Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling

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CCU's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Programs accredited by CACREP are reviewed against professionally approved standards, resulting in a streamlined licensure application process.

Equipping you to impact the world with grace & truth

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program offered through CCU's College of Adult and Graduate Studies combines rigorous coursework, experiential learning, and mentoring relationships designed to equip you with the necessary counseling skills to become a culturally sensitive professional mental health counselor. Whether you choose the online master's degree program or in-person option, pursuing higher education with a master's degree in counseling will improve your credentials and open the door to other specializations in the mental health field.

A distinguishing feature of the master's degree in counseling program is the Christian framework that encompasses every aspect of the curriculum.

As a master's degree in counseling student, you'll be given the unique opportunity to integrate Christian faith and sound counseling principles.

Upon completion of the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program curriculum, you'll be prepared to take the National Counselor Exam, which is the clinical mental health licensure exam for the state of Colorado and many other states.

Optional program emphases include: Marriage and Family Therapy and Substance Use Disorders.

    • Program Format: 100% online or in an in-seat and online hybrid format
    • Locations: Online, Lakewood, Colorado, and Colorado Springs, Colorado
    • 60 total credit hours (41 in core)
    • CACREP accredited program
    • Courses are taken two at a time and are typically completed in seven-week blocks
    • Designed for busy adult learners; complete in as little as 30 months of consecutive coursework, even with a full-time or part-time job
    • All students are required to attend three in-person residencies in Colorado
    • Students can transfer up to 12 graduate-level credit hours
    • Graduates are academically prepared to take the National Counselor Exam
  • Curriculum in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's Degree Program

    The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, offered through CCU's College of Adult and Graduate Studies, will provide you with a strong clinical counselor and education background within a Christian framework that promotes the study of the whole person, including the spiritual dimension. Integrating faith, clinical experience, and current counseling theory into a comprehensive educational experience will equip you to be an effective counselor in a variety of settings.

    As a Counseling graduate student, you will participate in a foundational core of study that includes counseling theories and techniques designed to equip you as a leader and counseling professional in the mental health field. You will explore counseling theories and methods, family systems, developmental psychology, group therapy, human development, and career development from a Christian worldview and a culturally responsive framework. You will complete your course of study with an innovative capstone course designed to integrate theory, faith, and clinical fieldwork, and field experience.

    Counseling students may select an optional emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy or Substance Use Disorders.

    The in-seat M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree requires completion of the following 60 hours:

    • Counseling Core (41 hours)
    • Bible and Theology (4 hours)
    • Practicum/Internship (9 hours)
    • Electives (6 hours)

    The online M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree requires completion of the following 60 hours:

    • Counseling Core (39 hours)
    • Bible and Theology (4 hours)
    • Practicum/Internship (9 hours)
    • Residency (4 hours)
    • Electives (4 hours)
  • Admission Requirements for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    Admission to the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Colorado Christian University is selective. Each applicant is carefully evaluated for his or her potential as a counselor, ability to contribute to the program, and ability to contribute to the counseling profession. The application review process will assess the relevance of career goals, aptitude for graduate-level study, potential success in forming effective counseling relationships and respect for cultural differences.

    Admission to the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is not guaranteed. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Admission Committee determines whether an applicant is admitted or declined admission. Applicants will complete all admission requirements before being considered by the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Admission Committee.

    After the first semester in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, each student is again formally assessed by the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling faculty and administrative team based on his or her academic work, basic skills, and professional behavior. This evaluation process is performed to fulfill our CACREP and professional gate-keeping responsibilities, and to ensure that each student has the skills needed for a professional counseling career.

    Application Deadlines

    In-person cohorts begin in August of each year while online learning cohorts begin in July of each year. Students who wish to begin classes before their cohort begins may take electives and/or CSL-512 and CSL-515.

    It is recommended that applications are completed at least four weeks prior to the student's anticipated start date. All required admission documents and background check results must be received by CCU before an admission interview will be scheduled. Applicants will be extended an interview invitation and are required to respond within three days to schedule the admission interview. A delayed response may result in a delayed start date if applicant is accepted.

    Application files will be evaluated in the order received. Applicants should complete the admission process as early as possible to allow adequate time to work with an advisor and finalize financial aid.

