Counseling Psychology Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

The 60-credit Mental Health Counseling Program has been approved by the New York State Office of Professions and can lead to a license in Mental Health Counseling. It includes the “core” offering of the other programs, and allows students to define their clinical interests through selection of clientele and sites for internship. Clinical practice sites include the full range of mental health services and agencies.

The Master of Science program in Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare counselors to assume the full range of professional responsibilities required to function in a wide array of community human service agencies and organizations, including psychiatric and substance abuse settings. Our training model, which integrates behavioral science theories with practitioner skills, is based on the assumption that the effective counselor has a strong understanding of the theoretical and scientific bases of professional concepts and techniques.

Two other assumptions underlie the program. The first assumption is that counselors are involved in facilitating positive interactions between individuals and their environments. For this reason, counselors work within a variety of client "systems" such as families, peer groups, job settings, educational settings, and any other significant interpersonal or organizational contexts. Contemporary counseling is not solely based on one-to-one counseling relationships but also involves the use of group methods, consulting relationships, community resources, and training. Counselors are prepared to intervene effectively in these contexts using skills and perspectives derived from various theoretical orientations.

The second major assumption is that one of the counselor's primary goals is to facilitate human growth and development. The goal of enhancing development is applicable to all human beings. As such, our training program focuses on the developing skills and knowledge for educational and preventive roles as well as for the more traditional remedial or therapeutic roles. In addition, our program's commitment to human diversity is manifested in coursework as well as fieldwork placements. A dedication to facilitating development in a culturally sensitive fashion underlies our training philosophy.

Given these program goals and assumptions, the curriculum includes both comprehensiveness and depth. To these ends, admission requirements include 15 credit hours of psychology including statistics, abnormal psychology, and personality. The full-time program curriculum includes a research/assessment sequence, an intervention theory/techniques sequence, a fieldwork sequence, and electives.

Program of Study

The program requires a minimum of 60 graduate credits distributed as follows:

  1. Specialized courses in Counseling as follows: (36 credits)
    Cpy 521, 601, 603, 604, 607, 608, 612, 614, 627, 630, and 667 and Psy 522;
  2. Fieldwork in Counseling: (15 credits)
    Cpy 602, 606;
  3. Electives as advised: (9 credits).

**Special requirement - A two-hour training program in mandated child abuse reporting.**

Master's Comprehensive Examination

Students in the Mental Health Counseling program must satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination. The exam will be offered in the fall for students in their final semester of the program. Students must take the major field examination within one calendar year of completion of coursework in their program of study. The in-class exam will be an essay exam focused on applying theory and practice to a case.

The exam will be independently scored by two faculty members using a scale of 1 (low) to 4 (high). Reader discrepancies of 1.5 points or more between the two scores will be re-evaluated by a third reader. The average of the two scores indicates the outcome of the examination, as follows:

      1.00 – 2.00   Fail
      2.01 – 2.74   Marginal
      2.75 – 3.49   Pass
      3.50 – 4.00   High Pass
If the outcome is a “marginal” (2.01 – 2.74), the two readers will discuss the necessary remediation and communicate the nature of the remediation in writing to the students and to the Academic Standards Committee. Remediation actions, at the discretion of the readers, may include: (a) re-take of the exam, (b) an oral exam conducted by the two readers, and/or (d) additional coursework. Other types of remediation may be recommended. The remediation must be completed by November 20th in order for the student to graduate.
Students who fail the comprehensive examination may petition the faculty for permission to re-take the exam. Students petitioning to re-take the exam must present a plan for how they will remediate the deficiencies in their previous exam performance. The second examination must be taken within a calendar year of the attempt to pass the examination. A student may not take a third examination to qualify.

Students must maintain continuous registration in the program until they have successfully remediated or passed the comprehensive examination.