Rehabilitation Counseling & Disability Sciences



What is the Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Science master’s degree?

The Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Sciences (RCDS) major, within the Department of Child and Family Studies, trains counselors to work with persons with physical, mental, emotional, and chemical disabilities. This is a 60-credit, fully online master’s program offers training that emphasizes psychological, social, medical, and vocational aspects of disability, and the development and refinement of personal adjustment counseling skills. Graduates with this M.A. are prepared for careers as both rehabilitation counselors and professional disability specialists

Rehabilitation counseling is a counseling specialty focused primarily on disability advocacy and vocational rehabilitation counseling for individuals with physical, mental, and/or developmental disabilities. This program prepares professionals to work with the growing population of people with disabilities in the U.S. with an emphasis on contemporary, state of art research and assistive technology in disability science.

After completion of this program, students are eligible to become credentialed as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.  With this national certification, students will be licensed and prepared to work for various agencies serving people with disabilities. In addition, students graduating with this degree can obtain leadership positions in human resources and other agencies advocating for disability rights and disability justices.  

What can I do with this degree?

Students with this degree may find jobs as:

  • Rehabilitation Counselor for State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, Veteran’s Affairs, or private industry
  • Certified Vocational Evaluator
  • Directors for Rehabilitation agencies
  • Accessibility Services or Equity Employment Managers within corporations
  • ADA Coordinator
  • ADA Compliance Officer

Who should apply for the RCDS program?

Prime candidates for this program include students who: are interested in working to change the lives of individuals with disabilities; see themselves as advocates for social justice and societal change; seek to remove barriers and stigmas associated with people with disabilities and who are interested in working in vocational rehabilitation in the public or private setting.

What are the admissions requirements for the RCDS program?

Applicants are required to apply through the USF graduate school. Students must submit the following information for consideration: 1) undergraduate transcripts; 2) statement of purpose; 3) three letters of recommendation; 4) GRE or GRE waiver and 5) resume

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required?

We allow waivers to students who request consideration based on relevant experience and/or previous academic performance. Please contact the Program Coordinator for waiver approval process. 

Do I need to provide transcripts from all institutions including when I got an Associate’s Degree?

Yes, you will need to submit transcripts from your Associate’s Degree and any / all institutions you may have attended since high school.

What should I include in my statement of purpose? How long should it be?

The statement of purpose provides you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the admission committee and describe why you believe this degree is a good fit with both your professional background and professional aspirations. It also will serve as a writing sample. Be sure to proofread accordingly. There is no set length, but most are between 1-2 pages.

Who should write my letters of recommendations?

Your letters of recommendations should come from individuals who know you in a professional and /or academic setting.  

It is required that at least one of the recommenders is someone who can attest to your academic abilities and should be a former instructor or professor.*

*If you have been out of school for a length of time and do not have an instructor to request a letter of recommendation, please contact the Program Coordinator for additional options.

How do I apply for the RCDS program?

You can apply for this program through the USF Graduate School Portal.  This will be available in late Spring.

What is the cost of this program?

This program has a fixed tuition rate of $600 per credit hour regardless of where you live.

Can I use my state tuition waiver for this program?

Unfortunately, no.  The RCDS program is a cost-recovery master’s program at USF. We are not eligible to accept state tuition waivers. However, some state agencies offer tuition reimbursement programs, where you pay for the tuition up front and can submit for reimbursement after the fact. Please contact your Human Resource office to see if this is available to you.

Will I be eligible to become a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor?

Yes. After completion of this program, students are eligible to become credentialed as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. It is the student’s responsibility to register for this national exam. With this national certification, students will be licensed and prepared to work for various agencies servicing people with disabilities.

Is this program fully online?

Yes.  All classes are offered fully online.  Some courses will require synchronous learning where students will be required to log into the online portal at a specific time and day.

Are these courses offered in a semester or quarter format?

Most courses are offered in 8-week sessions.  Two courses per 8-weeks is considered full-time.  Internship and Practicum courses are offered in 10-week and 16-week sessions.  Please visit our website for a full course matrix.

Where do students complete their field placement experiences?

Each student will complete a minimum of 800 field experience hours.  Field placement experiences may be state vocational rehabilitation agencies, veteran’s administration and other agencies servicing people with disability.  It is the student’s responsibility to identify an agency that meets program criteria.

I am currently working for my State’s Vocational Rehabilitation system.  Can I use my job as my practicum and/or internship experiences?

Yes.  You will need to work with your advisor for final approval.

When is the application deadline?

June 1 for Fall semester start and October 1 for Spring semester start.

When are new graduate students accepted?

New graduate students are accepted on a rolling basis. 

When do graduate students start?

For Fall admission, students begin courses in mid-late August. For Spring admission, students begin courses in early January.

When are classes offered?

Most classes are offered over 8-week terms.  Two courses in these 8-week constitute full-time status. Two 8-week sessions (two courses each) are offered in the Fall and Spring. Summer session includes 10 week courses.  Classes are offered year-round. Please visit our program website for a full course matrix.

How long does it take to complete the program?

This program will take 2 years to complete when attending full-time.  Students must complete the program within 5 years.

Can I attend this program on a part-time basis?

Yes, students can attend on a part-time basis.

I have never taken an online class. Will it be difficult to learn how to navigate the classes in this type of setting?

Our online program is easy to navigate.  Your faculty instructor will provide support as you learn the USF web-platform.  Additional University technical supports are offered to students.  This information will be posted in your course syllabus.

How will my instructors be available to support my learning?

Instructors will provide instruction through course lecture, group projects, discussion posts, and more.  Faculty are available to students via email and Microsoft Teams during their scheduled office hours.

I have a disability; will these courses be ADA Accessible?

All courses are developed utilizing Universal Design, meeting ADA Accessibility guidelines. USF also provides students with disabilities additional support through the Student Accessibility Services office:

Can I take any of these courses as a non-degree seeking student?


I already have a master’s degree and would like to take only the classes I need for the CRC exam. Do you allow this?


Is the RCDS program CACREP Accredited?

This online master's program in Rehabilitation Counseling is not currently CACREP accredited. However, we are in the process of seeking accreditation.