Program Requirements for M.S. Degree in MHC

The Mental Health Counseling (MHC) program is a 60-credit-hour minimum, full-time, on-campus program that provides both didactic and experiential coursework leading to the master of science degree.

Core courses cover foundations, knowledge, and skills that are common to all counseling-related programs. This core includes the study of counseling theory, career development, group counseling, human development, ethical and professional issues, multicultural counseling, and research methods. Mental Health Counseling students are also required to take courses specific to the field, which introduce them to the basic principles, history, and institutions in mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, family counseling, psychopathology and evidenced-based interventions, consultation, and assessment in mental health counseling.

Standard full-time program (60 credit hours over 5 semesters) coursework

Required course sequences. Although some flexibility is afforded to students when planning the sequence of required coursework, the following courses must be taken when indicated in order to progress through the program.

During the first year of the program, all MHC students take CEP 521: Introduction to Mental Health Counseling and CEP 653: Foundations of Counseling Theory during the fall semester. All MHC students take CEP 618: Principles of Counseling Practice and CEP 658: Introduction to Group Counseling during the spring semester. Note that CEP 653 Foundations of Counseling Theory and CEP 618 Principles of Counseling Practice are prerequisites for internship.


Required coursework includes two elective courses typically taken in the CSEP Department.

Some examples of electives MHC students may take:

  • CEP 548 Coaching for Wellness*
  • CEP 553 Self Care in Service*
  • CEP 566 Wellness and Engagement*
  • CEP 616 Grief Counseling
  • CEP 644 Counseling Children & Adolescents
  • CEP 645 Intro to School Counseling
  • CEP 661 Medical & Psychosocial Aspects of Disability & Chronic Illness
  • CEP 672 The Mindful Therapist*
  • CEP 683 Vocational Placement Process

*Offered through CSEP's advanced certificate program in Mindful Counseling for Wellness and Engagement.

Internship (12 credits)

Six credits of CEP 600MHC Internship in Mental Health Counseling are taken during the fall and spring semesters of the second year in residency. Students are required to complete a total 600 hours of on-site agency time in addition to attending the weekly internship class on campus. Students receive supervision from the on-site clinical supervisor as well as supervision and didactic instruction in the CEP 600MHC Internship course over the span of the clinical internship.

Concurrently with CEP 600MHC Internship, students must also enroll in:

  • CEP 586 Assessment in Mental Health Counseling during the fall semester, second year
  • CEP 664 Process of Consultation during the spring semester, second year

The Comprehensive Exam: A Capstone Experience

The comprehensive examination allows the program to compare our students to national sample of their peers in terms of their knowledge of mental health counseling, as assessed by the national Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE). Students must obtain a passing score on all subtests of the CPCE, which is taken as an exit exam during the final semester in the program. We define a passing score as being within 1 standard deviation of the national mean score for each subtest.

Student Portfolios

Students must also maintain a portfolio. The program portfolio is an assessment process whereby candidates in the Mental Health Counseling program document their professional growth and development. Students are responsible for creating a portfolio based on the NY State Mental Health licensure standards. One goal of building the portfolio is to promote an active process of reflection with respect to one’s development as a mental health counseling trainee over time and across contexts and knowledge areas. Another goal is to help the student connect their training to the standards of professional practice in the State of New York. Portfolios are formally evaluated at the end of the last semester in the program.

Student Advisement

Once accepted into the program, students are assigned a faculty advisor who is a core faculty member in the program. The advisor is charged with supporting the student's progress through program completion, a task that includes ongoing assessment of student progress. Students' progress in the program is formally reviewed annually.