Program Overview

Choose Excellence with an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The on-campus MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at William James College is a 2-year full-time or 3-year part-time program. You’ll earn 60 credits. All courses are offered on-campus, and your education is complemented throughout your master’s program with closely supervised clinical field experiences.

One of the unique aspects of our Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's is the practical, hands-on experience you’ll gain while you’re studying. The field work takes place over 4 semesters beginning in the fall. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to work as a practicum student and complete a minimum of 360 hours and as an intern and complete a minimum of 600 hours. You will gain knowledge and skills to enhance what you’re learning in the classroom, and to prepare you for your professional career after graduation.

Upon graduation, you will have fulfilled all the educational and pre-master’s field experience requirements to qualify for the license as a mental health counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts and many other states. Students interested in licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) may wish to learn more about our Couples and Family Therapy Area of Emphasis.

We also offer an online version of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. The core curriculum and field education requirements are similar. However, there are some differences. You can read about the online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

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What is Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

According to the American Counseling Association, “Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. Counselors work with clients on strategies to overcome obstacles and personal challenges that they are facing.” The practice of professional counseling is regulated by the states and territories in the United States, defining the scope of practice for counselors.

As a professional counselor or LMHC, you can provide psychotherapy, assessment, consultation, research, supervision, education and training.

Choose Real-World Learning with Experiential Education

Field placement is a transformational aspect of our educational model for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. In your Practicum experience, you will begin by shadowing and observing mental health professionals. When you are ready, you will join in performing intakes, co-leading groups, participating in milieu therapy, and in some cases, conducting individual therapy sessions by the end of the second semester.

The Internship experience, which is a minimum of 600 hours prepares you to function as a clinical mental health counselor under supervision, carrying your own case load of individual clients, leading groups, conducting intakes, and using other modalities depending on the setting. This work is done under the supervision of a licensed approved field supervisor.

William James College has a dedicated Licensed Mental Health Counselor on our Field Education team to provide individualized help in finding practicum and internship placements. We have partnerships with a myriad of organizations that provide services to different populations in Massachusetts, and some sites in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

The field placement experience includes small Clinical Seminars with a Faculty Supervisor. There is a maximum of 8 students in each seminar course. The faculty supervisor maintains close contact with your site supervisor to ensure you have the best education and skills training on-site and in the classroom.

"In a world where mental health services are increasingly needed, choosing this career means that you become an integral part of creating a better society. You will use your assessment and counseling skills to bring clarity to situations and to help others become empowered to change their own lives and the lives of others." —Nilda M. Laboy, PsyD, Chair, Counseling and Behavioral Health Department

Choose Impact with a Commitment to Social Responsibility

Our MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is rooted in social justice, respect for diversity, and multicultural perspective. Our approach is woven through our entire curriculum and training model. We recruit, train, mentor, and prepare professionals who are committed to delivering culturally responsive care to meet a growing need in an increasingly diverse society.

Our on-campus counseling students also have the option to choose to participate in a co-curricular, college-wide concentration to enhance their studies and expand their learning. Available concentrations include African and Caribbean Mental Health, Asian Mental Health, Global Mental Health, Latino Mental Health, LGBTQIA+ Studies, and Military and Veterans Psychology. These concentrations afford students the opportunity to dedicate part of their training to gaining focused understanding to support a particular population, while also connecting with students and faculty across the college who share similar academic interests.

Students can also choose a program area of emphasis which includes the General Track, Couple and Family Therapy, Forensic and Correctional Counseling, Substance Use and Addictions, or Health and Behavioral Medicine. These Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree areas of emphasis include required courses and field work with these populations.

Choose Community Connectivity, Support and Student Life

The William James College community is supportive and connected. Our Dean of Students Office offers regular programming, in person and online, for all students, and oversees our Academic Resource Center. Student leadership and student groups create more opportunities for engagement, and we are proud to be home to the William James College Black Mental Health Graduate Academy, a community for Black students enrolled in our doctoral and master’s degree programs, that provides mentorship and networking opportunities.

Choose Mentorship and Personal Growth

As a student in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, you will engage with faculty through education, research, mentorship, and training. All students work closely with an advisor on course planning, personal and professional development, and career goals. In the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s program, you will be assigned an advisor starting during orientation. Our advisors have only 12 students assigned to them to allow for a more personal experience for the student.

Our clinical mental health counseling faculty members, collectively, represent expertise across many domains of counseling including forensics, marriage and family therapy, health and behavioral medicine, diversity and multiculturalism, substance use and addictions, and more.

William James College faculty are practicing professionals who bring their clinical expertise and real-world examples into the classroom. They pair this experience with empirically based research, teaching you nuances, protocols, and interventions, that prepare you for your field work as a student and for your career as a future clinical mental health counselor. When you learn about a theory in the classroom, your faculty will share real world case examples to bring this education to life.


Student:Faculty Ratio

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes we do! We also offer an online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Our campus is located in Newton, Massachusetts, and fieldwork can be completed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

You can complete the Master's's program at your own pace, so we have both a part-time and full-time track. The full-time track takes two years to complete and the part-time track takes three years to complete.

Yes, our supportive field education model is what makes our program unique. The fieldwork takes place over 2 years, and you’ll have the opportunity to work at a practicum and complete a minimum of 360 hours, followed by an internship with a minimum of 600 hours. The real-life experience you gain will help to enhance your in-class learning over your time at William James College. In addition, we have a team of two full time staff in our Field Education Office who will walk you through the process, from resume and cover letter preparation, to selection of sites for application, to interview process, to ensuring that your experience complies with the state regulations for LMHC requirements.