Professional Counseling


Matriculation through the M.S. Professional Counseling program provides graduate level training for students interested in preparing for a career in professional counseling in a variety of educational and community settings. The Professional Counseling faculty are committed to facilitating students' achievement of their career goals, and our students find work in K-12 schools, college counseling and career counseling centers, non-profit community mental health agencies, hospitals, and private practice settings. Our vision is to prepare competent practitioners who advocate for their profession and act as agents of personal, family, group, community, and social development. 

The M.S. programs in Professional School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Houston-Victoria are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP was formed in 1981 in cooperation with the American Counseling Association (ACA) to promote the advancement of quality in counselor education programs and grants accredited status to graduate-level programs in the professional counseling field. Matriculation through a CACREP accredited program ensures students will receive quality instruction, clinical experience, and the ability to form a distinct professional identity as a counselor.   In addition, students graduating from a CACREP-accredited program qualify to take the National Certified Counselor Exam, used by most states for LPC licensure.  For students pursuing a doctoral degree, graduation from a CACREP accredited program will meet application preferences in doctoral programs in counselor education.

  • Students who complete the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track meet the educational requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Texas.
  • Students who complete the Professional School Counseling track meet the educational requirements for the Professional School Counselor Certificate (K-12) in Texas. School Counseling track students also meet requirements to apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC ) credential in Texas prior to August 1, 2017.

Program Mission

The mission of the Professional Counseling Program at the University of Houston-Victoria is to educate, train, and mentor students from diverse backgrounds to earn a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Professional School Counseling. UHV students are primarily drawn from urban and rural areas close to the Victoria Texas or Greater Houston region. The UHV Professional Counseling faculty members expect students to engage in academic and experiential learning, to develop a strong professional counselor identity, to develop multicultural and diversity sensitivity. The faculty members are committed to promoting the development of student competence in the provision of counseling, professional advocacy, social justice, and community outreach.

Program Admission

The Professional Counseling Program within the College of Education and Health Professions follows specific admission procedures for the Master of Science degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with specialty concentrations in Professional School Counseling and/or Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The GRE is not required. Admissions requirements are based on an evaluation by the program's admission committee of the following information:

1. Application: Complete online at Apply Texas before or on Jan1. Only the following applications will be accepted for the Professional Counseling Program at UHV:

- EDU Clin Mental Hlth Counseling MS-Professional Counselor (LPC)
- EDU Clin Mental Hlth Counseling MS-Marriage/Fam Therapist (MFT)
- EDU Clin Mental Hlth Counseling MS-Prof School Counselor (PSC)
- EDU Prof Counseling (Post Grad) Professional Counselor (LPC)
- EDU Prof Counseling (Post Grad) Prof School Counselor (PSC)

2. Official Transcripts: Official transcripts of all non-UHV coursework and degrees conferred. Send transcripts directly to the Office of Admissions & Transfer Credit,

3. Criminal Background Check: Completion of a background check. The Professional Counseling Background Check should be completed and mailed to: 

Texas Department of Public Safety
Crime Records Division
P.O. Box 15999
Austin, Texas 78761

Submission Instructions: Applicants must send their request to the Crimes Records Division and address the response to University of Houston-Victoria / College of Education and HP with the address provided in the form. This form must be received by the College of Education by the Feb 1 deadline. It is highly recommended that applicants get this step completed as early as possible to allow for a timely deliverance.

4. Statement of Purpose: The must be typed, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-pt font. The length of the statement should be 1-2 pages maximum (250-500 words) and should address the following criteria:

1. Applicants should include their full name, UHV student ID (which will be received a few days after the Apply Texas application is completed) on the statement of purpose.

2. Your professional goals and the reason you are pursuing education and training in professional counseling, rather than in another mental health discipline (such as psychology, social work, or counseling psychology). Header: “Professional Goals”

A. Describe any significant life events and how they have contributed to the development of your professional goals.

3. Your major strengths and weaknesses with respect to being admitted into this program. Header: “Strengths & Weaknesses”

4. Your perspective on diversity including a) how would you contribute to and benefit from the richness of our Professional Counseling Program, and b) how would you increase inclusion of diversity in the counseling profession. Header: “Diversity”.

Submission Instructions: Applicants must upload their statement of purpose (in PDF format) to their PeopleSoft account by navigating to MyUHV then enter their UHV ID and Password and click Sign In. Emailed or post mailed statements of purpose will not be processed.

5. Recommendation Forms/Letters: Submission of (3) Professional Counseling Recommendation Form and (3) corresponding recommendation letters are required. Each of the three recommendation forms must have an accompanying recommendation letter that addresses your potential for success in the profession and your ability to complete a graduate program. Each form must be completed it its’ entirety, and each letter must provide clear evidence that addresses the candidate’s potential which will enable the individual to become a counselor. Forms and their corresponding letters of recommendation should be from an academic source, preferably a professor or academic official who is familiar with your academic history and achievement. If you have been out of school for several years, recommendations may come from your employer or supervisor. Recommendations forms are allowed to be signed digitally and MUST be submitted by the applicant.

Submission Instructions: Applicants must upload their recommendation forms and letters (in PDF format) to their PeopleSoft account by navigating to MyUHV then enter their UHV ID and Password and click Sign In. Emailed or post mailed recommendation forms and letters will not be processed.

6. Program Interview: A program interview with UHV graduate faculty in professional counseling. The purpose of the interview is:

(1) to assess personal qualities useful for graduate and eventual professional work as a counselor; (2) to clarify questions that the committee may have about applicant’s admissions materials; (3) determine whether the applicant’s professional goals are in alignment with the objectives of the program; and (4) to share more information about the program with applicants.

If application materials are deemed satisfactory, applicants will be invited to interview with the admissions interview committee.

All applications must be complete to be considered for admission. All students must gain entry to the Professional Counseling program, School Counseling and/or Clinical Mental Health Counseling, through the admission procedures listed above. Graduate admission to UHV does not ensure students will be admitted to the Professional Counseling Program.

Program Application and Interview Schedule

  • Term of Admission: Fall
  • ApplyTexas Application Deadline: January 1
  • MyUHV Admission Material Submission Deadline: Feb 1
  • Program Interviews: March
  • Admission Notifications and Registration Opens: April

Due to adherence to faculty-to-student ratios, applicants may be accepted and waitlisted for spring or summer admission. Registration timelines are set by the UHV Registrar's Office and are subject to change We encourage you to explore our web site. You may contact any of our faculty to inquire about the M.S. in Professional Counseling.

If you have questions about the COUN program and admission requirements contact Philip Garza at

If you have already applied for admission and have questions about the status of your admission materials contact the Office of Admissions & Transfer Credit at

UHV Professional Counseling Faculty

Karyna García, Ph.D. 

Professional Counseling Program Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Professional Counseling
Phone: (361) 570-4816

Katherine Bacon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Professional Counseling
Phone: (281) 396-3715

Christine Beliard, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Professional Counseling
Phone: (361) 570-4371

Sneha Nayar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Professional Counseling
Phone: (281) 396-3724

Monique Rahman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Professional Counseling
Phone: (361) 570-4848

Wayne Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Professional Counseling
Phone: (361) 362-5013