The M.Ed. in counseling & human development, with specialization in mental health counseling, is an application-oriented experience designed to enhance the skills of bachelor-level practitioners presently employed or planning a professional career in counseling. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP grants accredited status to graduate-level programs in the professional counseling field. In most circumstances, graduates also are immediately eligible for provisional or temporary licensure in the state where they received coursework.

Employment opportunities for licensed professional clinical counselors are diverse and abundant. In addition to private practice settings, possible employment opportunities for graduates of the program include city and state human services departments, community mental health centers, correctional departments, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, residential foster care agencies, hospice programs, the military, counseling agencies, psychiatric hospitals, rape crisis centers, and vocational services.

This degree does not lead to P-12 school counselor certification.

Entrance Requirements for the Online Counseling and Human Development

Applicants to the Counseling & Human Development program will need to:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application for Admission form, which must be submitted online, with non-refundable fees of USD 35.00 to the appropriate administrative assistant serving the community campus, site, or format.
  • Submit official undergraduate transcripts from regionally accredited institutions documenting the completion of an undergraduate degree.
  • Send three letters of recommendation to the appropriate administrative assistant; and
  • Successfully complete an interview with members of the Regional Admissions Committee.

Once the materials for applications are received and a successful interview completed, the student may register for classes.

Classification of Applications

All applicants admitted to the master’s program in counseling & human development are admitted on conditional basis. The status is reviewed by the Regional Admissions Committee at the end of the candidate’s first semester to consider each student’s unconditional acceptance into the program.

A change in status from conditional to unconditional must be accompanied by a successful student review and subsequent recommendation by the Regional Admissions Committee.

Note: Admissions decisions are based on academic performance and personal characteristics/ dispositions as reflected in the Graduate Student Review and Recommendation process. Students who receive scores of “Pass” will be granted unconditional admission status. A student who receives one or two “No Pass” scores will meet with the resident faculty supervisor to discuss and formulate a remediation plan. A student who receives three or more “No Pass” scores will meet with the Regional Admissions Committee to plan required remediation or discuss alternatives to the program.

Core Curriculum: 30 hours

The Master of Education in counseling & human development, with specialization in mental health counseling, requires a minimum of 60 semester hours and participation in a non-credit group experience of not less than ten hours facilitated by the program. Requirements include 30 hours from nine core areas (human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, group work, career and lifestyle development, appraisal, research and program evaluation, professional orientation, and abnormal), nine hours of clinical instruction, and an additional 21 hours of specialty requirements in mental health counseling.

  • Personal Growth & Development Group (CHD 5000) – non-credit
  • Lifecycle Development in Individuals & Families (CHD 5003) – 3 hours
  • Multicultural Issues, Human Diversity & Preventive Community Education (CHD 5013) – 3 hours
  • Counseling Theories & Techniques: Affective/Humanistic (CHD 5023) – 3 hours
  • Counseling Theories & Techniques: Cognitive/Behavioral (CHD 5033) – 3 hours
  • Group Counseling Techniques (CHD 5043) – 3 hours
  • Career Education Counseling (CHD 5053) – 3 hours
  • Individual & Group Assessment (CHD 5063) – 3 hours
  • Psychopathology (CHD 5073) – 3 hours
  • Research Methods (CHD 5083) – 3 hours
  • Professional Issues & Ethics (CHD 5093) – 3 hours
Clinical Instruction: 9 hours
  • Practicum: 150 hours (CHD 6003) – 3 hours
  • Internship: 300 hours (CHD 6013) – 3 hours
  • Internship: 300 hours (CHD 6013) – 3 hours

Specialization in Mental Health Counseling: 21 hours

Although a significant emphasis in the core curriculum is the development of a mental health counseling knowledge and skill base, the following specialty coursework and clinical experiences are designed to provide specialized expertise in the area of clinical mental health counseling.

In addition to the 39 hours of core and clinical experiences above, each student who specializes in mental health counseling must complete the following coursework within the specialty area. This coursework provides an introduction to clinical mental health counseling, contextual dimensions, knowledge and skills for the practice of mental health counseling, and clinical instruction.

  • Diagnosis of Mental & Emotional Disorders (CHD 6023) – 3 hours
  • Evaluation of Mental & Emotional Status (CHD 6033) – 3 hours
  • Theories of Addiction and Pharmacology (CHD 6173) – 3 hours
  • Treatment of Mental & Emotional Disorders (CHD 6203) – 3 hours
  • Mental Health Administration, Supervision & Consultation (CHD 6513) – 3 hours
  • Systemic Family Therapy (CHD 6613) – 3 hours
  • Choose one course from the following:
    • Counseling Procedures & Strategies, Legal Issues & Prevention Strategies with Addicted Populations (CHD 6174) – 4 hours
    • Assessment, Diagnosis & Treatment of Addiction (CHD 6183) – 3 hours
    • Relationship Counseling, Group Process & Techniques with Addicted Populations (CHD 6193) – 3 hours
    • Play Therapy (CHD 6253) – 3 hours
    • Adolescent Intervention (CHD 6283) – 3 hours
TOTAL: 60 credit hours

Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling

The graduate certificate in substance abuse counseling provides students the opportunity for additional knowledge and skills in substance abuse counseling. The certificate program admits students and practitioners who are either currently enrolled in a graduate degree program or who already have an appropriate master’s degree. The certificate may contribute toward the educational requirements as required by state boards for credentialing as a substance abuse counselor.

Exit Assessment

The master’s program has the same academic policies and standards as the undergraduate program except where specifically stated. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of initial acceptance into the program. Graduation from the Master of Education in counseling & human development degree program requires:

  • A cumulative quality point average of 3.00 or higher;
  • Completion of a program evaluation survey;
  • Filing an Application for Graduation form with the Registrar’s Office following the specific guidelines set forth in this catalog;
  • Recommendation of the graduate faculty; and
  • Completion of the Comprehensive Professional Counseling Examination (CPCE).