Master of Science in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Counselors facilitate the promotion of relational well-being and problem-solving through a consideration of how behavior develops within the context of families, communities and larger systems and by providing counseling, consultation, mental health education and related services with individuals, families and groups. The program provides the required academic credits toward licensure in the State of Maryland, and is designed to meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds who have a wide range of professional goals. Undergraduate degrees from a variety of disciplines (e.g. communication, sociology, anthropology, foreign languages, religion, philosophy, education, psychology) are considered for program admissions.

The program’s content includes the following areas: professional orientation and ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; helping relationships; group work; assessment; and research/program evaluation. Students will be instructed via didactic experiences, small group experiences and applied learning at clinical mental health sites.

At the master’s level, the practice of counseling is monitored by the program consistent with Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene (MDHMH) requirements. Areas of practice include nonprofit, educational and health care organizations, and private practice. Licensed counselors with additional training and experience may also provide clinical supervision, mental health consultation, agency administration and training. 

Information Session

View an online information session to learn more about the program. The session can be accessed here.

Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Start Term:Fall
Application Deadlines:Priority Deadline
Fall 2020:
February 15

Regular Deadline Fall 2020:
April 1
Application Requirements:Online application form
$80.00 application fee
Two letters of recommendation
Essay:A two-page reflective essay on: Why you would like to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor? What type of contribution would you like to make to the clinical mental health service provider community? What do you bring from your background and professional experiences that may support and/or constrain your becoming an effective Clinical Mental Health Counselor? Your experiences around human diversity and how they shape and reflect your values and goals as a counselor. What impact has volunteer, travel, and/or work had on your growth as someone interested in being a Clinical Mental Health Counselor?
Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
Tentative Interview Dates: Spring 2020:
November 22 (in-person)
November 25 (virtual)

Priority Deadline: Fall 2020
March 6 (in-person)
March 9 (virtual)

Regular Deadline Fall 2020:
April 24 (in-person)
April 27 (virtual)
Interview:*Note*: A select group of applicants will be invited for an interview. During this interview, applicants will be asked to prepare to provide a written response to prompt and hypothetical scenarios provided by faculty interviewers.

If invited and unable to attend the scheduled interview dates offered in-person or via Zoom web conferencing, the Counseling Program reserves the right to move your application to the next available start term for admission.
The program’s plan of study requires 60 graduate credits to be completed within five years and to successfully pass the Counseling Preparation Examination (CPCE) prior to or during the last semester of their graduate program. With the approval of the program advisor, a student may transfer a maximum of three graduate credits from an accredited college or university if the course is directly applicable to the student’s degree requirements and is taken within the five-year time limit. Students complete a 600-hour internship and earn 12 credits of electives in an area of specialization.

Program Notes

  • 861.502 Counseling Theory and Practice, and 861.507 Counseling Techniques are required prerequisites for all counseling courses. Students must be in good academic standing and have advisor approval before requesting to take 863.870 Practicum in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
  • A minimum of 48 credits of required coursework must be taken before enrolling in 863.875 Internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students are required to complete two field experiences during the program. The students will complete their field experiences in mental health agencies approved by the program. Students are responsible for finding placements that align with their counseling goals. The practicum is a 100-hour experience offered in spring semesters. The internship is a 600 or 1000 hour, two-semester commitment following successful completion of practicum. Students must attend all group supervision sessions for practicum and internship in order to pass the courses. The program will host a mandatory field experience orientation each year to prepare students for the field experience process.

Students must receive a grade of B or better in all laboratory courses and practicum experiences and pass all internship courses (which are graded on a pass/fail basis) to remain in the program. Counseling students who receive a failing grade in the Internship course will be dismissed from the program. Students must also receive successful site evaluations from the site supervisor in order to graduate the program. If a grade of B- or below is earned in a required laboratory course, the student must repeat the course and earn a grade of A or B before registering for any other course. If any additional grade of B- or below is earned in any other required laboratory course, the student will be dismissed from the program, even if an A or B was earned in the first repeated course.


Course work for the program includes foundations of counseling with a review of major theories and practices and in-depth study of interventions, latest diagnostic procedures, and an emphasis in experiential learning through laboratory courses and a supervised internship. Required Courses: 48 Credits

