MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is intended for students wishing to prepare for clinical work and licensing or who wish to go on to a doctoral program and need to demonstrate the development of clinical acumen through their course work, internship experiences, and final product. The counseling internship is described more fully in the Internship Section, below, and follows best practices in the field for supervision, direct client contact, and evaluation. This degree option requires a minimum of 60 semester credit hours.
Students pursuing this degree will address the program’s core courses and relevant electives from a counseling perspective. As with all courses for all students, each student is required to bring an individualized area of interest to their work. These areas may be singular or varied, but students pursing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are expected to focus on issues of relevance to their counseling professional and personal development. Faculty mentors and advisors are eager to work with students to incorporate personal areas of interest into all of their work.
Becoming a counselor is a complex and emotional process. In addition to standard academic learning, counselor education involves a personal journey in which students bring their whole and authentic selves to the learning process. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree encourages students to explore their own learning and emotional journey through seeking their own personal counseling experience. The Community Life staff assists students in finding counseling in their home communities. The CMHC degree also encourages students to join the American Counseling Association and their state mental health associations, in part to access the peer support and resources available, such as counselor referral networks.
Many graduates earning the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling go on to become licensed at the master’s level as therapists. Licensure is granted by the individual states in the U.S. and by provinces in Canada; these entities determine their licensure requirements. There are national organizations in the U.S. that certify individuals (this is different from licensure). One of the most important is the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Meeting licensure or certification requirements is solely the responsibility of the student. Faculty members will make every reasonable effort to work with students to create study plans and course contracts that give students opportunities to do work that helps meet professional goals. Students often create study plans and course contracts that reflect the requirements of their state licensure laws and/or NBCC guidelines.
To earn the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, students are required to successfully earn a minimum of 60 semester-credit hour credits to be granted the degree. All courses are worth 3 semester credits and are earned wholly or not at all. There are no partial credits awarded for individual courses.
Study in this program is considered to be full-time and requires a minimum of 29 hours of work a week. However, students may elect to follow one of two enrollment options regarding workload expectations:
- The 12 Credit Full-Time Option: the student completes four courses per semester; each course earns three semester credits.
- The 9 Credit Part-Time Option: the student completes three courses per semester; each course earns three semester credits. Tuition is reduced for the 9 Credit option, but all rules and expectations apply to both.
- Core Course Requirements for the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The following 33 credits are required of all students pursuing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
- MHC 510 Ethics and Professional Orientation
- MHC 600 Human Lifespan Development
- MHC 610 Social and Cultural Foundations
- MHC 620 Group Work
- MHC 621 Cognition and Learning
- MHC 630 Biological Bases of Behavior
- MHC 700 Psychopathology
- MHC 710 Counseling Theory and Helping Relationships
- MHC 720 Assessment and Evaluation
- MHC 730 Research Methods
- MHC 741 Career Development
The professional practice experience in clinical mental health counseling is comprised of a 100 hour Practicum, of which 40 hours must be direct service and a 600 hour Internship of which 240 hours must be direct service. Both the Practicum and the Internship may be done at the same site. All students pursing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track must meet this requirement.
Practicums/Internships can be designed as credit earning or non-credit earning. In either case, the hour requirements are similar as is the bi-weekly participation in the supervision bulletin board. Usually, but not necessarily, the choice to get credit for an internship has to do with the student’s particular state of residence and the state’s licensure requirements. If students are unclear about which to choose they should talk to their Academic Advisor and/or the Internship Coordinator.
The Supervised Practicum for Credit course is concurrent with a student’ practicum experience as determined by the policies and procedures of the program.
- MHC 750-752 Supervised Practicum for Credit 3
Because students seek licensure throughout the U.S. and in Canadian provinces, they may use elective credits to design courses that meet the credentialing requirements in their home state or provinces. In addition to the courses listed below, students may also use their elective credits to pursue the Sexual Orientation Concentration or Expressive Arts Therapy Emphasis.
Students generally complete a minimum of 12 elective credits.
- MHC 800-809 Student-Initiated Elective
- MHC 810-812 Supervised Internship for Credit
Thesis or Capstone
In addition to successfully completing the required course work and an internship, all students complete a culminating project. Students have two options:
- Thesis: A culmination of a student’s studies that documents both their ability to do work within the field and communicate it in an appropriate format and style.
- Capstone Process: During the final semester, students may work with their academic advisor on two designated courses (6 credits).
There are 12 credit hours devoted to the final product, the equivalent of one semester. Students who complete the Capstone Processgenerally require two additional elective credits, most often Student-Initiated Elective courses or Supervised Internship for Credit.
- MHC 852 Thesis I
- MHC 853 Thesis II
- MHC 807 Capstone Personal Process Course
- MHC 808 Capstone Professional Process Course
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