Program History

The Early Years

The history of the MTSU Professional Counseling program dates back to the 1960s when the Department of Psychology was established in the School of Education. The chair of the department made a formal request to offer a Master of Arts in Psychology, and the request was approved with a stipulation – that the department would be responsible for offering a counseling endorsement for teachers who desired to complete graduate coursework to be school counselors. The chairperson agreed to the stipulation and counseling courses and programs were housed in the department through 2011.

Dr. Keith Carlson started planning for a Master of Education in Elementary School Counseling degree in 1970. The degree was initially designed to be an added endorsement to a teacher’s certification; applicants were required to have two years of teaching experience. Upon approval of the program by the State Board of Education courses began to be offered in 1973. Dr. Carlson coordinated the program and eventually designed a complementary degree program leading to Secondary School Counseling endorsement. At the time, there was a push for secondary counseling programs to be competency based, so the program was developed according to this model. Dr. Carlson continued as program leader for the next 30 years and retired in 2003.


Dr. Keith Carlson and his wife Dorothy

Dr. Keith Carlson and wife Dorothy (1937-2022)



Professional Counseling

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