Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)

Program Description

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration is a 60-credit hour program for persons who plan to seek licensure in Indiana (or states with similar statutes) as a clinical mental health counselor. Five core courses (15 credit hours) are required, along with 4 semesters of the Counseling Proseminar (COUN 694). Seven advanced courses (21 credit hours), four elective courses (12 credit hours), and experiential training (12 credit hours) of practicum, internship, and advanced internship, (COUN 685, 686, 687 and 688) comprise the remainder of the curriculum. The experiential training includes 1000 clock hours of supervised work in a clinical mental health counseling setting.

Program Requirements
Students are initially accepted into the CMHC program.  Then, as career objectives are identified in consultation with an academic adviser, students choose the program that best meets their professional and career goals.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program requires 12 core courses (36 credits) as well as significant experiential training through practicum and internship. Within the core are four courses--Counseling Theories and Practice, Counseling Processes, Child Psychopathology, and Adult Psychopathology--designed to provide a strong and integrated professional learning experience. Students additionally choose electives that permit emphasis in areas of interest and exposure to a wide range of counseling-related topics.


Core Courses
15 credits
COUN 635 Introduction to Psychopathology
3 cr
COUN 642 Advanced Psychopathology
3 cr
COUN 660 Helping Relationships: Counseling Theories
3 cr
COUN 662 Helping Relationships: Counseling Processes
3 cr
COUN 693 Foundations of Professional & Ethical Issues in Counseling
3 cr
COUN 694 Counseling Proseminar (4 semesters)
0 cr
Advanced Courses
21 credits
COUN 545 Community & Health Counseling
3 cr
COUN 570 Assessment in Counseling Testing & Appraisal
3 cr
COUN 602 Research Methods 3 cr
COUN 620 Human Development: Biological & Learned Bases of          Behavior
3 cr
COUN 625 Social & Cultural Bases of Behavior
3 cr
COUN 664 Career Counseling: Appraisal & Intervention
3 cr
COUN 668 Group Counseling
3 cr
Experiential Training
12 credits
COUN 685 Counseling Practicum
3 cr
COUN 686 Counseling Internship I 3 cr
COUN 687 Counseling Internship II
3 cr
COUN 688 Advanced Counseling Internship
3 cr
Specialty Electives (6 credits minimum recommended)
12 credits
Applied Courses
COUN 665 
Family Counseling & Dynamics
3 cr
COUN 667 Substance Abuse Counseling
3 cr
COUN 671 Intellectual Assessment
3 cr
COUN 674 Assessment of Social & Emotional Functioning
3 cr
COUN 691 Advanced Topics in Counseling
3 cr
COUN 695 Independent Study
1-3 cr
PSY 565 Psychology & Law
3 cr
PSY 590 Special Topics in Psychology (with departmental approval)
1-3 cr
PSY 690 Special Topics in Psychology (with departmental approval)
3 cr
Business Management Courses
COUN 550 Psychological Foundations of Management
2 cr
COUN 651 Leadership & Team Development
2 cr
COUN 652 Developing People
2 cr
Gerontology Courses
COUN 532 Adulthood & Aging
3 cr
COUN 691 Topics: Psychosocial Interventions for the Aging
3 cr
Research Courses
COUN 692 Research Project
3-6 cr
COUN 698 Masters Research Proposal
3 cr
COUN 699 Masters Research Thesis
3 cr
Supporting Courses
COUN 535 Psychology of Personality
3 cr
PSY 550 Human Cognition
3 cr


Early Entry Option for VU Undergraduates

Qualified VU juniors and seniors may apply to begin graduate course work in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prior to graduation.  This unique program allows students to save time and money on their graduate programs.  For more information, students should speak with their academic advisors and contact an admissions counselor at the Graduate School.

What Can You Expect?
Graduate study in psychology requires both diligence and motivation. The Counseling program is rigorous, both in its academic challenge and in its demand to prepare students to become competent professionals. Students become well-acquainted with both their faculty and peers. They are assigned a faculty adviser who provides assistance with course selection and career guidance. They work closely with faculty on research projects and during practicum training. At the same time, most students are quickly assimilated into the graduate student culture in the Psychology Department. This peer network increases the learning resources of the cohort group and adds to the social enjoyment of learning. Critical to the concept of peer learning, each year the program strives to enroll a mix of students with respect to ethnicity, background, age, and experience. To this end, the program actively encourages students of all backgrounds to consider application to the program.

