of School Counseling Program is as follows:

The Masters of Education in School Counseling program (MESC) has as its mission the professional training of candidates interested in working as counselors in school settings.  School counseling candidates will acquire competencies to perform successfully as counselors, consultants, advocates and leaders in schools and the community.   The program prepares culturally competent, culturally sensitive and ethical counselors to work effectively in a pluralistic society. The faculty designs and delivers academic and clinical experiences to all students in ways that recognize, respect and value the diversity of students’ backgrounds, characteristics, beliefs, and abilities. The MESC program meets the standards for certification of school counselors as specified by the Louisiana State Department of Education in Louisiana, and also provides training consistent with requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Louisiana as well as other states.

Chantrelle Varnado-Johnson, LPC-S, RPT, BC-TMH, NCC

Title: Assistant Professor & Coordinator of School Counseling Program
Department: Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Studies
Office Phone: 985-448-4349
Office Location: 255 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building

To be admitted to the Master of Education in School Counseling program at Nicholls, applicants should possess and submit the following:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.50 on the final 60 hours of undergraduate coursework attempted.
  3. An applicant with significant and meaningful experience and a strong academic background may request that the GRE be waived as a requirement for admission.  The request for the waivers shall be submitted in writing to the Graduate Coordinator and the Dean of the College of Education and clearly state the basis for the waiver. A current resume shall accompany the request. Admission decisions, in part, are based on the Counseling Program’s Selection Committee. A final decision will be made by the Graduate Program Committee.  Applicants who are unable to meet this requirement should submit acceptable score on the GRE.  A minimum score of 335 is required on the formula: GPA on last 60 undergraduate hours times 20, plus the GRE General Test score. Acceptable scores must be submitted within the first semester of entering a Master’s program.
  4. Submit completed program application (Download DOC or PDF)
  5.  Submit three letters of recommendation.
  6. Complete the Nicholls Criminal Background Check Disclosure and Authorization form. (Download PDF)
  7.  Completion of a Criminal Background Check with “Certified Backgrounds”.

To begin the application process to the Nicholls Graduate School, individuals must submit the following at least one month prior to the semester of admission:

  • Graduate Studies application form (apply electronically).
  • Application fee of $20 (or $30 for international students), in the form of a check or money order payable to Nicholls State University.

Additionally, the following must be submitted to complete the application package:

  1. Official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, must be sent directly from those institutions. Request transcript here.
  2. Applicants may be eligible for a GRE waiver, refer to Admission Requirements for information regarding this.  Students who are not eligible for a waiver must have scores sent from the Educational Testing Service to Nicholls State University.  Information on how to register for the GRE may be accessed at this website:  GRE website.
  3. Results of a background check with Certified Backgrounds. (download form).
  4. Applicants will also be required to complete an interview with faculty representatives of the school counseling program.
  5. Applicants must be admitted to the Graduate School prior to applying to the Master of Education in School Counseling program.

These completed forms should be mailed to:

Chantrelle Varnado-Johnson, LPC-S, RPT, NCC
Department of Psychology, Counseling and Family Studies
P.O. Box 2075
Thibodaux, LA 70310

  • Students are encouraged to consider applying for graduate assistantships that are available for students fully admitted to the program. Applications may be accessed at
  • Visit the Nicholls catalog for more information regarding admission to the Master of Education in School Counseling program.

Graduate coursework includes 60 academic hours plus nine hours of practicum/internship credit. Graduate courses required for the degree are as follows:

Foundations Core Courses
COUN 501 (3)– Introduction to School Counseling
COUN 511 (3)– Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
COUN 519 (3)- Advanced Lifespan Developmental Psychology
COUN 549 (3)- Professional Issues and Ethics in Counseling
Advanced Concentration Coursework
COUN 500 (3) – Basic Facilitative Skills
COUN 504 (3) – Adult & Child Psychopathology & Diagnosis
COUN 505 (3) – Analysis of the Individual
COUN 510 (3) – Theory and Procedures in Group Counseling
COUN 520 (3) – Introduction to Counseling Practicum
COUN 522 (3) – Interventions for Diverse Needs
COUN 523 (3) – School Counseling Practicum I
COUN 526 (3) –  Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy
COUN 527 (3) – Career and Lifestyle Development
COUN 530 (3) – Counseling Strategies with Children and Adolescents
COUN 534 (3) – School Counseling Internship I
COUN 535 (3) – School Counseling Internship II
COUN 551 (3) – Applied Theories
EDFR 501 (3) – Educational Research or
PSYC 507 (3) – Statistical Analysis and Research Methods
PSYCH 523 (3) – Crisis Prevention and Intervention
COUN 595 (0) – Master’s Comprehensive Examination
Electives: Candidates must complete three semester hours of the following course.
COUN 502 (3) – Introduction to Mental Health Counseling
COUN 509 (3) – Clinical Sexuality for Mental Health Professionals
COUN 512 (3) – Cognitive Behavior Theory & Applications
COUN 520 (3) – Introduction to Counseling Practicum
EDLE 535 (3) – Using Inquiry and Data to Lead Change
EDAS 535 (3) – Program Evaluation
COUN 537 (3) – Substance Abuse Counseling
COUN 550 (3) – Special Topics in Counseling. May be taken multiple times if topics differ.
EDCI 512 (3) – Exceptional Children
EDCI 557 (3) – Behavioral Intervention
EDCI 558 (3) – Social & Emotional Needs of the Gifted
EDCI 513 (3) – Advanced Methods in Classroom Management
EDLE 536 (3) – Program Eval & Implementation for School Improvement
EDLE 508 (3) – Practice of School Leadership and School Improvement
EDUC *421 (3) – Current Practices and Strategies in Teaching

In addition, candidates must successfully complete a master’s comprehensive examination.

Learn specifics about degree requirements and graduate coursework

Graduate Student Program Handbook​

Program Faculty

Chantrelle Varnado-Johnson, PhD, LPC-Supervisor (LA), Board Certified-Telemental Health Provider (BC-TMH), Registered Play Therapist (RPT), National Certified Counselor (NCC) Assistant Professor & School Counselor Specialization Coordinator

Title: Assistant Professor & School Counseling Specialization Coordinator
Department: Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Studies
Phone: 985.448.4349
Office Location: 255 Dr. O Cleveland Hill Hall

Tiffany Polite Henderson, PhD, LPC, NCC

Title: Assistant Professor, Data Analysis & Management
Department: College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
Office Location: 246 Dr. O Cleveland Hill Hall

Walt Hammerli, PhD, LPC-S

Title: Assistant Professor, Practicum & Internship Coordinator
Department: Psychology, Counseling, and Family Studies
Phone: 985 448-4350
Office Location: 256 Dr. O Cleveland Hill Hall

Mary Kathryn Rodrigue Gastinel, PhD, LPC, NCC

Title: Assistant Professor, Clinical Mental Health Specialization Coordinator and Program Coordinator
Department: Psychology, Counseling, and Family Studies
Phone: 985-448-4357
Office Location: 269 Dr. O Cleveland Hill Hall

CACREP Annual Program Outcomes Reports


The Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) effective July, 2014.