    Counseling Admission Requirements
    • A completed application for admission.
    • Program-specific essays.
    • Valid state-issued driver's license or state-issued ID card or valid passport.
    • Resume or Curriculum Vitae.
    • An official transcript showing a conferred bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average between 2.0 and 2.49 will be admitted on a conditional admit (CAD) basis for the first semester. CAD students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better in their first semester.
    • Official transcript(s) of completed graduate-level counseling credits completed through another graduate program.
    • A criminal background check through CastleBranch from every country the student lived in the past 7 years. Applicants should consult with their enrollment counselor before placing their Castlebranch order.
    • A completed Candidacy Writing Sample per essay prompts.
    • Admission interview(s) and additional documentation and/or requests from the MAC Admissions Committee, and/or designated program personnel.
    Counseling Transfer Courses

    In accordance with CCU's Graduate Residency Policy, students transferring from a regionally accredited institution may transfer up to twelve (12) approved semester hours of graduate credit from a regionally accredited master's program toward the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. The remaining hours must be completed at CCU.

    The coursework must be comparable to that offered at CCU and fulfill the CCU degree requirements for Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Specific courses which will not be accepted for transfer include:

    • CSL 514 Counseling Practicum
    • CSL 581 Counseling Residency I
    • CSL 582 Counseling Residency II
    • CSL 653 Counseling Internship
    • CSL 674 Professional Orientation
    • CSL 680 Integrative Seminar
    • CSL 681 Counseling Residency III
    • CSL 504 Counseling Skills II
    • CSL 654 Counseling Internship II
    • CSL 655 Counseling Internship III
    Licensing

    Admission to a licensure program in the College of Adult and Graduate Studies does not guarantee licensure at the completion of the program. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they meet all licensure requirements which often includes a background check.

    The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree meets all the requirements for graduates to test for licensure in the state of Colorado. Licensure requirements vary from state to state, and students are responsible for knowing the requirements of the state in which they seek licensure, including Colorado, and to review the state requirements above and beyond academic achievement and testing. The State Board Map provided by the National Board for Certified Counselors is a helpful resource when researching state licensure information.

    International Students

    CCU cannot enroll students with any type of VISA, even a work VISA, into any Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, including the online counseling degree cohort, since it is against the law for international students to attend the required on-site program residencies on a VISA.

    Time Limitation

    All work applied toward the Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree must be completed within a six-year period from the date of enrollment. After the six-year period, any student who has not completed the requirements to graduate will be required to complete a Petition for Exception to Academic Policy. Continuing study is not guaranteed, and must be approved by the Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Students are required to adhere to the most current Academic Catalog, CAGS Student Handbook, Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Handbook/ Manuals, fees, and tuition rates.

    Students who need to step out of the cohort, and who have not attended a class for a period of 365 days, will need to reapply to the program, have an updated interview, and if accepted, will then be held to the current catalog standards. Stepping out of the cohort will result in a delayed completion of the student's program.


    To submit application-related materials that were not already submitted through the online application, email them to AdmissionsSupport@ccu.edu or mail to:

    Colorado Christian University
    Attn: Service Central – CAGS Transcripts
    215 Union Blvd, Suite 600
    Lakewood, CO 80228

Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Distinctives

  • Our Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, faculty, students and alumni have consistently been recognized by state and national counseling associations.
  • 82% of site supervisors for counseling students report that CCU's in-person and online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling students are more clinically prepared than the average counseling student.
  • Students in CCU's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program consistently score higher than the national average on important exams, such as the National Counselor Exam (NCE).
  • Faith Informed Clinical Identity and Practice (FICIP) is integrated into all Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling coursework.

Counseling Master's Program Benefits

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program is a great match for the student interested in a Clinical Mental Health degree.

  • Students are mentored by qualified professors who have work experience in the field including extensive academic and clinical mental health counseling experience.
  • Through hands-on field experiences, students are challenged to explore how their theory and faith integrate as professional clinicians.
  • Classes for the master's in counseling program are offered in two formats — the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online and on-campus — to meet the needs of adult students who are busy with work and family commitments.
  • Classes are provided in a format that allows students to study with a community of peers focused on a common goal.
  • A Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree can open up opportunities for clinical counseling positions nationwide with attractive potential salaries for counseling degree holders.

