Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master of Arts

Department of Educational Psychology

College of Education

This program prepares you, through highly experiential classroom instruction in evidence-based counsling approaches, fieldwork experience, and internships, to become an applied counseling/psychotherapy practitioner to serve with clients of all ages in behavioral health agencies, clinics, hospitals and eventually private practices. We offer this program at Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff as well as NAU -Phoenix and NAU-Tucson.

This program has been CACREP-Accredited for 20 consecutive years. The GRE is not required or applicants with a 3.0 GPA.

GRE Statement, effective August 2017: If you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0* or higher, you are NOT required to submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores for the MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling or the MEd Counseling-School Counseling programs. If you have a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0, you are required to submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores on the aptitude portion (verbal and quantitative) of the GRE taken within the past six years. Scores, if applicable, must be received by application deadline for admission consideration.

This program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

This plan meets the coursework requirements for the Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) of the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and for the national counselor certification of the National Board for Certified Counselors. Becoming an LAC and Nationally Certified Counselor are requirements toward the License as a Professional Counselor (LPC), which allows for independent practice. See the licensure requirements by state.

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master's degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 60
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

The Maser of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA CMHC) prepares counseling professionals with the current knowledge, skills, and competencies to provide multiculturally competent, ethical, and evidence-based counseling services to clients from all demographics across the lifespan. The 60-credit hour MA CMHC degree program has been CACREP-accredited continuously since 1998, and as such, the program meets and exceeds current national counselor education training standards. The program prepares students to deliver counseling services within a wide variety of settings, including outpatient, inpatient, specialty based agencies (e.g., addiction, eating disorders, etc.) and within private practices. Students are trained to deliver psychotherapeutic services in individual, group, couple, and family contexts. The program is highly experiential and developmental. Several classes entail laboratory components that involve the recording and evaluation of dozens of mock sessions, which allow students to practice session management on their way to providing face-to-face supervised counseling sessions to clients from our NAU campuses and to their respective local communities. Upon successful completion of their practicum semester, students then complete the final phase of their degree - Internship - which takes place anywhere in the USA under the careful supervision of licensed behavioral health professionals. Graduates enter the field ready to begin practicing counseling in any state of their choice (some states require a few additional postgraduate jurisprudence exams, etc.) as Licensed Associate Counselors on their way to independent practice as Licensed Professional Counselors.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

  • Professional orientation and ethical practice - studies that provide an understanding of all of the following aspects of professional functioning.
  • Social and cultural diversity - studies that provide an understanding of the cultural context of relationships, issues, and trends in a multicultural society.
  • Human growth and development - studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels and in multicultural contexts. 
  • Career development  - studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors.
  • Helping relationships - studies that provide an understanding of the counseling process in a multicultural society.
  • Group work - studies that provide both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, theories, methods, skills, and other group approaches in a multicultural society.
  • Assessment - studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation in a multicultural society. 
  • Research and program evaluation - studies that provide an understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation.
  • Foundations, contextual dimensions and practice in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

See the full list of Student Learning Outcomes

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • GRE® revised General Test for applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0.
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Responses to specific essay questions
    • IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card
    • Candidate interview
    • Prerequisite course:
      • EPS 525 or upper-division undergraduate Statistics course complete within the past three years.
Master's Requirements
  • This plan meets the coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) of the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and for the national counselor certification of the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $500 per semester has been approved for this program.