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In response to pressing human and social needs, the applied field of rehabilitation has solidly entrenched itself as a professional discipline. Multidisciplinary courses of study have been drawn together from the behavioral, social, and medical sciences appropriate to the development of competent practitioners, supervisors, and programmers in rehabilitation and welfare agencies. The overall program is left purposely broad and flexible to permit the inclusion of training innovations and emerging career patterns.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study.

The Master's Degree Program

The master's degree program rehabilitation counseling is 51 semester hours. Candidates have the option of a research paper or a thesis. Candidates concentrating primarily on preparation for entry into the helping profession ordinarily opt to complete a research paper in their area of concentration. The thesis option typically requires a thesis of an experimental nature, a survey, or other form of research in which empirical data are collected and analyzed. Candidates must demonstrate their skills in formulating researchable questions or hypotheses, in identifying and/or manipulating relevant variables, and in the analysis and reporting of the results.

Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counseling is a process which assists individuals with disabilities to cope constructively with their disability, to maximize their abilities, and to enhance their quality of life physically, psychologically, socially, and vocationally. Through training, professional rehabilitation counselors obtain skills in counseling, evaluation, career exploration, job development and placement, and case management.

The focus of the rehabilitation counselor training program is to prepare professional rehabilitation counselors with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to enter the field. During the training program, students acquire counseling skills, knowledge and understanding of medical and psychological impact of chronic illness and disability on all areas of the individual's life including vocational and independent living issues, as well as skills related to assessment and evaluation, and an understanding of the legislative, historical, and philosophical background of rehabilitation. Student's professional development is encouraged through participation in professional rehabilitation counseling organizations.

General Requirements

The course of study within the rehabilitation counselor training program consists of a minimum of 51 semester hours and involves a blend of academic and clinical experiences. Students in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program must complete 42 hours after admission to the Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Students may transfer a maximum of six credit hours of credit taken prior to admission to the program to their 51-hour requirement if the course work is appropriate to Rehabilitation Counseling. Under no circumstances may previous work experience serve as equivalency for any credit hours or clinical practicum or internship experience. In addition to course work, students must complete one semester of practicum, one semester of internship, and a thesis, research paper, or research class in Rehabilitation. Before graduation students must also pass a comprehensive examination.

The required program of study is:

  • REHB 400 Introduction to Rehabilitation
  • REHB 521 Vocational Development and Placement
  • REHB 501 Introduction to Interpersonal Skills Development in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • REHB 513 Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
  • REHB 519 Multicultural Counseling in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 530 Assessment Procedures in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • REHB 551 Rehabilitation Counseling: Theory and Practice
  • REHB 575 Case Management in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • REHB 589 Professional Seminar in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 593 Research in Rehabilitation or
  • REHB 593-A Research in Rehabilitation Counseling or
  • REHB 599 Thesis
  • REHB 594C Practicum in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • REHB 595A, REHB 595B Internship in Rehabilitation

Practicum and Internship Requirements

Students in the Rehabilitation Counseling program are required to complete a total of four semester credit hours of practicum in Rehabilitation Counseling. All practicum and internship sites must be pre-approved by Rehabilitation Counseling faculty. Practicum involves the student's participation eight hours per week for the 16 weeks at the practicum site. The majority of the student's time in practicum must be spent in direct client counseling. Counseling sessions must be audio or video taped or have provision for direct supervision by the student's supervisor, such as through a two-way mirror. Students in practicum are required to meet with their faculty supervisor once per week during the 16 weeks of practicum in order to review tapes of counseling sessions. Rehabilitation Counseling students are also required to complete a total of eight semester credit hours of internship in Rehabilitation Counseling. Prerequisite to internship is successful completion of the Rehabilitation Counseling practicum. General Rehabilitation Counseling internship requirements include an internship of 40 hours per week for 16 weeks or 20 hours per week for 32 weeks at a site approved by the Rehabilitation Counseling faculty, and one hour per week of supervision, preferably by a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. During internship at least 50 percent of the student's responsibilities must include direct experience in individual and/or group counseling of persons with emotional, social, behavioral or physical disability.

Students are also given the opportunity within their program of study to take electives. In addition to the required course of study for rehabilitation counseling, students may choose to specialize in a particular area by taking additional elective courses. Examples of possibilities of specialization are listed below.

