The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is intended for students wishing 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.
The Psychology and Counseling Faculty members work one-on-one with students as faculty advisors throughout the semester, as well as facilitating group studies, teaching workshops at residency, and acting as first and/or second readers to students’ final projects. Our faculty is comprised of national and international scholar practitioners with extensive experience supporting students taking charge of their learning. Faculty members’ work with students is focused, clear, and rigorous.
Students pursing the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling may add to their degree one of four concentrations:
- Sexual Orientation
- Expressive Arts Therapy
- Human Animal Interaction Studies Concentration
- Spiritual Care & Counseling
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:
|History & Systems of Psychology||3|
|Biological Bases of Behavior||3|
|Social Bases of Behavior||3|
|Learning & Cognition||3|
Students who have not fulfilled the prerequisites may receive a provisional admission to the graduate programs that requires completion of a Pre-Graduate semester.
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.
At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor and course mentor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.
Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.
Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.
This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor and course mentors.
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.
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 for the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The following 33 credits are required of all students pursuing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
|Course No.||Course Name||Credits|
|MHC 510||Ethics and Professional Orientation||3|
|MHC 600||Human Lifespan Development||3|
|MHC 610||Social and Cultural Foundations||3|
|MHC 620||Group Work||3|
|MHC 630||Biological Bases of Behavior||3|
|MHC 710||Counseling Theory and Helping Relationships||3|
|MHC 720||Assessment and Evaluation||3|
|MHC 730||Research Methods||3|
|MHC 741||Career Development||3|
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 Name||Credits|
|MHC 750-752||Supervised Practicum for Credit||3|
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 Name||Credits|
|MHC 800-809||Student-Initiated Elective||3|
|MHC 810-812||Supervised Internship for Credit||3|
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 Name||Credits|
|MHC 852||Thesis I||6|
|MHC 853||Thesis II||6|
|MHC 807||Capstone Personal Process Course||3|
|MHC 808||Capstone Professional Process Course||3|