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Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Program Overview

The University of Providence’s Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program prepares students for exciting careers as professional mental health counselors. The graduate program’s specialty is clinical mental health counseling with concentrations in Addictions Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, providing students with the tools they need to become licensed professional counselors (LPC).

The content and clinical hours of the mental health counseling master’s degree program are structured to prepare students for the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and to provide the necessary educational courses and supervision required for licensure in the State of Montana. The NCE is accepted for licensure in all 50 states. The School of Health Professions has Clinical Education Agreements (CEA) for clinical programs at multiple sites providing students opportunities for Practicums/Internships at Providence Health and Services (PHS) and many other clinical partners across the nation.

Upon completion of the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling program, students are eligible to sit for the National Certification Exam (NCE) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. Students may explore various avenues of employment as professional counselors ranging from private practice and clinical practice to licensed mental health counselors in a hospital setting.


Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Program Highlights

  • Career Ready

Students will complete the clinical mental health master’s program prepared to function as professional, ethical and culturally competent mental health counselors and learn the proper competencies to prepare for the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in order to receive their accreditation of counseling or licensure as professional counselors (LPC/LCPC) through the NCE.

  • Optional Certificates

Tailor your education to your interests. If supported by enrollment, the University of Providence offers a specialized course sequence that you can complete in order to achieve certification in Addictions Counseling or Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling.

  • Cohort Model

The University of Providence’s cohort model means that master’s in mental health counseling students will gain a sense of community and individual attention as they progress through the program with the same group of students. 

  • 100% NCE Exam Pass Rate

All students who took the NCE exam immediately upon graduating during the 2017-2018 academic year passed the exam. Recent changes in the rules governing eligibility to take the licensure exam at the state level in Montana have also made it possible for students to take the exam at the end of their final year in the program.

  • 90% Retention Rate

The University of Providence is proud to share that our mental health counseling master’s degree program has a 90 percent student retention rate.

  • Tuition Discounts & Incentives

Currently employed healthcare professionals can learn more about tuition discounts on the Healthcare Professional Tuition Incentive page. Providence Caregivers and their dependents can learn more about discounts and other benefits through the Human Resources Service Portal.


Program Curriculum

The mental health counseling master’s degree program consists of six 15-week semesters and two three-credit summer courses. All courses in the mental health counseling program are delivered online through either an asynchronous, synchronous, or hybrid face-to-face format.

There are three face-to-face online clinical skill development courses in blocks of four days during each of the first four semesters. In addition, there are 60-credit hours of courses specific to clinical mental health counseling, including required practicum and internship experiences, which may be offered in person.

The program can be completed at your own pace in a part- or full-time capacity. On average, students can complete the program in three years.

Students in the clinical mental health counseling degree program will take courses in counseling techniques, psychopathology, research, testing and theories of counseling, all of which are designed to build a solid understanding of the fundamentals of psychology and counseling treatments.

New cohorts begin in August of each year and annual Fall enrollment is 24 students (new and continuing).

For more details on the curriculum, review the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program curriculum.

MSC Curriculum – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Year 1: Fall

MSC 500 Professional Orientation and Ethics | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 512 Theories of Counseling | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 517 Techniques of Counseling | 3 Semester Credits (Synchronous)

After successful completion of this semester, students apply for full candidacy in the program.


Year 1: Spring

MSC 516 Graduate Research Methods and Statistics| 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 553 Counseling the Addicted Client| 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 617 Advanced Techniques of Counseling | 3 Semester Credits (Synchronous)


Year 1: Summer

MSC 505 Spirituality and Counseling| 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

Year 2: Fall

MSC 529- Development Across the Lifespan | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 508 Psychopathology | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 606 Multicultural Competence | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)


Year 2: Spring

MSC 604 Career Counseling | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 695 Counseling Practicum | 3 Semester Credits (Synchronous)

MSC 607 Group Counseling | 3 Semester Credits (Hybrid: 4 Days)

During the spring semester, the student applies for advanced candidacy.


