Division of Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology


Eileen J. Burker, >Director


Eileen J. Burker (22) Quality of Life Associated with Heart and Lung Transplantation and Ventricular Assist Device (VAD); Psychological Aspects of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation; Knowledge of and Attitude about Organ Donation and Transplantation; Vocational Functioning in Individuals with Chronic Medical Conditions.

Associate Professor

Mark R. Klinger, Learning and Cognition in Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities, Adult Outcomes in Persons with Autism, Predictors of College Success in Persons with Autism, Implicit Learning and Unconscious Aspects of Thinking

Assistant Professor

Eniko C. Rak, Employment Outcomes in Individuals with Diabetes; The Benefits of Health Literacy on Quality of Life in Individuals with Chronic Illness and Disability; International Rehabilitation; Professional Identity Development in Graduate Students

Clinical Assistant Professor

Judy Schmidt, Counseling Supervision; Supported Employment and Supported Education for People with Psychiatric Disabilities; Anti-Stigma and Anti-Bullying Interventions for Children with Mental Illness; Aging with a Disability

Adjunct Faculty

W. Leigh Atherton, Substance Abuse, Dual Diagnosis and Motivational Interviewing

Greg Olley, Developmental Disability, and Intellectual Competency

The Division of Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (DRCP) of the Department of Allied Health Sciences offers a two-year graduate program leading to the master of science degree.

The graduate courses offered in rehabilitation counseling and psychology (RCP) present and discuss theoretical constructs and their application to clinical practice; study the bio-psychosocial complexity of disability within rehabilitation contexts; examine professional role and identity within ethical guidelines of practice; stimulate critical, analytical, and creative thought; and prepare students for professional rehabilitation counseling practice including specialty settings for people with developmental and/or psychiatric disabilities.


The mission of the DRCP is to serve the people of North Carolina by educating rehabilitation counselors with the knowledge and expertise to provide services to our citizens with disabilities with an emphasis on those with psychiatric and/or developmental disabilities. The mission is based on the fundamental belief in the dignity and worth of all people and the rights of people with disabilities to live self-determined lives in inclusive communities of their choice. The DRCP seeks to educate rehabilitation counselors who use the counseling relationship and skills to work collaboratively with individuals to maximize functional capacity, productive and independent living skills, and quality of life, and to provide access to and manage personalized services to support the unique needs and preferences of each individual, his or her family, and community. Fundamental to this is a focus on the whole person—psychological, vocational, spiritual, and physical aspects—as well as family, social, work, and community relationships. The division seeks to educate rehabilitation counselors who possess the knowledge, critical thinking abilities, commitment to independent learning and scholarship, vision, and courage required to forge new models of community practice to address the diverse needs of the individuals with disabilities now and in the future.

In carrying out this mission the faculty of the division has the obligation to acquire, discover, preserve, synthesize, and transmit knowledge, to be models of professional leadership and to create a culture of educational excellence that will nurture students' intellectual and ethical development. Students have the responsibility to fully engage in an educational process of research, free inquiry and personal responsibility and to become foremost practitioners, scholars, researchers, and leaders in the profession of rehabilitation counseling.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading center of scholarship, research, and creative work with a mission to serve the people of North Carolina and the nation. The mission of the University's Division of Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology is to contribute actively and substantively to this tradition.


Graduates of the rehabilitation counseling psychology program will

1. Effectively apply current best practices in rehabilitation counseling within a community-inclusion model

2. Accurately assess the rehabilitation preferences and needs of people with disabilities and work in partnership with consumers to provide the appropriate rehabilitation counseling, services, and supports needed

3. Acquire specific knowledge and skills to address the counseling and case management needs of people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on strategies and techniques for serving people with psychiatric and developmental disabilities

4. Work collaboratively with professionals, family members, community providers, employers, and agency policy and decision makers to achieve optimal rehabilitation outcomes for people with disabilities

5. Engage in a process of lifelong learning, collaboration, and collegiality as part of ongoing professional development as rehabilitation counselors

6. Have the necessary leadership, business, and management and public policy skills to assume leadership roles in the practice and the profession of rehabilitation counseling and

7. Promote and support consumer empowerment and self-advocacy of people with disabilities

Students must successfully complete 60-plus semester hours of required course work, submit and defend an approved master's thesis, paper or project, and complete an approved practicum and internship (within the chosen specialization).

