Master of Science Degree in Counseling — Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program prepares graduates to work with clients across a spectrum of mental and emotional disorders, as well as to promote mental health and wellness. Clients may be served individually, as families, or in group settings. Clinical Mental Health Counselors are knowledgeable in principles and practices of diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders, referral, and prevention and often work in interdisciplinary teams with other health professionals. Employment opportunities may include private practice, community-based mental health centers, hospitals, and other treatment centers.
The M.S. program is accredited by the Council on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is the premier independent accrediting body in counselor education. For more information, please see the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) website.
The MS in CMHC is designed to meet the curricular requirements for Connecticut State Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credit hours) prepares graduate students to work in a variety of community counseling agencies, college counseling centers, hospitals, and other counseling settings including private practice. Students develop skills and theoretical knowledge in practicing individual, group and career counseling with diverse populations in either public or private agencies. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Science requires completion of 60 credits, including completion of one semester practicum (100 hours) and two semester internship (600 hours). Students find practicum and internship placements in a variety of settings, including community counseling centers, child guidance centers, crisis stabilization programs, rape crisis and domestic violence programs, substance abuse programs, college counseling centers, youth services programs and inpatient and residential treatment programs. A comprehensive examination and a portfolio submission are required for Master’s of Science Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students who complete the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are prepared to take the National Counselor Examination (NCC), the exam required by the state of Connecticut for licensure as a professional counselor. This examination is also required for national board certification by the National Board of Certified Counselors.
Please note that completion of a master's program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is only one of the requirements for obtaining Licensure as a Professional Counselor. Each student is responsible for understanding the Connecticut State Department of Public Health licensure requirements, as described on their website.
A criminal record review may be required for licensure or certification in professional counseling. Additionally, some sites require fingerprinting and a criminal check when working vulnerable populations, such as children or clients involved in the criminal justice system.
Admissions Criteria for Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Candidates for the program are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Applicants should have a strong academic background and/or potential, as evidenced by a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. For applicants with undergraduate GPAs between 2.5 and 3.0, GPA Waivers may be possible under certain circumstances, with program faculty and university approval. For information on how to improve your undergraduate GPA to above a 2.5, you can use a GPA calculator to identify the number of courses you might need to reach the required GPA threshold.
- Applicants should have a foundational knowledge related to human services or psychology, as represented by holding a bachelor's degree psychology or related field and having at least 2 required prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology and Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology. Applicants with degrees in unrelated fields may still be considered for admission. It is possible for students to complete prerequisites after acceptance.
- Applicants should be strongly recommended by two (2) individuals who have known them in a professional and/or academic setting and can speak to their potential as a graduate student and clinical mental health counselor, including an assessment of their interpersonal skills and commitment to diversity. At least one recommendation should be from an academic reference (e.g., professor).
- Applicants should submit a clear, well-written 500-word essay describing the basis of their interest in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at SCSU.
- Applicants should have some experience, either volunteer or professional, in a helping role. These experiences can be described on their resume.
- Applicants should demonstrate potential as a professional counselor, including strong interpersonal skills, and knowledge of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling field within an admissions interview, if invited.
To be considered for admission to the program the following summer or fall, all admissions materials must be received by January 15 for summer only. Students may start coursework in summer or fall. For further information: CMHCGrad@southernct.edu.