Top Schools for a Master's in Mental Health Counseling

Jan 30, 2020

Some of the best universities in the country offer a variety of master's in counseling programs. There are options for dual degrees, full-time or part-time arrangements, and even online studies.

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  • 0:05 Mental Health Counseling
  • 0:24 School Information
  • 0:40 Boston University in…
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  • 2:31 George Washington University
  • 3:13 Other Top Programs

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Schools Offering Top Master's in Counseling Programs: At a Glance

The following institutions gained high ratings in the U.S. News and World Report 2020 list of top national universities in the country and/or the 2019 rankings for schools with the best student counseling programs.

School Name Location Degrees Offered Average Graduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
Columbia University New York, NY Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling $46,216
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Master of Science in Education - Counseling and Mental Health Services $34,882
New York University New York, NY Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness $42,888
Boston University Boston, MA Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine $52,816
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN Master of Education in Human Development Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling $47,208
University of Florida Gainesville, FL Master of Education and Specialist in Education in Mental Health Counseling $10,770 in-state, $27,335 out-of-state
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling $7,020 in-state, $22,518 out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Schools with Top Mental Health Counseling Graduate Programs

Students can find out more details below about some of the top master's in counseling programs. A few of these programs can provide qualifications for licensure in mental health counseling while others are good preparation for other master's degrees or doctoral programs in clinical mental health counseling.

Columbia University

Columbia University offers a Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling degree with emphasis on racial-cultural and social justice. The program requires 60 credits as well as completion of a special project and a comprehensive exam. Core courses include psychopathology, group counseling, multicultural counseling, and career counseling. Full-time students can finish the program in five semesters, but part-time options are also available.

University of Pennsylvania

The master's in counseling and mental health services program at the University of Pennsylvania requires 10 course units and takes one year to complete on a full-time basis. The curriculum includes courses in counseling interventions, ethics, sociocultural foundations, and statistics for educational research. Students may complete a comprehensive exam, thesis, or portfolio for their culminating experience. Graduates who want to qualify for licensure or certification in school counseling can continue on to the master's program in professional counseling on their second year.

New York University

New York University offers a 60-credit master's in counseling for mental health and wellness program with full-time and part-time formats as well as an online option. A 66-credit dual-degree track is also available, which combines the counseling program with a post-master's advanced certificate in LGBT health, education, and social services. The coursework covers core courses in counseling foundations, abnormal psychology, group dynamics, and cross-cultural counseling as well as electives in areas such as addiction counseling, bereavement counseling, and marriage and family counseling.

Boston University

Boston University's graduate program in mental health counseling and behavioral medicine features a hybrid curriculum that combines clinical mental health counseling with training in neuroscience, behavioral medicine, and health psychology. Core courses include counseling theory and techniques, professional counseling, mental health assessment, psychopharmacology, neuroscience, addictions, and applied health psychology. The two-year program requires 60 credits and 1,000 hours of supervised clinical fieldwork. Graduates can qualify for state licensure as a clinical mental health counselor.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University offers a master's program in human development counseling with a clinical mental health counseling track. The curriculum requires 60 credit hours and a year-long internship. The coursework includes required courses in advanced developmental counseling, group counseling, career counseling, developmental counseling psychology, and multicultural counseling as well as electives in cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling with children and adolescents, and human sexuality.

University of Florida

The University of Florida offers a dual master's and specialist degree program in mental health counseling, one of the top master's in counseling programs in the country. The 72-credit curriculum features courses in trauma and crisis counseling, substance abuse intervention, family counseling, community counseling, and multicultural counseling. Students can opt to complete a thesis and take on an additional six credit hours. The program can be completed in seven semesters.

Georgia State University

The graduate program in clinical mental health counseling at Georgia State University requires at least 60 semester hours, which can be completed in six or seven semesters on a full-time basis. The curriculum includes courses in psychobehavioral diagnosis, crisis intervention, addictions, educational and psychological assessment, group counseling, and family interventions. Aside from the coursework, students must also complete a minimum of 700 hours of practicum and internship over three semesters.

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