Requirements for Admission

• A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university

• A grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in the area of the major

• Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores combined of 1000 or greater (or two areas of quantitative, verbal, or writing scores @ 50th percentile)

• Three letters of recommendation

• Completion of application supplement for RCP within graduate school application

Courses for Graduate Students


700 Introduction to Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (3). This course will cover topics germane to the history and philosophy of rehabilitation. Students will obtain an overview of the field, its consumers, and methods of service delivery.

702 Theories of Counseling Applied to Rehabilitation (3). An introduction to the traditional theories of individual and family counseling. Emphasis on application of theories to persons with disabilities, ethics, and multicultural awareness.

704 Medical Aspects of Rehabilitation (3). Functional, psychological, vocational, familial, social, and sexual aspects of medical disabilities. Includes the human body system and medical terminology. Focus on assistive technology and functional capacity.

706 Tests and Measurement in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology (3). This course is an overview of the selection, administration, and interpretation of major assessment tools. Emphasis is on persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities.

708 Community Integration for Individuals with Disabilities: Work, Home and Leisure (3). This course will cover career development and counseling with emphasis on community integration in vocational and leisure pursuits of persons with disabilities, particularly those with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

710 Developmental Counseling Through the Life Span (3). Developmental theories and counseling through the life span will be covered with overall themes of positive development, resiliency, and healthy life transitions of persons with disabilities.

712 Fundamentals of Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology: Diagnosis and Practice (3). Prerequisites, RPSY 700 and 702. An introduction to diagnosing clients with mental illness and developmental disabilities. Focus is on best practice treatment and the vocational, social, and familial implications of living with a DSM disorder.

714 Principles of Group Counseling in Rehabilitation Psychology and Counseling (3). Strategies and techniques in developing and implementing groups in counseling. Attention to group counseling with persons with disabilities, specifically those with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

716 Case Management, Rehabilitation Services and Resources (3). Emphasis on leadership in all aspects of person-centered service coordination to include transdisciplinary and multi-agency effectiveness, knowledge of community organization and resources, service and support options.

718 Co-Occurring Disorders in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (3). Introduces occurrence of both psychiatric conditions and substance abuse prevalence examining history including traditional recovery models, contradictory practices, bio-physiological effects, and shift from separate to parallel to integrated treatment approaches.

800 Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology Research and Program Evaluation (3). Prerequisites, RPSY 700 and 702. Research methods, evidence-based practice, and ethical, legal, and cultural issues related to research and evaluation. Covers basic statistics, library research for rehabilitation-related information, proposal development, and grant writing.

802 Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology Practicum (5). Required preparation, all rehabilitation counseling and psychology first-year didactic courses. Direct experience with clients/patients in varied service delivery settings.

805 Evidence-based Practices in Psychiatric Rehabilitation (3). Prerequisite, RPSY 818. Introduces the range of evidence-based practice and new effective models for treating individuals with severe and persistent mental illness demonstrated through levels of evidence empirically.

806 Applied Counseling Skills in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (5). Designed to teach foundational counseling skills that will enable students to begin counseling. Focus on counseling individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities. Includes ethics and multicultural awareness.

810 Internship in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (5). Required preparation, all rehabilitation counseling and psychology didactic courses including RPSY 802 and 992. Direct experience with clients/patients in either developmental disability or mental illness settings. Parts 1 and 2.

814 Introduction to People with Psychiatric and Developmental Disabilities (3). Historical perspective, description, diagnoses, classification, etiology, patterns of functioning, current best practices with focus on RCP service delivery and community support; day-in-the-life component included.

816 Advanced Practice with People with Developmental Disabilities (3). Prerequisites, RPSY 700, 702, and 814. Prepares students for RCP practice with persons with developmental disabilities; covers a wide range of intervention and coordination strategies focusing on achievement of a participatory, person-centered, independent, and productive community life.

817 Substance Abuse and Addiction in Rehabilitation Counseling (3). Course provides an overview of drugs of abuse/addiction in the context of rehabilitation counseling. Additionally, theories of addiction, prevention, rehabilitation strategies, and research within a multi-cultural context are included.

818 Advanced Practice with People with Psychiatric Disabilities (3). Prerequisites, RPSY 700, 702, and 814. Prepares students for RCP practice with persons with mental illness; covers a wide range of intervention and coordination strategies focusing on support of recovery and achievement of a healthy, independent and productive life.

890 Special Topics in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (1–3). Faculty-mentored independent study to pursue specific interests and topics.

992 Master's Paper/Project in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (3–6). Individual work by a student (supervised by faculty) to explore an area of interest in a research paper, program development, or a professional project.

993 Master's Thesis in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology (3–6). Individual research supervised by a faculty member in a special field of study.