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Master of Science
in Clinical Mental
Health Counseling
(MSCMHC)

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100% ONLINE MS IN CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING

Complete your studies on your own time.

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NEW START DATE EVERY MONDAY

Start your first course when it’s convenient for you.

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32 MONTHS TO YOUR MSCMHC

Finish your MSCMHC in just 20 courses.

National and Northcentral have merged, and this program is now offered by NU. Learn more.

Home » Programs » Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Provide impactful and culturally sensitive mental health services in your communities with the 100% online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSCMHC) degree program at National University. NU’s comprehensive program will prepare you to work with clients and groups from diverse backgrounds and assist with their mental health needs.

NU’s MSCMHC curriculum gives you an in-depth exploration of counseling theories, ethical and legal standards, and evidence-based approaches, diagnosis, and treatments. You’ll gain the theoretical and practical knowledge you need to work in a variety of professional counseling settings.

Make an Impact in Mental Health Counseling

Throughout NU’S MSCMHC program, you’ll study topics related to social justice, advocacy, and the equity of treatment. You’ll also discover the different ways you can advance your counseling profession.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

Course Sequence

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program can be completed in 60 credits. 

Course Name

In this course you will be introduced to professional, clinical mental health counseling with respect to the multiple roles and functions counselors serve in their respective communities, specialty areas, and the multidisciplinary health care system. You will be provided with introductory knowledge about the counseling profession including credentialing, professional organizations, standards, and accreditation. In this course you will also be provided with an orientation to the University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling. Graduate-level skills, such as goal building, time management, academic integrity, effective use of the University Library, the use of APA form and style in professional communication, and critical thinking skills will be introduced.

In this course you will focus on ethical and legal issues as they relate to practice of clinical mental health counseling. You will be introduced to the ethical standards of the American Counseling Association and learn to apply the Code of Ethics in various counseling situations with diverse populations. In this course you will also explore the importance of counseling supervision and maintaining professional dispositions. Emphasis will be placed on the evolving role of counselors in relation to scope and practice and the increase of technology in the profession.

In this course you will study the theories of individuals across the lifespan. Specifically, the students will learn of the myriad of factors that affect human development, including: biological, neurological, and physiological factors. Focus will also be placed on the systemic and environmental factors that affect human development. Emphasis will be placed on ethically and culturally sensitive approaches to enhance wellness and resilience. The unique impact of crisis and trauma on human development will be investigated.

In this course you will be introduced to the multicultural counseling competencies. You will also learn about the models and theories foundational to multicultural counseling. Specific multicultural populations will be explored with attention focused on multicultural evidenced based treatments. You will be challenged to confront personal biases and obstacles to multicultural orientation.

In this course you will learn about the foundational theories and models of counseling and psychotherapy. You will also learn about the importance of the person of the counselor and multicultural competence. Additionally, you will learn how to apply these foundational theories to different cases through your reading and study. You will be introduced to conceptualizing clients from a systems perspective. Finally, you will also begin developing an integrative personal model of counseling.

In this course you will develop basic counseling skills essential to creating a therapeutic working alliance with clients. Evidenced-based counseling strategies for prevention and intervention will be introduced. Initial skill development for clinical interviews and case conceptualization will be explored. Additionally, you will understand the core characteristics of an effective counselor. In this course you will also explore the impact of technology on counseling techniques.

In this course you will be introduced to a foundational aspect of professional counseling: career counseling. You will explore the theories and models of career development. You will develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of work, mental health, and other life roles. This course will also provide you with the opportunity to recognize areas of advocacy with diverse clients in career and educational development. Developing strategies to address career needs in an ethically and culturally relevant manner will also be an area of focus.

In this course you will focus on the importance of research in the counseling profession. You will also understand how to critique counseling literature to help inform practice. Additionally, you will explore the use of ethically and culturally relevant strategies for conducting research and program evaluation. You will be able to understand the qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods used in research and program evaluation. The focus will also be on identifying evidence-based counseling practices and conducting needs assessments.

In this course you will focus on understanding the theoretical foundations of group counseling and group work. You will explore the dynamics of group process, including the stages of group development. You will continue to develop the personal and professional characteristics of a counselor, particularly those essential to the group leader. This course will introduce you to the components of groups in various setting and explore ethically and culturally relevant strategies for designing and facilitating groups.

In this course you will focus on the historical perspective of assessment and testing in counseling. You will learn basic concepts of testing for both group and individuals. You will also learn to apply statistical principles in the selection of testing and assessments. In this course you will also explore the importance of using ethically and culturally relevant strategies for administering and interpreting assessments and tests. Emphasis will be placed on the use of assessments and tests in various domains.

This course will introduce you to the classifications of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classifications of Diseases. You will learn the process of diagnosing, the structure of the DSM, and concepts related to differential diagnoses. You will also learn about the scope and practice of counselors in the diagnostic process.

This course will challenge you to synthesize the concepts of clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. You will learn how these concepts work together to inform evidence-based treatment. You will utilize case conceptualization models to develop treatment plans. You will also explore various forms of documentation for clinical mental health counseling.

In this course you will learn strategies for crisis intervention and trauma-informed care. You will also explore psychological first aid and community-based strategies for crisis and trauma counseling. This course will discuss abuse, crisis, disasters, and trauma and their effect on diverse populations. This course will also focus on the impact of abuse, crisis, and trauma on individuals with mental health diagnoses.

