- Why a Mental Health Counseling degree?
- Why a UMass Boston MHC Counseling degree?
- How long does it take to complete the program?
- What time of the day are classes held?
- How do I get licensed as a mental health counselor?
- Can I get licensed in another state as a mental health counselor or professional counselor?
- What about accreditation?
- In what type of settings do mental health counselors work in?
- Where can I get full course descriptions?
- How many courses do I have to take to complete the master’s degree program?
- How many courses do I have to take to complete the CAGS degree program in mental health counseling?
- Is there a final culminating project required for the master’s degree?
- How many practicum and internship hours do I complete?
- What is the difference between the practicum and internship?
- Where can I complete the practicum and internship?
- Can I take a class or two to see what the program is like?
- How much does it cost to attend?
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.
The social justice perspective of many MH 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.
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.
Classes meet once/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 MH program take their first two courses in person over a two week period and the rest of their courses online in the evenings EST.
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.
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.
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).
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).
Please review our plan of study page.
Students take a total of 18 courses (including 3 field-based courses: practicum and internship).
We only accept CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies) applications from candidates who completed their master's degree in our department. After successful completion of the MS degree in another UMass Boston program such as Family Therapy, Rehabilitation Counseling, or School Counseling students may apply for a CAGS in Mental Health. A minimum of 18 credits post MS is required for the CAGS. Because the CAGS is an individualized course of study, the specific courses required for the CAGS will be identified by the program director.
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.
The practicum is a total of 100 hours and the internship is a total of 600 hours (300 hours/semester).
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.
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.
You can get information about tuition and fees from the Bursar's Office.