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Counseling & Student Personnel Psychology

Alumni Kirsten Lind Seal: Keep dancing

Years of performing-arts experience prepared Kirsten Lind Seal, ’14, to help others persevere. Kirsten Lind Seal’s path to becoming a counselor, teacher, and relationship expert was an unlikely one. After 25 years of performing everything from modern dance to stand-up comedy, Lind Seal reflected on experiences with her students and began to think about going back to school. More

Help others grow academically and professionally

With a Masters of Arts in counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP), you’ll be qualified to counsel others throughout the lifespan. Become a school counselor and help students develop academically, personally/socially, and in their careers. Study to be a college and student personnel counselor and work in a higher education setting. Or become a mental health professional and work in a community setting. Whatever you decide, a master's in CSPP leads to a fulfilling career that allows you to do well by doing good.How to apply



The CSPP M.A. is a two-year, full-time program. You’ll study individual, group, and family counseling, research and evaluation, counseling theory, human growth and development, diagnostic assessment, social and cultural foundations, ethics, and career development.

Areas of emphasis

Your curriculum requirements will depend on the area of emphasis you choose:


M.A. curriculum (48-53 credits)

Practicum / internship

During your second year, you’ll spend two to three full days per week at a practicum site practicing your counseling skills under the supervision of an appropriately licensed counselor.

Related licensures

Successful completion of the CSPP M.A. program prepares you to pursue the following Minnesota licensures:

Faculty & instructors

Headshot of Marguerite Ohrtman

Marguerite Ohrtman


  • Working with at-risk students and their families
  • Multicultural counseling education
  • Training of school counselors
  • The achievement gap
Headshot of Thomas Skovholt

Thomas Skovholt


  • Resiliency development and burnout prevention
  • Struggles of the novice practitioner, clinical supervision
  • The counseling process and helping skills
Headshot of Sherri Turner

Sherri Turner


  • Methods and factors that facilitate the career development
  • Transition to work of minorities and adolescents
  • Career and guidance program evaluation in urban and rural schools and Native American tribes
  • Counseling and assessment applications


Headshot of Sarah Gustafson-Dombeck

Sarah Gustafson-Dombeck


"CSPP provides the opportunity to build a solid foundation to work in partnership with people in support of their personal and academic goals.”

  • Emphasis: Counseling and student personnel psychology
  • Interests: Universally designed classroom environments, academic and mental health support for non-traditional students, work towards destigmatizing mental health conditions
  • Practicum/internships: Sarah is currently an American Sign Language interpreter in a university setting, working towards access for all
Headshot of Tony Minaglia

Tony Minaglia


“Working with adults I found the importance of early intervention and prevention work. The CSPP program had a longstanding program of excellence and value driven work, which aligned with my passions.”

  • Emphasis: Counseling and student personnel psychology
  • Interests: Achievement gap and how school counselors can improve their competencies around this issue and promotion of equity among all students
  • Practicum/internship: Tony ran groups in a psychiatric rehabilitation center for adults, worked in a non-profit aiding individuals who were low-income and without housing, worked in a pre-K setting as a support specialist and ran the school-age program, “solution room teacher” in an elementary school setting developing students’ social-emotional learning.
Headshot of Mary Katy Steinbach

Mary Katy Steinbach


“I decided to join the CSPP program because I want to be a school counselor and I knew CSPP could provide the experience I need to do so.”

  • Emphasis: Counseling and student personnel psychology
  • Interests: School counseling, at-risk youth
  • Practicum/internship: Mary spent the 2014-2015 school year volunteering as a Kindergarten-Focused Minnesota Reading Corps Tutor at The Heights Community School in East. St. Paul. This experience helped her realize the need for school counselors and opened her eyes to the joys of working in a school. She will begin her practicum at Obama Elementary School in St. Paul during the 2016-2017 school year.
Headshot of Jeanette Vyhanek

Jeanette Vyhanek


“I'm doing research with Dr. Orhtman on school counselor grit level and self care techniques.”

  • Emphasis: Counseling and student personnel psychology
  • Interests: School counselor burnout & self-care, best practices in counseling diverse student populations
  • Practicum/internship: Jeanette worked for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in South Minneapolis. Working there inspired Jeanette to want to be more involved in students’ lives and to be able to better accompany them on their life’s journey.