Studies in Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions

A sequence of courses is offered within the rehabilitation counselor training program for students interested in specialized counseling skills for work in treatment and other settings as a substance use disorders and behavioral addictions counselor. Students are required to complete a specific sequence of courses in addition to an internship in an approved rehabilitation and treatment setting. These courses would be taken in addition to completion of the courses required for the master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Successful completion of this course sequence and field work enables students to sit for the State of Illinois CADC (Certification for Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors).

Graduate students from other disciplines in the University are eligible to enroll in these courses to complete these certification requirements. The required courses are:

  • REHB 461 Introduction to Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions
  • REHB 471 Treatment, Recovery and Relapse Prevention
  • REHB 558 Interventions for Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions in Special Populations
  • REHB 566 Substance Use, Behavioral Addictions and the Family

Studies in the Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions program, within the Rehabilitation Counselor Training Program are accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Certification Association, Inc. (IAODAPCA), and qualify as Advanced Training for the purpose of certification in Illinois.

Certificate in Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions

The Certificate in Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions, housed in the Rehabilitation Counselor Training Program in the School of Health Sciences, is open to graduate students interested in developing specialized counseling skills for work in treatment and other settings as a substance use disorders and behavioral addictions counselor. Participation in these courses will allow the student to sit for the State of Illinois CADC (Certification for Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors). Students must complete 15 total credits of required coursework, and an academic discipline-based 500-hour internship (eight credits). Courses include REHB 461, REHB 471, REHB 558, REHB 566, and one approved elective.

Studies in the Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions Training Program are accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Certification Association, Inc. (IAODAPCA), and qualify as Advanced Training for the purpose of certification in Illinois.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Jane Nichols, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, CRC
School of Health Services
Southern Illinois University, Rehn Hall - Mail Code 4609
1025 Lincoln Dr., Carbondale, IL  62901
Telephone: 618-453-8291

Studies in Aging

This area of special study offered within the School of Health Sciences includes a sequence of three elective courses in aging in addition to those courses required for the general rehabilitation counseling curriculum, and an internship in an agency or facility which serves older adults. Students in other disciplines within the University are eligible to enroll in any of the three courses in aging; however, only rehabilitation students will be eligible for the internship.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The doctoral program in rehabilitation prepares students to function effectively as rehabilitation educators, researchers, or administrators. It does this by fostering the student's development and acquisition of relevant conceptual and experiential skills in evaluation and research methodologies, in rehabilitation service, in rehabilitation education practices, or in the management of service units.

Admission and Retention Standards

All applicable policies and procedures of the Graduate School with regard to the admission of doctoral students will be followed. Requirements for admission to the doctoral program in rehabilitation exceed those of the Graduate School. The admissions committee of the doctoral program will review all candidates carefully for their special strengths. The following will be considered for all candidates:

  1. High academic achievement (normally indicated by a grade point average of 3.5 on a 4-point scale) in a master's program in rehabilitation or a closely related field at an accredited university.
  2. Interest in conducting rehabilitation research.
  3. Two years of successful performance equivalent to full-time paid employment (post-baccalaureate) in a rehabilitation or related professional position. This may include an approved internship experience at the master's level.
  4. At least three letters of recommendation by professional persons familiar with the applicant's performance in academic, research, or service work settings.
  5. GRE scores dating back no farther than five years.

Applicants will be considered for acceptance into the doctoral program at the beginning of either the fall or spring semester. Courses in which a grade below B is obtained will not be counted toward satisfying the hour requirements for the degree.

Doctoral Committee

The students shall select a chair who will serve as his/her major adviser. In consultation with the chair the student shall select a doctoral committee which is approved by the coordinator of doctoral studies and then shall be made a matter of record. Further, the doctoral committee shall serve as the student's dissertation committee.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is granted by the dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the faculty responsible for the student's program after the student has fulfilled the Graduate School residency requirement for the doctoral degree and passed the preliminary examinations.

The written preliminary examinations are designed to assess the breadth and depth of the student's knowledge. They are prepared, administered, and evaluated by Rehabilitation Institute faculty committees appointed by the coordinator of doctoral studies. The preliminary examinations will ordinarily be taken in the fall of the second year of doctoral study.


After admission to candidacy, the student will prepare a dissertation based on original research conducted under the direct supervision of the dissertation chair and committee. The requirements of the Graduate School will govern the formation of the dissertation committee and the preparation and defense of the dissertation. While the dissertation is in preparation, the student will register for no fewer than 24 semester hours in REHB 600, Dissertation. The dissertation should conform to the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the standards required by the Graduate School.

