Franklin Countys First News

UMF partners with USM to offer 5-year master’s program in counseling careers

FARMINGTON — To help streamline students’ preparation for a career in counseling or social work, the University of Maine at Farmington and the University of Southern Maine are offering two new, collaborative programs making it possible for students to receive their bachelor’s in psychology and their masters in counseling or social work in five years instead of six.

Available in fall 2016, the Psychology-Counseling 3+2 Program (B.A. to M.S.) and Psychology-Social Work 3+2 Program (B.A. to M.S.W.) will help students graduate a year ahead of time and reduce their college costs while preparing them for a professional career where they can help meet Maine’s growing mental health needs.

“This program is a great opportunity for UMF and USM to help our students fast-track their counseling careers while still getting a top-notch education,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president. “Creative partnerships like this are all about finding different ways to help students be successful, while meeting their career needs.”

These accelerated programs were developed under the leadership of Steven Quackenbush, UMF professor of psychology; Adele Baruch, USM associate professor of counselor education in clinical mental health counseling; Bette Katsekas, USM associate professor of counselor education; and Jeanette Andonian, USM associate professor of social work.

“Many of the students in our psychology program know early on that they want to take their education to the next level in the helping fields,” said Quackenbush. “This program gives them the opportunity to accelerate their education while giving them the best professional preparation possible.”

Students will begin by pursuing their undergraduate degree at UMF. They will graduate from UMF in three years with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology (B.A.) and a Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician certification (MHRT/Community), the most widely needed certification in the state of Maine.

This fully-accredited program will have students completing a full undergraduate course load of 128 credit hours. This includes 16 course credits and two seminar credits each regular semester, four credits of coursework over two summers and an 8-credit summer internship. Courses will include upper-level courses in counseling, including psychotherapeutic methods, couples therapy, child and family counseling and crisis intervention.

Interactive, discussion-based seminar classes at UMF will help students build skills in the practice of counseling. They will work collaboratively with each other, faculty and the educational community and as upperclassmen will prepare for graduate study by serving as mentors to the incoming cohort of students.

In their third year at UMF, a streamlined graduate application process will pave the way for students to gain early acceptance to the USM Master’s Program. Students accepted into this second phase of the program can complete their master’s level studies in two years.

“This new partnership is a win-win for UMF, USM and most importantly for students. By offering them this expedited path into the fields of counseling and social work, they will save time and money and enter their chosen profession a year earlier,” said USM President Glenn Cummings.

USM’s graduate program will provide students with advanced mental health counseling, school counseling or social work curriculum that prepares them to work with individuals and families as well as organizations and communities. Students in the accelerated program will graduate with a Master of Science in Counseling (M.S.) or Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree.

“Our USM Counselor Education Mental Health Concentration is a well-regarded program and one of the region’s few CACREP-accredited mental health counseling programs. The 3+2 experience allows students who are accepted into our program a more efficient process of obtaining their credentials to become a mental health counselor, a most exciting, meaningful and necessary profession,” said Katsekas.

For more information, see the Multi-Degree Programs on the UMF website at: and the Masters programs in counseling education and social work at USM, view: and

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1 Responses »

  1. Kudos to UMF Psychology and USM! Win-win for both.