Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.A.

Total Semester Credit Hours = 60

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), accredited by CACREP, is intended to prepare students to counsel persons experiencing psychological disturbance due to developmental, educational, career, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, cultural, relational, or environmental issues. Students develop competencies in diagnosis and assessment, evidence-based counseling/psychotherapy techniques, group processes, human development, cultural diversity, and career counseling. Students who complete their degrees and meet state certification or licensing requirements may be employed in a variety of mental health settings.

All Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) students will complete a specified program that provides foundational knowledge and skills to be an effective clinical mental health counselor. 

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) degree program requires 60 semester credit hours of graduate course work.

Certification and Licensure

Graduates of the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) are eligible to apply for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. In addition to the degree, the LPC requires successful passage of the National Counselor Examination (NCE) followed by 3000 hours of supervised practice in a counseling role. The NCE may be taken prior to graduation for students who also wish to apply for national certification through NBCC at the same time. Otherwise, the NCE is taken after graduation.

To be eligible to practice within the U.S. Military (Tricare) and Veteran’s Administration mental health care systems, graduates will also be required to take and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination, administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the individual must:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. 
  2. Submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.  
  3. Submit a Department Information Sheet which includes a Statement of Purpose.
  4. Submit three (3) Evaluations of Academic Potential forms.
  5. Complete the background check. 
  6. If proof of English proficiency is required, the program has the following requirements: 
    1. The minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores are 560 on the paper and pencil test, 220 on the computer-based test, or 87 on the internet-based test (TOEFL/IBT), or overall band score of 7.0 (IELTS) with 6.5 or greater in each subsection. TOEFL and IELTS test scores are valid for only two years.

Degree Requirements

Total Semester Credit Hours = 60

Didactic Core (36 hrs.)

All Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) students are required to complete a DIDACTIC CORE of 36 hours as follows:

COUN 5312Counseling Theories and Applications

COUN 5324Cultural Diversity and Advocacy

COUN 5326Addictions Counseling

COUN 5328Foundations and Ethics of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

COUN 5335Career Counseling and Assessment

COUN 5340Research and Program Evaluation

COUN 5368Assessment Techniques in Counseling

COUN 5384Advanced Counseling Theories and Evidence Based Practices

COUN 5395Professional Practice in CMHC

PSYC 5308Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis

PSYC 5320Advanced Human Growth and Development

PSYC 5345Group Counseling and Therapy

Electives (9 hrs.)

Nine hours in Counseling and/or Psychology.

Clinical Skills Core (15 hrs.)

All Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) students are required to complete a CLINICAL SKILLS CORE of 15 hours as follows:

COUN 5391Essential Counseling Skills

COUN 5392Helping Relationships and Clinical Interviewing

COUN 5393Practicum in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

COUN 5396Internship I

COUN 5397Internship II


General Program of Study in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)

Students may choose their remaining 9 hours from the graduate counseling and psychology courses identified in the course catalog. For LPC licensure in Texas, students will be required to complete a course in either Family Counseling or Couples Counseling, which are available electives.

Sequence of Classes

In the first semester, students should take COUN 5312 Counseling Theories and Applications, COUN 5391 Essential Counseling Skills, and COUN 5328 Foundations and Ethics of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. These are considered to be qualifying courses for continuation in the program. Students must achieve a B or better in each of these courses to continue in the Clinical Skills Core course sequence and complete the degree program. A Candidacy Interview will occur at the end of each CMHC student’s first semester enrolled in the program upon completion of COUN 5312, COUN 5328, and COUN 5391 (note: for six credit hour first semester students COUN 5328 and COUN 5391).  Each subsequent year students will undergo an Annual Review of Student Progress and must Meet Expectations in that review to continue in the program in good standing.

Following success in the qualifying courses and Candidacy Interview, students should continue with the basic didactic counseling and psychology courses that provide the basis and foundation for the remaining Clinical Skills Core courses. These courses for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) students include PSYC 5308 Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis, COUN 5340 Research and Program Evaluation, COUN 5384 Advanced Counseling Theories and Evidence-Based Practices, PSYC 5320 Advanced Study in Human Growth and Development, PSYC 5345 Group Processes, and COUN 5324 Cultural Diversity and Advocacy.

A student's formal degree plan (Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) Degree Plan) should be completed and approved/signed by their Faculty Advisor and the Graduate Admissions Coordinator before 12 semester hours are completed. Students in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) must successfully complete COUN 5391 Essential Counseling Skills, COUN 5392 Helping Relationship and Clinical Interviewing and COUN 5393 Practicum, with grades of B/CR or better, prior to enrollment in COUN 5396 Internship I, which is then followed by COUN 5397: Internship II Each Internship requires at least 300 hours (120 direct) of service on-site at an external site.

Comprehensive Exam: Students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program are required to take and pass the national, standardized Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) to graduate.