  • 863.501 Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling This course provides an overview of the role and scope of the clinical mental health counseling profession. Students address a number of topics including the historical, theoretical, philosophical, and empirical foundations of clinical mental health counseling. The course addresses role functions and employment settings of mental health counselors; program development, emergency management, prevention, intervention, consultation, assessment approaches, and education; and the contextual dimensions of diverse clients seeking mental health counseling services. This is a foundational course that prepares students to work in a broad range of mental health counseling programs by acquainting them with the foundations of clinical mental health counseling.
  • 861.507 Counseling Techniques (Lab course) This course provides an overview of the history and philosophy of professional counseling, with special attention to the roles, functions, and limitations of school, community, and organizational counselors. Included is an understanding of the essentials of basic counseling skills; attending, listening, and interviewing stages of clinical treatment; and client/counselor relationships. Students learn about professional counseling organizations, professional credentialing, and standards and ethics in counseling and related human services. The course emphasizes self-growth, awareness, and observational skills as related to becoming a facilitator of individual, group, family, and systems change.
  • 863.795 Ethical and Legal Issues of Mental Health Counseling Participants explore professional issues in counseling, with specific regard to ethics and laws that pertain to the profession, such as ethical codes, responsibility, competence, public statements, confidentiality, reporting abuse, and dual relationships. Professional issues in the context of community mental health are also covered in terms of historical, societal, and philosophical aspects, as well as licensing, roles, policies, legislation, reimbursement, and the professional identify of community counselors. Racial and ethnic issues, as well as gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and mental status in community counseling settings are also addressed. Notes: Must be taken prior to internship. (3 credits)
  • 861.502 Counseling Theory and Practice (Lab course) This course provides an overview of the major theories of counseling and therapy, such as cognitive, behavioral, existential, Gestalt, and Adlerian. Students explore integrative approaches, as well as multicultural and feminist perspectives. Participants focus on a wide range of specific techniques and practices that are associated with each theory and how they are applied in various situations. Notes: Students are required to attend the two-day laboratory sessions. Laboratory courses and internship classes involve an exploration of personal factors as they contribute to counseling skills and techniques.
  • 863.607 Diversity and Social Justice in Counseling Participants explore aspects of counseling clients from diverse ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Through didactic and experiential learning techniques, students consider counseling strategies for enhancing cross-cultural interventions. (3 credits)
  • 861.511 Career/Life Development and Planning Participants review major theories of career development and decision making, occupational sociology, and vocational psychology. The course places career counseling concepts in a life-span perspective and reviews career development materials and cross-cultural strategies. Notes: Tuition includes materials fee.
  • 861.609 Diagnosis in Counseling Students study the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) to learn to assess, diagnose, and treat psychopathology based on current DSM criteria. Theories related to the etiology of major categories of mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and personality disorders are examined. Students gain an understanding of the impact of abnormal behavior on individuals, families, and society. Instructors provide a developmental framework for understanding diagnosis from multicultural, feminist, and systems perspectives. Notes: Must be taken before ED.863.809 or ED.863.870.
  • 863.603 Couple and Family Therapy (Lab Course) Students study the theory and practice of family therapy with an emphasis on models of family development and major approaches to intervention with families. Systemic models of family intervention are emphasized, as well as the study of other historically important and contemporary approaches to family therapy. The course blends didactic and experiential learning. Notes: Students are required to attend the two-day laboratory sessions. Laboratory courses and internship classes involve an exploration of personal factors as they contribute to counseling skills and techniques. Master’s students must have completed a minimum of 15 credits before registering for this course .
  • 861.612 Appraisal and Testing for Counselors Students explore individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation through the use of standardized test instruments and rating scales. Emphasis is given to principles of test construction, reliability and validity, psychometric properties, and strategies for the selection, administration and interpretation of behavioral, psychological, and educational tests. Implications of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, heritage, language, disability, and professional/ethical issues are examined. Notes: Tuition includes materials fee.
  • 861.503 Group Counseling and Group Experience (Lab course) Students investigate practical and theoretical concepts of group dynamics and group counseling to acquire skills in facilitating various kinds of group interaction. Students explore interpersonal dynamics, personal communication styles, fundamental group counseling strategies, and group facilitation through class and laboratory experiences. Notes: Students are required to attend the two-day laboratory sessions. Laboratory courses and internship classes involve an exploration of personal factors as they contribute to counseling skills and techniques.
  • 863.630 Addictions Counseling I: Theory and Approaches Students explore the fundamental principles of addictions counseling from a wide range of perspectives. These include the psychopharmacological aspects of alcohol and abusable drugs, along with theories and assessments of addictive disorders. Many treatment models are considered and examined in the context of individual, group, and family therapy perspectives. The course also addresses the research literature on codependence, COA’s, AA and other 12-step programs, dual diagnosis, relapse, prevention, and multicultural and gender issues. (3 credits)
  • 863.870 Practicum in Clinical Mental Health Counseling This supervised practicum experience is offered in two modalities. The first modality is an experiential course including seminar discussions, review of major theories of counseling with an emphasis on the integration of theory and practice, interview analysis, video and/or audiotape observations, and supervised exercises. Emphasis here is given to the development of foundational counseling skills (i.e. trust building, collaborative goal development, interpretation, summarization, paraphrasing, case conceptualization). The second modality is a practicum course involving practical training at a community based agency or intuition. Training focuses on integrating counseling theories in social context with individual counseling practice. Emphasis here is given to the development of cultural competence in joining, trust building, developing clinical hypotheses and interventions, and collaborating with clients in the development of goals, relevant legal and ethical issues. The course includes both didactic and experiential learning and is taken near the end of a student’s program of study just prior to the internship. (3 credits)
  • 863.681 Research and Evaluation for Counselors Participants learn the basic concepts for understanding and conducting research and program evaluation related to the counseling and human services fields. Students study experimental and quasi-experimental designs, examine quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and learn basic statistical procedures for data analysis. (3 credits)
  • 863.875 Internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling This supervised internship in counseling includes both class instruction and either a 600- or 1000-hour internship. Students must register for this course in consecutive fall and spring semesters, as it is a two-semester course. (6-12 credits; taken over two semesters)
  • 861.605 Human Development and Counseling This course reviews significant findings regarding current theory and practice in human growth and development along the life span through a biopsychosocial lens. Learners gain insights into aspects of human development that impact behavior in a variety of realms to include biological, cognitive, socio-emotional, and dispositional influences. Course outcomes focus on theoretical understanding and application of research findings to normal functioning as well as case conceptualization and counseling interventions within school and clinical mental health counseling populations. (3 credits)

In addition to completing the required core courses above, students must also complete 12 credits of electives. The selection of elective courses must be approved by the student’s faculty adviser. Students planning to start their internship must attend a mandatory meeting in January in order to be eligible to begin internship in the Fall semester. All students are required to achieve a passing score on the CPCE exam to graduate from the program.