Why a Mental Health Counseling degree?

Mental Health counselors are similar to other master’s level counselors, clinicians, and social workers in their training and perspective, yet also are trained to contribute to the counseling profession through the promotion of social justice. We in the UMass Boston Mental Health program strongly believe that advocating for and serving underprivileged populations constitutes a crucial element in the life of any helping professional. Whereas there are many intellectual aspects to becoming a counselor, the roots of effective counseling always grow from a soil fertilized with values that seek to alleviate the stress of those in direst need. Acceptance and positive regard of others are not constants; they evolve over a life-time, feeding off and strengthening the spirit that defines our profession. In this respect, there is no better start to becoming an accomplished counselor than to train in a setting that reaches out to people with overwhelming difficulties and few resources. It is not so much about what you can actually do to help; it is the actual attempt to help that inspires hope and empowers change. We believe that the contribution of this kind of training to students, clients, and the community at large is immense, and carries value and essence that transcend quantitative measures of success.

What makes the Mental Health Counseling program at UMass Boston different?

The social justice perspective of many Mental Health Counseling programs takes a particular form at UMass Boston. In our program, faculty members train students and do research in areas that challenge mainstream psychology and counseling ideas, develop innovative forms of treatment, uncover exploitation and conflicts of interest, and address biases that oppress groups based on sexuality, race, ethnicity, and ability. At UMass Boston, master’s level students can participate in research groups with award winning faculty and can be mentored towards their own publications and application to doctoral programs. Even when the Mental Health master’s is the final degree for a student, rest assured that UMass students go into the profession ready to address injustice as they see it systemically and in the lives of their clients.

How many students do you review each year? 
In the Spring of 2017, the MH faculty considered 141 applications for admission and admitted approximately 50%.  Of those we admitted, 42 students are matriculating in the Summer and Fall of 2017, approximately half into the online program and half into the state (in person) program. We are proud to keep the number in each cohort to about 20 students so that students get personal attention from the program and get to know each other well over the two years they are in the program.
Approximately 2/3 of our students choose to complete the program in 2 years with courses in the summer in between. Most of the other students choose to do their internship in a third year when they are no longer taking classes.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The Mental Health program is currently undergoing curriculum revisions and will have ready the new curriculum for students matriculating in 2017. For further questions, please contact Program Director, Sharon Lamb. Students can complete the program in two years attending full-time (summer course work is most likely necessary) but have the option to complete the degree part-time. Students who attend part-time typically complete the degree in 3-4 years.

What time of the day are classes held?

Classes meet every week during the fall and spring semesters and are held at 4pm and 7pm. Summer classes are held mostly online. 
Those who enter the online program take their first two courses in person over a two week period and the rest of their courses online in the evenings EST. 

How do I get licensed as a mental health counselor?

Our program prepares you to meet the educational requirements for Massachusetts licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Upon completion of the 60-credit master’s degree program, you are eligible to take the licensure exam. In addition, Massachusetts requires students to complete 3,360 post-graduate hours employed as a mental health counselor under supervision.

Can I get licensed in another state as a mental health counselor or professional counselor?

All health care licenses (e.g., social workers, psychiatrists, mental health counselors) are granted by the state that one practices in. We have students who graduated from our program and who are licensed in other states, and because Massachusetts’ licensure requirements are quite stringent, our program may meet the educational requirements for licensure in your state.

What about accreditation?

The mental health program is accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Our university is regionally accredited through NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges).

In what type of settings do mental health counselors work in?

Mental health counselors work in a variety of settings, including community-based outpatient agencies, residential treatment facilities, schools, hospitals, private practice, etc. You can read more about the field through reviewing the national organization for mental health counselors, called AMHCA (American Mental Health Counselors Association) and ACA (American Counselors Association).

How many courses do I have to take to complete the master’s degree program?

For students matriculating 2017, you will need to complete 18 courses (including 2 field-based courses: Advanced Practice 1 and Advanced Practice 2)

How many courses do I have to take to complete the master’s degree program?

The Mental Health Counseling program is currently undergoing curriculum revisions and will have ready the new curriculum for students matriculating 2017. For further questions, please contact Program Director, Sharon Lamb. Students take a total of 18 courses (including 3 field-based courses: practicum and internship).

How many courses do I have to take to complete the CAGS degree program in mental health counseling?

We do not offer a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies) program.

Is there a final culminating project required for the master’s degree?

The Mental Health program is currently undergoing curriculum revisions and will have ready the new curriculum for students matriculating in 2017. For further questions, please contact Program Director, Sharon Lamb. Yes, students complete a capstone project, which is a culminating project of the master’s degree program. The capstone is completed during the internship seminar. It is a case analysis of a client that you have worked with during the course of the internship. Students apply various theories and skills they have learned throughout their course work to a written paper and also submit a videotape of their work.

How many practicum and internship hours do I complete?

The practicum is a total of 100 hours and the internship is a total of 600 hours.

What is the difference between the practicum and internship?

The practicum is an introduction to clinical practice as a mental health counselor; therefore, students begin by observing a licensed clinician in the field. Some may also begin seeing clients. During the internship, the student is expected to see his or her own clients.

Where can I complete the practicum and internship?

Students complete the placement at a variety of locations, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, schools, and residential treatment facilities. Students are provided a confidential list of sites where our students have completed their placements in the past. It is possible to complete the practicum and internship at two different locations or at the same location.

Can I take a class or two to see what the program is like?

To learn more, please visit our non-matriculated registration page and transfer credit page.   

How much does it cost to attend?

You can get information about tuition and fees from the Bursar's Office. When calculating your costs for the new curriculum, please understand that a 60 credit curriculum does not fit neatly into 2 semesters of 4 courses each semester, particularly when in the second year students are in their internships. That is why 2-3 courses are taken in the summer.  If a student is paying by the course this does not affect the overall cost. If a student is paying per semester, this will mean that the student should be prepared to pay for the 2-3 additional courses in the summer in between the two years and figure this into the overall cost