Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling

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Mental Health Counseling is a distinct profession with national and state standards for education, training, and clinical practice. Mental Health Counselors provide a full range of services for individuals, couples and families, and groups. The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling Program at Marist College provides the academic preparation necessary to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State. The 60-credit Mental Health Counseling Program emphasizes the personal and professional growth of its students, fostering self-awareness and a deeper understanding of others. The Program curriculum is rich in coursework stressing the theory and practice of counseling, assessment, and research, and underscores the importance of a multicultural approach. Counselors-in-training gain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality mental health care to help their clients function effectively in all aspects of their lives.


The Mission of the Marist College MA in Mental Health Counseling (MHC) Program is to prepare counselors-in-training for a professional career in the practice of mental health counseling. The Program provides students with the knowledge, skills, and training necessary to meet the NY State Education Department's education requirements to be eligible to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

The Program focuses on 6 Competency Areas in training. Students will demonstrate:

  1. Competence in the knowledge and application of counseling theory, skills, and treatment interventions with culturally diverse clients - individuals, groups, families or couples,
  2. Evaluation and assessment skills to understand and conceptualize clients' issues and psychopathology within their developmental, social, and cultural context,
  3. Personal and professional growth in sound interpersonal skills and self-awareness (intrapersonal) skills within their interactions with clients, colleagues, supervisors, and trainees,
  4. A practitioner-scientist approach through the application of research methods and critical thinking skills relevant to the practice of mental health counseling, such as in needs assessment and program evaluation,
  5. Ethical and professional conduct within the standards of the profession, in their relationships with clients, colleagues, supervisors, supervisees, and faculty.
  6. Engagement in career advancement and professional identity development through activities such as membership and participation in professional organizations, such as the American Counseling Association, the New York Mental Health Counselor Association, etc.


(Full Time: 60 credits; the sequence is subject to change.)

The curriculum includes knowledge about the counseling profession and ethics, evaluation and assessment, counseling theory and skills training with an emphasis in multicultural perspectives, research methodologies in counseling, and 700 hours of experience in the practice of mental health counseling under the supervision of licensed professionals. To ensure the highest level of training, experiential activities using role playing, recording of mock counseling sessions, and group and family therapy sessions simulations will be required. Full-time students starting in the Fall semester usually complete the program in two years. Full-time students take four courses during the Fall and Spring semesters, and two courses during two Summer semesters. During the first year, classes meet in the daytime and evening. During the semesters that students are training at field placements, courses are scheduled in the evening to allow flexibility in scheduling their clinical work hours.

Below is a sample schedule of courses (subject to change):

Fall I
COUN 600L  Foundations & Ethics of Professional Counseling
COUM 610L Counseling Theory & Practice
COUN 611L  Multicultural Foundations in Counseling
COUN 612L  Counseling Techniques

Spring I
COUN 507L  Psychopathology
COUN 613L  Assessment in Counseling
COUN 614L  Group Counseling
COUN 617L  Crisis & Trauma Intervention

Summer I
COUN 508L  Psychopharmacology
COUN 700L  Counseling Practicum (100 hours: 10 hrs/wk)

Fall II
COUN 615L  Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 618L  Chemical Dependency Counseling
COUN 710N Counseling Internship 1 (300 hours: 20 hrs/wk)


Spring II
COUN 505L  Research in Counseling
COUN 711N Counseling Internship 2 (300 hours: 20 hrs/wk)
COUN 720L  Counselor Supervision


Summer II
COUN 616L  Career Development Counseling (online)
COUN 510L  Lifespan Development (online)


  • Experience in Graduate Education: For over 30 years, Marist College has provided graduate study in psychology. During that time, Marist established itself as a leader in the Hudson Valley Region in offering students a solid academic experience that combined theoretical and research foundations with applied, practical experiences in the helping professions.
  • Standards: The Marist MA in Mental Health Counseling Program was one of the first programs to be approved by the NY State Education Department as meeting the academic requirements for individuals to become licensed as mental health counselors. The demanding Program may meet or exceed the academic requirements for the licensing of professional counselors in many other states as well.
  • Training Sites: Given Marist's history with graduate education in psychology, the Program maintains a strong list of internship training sites with which the Psychology Department has had long-standing relationships.
  • Faculty: Professional training in nearly all counseling, ethics, assessment, and internship courses is provided by full-time and part-time faculty who are experienced, doctoral-level NY State Licensed Psychologists. They are experts in their fields.
  • Networking with Professional Organizations: The Program maintains a linkage with the New York Mental Health Counselor Association (NYMHCA) [hyperlink] and its local chapter, the Hudson Valley Interest Group (HVIG). In fact, the HVIG holds its chapter meetings at Marist College. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in their professional organizations.


Applicants seeking to have previously completed graduate coursework considered for Transfer Credit must take an additional step in the application process: A written request for transfer of specific graduate course credits, and their official catalog descriptions must be included in the application. A minimum grade of 3.0 is required in transfer courses, which must be sufficiently comparable to Marist courses. 


Graduate Assistantships are awarded to a select number of full-time students who have demonstrated a strong academic record. A graduate assistantship is an award valued at up to $4500 per year in the form of a tuition waiver and stipend. Graduate assistants work 10 hours per week with faculty in the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences and perform duties such as assisting with research projects, teaching, coordination of program activities, and related work. Such experience is a particular advantage for students who intend to pursue admission to doctoral programs in counseling or clinical psychology. In recent years, assistants have co-presented research with faculty at various psychology conferences. Additional funds are available to support student research and presentations. The application for a graduate assistantship should accompany the application for the MA in MHC Program. The application form is available at