Clinical Practice Orientation (CPO)

In addition to your academic preparation, our programs offer real-world, hands-on experience. You can only discover what you know or don't know by getting out there and doing it (Baird, 2002). Our faculty members provide you with the necessary tools to empower creative, effective problem solving within and between human beings. Students will use these tools to go forward and work effectively within their chosen fieldwork sites.

Counselor Education Clinical Requirements

All Masters-level counselor education students are required to successfully complete a minimumof two clinical experiences (Practicum and Internship) during their matriculation through each ofthe counseling programs at Mississippi State University.

The duration of each of these field experiences are determined by each program’s accrediting body: CACREP (mental health, school, student affairs) and CORE (rehabilitation). The minimum total number of hours required for each experience

  • Practicum (all) – 100 hours
  • Internship (all except non-licensed educators) – 600 hours (Note: An additional 600 hours of Internship is required for school counseling students who are not licensed educators)

Sequence of Training (Prerequisites)

  • Practicum
    • Counseling Theory, Counseling Skills, Group Techniques, and the profession specific introductory course in your program area.
    • Clinical Mental Health also requires COE 8633 Psycho-social Rehabilitation and EPY 8263 Psychological Testing (which may be taken within the same semester) of its students.
  • Internship
    • Practicum is the minimal prerequisite for Internship. (Clinical Mental Health also requires COE 8633 Psycho-social Rehabilitation)
    • Programs may require additional prerequisites based on individual student characteristics and placement needs.

Application Procedures for Practicum and Internship

Clinical Practice Orientation

Registration approval for Practicum and Internship is contingent upon the successful completion of each of the following – all students must:

  • Complete the Clinical Practice Orientation which includes reading this webpage and sending the information listed at the bottom of the page to the Clinical Coordinator.

Note: You must SEND the required email to complete the Clinical Practice Orientation process.

  • Submit a complete application package during the semester prior to beginning the Practicum or Internship.
    • A complete application package includes:
      • Proof of liability insurance with coverage dates that span the entire semester of the field experience.
      • Supervision Agreement form signed by all required individuals.
      • Complete information entered on all Practicum or Internship application forms (see the Practicum and Internship handbook for forms).
      • All required signatures on the application.

Applications must be submitted to the Clinical Coordinator for approval prior to the official deadline. (Applications will not be accepted after the official deadline.)

Application Deadlines:

  • July 1st for Fall fieldwork
  • November 1st for Spring fieldwork
  • May 1st for Summer fieldwork

Failure to complete the Clinical Practice Orientation OR submitting an incomplete application package will result in denial of registration for the Practicum or Internship course.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all approval signatures are secured.

Please note that hours collected before the practicum or internship is approved will not be counted.

Documentation of Clinical Experience

Documentation of clinical activities serves several purposes. First, maintaining a log of daily activities helps the professional counselor review and process his/her performance while the information is fresh. Second, most (if not all) professional counseling employment settings require documentation to validate billing for service provision. So in the context of field practice, this activity helps prepare the counselor-in-training for a significant dimension of the real world of counseling services. Last, in order to document the type and amount of professional activities engaged in during the clinical for certification, licensure, and/or accreditation purposes, each student must maintain both weekly and cumulative semester time logs of training activities. Blank log forms can be downloaded at the department website from the Practicum and Internship handbook.


Clinical practice supervision is an integral component in the development of well rounded counselors. As such, the accrediting bodies of the counselor education programs require active and on-going supervision of clinical field experiences of counselors-in-training. This supervision process is detained within the Supervision Agreement form which must be signed by all required individuals prior to the student receiving approval to register for class. It is the policy of this department that all Practicum and Internship students are required to participate in (and document) at least one hour of face-to-face supervision per week with their site supervisor. In addition to the minimum of one hour of individual, face-to-face supervision per week, students must also receive 1½ hours of group supervision on a weekly basis during the time that they are accumulating their hours. In Practicum, this group supervision occurs during regularly scheduled class times. During Internship, group supervision can occur one of two ways. The first is to meet on-campus with a faculty member in your discipline (and up to five students) to conduct group supervision. The alternative is to participate in group supervision on site. Only students who have Internships outside of a 50-mile radius of Mississippi State University are eligible to apply for approval of their group supervision to be provided by an on-site supervisor. If your Internship placement is outside the 50-mile radius of Mississippi State University, you may request permission to receive group-supervision on-site by submitting (with your Application package) a copy of the 50-Mile Radius form found at in the Practicum and Internship handbook on the department website.

In order to verify that you have completed the Clinical Practice Orientation, you must email the following information to the Counseling Program Clinical Coordinator. Starkville campus, contact Dr. Cheryl Justice -; Meridian campus, contact Dr. Melissia Windham -

  • Your Name
  • MSU NET ID# (email address)
  • Your Concentration (Clinical Mental Health, Rehabilitation, School, Student Affairs)
  • Identify whether you are applying for PRACTICUM or INTERNSHIP
  • Semester & Year to which you wish to enroll

By submitting this email document you are stating that you have read all of the material above and understand your responsibilities related to this process.


Baird, B. N. (2002). The internship, practicum, and field placement handbook: A guide for the helping professions (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.