Full or Part-Time Study

Courses are offered in the evening to accommodate individuals employed part- or full-time while pursuing graduate study. A full-time load is 3-4 courses per semester, and 2 courses during the summer. Students with significant outside commitments may enroll on a part-time basis. A typical part-time load is 2 courses per semester, and 1 course during a summer session.

Criteria for Admission
Applicants must meet the admission requirements for the Counseling program, which include:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited university;
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 550 (paper version), 213 (computer-based), or Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT) score of at least 80; minimum IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.0; CET score of 6, or an INTERLINK Language Center Level 5, or the equivalent for non-native English speakers;
  • An overall grade point average of at least a 3.00;
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (B) from an accredited university;
  • 15 credits in the social/behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, human development, etc.);
  • A course in introductory psychology;
  • A recent statistics course with a B or better.

Applicants lacking this background may have to take additional courses to ensure adequate preparation for graduate coursework in counseling.

Prospective students should provide official transcripts of an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and be proficient in the English language. In addition, they must

  • Valparaiso University Graduate Application and CMHC Supplemental Application;
  • Official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework.  If you have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from Valparaiso University, you are not required to submit an official transcript from Valparaiso University;
  • Two recommendation forms;
  • A reflective essay detailing your professional goals;
  • A resume, or provide list of work experiences since high school in chronological order, giving a brief summary of the duties performed;
  • Application Fee: $30 for U.S. citizens, $50 for International Students.
Admission is usually offered only for the fall semester, with priority given to applications submitted by February 15th. Preference is given to applicants who plan to complete the program through full-time coursework. Once admitted, the student will be responsible for the cost of completing a background check.  Details will be provided in the student's acceptance letter.  

Financial Considerations
Students may be surprised to discover the affordable tuition rate at Valparaiso University.  Please visit the Student Financial Services website for current tuition rates. Financial aid may be available for students taking 6 credits or more during fall and spring semesters. 

Financial Aid Options 

I.  Scholarship Information.  For information regarding scholarship opportunities within the counseling program, please click here.  

II. Research Assistantship. One research assistantship is available to a graduate student in the Counseling program. Preference is given to a full time graduate student considering doctoral work in the field of counseling, but part time and other students are eligible as well. Responsibilities include approximately 5-8 hrs/week under the mentorship of a faculty member in the Department of Psychology. Although the amount of the assistantship is modest, $1000-2000/year, this position provides the added benefit of opportunity for guided research and co-authorship under faculty supervision.

III. Assistant to the Director of the Counseling Program. This position is open to any qualified student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Responsibilities include assisting the Program Director in recruitment, course registration, correspondence and materials filing along with serving as a class representative to the faculty and graduate school. Collaboration in research may also be involved. The amount of the assistantship is modest, around $1000 per year, but the exposure to the details of the program and its evolution is professionally enriching. As this position only requires 8-10 hours per week, sufficient time remains to both work outside the department and pursue full-time coursework.

IV. Employment in the Community. Graduate students can usually find employment in social service and mental health agencies in the Northwest Indiana region. Some students elect to work full time and undertake their studies on a part time basis. Typical salaries range from $7-10/hr and usually require an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Social Work, or related Human Services fields. Depending on the specific position, credit toward fulfillment of the required practicum and internship courses may be counted, assuming the position involves some combination of individual and group counseling. Outside of mental health work, other options are available. For example, substitute teaching opportunities have been plentiful in the region and compensate at the rate of $60-70/day. An undergraduate degree in any field is adequate to qualify for substitute teaching.

V. Federal Loans. Any student enrolled half time or more is generally eligible for student loans. For most individuals, these loans will cover the entire cost of the program. A minimum of 6 credits per semester is required.

For more information about the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program
To learn more about the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, visit their department website at

Are you interested in learning more? 
Request more information from the Office of the Graduate School. 

Click here to apply online!



Visit the Psychology Department homepage for more information about Clinical Mental Health Counseling.