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Master's Programs

Prevention Science and Practice/C.A.S. in Counseling

In the Prevention Science and Practice (PSP) Program, you will explore the many risk and protective influences on child and adolescent development, and learn how to design strengths-based interventions that promote well-being across academic, social-emotional, and health domains. In PSP, there is an emphasis on applied practice. The core of the program is a yearlong field practicum or research project that immerses you in the real-world applications of prevention science.  

The central mission of PSP is to prepare graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to promote positive, healthy development, and academic achievement.

Senior Lecturer Mandy Savitz-Romer, faculty director

The many strengths of PSP include:

  • Cohort and Community – Students in PSP come from a broad range of academic and professional backgrounds, but share a commitment to supporting positive outcomes for children and youth. The program often attracts students with backgrounds in education or psychology who want to work with or on behalf of students in a school setting, community-based program or nonprofit organization.  In some cases our students are mid-career professionals transitioning to education from fields like marketing or neuroscience. This diversity of experience enlivens classroom discussions and provides multiple perspectives for addressing some of the greatest challenges of education.
  • Internships and Fieldwork – The core of the PSP Program is a yearlong field practicum in the Greater Boston area or research project with a PSP faculty member that immerses you in the real-world applications of prevention science.

Curriculum Information

The program's curriculum reflects the interdisciplinary nature of prevention science and practice. You will complete 32 credits covering topics ranging from development and advocacy, to program management and service coordination.

The PSP curriculum is rigorous but flexible, structured in a way that focuses on the healthy development of children and adolescents. You will choose between three distinct curricular strands: Prevention Practice, Prevention Research, or Counseling.

You may earn two degrees in the PSP Program:

  • Master's in Education (Ed.M.), Prevention Science and Practice
  • Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in Prevention Science and Practice Counseling. Please note: this is a post-graduate degree offered exclusively to graduates of the counseling strand of PSP 

Prevention Practice Strand

This strand prepares you to work directly with children and young adults across a variety of settings, including schools, nonprofit organizations, and community-based programs. 

Designed for students with a strong interest in child and family advocacy, child/youth development, program development and leadership, and service coordination. Topics include, ecological models, consultation, classroom-level processes, and support services in schools. You can pursue coursework related to prevention program design and implementation as well as nonprofit, afterschool program, and community organization development.

View Requirements

You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in the following categories:

  • One required seminar:
    • Risk and Resilience in Social Contexts from Birth to Young Adulthood: Strategies of Prevention and Intervention (fall)
    • Prevention Practicum (fall & spring)
  • One Diversity course, sample listing below.
  • One Development course, sample listing below.
  • Four electives that can be chosen from across HGSE and other Harvard schools
  • Fieldwork: 8–10 hours per week on site at a Boston-area organization

View all courses and information on cross registration.

Prevention Research Strand

This strand explores the effective practice of prevention science as well as broader policy issues related to risk and prevention. In this strand, you have the opportunity to conduct original research alongside a PSP faculty member.

Designed for students with a strong interest in policy, program development, and evaluation, as well as educational research, or to gain experience in research in preparation for doctoral study. Topics explored, include program design and evaluation and research methods and data analysis. Students in this strand pursue coursework related to theories of risk and resilience across contexts as well as social, emotional and cognitive development across the lifespan.

View Requirements

You will complete (8 courses/32 credits) in the following categories:
  • One required seminar:
    • Risk and Resilience in Social Contexts from Birth to Young Adulthood: Strategies of Prevention and Intervention (fall)
    • Research Experience in Prevention Science and Practice (fall & spring)
  • One Research Methods course, sample listing below.
  • One Diversity course, sample listing below.
  • Four electives that can be chosen from across HGSE and other Harvard schools
  • Research Placement: 8–10 hours per week with a PSP faculty member conducting research
View all courses and information on cross-registration.

Counseling Strand

This strand is for individuals with a strong interest in school-based counseling who are considering the post-graduate C.A.S. in counseling. Topics explored, include preventative counseling models and techniques and cross-cultural counseling. Students in this strand include coursework related to community and school partnerships and individual and group counseling and facilitation.

View Requirements

You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in the following categories:

  • One required seminar:
    • Risk and Resilience in Social Contexts from Birth to Young Adulthood: Strategies of Prevention and Intervention (fall)
  • Practicum:
    • Childhood Counseling Prepracticum (fall & spring)
    • OR
    • Adolescent Counseling Prepracticum (fall & spring)
  • Selected courses required for licensure (see C.A.S. course requirements)
  • Three to four electives that can be chosen from across HGSE and other Harvard schools (includes C.A.S. year)
  • Fieldwork: 16 hours per week on site at a Boston-area school

View all courses and information on cross-registration.

Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in Prevention Science and Practice

The C.A.S. in Counseling fulfills all the requirements for initial licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a school guidance counselor, school social worker/school adjustment counselor. You will complete 32 credits over two semesters including a year-long advanced practicum at a local partner school. 

View Coursework

Sample Research Methods Courses

Sample Diversity Courses

Sample Development Courses

 

Program Faculty

HGSE consists of a faculty of the whole and students can work with and take courses with faculty throughout HGSE and Harvard. The faculty that PSP students most often work with include:

Alumni & Student Profiles

PSP graduates are working to improve the academic, social-emotional and health outcomes of students in a variety of professional and academic settings. Alumni who graduated with the C.A.S. in Counseling are working in public, charter, and independent schools across the as school counselors, adjustment counselors, or school social workers. Prevention and Research graduates draw on their prevention science background to, work for youth social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, research organizations, out-of-school time programs, and policy-oriented nonprofits. PSP is also excellent preparation for a doctorate degree, and several of our alumni now teach and conduct important research at colleges and universities worldwide.

Social Justice Sewing Academy

Activism, One Stitch at a Time

Sara Trail, Ed.M.'17, talks sewing, quilts, and social justice.

Esther Kim

Lifting Student Voices: Esther Kim, PSP'18

The Intellectual Contribution Award recipient for Prevention Science and Practice reflects on her time at HGSE and looks toward the future.

Connect with Admissions

More information about our admissions application requirements and instructions, tuition and financial aid, and answers to frequently asked questions is available on our website. If you have additional admissions-related questions, please contact Emily Mendes or call 617.495.3414.

Connect with Program Staff

If you have program-specific questions, reach out to PSP/C.A.S. Program Administrator Karen Bottari or call 617-495-4954.

Virtual Information Sessions

View the Prevention Science and Practice recorded virtual information session to learn more about the program from faculty, students, and staff.