Mental Health, MS

Two professors are teaching students who are sitting around the table listening to the lecture.

The Mental Health Counseling (MHC) Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston is committed to the preparation of highly qualified professionals in the field of mental health counseling. Our commitment is reflected in the admission policies as well as hiring practices, to attract highly qualified students and exemplary faculty members who represent multicultural perspectives and individual diversity. The MHC Program, within a public urban university, is dedicated to the training of professionals who most likely will work with, and provide counseling and related activities to individuals representing an urban and diverse population. Mental health counselors work in a variety of settings and may obtain a license to practice in 50 states.

The MHC Program curriculum is organized to facilitate the development of its students and the individuals with whom the students work. Specifically, the curriculum emphasizes respect for the social foundations and cultural diversity of all persons. It achieves this goal by fostering each student's self awareness, compassion, and ability to think critically, and through its hiring policies of faculty and recognition of multicultural students. The program offers opportunities for its students to recognize, develop, and utilize their own resources in preparation for their future work with clients.

Essential to the implementation of the MHC Program curriculum is the integration of theory presented in classrooms and its application in practicum and internship experiences. In order to integrate the curriculum content with other training experiences, the program provides information about the socio-political contexts of people's lives as well as about information related to personality, development, psychiatric taxonomy, professional orientation and ethics, methods of inquiry and the process of change. In addition, our program provides opportunities for its students to develop professional skills and competencies and to practice them in professional settings. The program prepares students to make significant practitioner-oriented contributions to counseling and prepares them for further study at the doctoral level if they desire to do so. All of our faculty are actively involved in research and contribute significantly to the profession at both national and international levels. There are opportunities to do research with our internationally known faculty if a student so desires. Click on the following link to learn more about the faculty and their research interests. 

Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of the Department of Counseling and School Psychology is to prepare highly qualified thoughtful and responsive professionals educated to serve a diverse urban population as family therapists, mental health counselors, school counselors, and school psychologists.  The following objectives are necessary to pursue the department's goal:

1. Students will become knowledgeable and skilled practitioners through training and experiences in:

  • theories of human development
  • theories of individual and group counseling
  • theories of abnormal behavior
  • theories of psychological, educational, and vocational assessment
  • biological/physiological bases of behavior
  • dynamics of multicultural influences on individual worldviews and individual uniqueness.
  • the use of technologies in the practice of our professions, including the psychological limitations and benefits of technology.
  • systems theories and the dynamics of family relationships

2. Students will become caring, principled, and respectful professionals through training and experiences     in:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

  • humanistic and person centered approaches
  • guided practice in acquiring interpersonal skills
  • ethical principles, standards of practice and respect for persons
  • the actual practice of the profession through practicum and internship

3. Students will become committed agents of change for social justice through training and experiences in:       

  • laws and regulations governing the practice of their profession
  • theories of empowerment
  • theories of oppression and dominance
  • theories of change
  • history of the profession

4. Students will become committed reflective and critical thinkers through training and experiences in:

  • reading, interpreting and using the professional research literature (becoming a practitioner-scientist).
  • theories and techniques of program evaluation and assessments.
  • self evaluation and self reflection activities during practical and internship experiences.
  • self evaluation and feedback through a culminating experience graduate training (e.g. the capstone).

The MHC program also offers a concentration in forensics services, allowing students to further develop skills to work in forensics settings. For more information, please visit here.