Degree Requirements

The doctoral program emphasizes mastery of skills in research methodology, knowledge of medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, and knowledge of public policy on disability, as well as competency in the area of rehabilitation counseling, behavior analysis and therapy, or communication disorders and sciences. The course of study requires a minimum of 96-post-baccalaureate semester hours, 24 of which are dissertation hours and 39 of which are fulfilled by required courses. All remaining coursework taken by the student will be electives, selected with the approval of the student's doctoral committee.

Required Courses

The student must have successfully completed the following courses no later than 24 months after entering the doctoral program:

  • QUAN 506-4   Inferential Statistics
  • QUAN 507-4   Multiple Regression

Program of Study

Each area of concentration (BAT, CDS, and RCT) has a specific program of study. While each area of concentration requires the same number of credits of: a) Research Development & Utilization (20 credits) and b) Professional Issues & Methods in Rehabilitation (12 credits), the specific required and elective courses available within these areas may vary.

Nine semester hours in REHB 592: Professional Supervision in Rehabilitation (teaching or research) must also be successfully completed during the student's tenure in th doctoral program.

The student's preparation at the master's level will be evaluated and up to 30 hours of didactic course work may be accepted toward the completion of the 96-hour minimum requirement for the doctorate. Graduate level didactic courses in rehabilitation counseling, behavior analysis and therapy, and communication disorders and sciences will usually be acceptable. Course work in related areas such as counseling, psychology, and social work may qualify.

The goal of the program is to develop high-quality professionals. Thus, the student must demonstrate competence in the areas of rehabilitation services. This is accomplished through the student's master's degree program, previous work experience, the required courses, supervised professional experiences, and electives. Ph.D. degree graduates should be well-prepared for leadership roles in the areas of rehabilitation administration, service, education, or research.

Certificate in Gerontology

The Rehabilitation program participates in the Certificate in Gerontology interdisciplinary program and offers a class, REHB 405 Introduction to Aging and Rehabilitation, which is a Certificate requirement. For more information on the Certificate program, please see the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs tab on the Graduate Catalog homepage.

Rehabilitation Administration and Services

*Enrollment in Rehabilitation Administration and Services (MS) has been suspended.

Students receive their degrees in Rehabilitation Administration and Services. Preference in admissions to the Administration concentration will be given to applicants having no fewer than two years of approved, acceptable rehabilitation or related work experience. All students must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate course work, which includes a research paper or thesis. Students applying for RA&S admission, but not meeting the professional experience criterion, may be considered for admission. If admitted students will be required to complete a full-time internship (six semester hours). During the first semester of full-time study, or a comparable time for part time students, the student must have a plan of study approved by the advisor and program coordinator. This plan of study normally includes rehabilitation administration core and professional course work, although specific plans may differ for students with varying backgrounds and career goals.

The Rehabilitation Administration requirements are as follows:

Rehabilitation Core (24 hours)

  • REHB 513-3 to 4 Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
  • REHB 519-3 Multicultural Counseling in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 593-6 Research in Rehabilitation, or
  • REHB 593-3 Research in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 599-3 Thesis and Rehabilitation

Administration Concentration (24 hours)

  • REHB 570-3 Rehabilitation Administration
  • REHB 573-3 Programming, Budgeting, and Community Resources
  • REHB 576-3 Development and Supervision of Rehabilitation Employees
  • REHB 578-3 Program Evaluation in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 579-3 Advanced Fiscal Management in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 580-3 Professional and Community Relations in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 581-3 Professional Issues in Rehabilitation
  • REHB 582-3 Seminar in Rehabilitation Services

Rehabilitation Services Concentration

Students may opt for the Services program sequence (10 semester hours) as part of their Plan of Study. The Rehabilitation Services sequence includes:

  • REHB 521-3 Vocational Development and Placement
  • REHB 530-3 Assessment Procedures
  • REHB 575-4 Case Management, and
  • REHB 595A, REHB 595B-6 Internship in Rehabilitation

These may be taken in lieu of REHB 573, REHB 578, and REHB 579.

Practicum and Internship Requirements

Practicum and internships are not required for students admitted to the program with two years of approved, acceptable rehabilitation or related work experience. Students with minimal or no rehabilitation related work experiences will be expected to complete the required six semester hours of field experience.

Requirements for Research Paper or Thesis and Comprehensive Examination

All students are required to complete a scholarly research paper or thesis in a rehabilitation-related area and an oral comprehensive examination. The student completing a graduate thesis must orally defend it before a thesis committee.