Master's in Counseling Program Emphases

Students in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program may choose an optional emphasis in one of the following areas:

  • Marriage and Family Therapy — The Counseling master's emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy addresses the growing demand for compassionate professionals who can provide biblically-informed prevention and intervention while helping to heal and improve the well-being of distressed families, couples, and individuals. This graduate school program offers an in-depth understanding of interpersonal relationships, human behavior, social influence, mental and emotional issues or disorders, conflict resolution, and most importantly, family dynamics.
  • Substance Use Disorders — The Counseling emphasis in Substance Use Disorders addresses the high demand for trained professionals to address widespread behavioral disorders and addiction to alcohol and other chemical substances. This program equips you to provide leadership in developing, evaluating, and implementing holistic models for addiction and substance abuse treatment.

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling FAQs

Do you feel called to be a licensed counselor? Whether you have questions about financing a master's degree, CCU's accreditation and CACREP-accredited program, or what kind of jobs you can get with a counseling degree, we're here to help. For additional questions, please contact an enrollment counselor.

How many credit hours is the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and how long does it take to complete?

The program is 60 credit hours and is designed to be completed in two and a half years.

Is the program accredited?

All of Colorado Christian University's academic programs are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Visit our Accreditations page for details.

How many hours are required for the practicum and internship experience?

Students must complete 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship at a site established by the student, for a total of 700 hours.

I have been out of school for years and wish to make a mid-life career change. Will I be out of place in this student population?

Our student population in the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program varies in age and background. Students range from those who just completed their undergraduate program to those wishing to make complete career changes later in life.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

There is no GRE requirement for the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. See the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling admission requirements for specific admission requirements.

Are there any undergraduate prerequisites?

CCU does not require undergraduate prerequisites for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Will CCU accept transfer credits?

Students may transfer up to 12 semester hours of graduate work from a regionally accredited college or university. See our admission requirements for additional information about transfer of courses.

How much does the program cost?

View current tuition and fees for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Is financial aid available?

See our Financial Aid website for detailed information about financial aid and payment options for graduate students. The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You are also encouraged to check with your employer about additional tuition benefits that may be available through your company.

Can I take classes online?

The Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is offered both in-seat, with the ability to take some online course components within the in-seat program, and also as a full online cohort program, with three residential intensives. Due to the nature of the lock-step cohort format, students desiring to move from an in-seat cohort to an online cohort must petition for an exception to academic policy and secure the permission of the Program Director and Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Is the program on semesters or quarters?

The Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program operates on the semester system. The program is offered over three 15-week semesters per academic year including fall, spring, and summer. The semesters are divided into two 7-week blocks (A & B).

When are classes offered?

In order to meet the needs of full-time and part-time working adults and those with families, classes meet in the evenings and on weekends.

After completing the program, what must I do to become a licensed professional counselor?

This program is geared towards professional licensure with a biblical foundation. Once the program is completed, those wishing to become licensed in Colorado must pass the National Counselor Examination and must complete 2,000 hours of post-graduate supervised counseling. If you are participating in the Online Program, please be aware that licensure requirements vary from state to state. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements of the state in which they seek licensure, and must review the state requirements above and beyond academic achievement and testing. Licensed and unlicensed counselors must be registered with the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

What types of jobs will I be qualified for once I complete the program?

This program equips students to work in a variety of of mental health counselor settings including church ministries, mental health facilities, research fields, social work, and even private practice.

Can I be a marriage and family therapist or a school counselor with this degree?

This program is intended to equip students to become licensed professional counselors. The coursework, licensure, and requirements to work in addiction counseling, family counseling, and school counseling varies. Check with your state and/or district you intend to work in for the specific requirements.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Colorado Christian University offers several academic programs which lead to professional licensure in the state of Colorado and, in some programs, prepare students for a national exam. All students should be aware that states vary in their educational and professional requirements depending on the profession. Some states require specific educational requirements, clinical requirements, accreditation requirements, or exam requirements. See professional licensure disclosures for details.

State Exclusions for Online Students

The School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Colorado Christian University offers courses to online students in all states with the exception of the following program-specific state exclusions:

  • CAGS does not offer Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling courses (degree or emphases) to online students who reside in Delaware. In addition, CCU does not offer the Marriage and Family Therapy emphasis for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling to online students who reside in Mississippi.
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