Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is intended for students 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. 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.

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Concentrations

Students pursing the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling may add to their degree one of four concentrations:

Location

Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.

Program Details

Admissions Information

In order to enroll in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, a student must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Further, students need to know the concepts and language of the basic domains in psychology.

In general, students must have completed coursework in the following prerequisite areas:

Content Area/CourseCredits
History & Systems of Psychology3
Biological Bases of Behavior3
Social Bases of Behavior3
Human Development3
Personality3
Learning & Cognition3
Abnormal Psychology3
Research Methods3

Students who have not fulfilled the prerequisites may receive a provisional admission to the graduate programs that requires completion of a Pre-Graduate semester.

See complete application instructions.

Counseling Certification and Licensure

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 (e.g., LMHC) is granted by the individual states in the U.S. and by provinces in Canada, in which the therapist practices; 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). 

States review and update their licensure requirements. The frequency with which states do this varies widely. Students need to be aware of, and stay current with, changes to their state’s licensure requirements to ensure their planned studies at Goddard will address their state’s requirements. This process of review and update is something that happens throughout a practitioner’s career, as part of their continuing education credentialing process to renew their license or certification and is best begun as a graduate student. 

Meeting state license or external certification requirements is solely the responsibility of the student. Students should be sensitive to the requirements and limits the state places on the number of internship hours that can or must be accrued pre- and post-graduation. Some states require internships be done for credit, some do not. Students are encouraged to join and participate in their state mental health counselors’ organization. These voluntary organizations empower practitioners politically and professionally.


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. 

Curriculum

To earn the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), 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

The following 33 credits are required of all students pursuing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Course No.Course NameCredits
MHC 510Ethics and Professional Orientation3
MHC 600Human Lifespan Development3
MHC 610Social and Cultural Foundations3
MHC 620Group Work3
MHC 630Biological Bases of Behavior3
MHC 700Psychopathology3
MHC 710Counseling Theory and Helping Relationships3
MHC 720Assessment and Evaluation3
MHC 730Research Methods3
MHC 741Career Development3

Supervised Practicum

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 (see below for details on the 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.

Course No.Course NameCredits
MHC 750-752Supervised Practicum for Credit3

Electives

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 Expressive Arts Therapy Concentration or Sexual Orientation Concentration.

Students generally complete a minimum of 12 elective credits.

Course No.Course NameCredits
MHC 800-809Student-Initiated Elective3
MHC 810-812Supervised Internship for Credit3

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.

Course No.Course NameCredits
MHC 852Thesis I6
MHC 853Thesis II6
MHC 807Capstone Personal Process Course3
MHC 808Capstone Professional Process Course3

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