In this course you will be required to complete supervised counseling practicum experiences for a minimum of 100 clock hours in your community. You will complete at least 40 clock hours of direct service with actual clients that contributes to the development of counseling skills. You will have weekly synchronous supervision with a counseling faculty member for two hours a week for 12 weeks. You will have opportunities to use theory and counseling skills in a community setting while working with diverse clients and to practice interviews and documentation in clinical practice.

After successful completion of a clinical mental health practicum, you will continue your supervised counseling experience. In this course you will earn at least 300 clock hours of supervised counseling internship with clients in a clinical mental health setting. You will complete at least 120 clock hours of direct service with actual clients. You will have weekly synchronous supervision with a counseling faculty member for two hours a week for 12 weeks. You will have opportunities to use biopsychosocial history and assessments as you manage a caseload. You will practice advocacy and interface with the legal system on behalf of clients.

In this course you will explore the history and development of addictions counseling. You will also learn about the theories and models of addictions counseling. Neurobiological and medical foundation in relation to the ethology of addictions will be explored. You will also be introduced to motivational interviewing as a foundational treatment for addictions counseling. This course will help you to develop a foundational knowledge about process and behavioral addictions and understand common co-occurring disorders.

After successful completion of the first internship experience, you will continue your supervised counseling experience. In this course you will earn at least 300 clock hours of supervised counseling internship with clients in a clinical mental health setting. You will complete at least 120 clock hours of direct service with actual clients. You will have weekly synchronous supervision with a counseling faculty member for two hours a week for 12 weeks. You will have opportunities to use biospychosocial history and assessment as you conceptualize cases and implement evidence-based techniques. You will practice termination skills when closing cases.

Course Details

  • Credit Hours: 60
  • Courses: 20
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 32 months

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSCMHC) degree program can be completed in 60 credits. Each course runs 12 weeks, and you’ll receive 3 semester credits per course.

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSCMHC) degree requires a minimum of 60 credits hours at the graduate level beyond the bachelor’s degree.

The MSCMHC program has the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 60 credit hours of graduate instructions must be completed through NU.
  • Successful completion of all required degree program courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of B) or higher.
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited academic institution.
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University.
  • All financial obligations must be met before the student will be issued their complimentary diploma and/or degree posted transcript.

Beyond these standard graduation requirements, the MSCMHC has the following degree requirements:

  1. Online Video Conferencing – In order to complete some of the course requirements and to participate in the online supervision process that is used during the practicum course and the internship courses, students are required to participate in several online video conferencing meetings throughout their time in the program. To participate in these video conference sessions, students are required to own or otherwise have access to a computer, a web cam, a headset, a video recording device, and a high-speed internet connection. 
  2. Client Contact 
  • Practicum – MSCMHC students will be required to complete 40 hours of direct client contact. Please read the practicum course description or the Clinical Training Handbook.
  • Internship – MSCMHC students will be required to complete 240 hours of direct client contact. Please read the internship course description or the Clinical Training Handbook.
  1. Supervision – In conjunction with client contact, practicum and internship students have weekly interaction with supervisors that averages one hour per week of individual and/or triadic supervision throughout the internship.
  2. Liability Insurance – Prior to beginning any clinical experience, students are required to submit proof of professional liability insurance.
  3. Clinical Hours Tracking – The MSCMHC program uses a web-based system to document completion of clinical hours. Students, local approved clinical supervisor and NU faculty supervisors all have access to the system to support the successful completion of the clinical training requirements for the program. Students will be provided with an authorization code.  

Career Potential*

The National University Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree can position you to fill key roles that include*:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Mental health counselors, clinicians, therapists, professionals
  • Behavioral health counselor, therapist, advocate
  • Counselors, therapists
  • Substance abuse counselors
  • Family counselors
  • Licensed mental health practitioner

Qualified graduates may also have the opportunity to progress to supervisory positions that oversee other counselors, or earn director titles. Patient or client advocacy is also an important part of a counselor’s role within integrated care settings. In addition, multilingual skills may be needed by employers to serve diverse cultural audiences. 

*SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at https://www.economicmodeling.com/company/ (Report viewed: 7/06/2022). DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for Informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSCMHC) degree program, you’ll be able to:

  • Interpret ethical and legal standards within professional counselors’ roles and functions
  • Examine advocacy and social justice theories of social, cultural diversity in counseling
  • Apply models of human growth and development in the practice of counseling
  • Apply theories and models of career development
  • Demonstrate essential foundational counseling skills
  • Employ group work principles in practice of group counseling
  • Select appropriate assessment and testing rolls for use in counseling practice
  • Implement program evaluation and evidence-based practice using relevant scholarly work and research methods
  • Demonstrate the practice dimensions of clinical mental health counseling

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Enrolling in a university is a big decision. That’s why our dedicated admissions team is here to guide you through the admissions process and help you find the right program for you and your career goals.

To that end, we’ve simplified and streamlined our application process, so you can get enrolled in your program right away. Because we accept and review applications year round, you can begin class as soon as next month, depending on your program and location of choice.

Learn more about undergraduate, graduate, military, and international student admissions, plus admissions information for transfer students. You can also learn more about our tuition rates and financial aid opportunities.

To speak with our admissions team, call (855) 355-6288 or request information and an advisor will contact you shortly. If you’re ready to apply, simply start your application today

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

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