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Top Schools for Mental Health Counseling

Read about programs in mental health counseling, which can lead to a graduate degree or certificate. Find out what three universities have to offer in terms of academic awards and reputation, and use the table at the end of the resource to find other schools in the U.S. that provide training in mental health counseling.

School Information

Graduate programs in mental health counseling, such as those offered by the three nationally ranked universities featured below, teach students how to treat patients with mental and emotional disorders through group, individual and family sessions. These three schools each offer both master's and doctoral degree programs in the field.

1. Boston College (BC) in Massachusetts

School Highlight: Faculty members in the counseling program specialize in spirituality and mental health, among other areas of research.

Boston College is a Catholic Jesuit college that ranked 31st among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2015. That same year, the university was designated as a best value school by USN&WR, and The Princeton Review also categorized it as one of the top schools in the Northeast.

In preparation for state licensure, students can pursue a 60-hour Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling Psychology program with a concentration in mental health counseling. Aspiring professionals who intend to pursue a doctoral degree can apply to the 48-hour M.A. in Counseling Psychology - Mental Health Counselor program. At BC, the doctoral program culminates in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology. This course of study is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

2. University of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison

School Highlight: Counseling programs emphasize multiculturalism and diversity.

The University of Wisconsin is a public institution that U.S. News & World Report ranked 47th among national universities and 13th among public schools for 2015. The university was also named a 'Best Midwestern College' by The Princeton Review for the same year. UW offers a terminal Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling program with a concentration in community counseling. On the doctoral level, students can enroll in the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology program, which is APA-accredited.

3. The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C.

School Highlight: The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Services Center provides opportunities for internships.

In 2015, The George Washington University (GWU) ranked tied for 54th on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities. In the same year, the university also made The Princeton Review's list of 'Best Northeastern Colleges.' GWU offers a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling, which is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Additional programs can lead to a Ph.D. or a post-master's certificate in counseling.

Top Mental Health Counseling Programs

School NameDistinctionLocation
Clemson University Clemson offers a CACREP-accredited program Clemson, SC
Johns Hopkins University Students pursuing a master's degree in mental health counseling participate in applied learning experiences within the community Baltimore, MD
Marquette University Program in clinical mental health counseling allows for a specialization in addiction-mental health counseling Milwaukee, WI
Pennsylvania State UniversityMaster's degree program in mental health counseling emphasizes community and school workUniversity Park, PA
St. John's University Students in the clinical mental health counseling program complete a minimum of one practicum and two internships Queens, NY
University at Buffalo M.S. in Mental Health Counseling admits only 10-15 students per year and uses a cohort model Buffalo, NY
Western Michigan University Offers counseling psychology program at multiple campuses Kalamazoo, MI

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