Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Who is the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program for?

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at University of Western States (UWS) is designed for students who want to diagnose and treat those with mental health disorders as licensed counselors. As careers progress, students can become clinical supervisors and mental and behavioral health program administrators.

What does the program cover?

The comprehensive, systems-based approach to the curriculum covers eight core content areas and special courses in trauma, addiction, couples and families, and psychopharmacology. Students will cover professional counseling orientation and ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; counseling and helping relationships; group counseling and group work; assessment and testing; and research and program evaluation.

How is the degree completed?

Comprised of 90 quarter credits, this degree is completed 100% online with face-to-face internship requirements within students’ communities. Five terms of clinical field placement (one term of practicum and four of internship) allow students real-life application of their skills with live clients. Faculty assist students in finding these field placements, contract with local supervisors and include university-based supervision. Strong student engagement makes the program feel like a cohort model, but students can request flexibility in their program plan to accommodate work and life responsibilities.

This program prepares students to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCHMCE). Passing the NCE/NCHMCE exams are required for licensure in one’s state. It is the responsibility of the individual student to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. As state licensing boards do not review programmatic content prior to application for licensure, UWS makes no representations or guarantee that completion of UWS coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure.

Full Integration of Sport and Performance Content

All CMHC courses integrate sport and performance psychology (SPP) components and SPP courses integrate CMHC components. In addition to within-course integration of sport and performance content, this degree option places clinical counseling courses alongside sport and performance courses during most terms. Learn more about the sport and performance psychology program.

Whereas the course content within these two programs feel similar, the career outcomes can differ for these two programs. Trying to decide which program is right for you? Check out this valuable resource that can aid in directing you toward the right educational path!

Standardized Patient Program

One of the unique features of this program is the standardized patient component, which provides unique and personalized learning for clinical mental health counseling students. Faculty design specific case studies, which create opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in simulated “real-world” scenarios with specially trained actors. Students also have the opportunity to design their own case studies to demonstrate conceptualization skills and process understanding.

Watch the video segment to see Dr. Michelle Cox, CMHC director, working with an actor from the standardized patient program.

What are the advantages for enrolling in the MS rather than the EdD?

  1. Option to matriculate at a slower pace (three-year planners)
  2. Six credits of valuable content that will not be in the EdD – (Crisis, Trauma and Suicide course (2 credits) plus 4 elective credits)
  3. The ability to apply for licensure and begin working as a professional counselor more quickly (than if they enrolled in the EdD)

Faculty and Staff

Meet the esteemed clinical mental health counseling faculty and staff.