Year 2: Summer:

MSC 515 Standardized Testing & Individual Assessment | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

Year 3: Fall

MSC 527 Evidence-Based Practices and Outcome Evaluation | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 696 Internship I | 3 Semester Credits (Synchronous)

MSC 625: Medical Aspect of Disability | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)


Year 3: Spring

MSC 520 Crisis Planning | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 697 Internship II | 3 Semester Credits (Synchronous)

MSC 630- Medical Info for Counselors | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

Total Semester Credits: 60


The M.S. in clinical mental health counseling program provides a strong foundation for professional counseling. The program offers two concentrations for students who seek advanced training and skill development in more focused areas. In past semesters, students have completed intensive coursework and specialized fieldwork in our Addictions Counseling Certificate and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Certificate programs. 

Students typically apply for these specializations and commit to taking six additional semester hours as they work toward completing their Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum. Although the University of Providence does not offer these concentrations on a regular basis, if enrollment supports it, we can schedule a specialization course sequence. 

Interested students seeking advanced specializations should complete the Advanced Specialization Request form by February 1.

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration Curriculum
Summer Year 1, 2, 3 (Enrollment Specific)

MSC 507: Into to Rehab Counseling | 2 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 518: Rehabilitation Services Delivery Setting | 1 Semester Credit (Asynchronous)

After successful completion of this semester, students apply for full candidacy in the program.


Fall Year 1, 2, 3 (Enrollment Specific)

MSC 621: Psychosocial Aspects of Disability | 2 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

MSC 635: Job Development & Placement in Rehabilitation Counseling | 1 Semester Credit (Asynchronous)

Addiction Counseling Concentration Curriculum
Summer Year 1, 2, 3 (Enrollment Specific)

MSC 511: Alcohol & Drug Studies | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

After successful completion of this semester, students apply for full candidacy in the program.

Summer Year 1, 2, 3 (Enrollment Specific)

MSC 620: Gambling & Gambling Disorders | 3 Semester Credits (Asynchronous)

Skills You’ll Learn

In this master’s in clinical mental health counseling program, you will learn invaluable counseling skills such as:

  • Competencies in diagnosis and assessment
  • Evaluating the mental health needs of clients and patients
  • Evidence-based counseling techniques
  • Communication and listening skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • The development of therapeutic relationships
  • The development of mental health diagnoses and treatment plans
  • Interacting in a culturally sensitive context
  • Applying a broad range of mental health knowledge in a professional, ethical and culturally sensitive way


Careers in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

A career in mental health counseling can be both rewarding and challenging. The University of Providence works to ensure that all graduates of the M.S. in mental health counseling program are prepared for both licensure examinations and the realities of workplace demands. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors are projected to see a growth in job outlook at a rate of 23 percent from 2020-2030, which is much faster than the average of eight percent for all occupations. This means that careers in this field will be highly in demand over the next 10 years. 

Salaries for mental health counselors can range from $48,520, according to the BLS, and $55,000 to $58,000, as reported by PayScale, with compensation rising according to degree type (bachelor’s or master’s) and certification level (LPC or LCPC).


Application and Admission Requirements

Program Application: Applicants must complete an online graduate application.

Official Transcripts: Applicants must submit official transcript(s) that show completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution(s). 

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required, and applicants with a grade point average below this number may be required to complete the GRE exam at the discretion of the program coordinator.


Personal Essay: A one-page essay is required in your application to the program.

Curriculum Vitae or Résumé: Applicants must submit a current CV or résumé reflecting work, volunteer or extra curricular experience.

Application Fee: Starting Fall 2023, the application fee will be $38 (required by GradCAS). 


Program Costs

The University of Providence is committed to affordability and providing pricing transparency for all School of Health Professions programs. Pricing transparency at UP includes:

  • Accessible and up-to-date information on tuition costs, university fees, application and admission fees, deposit amounts, and additional program costs.
  • Cost of attendance worksheets outlining specific tuition layouts by program and semester.
  • Information about scholarship opportunities and tuition discounts for specific groups.
  • Information about the financial aid process.


