Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

MSMHC Students

Graduate Degree
School of Arts and Sciences
Three-Year Program


The Masters in Mental Health Counseling program provides an important theoretical framework and hands-on professional training for students interested in becoming clinical mental health counselors. With a strong base of ethical behavior, counseling theories, professional counseling identity, treatment planning, counseling research, assessment, and professional development, students graduate with a capacity for critical thinking and counseling effectiveness that can be translated into practice with individuals, families, and groups from diverse backgrounds. Clinical internships and practicum sites provide opportunities for students to receive supervised training, while cultivating relationships with licensed clinical mental health counselors and other mental health professionals.

Who It's For

The Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling is designed for students who are interested in becoming clinical mental health counselors. MSMHC courses and clinical training help students develop the skills necessary for licensure as a clinical mental health counselor and employment in hospitals, agencies, and private practice settings.
Entering students must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or a recognized international college or university.

Key Benefits

  • MSMHC faculty are licensed mental health professionals who are actively engaged in the practice of counseling.
  • Each core faculty member has around 20 years of professional counseling experience. You’ll also learn from adjunct faculty—who are licensed professionals currently in practice—who typically teach elective courses.
  • Faculty work closely with their students to provide training, supervision, instruction, and feedback.
  • The broadly based curriculum is based on nationally recognized training standards and delves into many counseling theories, including cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, and multicultural counseling.
  • An entering cohort of 14 students each year provides the opportunity for close, supportive peer relationships and one-on-one mentoring from faculty.
  • Carefully selected clinical internship placements and practicum sites give you valuable hands-on training and help you build a professional network in the mental health field.
  • Connections with the Utah Mental Health Counselors Association and International Psychotherapy Institute allow you to draw from the clinical expertise of professionals from around the world.

How Long it Takes

This three-year program requires 60 hours of graduate work on a full-time basis during the academic year. Classes typically run Monday–Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


“The Westminster program gave me a far greater clinical-knowledge base than comparative programs. We learned to really relate and engage in a therapeutic relationship. As I have interacted with other programs, I have seen the difference that makes in providing counseling, decision making, treatment planning, and conceptualizing a client. I am able to engage with a client in ways that other programs don't even teach.”

Dave Wilde (’10), correctional program administrator
MSMHC Students Outside
Two MSMHC Students Talking

About the Program

The MSMHC program offers a broad curriculum that meets Utah licensure requirements for clinical mental health counselors, and balances professional knowledge with practical experience and skill development. Based on a scientist-practitioner model, the program helps students understand the relationships between counseling theory, research, and practice as they relate to effective mental health counseling.

What You'll Learn

  • Articulate the fundamental knowledge of research, theory, and practice in the field of counseling in areas including professional counseling orientation and ethical practice, social and cultural diversity, human growth and development, career development, counseling and helping relationships, group counseling, assessment and testing, and research and program evaluation.
  • Assess clients and apply appropriate intervention strategies to help clients resolve their problems of living.
  • Establish your professional identity as a clinical mental health counselor.
  • Engage in critical thinking and demonstrate a heightened self-awareness.
  • Practice counseling with an acute sensitivity to issues of diversity.
  • Seek ongoing professional consultation with colleagues and supervisors to foster the development of a professional network.

Plan of Study

Throughout the program, you’ll study a broad range of content areas in counseling, taking classes including Counseling Ethics, Individual Counseling, Statistics and Research Methods, Human Growth and Development, Substance Abuse Counseling, and Group Counseling. To complete your degree, you’ll participate in clinical training where you’ll receive supervised training from licensed mental health professionals and expand your applied counseling knowledge and skills.

Sample Courses

Multicultural Counseling

An appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures and systems is critical to all mental health counseling fields. This course explores the complexities of culture and its influence on the client/counselor relationship. You’ll develop cultural sensitivity, learn culturally responsive intervention strategies, and increase your awareness of how cultural backgrounds, experiences, belief systems, attitudes, values, and biases influence the counseling process.

Human Sexuality and Counseling

This course examines the role of sexuality in human life, including the influences of cultural, familial, psychological, biological, and spiritual factors. We’ll explore the dynamic complexities of sexuality through a variety of mediums from text and film, to dialogue and experiential exercises.

Psychopathology and the DSM

In this course, we’ll provide an overview of adult psychopathology, including major psychological disorders, associated symptom clusters, etiological factors, accepted treatments, and relevant research findings. We will also examine the empirical challenges to diagnostic accuracy and the social and cultural factors that affect diagnosis and counseling.

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Career Opportunities

Our curriculum prepares students for clinical practice and licensure as a clinical mental health counselor. Students will graduate with a solid understanding of a broad range of theoretical perspectives, research knowledge, and clinical skills they need to provide counseling to diverse treatment populations.

Upon completed your degree, you will be qualified to pursue a career as a clinical mental health counselor, clinical director, administrator, or owner of a private practice, mental health clinic/agency, intensive outpatient treatment/day treatment program, residential program, college counseling center, or hospital.

Student Success

At the time of graduation in 2017, 7 out of 9 graduates had full-time counseling jobs and 1 was enrolled as a full-time doctoral student.
A survey of graduates from 2012–15 indicated:

  • 86% of alums were working in a job that was related to counseling.
  • 22 out of 23 were licensed as clinical mental health counselors or associate clinical mental health counselors.
  • The majority worked in outpatient settings (60%), while other worked in day treatment programs (25%), residential treatment programs (20%), hospitals (10%), and college counseling centers (5%).
  • 100% provided individual counseling, 80% provided group counseling, 55% provided couples counseling, 60% provided family counseling, 80% conducted assessments, and 25% did administrative work.



“I loved everything about my time in the MSMHC program: the small, collaborative cohort; professors who were highly educated and professional; thorough and intensive studies; and exposure to incredible clinical internships in the community. I graduated with a strong foundation that helped me feel confident and prepared to enter the counseling field.”

Aarika Maisak (’11), clinical director at Alpine Academy
MSMHC Student Studying Outside

Learn More About the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling Program

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Tuition and Fees

60 credits at $757/credit

$45,420 total tuition


Merit scholarships, alumni scholarships, and loans are available.

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