Program Overview

Choose Excellence with an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Pair your in-person education with supervised field experiences to not only graduate with a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, but to also be prepared to enter the field as a skilled, culturally responsive mental health counselor. Through William James College’s on-campus Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, you will gain knowledge and skills though your hands-on practicum and internship opportunities to enhance what you’re learning in the classroom as early as your first semester.

This 60-credit program can be completed in two years full time or three years part time. It enrolls a new cohort every August and January, so you will have flexibility to complete the program at a pace that works best for you. The fieldwork takes place over four semesters beginning in the fall. Your practicum is a minimum of 360 hours and your internship is a minimum of 600 hours.  

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. If this is something you might be interested in, 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 your 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 partnerships with over 175 organizations that provide varying services to different populations in Massachusetts, and other states in New England. We have a dedicated Licensed Mental Health Counselor on our Field Education team to provide you with individualized help in finding you practicum and internship placements that fit with your skills, interests, and professional goals.

The field placement experience includes small clinical seminars with a faculty supervisor and maximum of eight students. 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.

As a Clinical Mental Health Counseling student, you can choose a program area of emphasis to direct your studies towards the topic that best fits with your professional goals. Area of emphasis options include the General Track, Couples and Family Therapy, Forensic and Correctional Counseling, Substance Use and Addictions, or Health and Behavioral Medicine. These degree areas of emphasis include required courses and fieldwork with these populations.

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. If you enroll in one of these concentrations, you will have the opportunity to dedicate part of your training to gaining focused understanding to support a particular population. You will connect with students and faculty across the College who share similar academic interests.

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 program, 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 during orientation. Each advisor only has 12 students assigned to them, allowing you to get a more dedicated and personal experience.

Our clinical mental health counseling faculty members 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 fieldwork as a student and for your career as a future clinical mental health counselor.


Student:Faculty Ratio

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes we do! The coursework and fieldwork requirements are the same; however, there are some differences in the program. Learn more about the online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

We offer both a part-time and full-time track so you are able to complete the master's program at your own pace. The full-time track takes two years to complete and the part-time track takes three years to complete. If you are unsure which track would be best for you, don't hesitate to reach out to us at to talk more about your educational goals. 

Yes! Our supportive field education model is what makes our program unique. The fieldwork takes place over two years. You will 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 and prepare you for a career in counseling. In addition, we have a Field Education Office who will walk you through the entire 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.

This MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program fulfills 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. Learn more about LMHC licensure here.