Skip to main content

Unless students elect to complete a thesis, all students in the Master's of Education in Counseling program must successfully complete the Master's Comprehensive Examination.
 To be eligible to take the exam, a student must have:

  1. An approved degree plan on file with the Graduate Studies Office (due first spring semester after beginning this program)
  2. Completed at least 18 semester hours of course work, and
  3. Submitted, on time, to the Graduate Studies Office, a completed Application to take Master's Comprehensive Examination form.

The Master's Comprehensive Examination is the national Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) and covers 8 areas listed below. The CPCE is a service of the Center for Credentialing Education (CCE), an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Students have 4 hours to complete the paper-pencil exam; the exam begins at 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. unless otherwise notified. The CPCE exam is offered twice each year, in fall and spring semesters. Exams are administered at the Testing Service at the University of Houston, which also provides proctoring.  Completed exams are sent to CCE by the Testing Service for scoring.

Areas of Concentration for the CPCE exam:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Social and Cultural Foundations
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Career and Lifestyle Development
  • Appraisal
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation and Ethics

The exams are evaluated by standardized scoring done by the CCE. Results are sent to the coordinator of testing for the master’s counseling program and advisors notify advisees of their results. Candidates may take the CPCE exam up to three times. If the first attempt is a fail, the student may petition to meet with an appointed remedial committee, consisting of their advisor and one other faculty member to determine designated coursework or academic study for a written examination. The student will be notified by his or her advisor and meet with him/her to decide on the next steps to take. If the student fails the CPCE exam on all three attempts, he or she will be immediately dismissed from the program.

Preparation for the CPCE exam follows the study guides for the National Counselor Exam (NCE).  Go to the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) website for a listing of study guides for the NCE exam. Study guides for the NCE exam are also available in major bookstores.