Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

Learn to facilitate growth toward one’s human potential

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.A. educates counselors to become leaders who effectively and compassionately serve the mental health needs of individuals across a lifespan.

The CMHC program is offered full-time or part-time in a cohort format. This serves to build a strong learning community for students and allows for a richer graduate education experience. A student in the program can expect an instructional approach that combines lecture, interactive problem-based learning, individual project work, and peer to peer discussion.

Program Fact Sheet Program Curriculum

Program Benefits

  • Focuses on the wide span of personal problems that confront any individual facing the stresses and strains of modern life
  • Provides a holistic education that integrates mind, body and spirit
  • Prepares counselors to work in community mental health centers, private practice, social service agencies, health services organizations, businesses, and educational or pastoral settings

Department of Counseling & Applied Behavioral Studies

The Department of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies houses the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs. The mission and purpose of the school and the Department are in concert with the Mercy Values upon which the University was founded.

Mission & Purpose

The University of Saint Joseph, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in the Catholic tradition, provides a range of programs for a diverse student population in an inclusive environment that encourages strong ethical values, personal integrity, and a sense of responsibility to the needs of society.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling Master of Arts programs are committed to educating counselors who will provide effective growth-oriented interventions, advocacy, and leadership when serving the needs of individuals in the many diverse communities in which they work and reside.

Plan of Study for the Full-Time CMHC Program

The master’s degree in CMHC requires that a student complete 60 graduate credits (as outlined below) and pass a comprehensive exam administered during the final phase of the program.

Fall Year 1

COUN 515: Ethics and an Orientation to the Counseling Profession

COUN 541: Skills and Techniques in Counseling

COUN 543: Counseling Theories

Spring Year 1

COUN 514: Multicultural Counseling

COUN 529: Crisis and Trauma Counseling

COUN 585: Advanced Counseling Skills

Summer Year 1

COUN 506: Counseling Children and Adolescents

COUN 552: Developmental Theories and Applications

Fall Year 2

COUN 531: Group Process and Dynamics

COUN 544: Mental Health Diagnosis

COUN 579: Counseling Families

Spring Year 2

COUN 547: Substance Use and Treatment

COUN 550: Appraisal and its Application in Counseling

COUN 583: Treatment Planning and Advanced Interventions

Summer Year 2

COUN 568: Practicum

COUN 597: Applied Research Methods for Counselors

Fall Year 3

COUN 533: Career Development and Counseling

COUN 570: Internship I

Spring Year 3

COUN 571: Internship II (CMHC)

COUN 587: Human Sexuality

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for the CMHC program reflect the competencies required of counselors who provide services to clients. They are as follows:

  • Skill Competencies
    Learn the culturally appropriate skills and techniques necessary for successful pre-session, in-session, and post-session counseling behaviors
  • Case Conceptualization
    Gain skills to formulate a clear understanding of the client’s struggle, and frame a counseling plan that reflects a theoretical orientation and is respectful of the contextual nature of the client’s world view
  • Counseling Process
    Identify any aspect of counselor-client interaction, total or in part, that can be understood to directly or indirectly affect you, the client, the direction of sessions, and movement toward the resulting outcome of counseling
  • Personal Growth
    Recognize the aspects of your character that enhance work as a counselor, as well as those aspects that serve as obstacles to work as a counselor; work to utilize strengths in addressing any personal obstacles

Application & Enrollment Requirements for the Program

Documents Required for Admission to the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs

The Office of Graduate Admissions (OGA) has two primary tasks. The first is to assist students through the application process and the second is to collect all the admissions requirements submitted by each student. Once this application documentation is collected, the OGA forwards the information to the faculty in the Department of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies for review.

Each graduate program at the University of Saint Joseph has specific admissions requirements. Below is a specific list of admissions requirements used by our graduate programs in counseling.


The application is the single most important document submitted by the student because it provides the necessary contact, background, and previous degree information as well as the selection of the student’s program of interest. Furthermore, the application is used to create/start the student’s file at the University of Saint Joseph.

Application Fee

The application fee is a one-time payment of $50 that validates the student’s interest in applying to the University of Saint Joseph. The application fee can be paid online directly after completing the application.


The transcript provides information about a student’s academic background. The courses, grades completed, and degree information listed on a transcript provide a great deal of information about the student’s past academic experiences. A student should contact the Registrar’s Office from their previous institution to have an official copy of their undergraduate transcript sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Academic Services. All transcripts should be sent to the following address:

University of Saint Joseph
Graduate Admissions and Academic Services
1678 Asylum Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117

The University of Saint Joseph will always require the transcript showing degree conferral of a Bachelor degree program from a regionally-accredited institution. If you are applying prior to completing your undergraduate degree, please submit your transcript showing the academic work you have completed at this point in your academic career. This transcript will be reviewed by faculty for the purpose of admission and then a final transcript after you have graduated can be submitted prior to the beginning of classes.