Visit our Tuition and Fees page to access the latest pricing information. Access the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Estimated Cost Breakdown sheet to view pricing information for this degree program, including a cost breakdown by semester and associated program costs. Visit our Financial Aid page to learn more about the financial aid process.


Healthcare Professionals Tuition Incentive

The University of Providence is committed to supporting the healthcare workforce by empowering current healthcare professionals to start, enhance or advance their career in healthcare. The Healthcare Professionals Tuition Incentive (HPTI) Program provides currently employed healthcare professionals with the opportunity to apply tuition discounts to in-demand programs offered through our School of Health Professions catalog.

Visit the Healthcare Professionals Tuition Incentive Program page to learn more.


Providence Health & Services Partnership

Our unique partnership with Providence Health allows eligible Providence Caregivers and their dependents to receive an exceptional education from an accredited, faith-based, university. Caregivers and their dependents who enroll at the University of Providence may receive many possible benefits, such as discounted tuition rates and preferred admission, as part of their education benefits. Visit the Providence Human Resources Service Portal to learn more about caregiver education benefits, the application process for our programs, and tuition discounts.

Mission Statement

The master’s in mental health counseling program is motivated by the mission of the Sisters of Providence to provide healing, education and service to all, with a special concern for those who are poor and vulnerable, and to make the world a more just, peaceful and loving place for all. 

This mission is applied by program faculty as they use teaching, scholarship and supervision to cultivate in students the standards for ethical conduct, the integration of scholarship and practice, interpersonal openness, lifelong learning, and respect for and value of all individuals.

The M.S. in mental health counseling program is welcoming of a diverse student body and is inclusive to all students regardless of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability or veteran status.


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), granted accreditation to the Department of Counseling at University of Providence: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.S.) effective July 31, 2017.

The graduate program is also accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.

The counseling program has successfully completed the review from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Graduate students in the Counseling program (Clinical Rehabilitation concentration) at the University of Providence qualify for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs) exam under Category 3.

I attended the University of Providence as an undergraduate. I was blown away by the camaraderie and spirit of excellence that I returned for my graduate studies. The administration and faculty go above and beyond to help you. As a student of color, I felt seen, capable, and heard. As a graduate student, I have been given several opportunities where my skills and talents were used. These opportunities have opened the door to creativity and meaningful service. The School of Health Profession is housed in a Christian institution which is a selling point for those looking for spiritual enrichment and purpose. I am proud and grateful for this opportunity to be a student at a university which puts its students first.
Chidozie Urom
Clinical Mental Health Counseling • Oregon
I was drawn to apply for graduate school at the University of Providence due to the online flexibility and academic rigor of the CACREP accredited MSC program. In addition to programming I love, I've also had the benefit of incredible professors dedicated to supporting my success. The MSC faculty sets a high standard for academic excellence, while also working with individual students to ensure that each achieves his or her personal best. As a working professional, balancing school and daily life is challenging--but it's worth it! I am grateful for the tremendous opportunities for personal and professional growth available to me through the University of Providence.
Brittn Grey
Alumni • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
When I decided to pursue a graduate degree in counseling with a specialty in clinical mental health, I looked at several programs throughout the state and nation. I felt that UP would provide high quality academics while offering the convenience of few face-to-face and online classes. The faculty members at UP strongly advocate for the students and work tirelessly to ensure their success. The cohort style learning allows students to enjoy an atmosphere of support while developing lasting friendships. I feel confident that my experience at UP will provide a solid foundation to be successful in my career field after I graduate.
Kelli Smith
Alumni • Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Your Counseling Career Begins With a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling At UP

Start your journey to becoming a licensed professional counselor in a mental health counseling master’s program that offers you the support and quality of education you need to reach success. Our 90 percent retention rate speaks for itself – at UP, our students find access to the resources that will help them achieve their goals and excel in their studies.

Find out more about the program by Requesting Information.


Cost    How to Apply    Enrollment Deadlines

Contact Information


Sachin Jain, Ph.D.

Professor of Counseling / Program Director for Counseling

Frankie Lyons, Ed.D.

Associate Dean of Health Programs