M.A. in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization – CACREP-Accredited

CACREP LogoThe M.A. in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization is a rigorous 60-credit degree program which prepares students to effectively function as clinical mental health counselors in a variety of human service settings. Graduates of this program will hold a master’s degree that satisfies fully the coursework requirements for licensure in New Jersey as a Professional Counselor. In addition, the program fulfills CACREP Standards for Clinical Mental Health Counselors.

This program requires that students complete prescribed coursework, practicum and internship experiences, and must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination. The program particularly emphasizes a cognitive-behavioral theoretical orientation, and the coursework accentuates this approach. While other theoretical perspectives are studied as well, students in this program gain a strong conceptual and practical cognitive-behavioral understanding. All of the Graduate Programs in Counseling integrate the role of spirituality in counseling.

Admissions RequirementsProgram Requirements (60 credits)

Note – The application deadlines for the M.A. in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization are: April 1 – Summer; June 1 – Fall ; December 1 – Spring Semesters 

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2
  • Bachelor’s-level coursework in psychology, accruing at least 15 credits, including Psychological Statistics, Experimental Psychology, and Psychopathology, and two from among the following: General Psychology, Personality Theory, Human Development (Child, Adolescent, or Adult Development) with an earned grade of at least a B in each
  • Official undergraduate/graduate transcripts
  • Writing sample: submit a research-based paper of 5-10 pages that was previously submitted in an undergraduate or graduate counseling or psychology course. APA style preferred.
  • Two letters of recommendation for graduate study, preferably from former professors or current employer
  • Personal interview with the Program Coordinator and/or participation in a group interview

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization
(Prerequisites are in italics to the right of course’s name)

Required Courses (24 credits)
CPS 510 Research Methods and Statistics
CPS 545 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
CPS 557 Counseling Theory and Practice
CPS 613 Techniques of Individual Counseling (557)
CPS 633 Career Counseling
CPS 653 Multicultural Counseling
CPS 663 Group Counseling: Dynamics and Practice
CPS 667 Lifespan Development

MH Specialization Requirements (18 credits)
CPS 520 Introduction to Mental Health Counseling
CPS 535 Biopsychology
CPS 562 Assessment in Counseling
CPS 577 Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathology (557 [or CAT 504 and 505] and 667
CPS 647 Counseling and Spirituality
CPS 673 Foundations of Brief Counseling (557)

Required Practicum/Internship Experiences (9 credits)
CPS 590    Counseling Practicum – 3 credits (Indicated on Practicum Application)
CPS 688a  Counseling Internship I – 3 credits (590)
CPS 688b  Counseling Internship II – 3 credits (688a)

CPS 690a  Counseling Internship I – 2 credits (590)
CPS 690b  Counseling Internship II – 2 credits (690a)
CPS 690c  Counseling Internship III – 2 credits (690b)

Electives (9 credits) with advisement
CPS 525 Personality Theories
CPS 619 Counseling Practice Seminar: Cognitive and Behavior Theories (557, 613)
CPS 621- Crisis Interventions in Counseling
CPS 623 Marriage and Family Counseling
CPS 627 Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals
CPS 637 Substance Abuse Counseling
CPS 643 Counseling Children and Adolescents
CPS 657 Issues of Grief in Counseling
CPS 670 Principles of Counselor Supervision (688b)
CPS 677 Sexual Issues in Counseling
CPS 689 Advanced Seminar in REBT (557)
CPS 699 Special Topics in Counseling

Practicum/Internship Screening Requirements
The practicum and internships are the culminating experiences in counselor education, preparing students to apply classroom learning to real world concerns. Success in these courses is a requirement for graduation. The Program Coordinator can assist in identifying practicum/internship sites. Some placement sites require health and other screening for the protection of vulnerable populations. A criminal background check and drug screening may be required within 30 days of placement in some facilities. All screenings are the student’s responsibility.

Transfer of Graduate Credit
Caldwell University may accept the transfer of six credits of relevant graduate work in counseling or psychology, provided the credits were completed within five years of the student’s graduate registration at Caldwell University. Official transcripts of previous graduate work as well as the catalog description of such courses must be submitted for review at the time of application. Approval of transfer credit is based on course content and the grade earned in the course. Each request for transfer credit will be reviewed by the Program Coordinator.


Students wishing to earn this M.A. in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization must demonstrate professional aptitude and an ability to integrate theory and practice by successfully completing a three-credit supervised counseling practicum experience, followed by a six-credit internship.

In addition, the academic capstone of the program is a two-part comprehensive examination in the form of a case study supported by peer-reviewed research. A written treatment plan for an assigned counseling case is submitted to two readers. If the case study is found acceptable, the student is invited to an oral defense with a committee of faculty members. In general, students should be able to demonstrate the following in the comprehensive exam:

  • An understanding of the fundamental principles of clinical mental health counseling, including diagnosis and evidence-based treatment methodologies, individual behavior, personality, group process, human development, psychopathology, the role of culture, gender, spirituality, and the biological bases of behavior, among other areas.
  • An understanding of counseling research, including experimental, quasi- experimental, and non-experimental designs, particularly as they pertain to treatment of mental/emotional disorders.
  • Ability to read, evaluate and utilize reports of psychological and counseling research. • Ability to write clearly about counseling concerns and treatment and to communicate effectively.