Praxis Core Exam Score (School Counseling Only)

The PRAXIS Core Examination is a standardized test for mathematics, reading, and writing. It is used to assess a student’s readiness to enter the profession of school counseling. It is not an admission requirement. A student may submit PRAXIS Core scores prior to admission or during their first semester in the school counseling program. At the University of Saint Joseph, only the School Counseling program requires PRAXIS Core scores. Those applying for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling do not need to take the PRAXIS Core.


Provide a resume that documents your education and work experience.

Professional Letters of Recommendation

Professional letters of recommendation are an important admissions requirement because they provide information that is not visible on a transcript or standardized test. A professional letter of recommendation is a reflection of not only academic/work experience spoken on behalf of a professor, advisor, or employer, but how that experience could benefit or make the student more successful in graduate school. Letters of recommendation should not come from friends, family, spiritual leaders, or public officials.

Professional letters of recommendation must meet the following requirements:

  • A one to two-page typed letter
  • Written on letterhead
  • Signed by the recommender in pen (no electronic or blank signatures)

All students applying to the Masters degree programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling have to submit two letters of recommendation.

Proof of Immunization

The proof of immunization requirement is designed to make sure all graduate students attending courses on the University of Saint Joseph campus have been vaccinated for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella. This is a requirement set out by the State of CT. All students that did not graduate from an undergraduate program offered by the University of Saint Joseph will have to submit a completed copy of the Proof of Immunization Form with the proper attached documentation. Students can obtain the required documentation by getting a report from their physician, transferring these records from their undergraduate institution, or getting a laboratory report after having titers drawn.

Graduate students that did not graduate from an undergraduate program offered by the University of Saint Joseph should submit the Proof of Immunization Form with proper attached documentation to Health Services (860.231.6794.)

Program Essay

The program essay is a document used in the admissions process to determine the student’s ability to discuss their past experiences in this area or how the student’s program of interest will affect both the student’s professional and personal life. The essay for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs have specific elements that the applicant must address. Follow the instructions provided in the online application materials

Program of Study (POS)

The planned program of study is a document completed during the student’s meeting with an advisor from the program of interest. The planned program of study provides information about when the student plans to take the courses that make up their program of interest. The planned program of study may also be used by departments to determine upcoming course schedules and it is also used in the degree audit process. The POS will be provided to the applicant during the on-campus information/interview session. Call Dr. Rick Halstead (860.231.5213) to schedule a meeting.

Financial Aid Information

Students interested in obtaining financial aid should contact the office of Student Financial Services (860.231.5223).


The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the following programs within the Department of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies at the University of Saint Joseph: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) and School Counseling (M.A.)

Licensed Professional Counselors (LCP) Licensing Requirements

Professional Counselors are now licensed in all 50 states, although the name designation and licensing requirements may vary from state to state. Within CT, the CT State Department of Public Health oversees the licensing of all health care providers.

In CT an applicant for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LCP) must meet the following requirements:

  • A counseling masters degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education,
  • Sixty graduate semester hours in or related to the discipline of counseling,
  • Coursework in each of the following areas: human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, counseling theories and techniques or helping relationships, group dynamics, processing and counseling, career and lifestyle development, appraisals or tests and measurements for individuals and groups, research and evaluation, and professional orientation to counseling
  • Three thousand (3000) hours of postgraduate supervised experience in professional counseling,
  • A minimum of one hundred (100) hours of direct supervision,
  • Successful completion of the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

More Info & Application Materials

Vital Program Statistics – 2019

Minimum Required Credits for Degree

  • MA in School Counseling – 60 credits
  • MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – 60 credits

Current Enrollment (Fall 2019)

  • 34 School Counseling
  • 68 Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Total: 102

Number of Applicants for the Fall 2019 Cohort

  • 59 applicants
  • 39 admitted

Average Undergraduate GPA for Admitted Cohort

  • 3.37

Number of Graduates – 2019

  • School Counseling Program – 6 Students
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – 15 Students

Students who pursue License/Certification

  • School Counseling Program – 100% (certification is received upon graduation)
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program – 92%

Employment Rate within one year of Graduation

  • School Counseling Program – 94%
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – 87%

2019 Graduation Rate:

  • School Counseling Program: 100% Graduation Rate
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: 72% Graduation Rate

Students with Disabilities

Female Students – 3Male Students – 0

Master’s Student Demographics – Fall 2019

Female Students – 94Male Students – 10
African American Females -11African American Males – 0
Asian American Females – 3Asian American Males – 1
Caucasian Females – 63Caucasian Males – 10
Hispanic Females – 14Hispanic Males – 0
Native American Females – 0Native American Males – 0
Multiracial Females – 0Multiracial Males – 0

Learn More

For more information about the application and matriculation process contact Dr. Rick Halstead 860.231.5213 or [email protected].

USJ Student Success

    Take the Next Step

    Come and tour our beautiful campus, learn more about our programs and discover firsthand what makes our University so unique!

    Contact Us