Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mental Health Counseling

Prepare for a career as a licensed mental health professional or to pursue further studies in psychology, counseling, or related fields. With its emphasis on social justice, our program trains you to serve the mental health needs of individuals, groups, communities, and systems and to promote and advocate for social change.

At a Glance

How many courses?


Most students take 20 courses (60 credits total). 

How long will it take?


Full-time students typically finish in two years.

When can I start?


You can begin the program only in the fall semester.

By the Numbers

#11

Student Counseling and Personnel Services

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

129

students

11:1

student-to-faculty ratio

Curriculum

During the two-year program, you can choose between a 60-credit licensure-track or a 48-credit non-licensure track program of study. Each program requires you to complete an internship with one of our Boston-based partner organizations.

Requirements


  • Courses: 16 or 20
  • Credits: 48 or 60
  • Comprehensive Exam

48-Credit Master's

The 48-credit, two-year program will prepare you for further studies in counseling or fields in which a solid counseling foundation is desirable. Our graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees in psychology and further studies in public policy, law, and business. The 48-credit hour Mental Health Counseling track is an option available for students who do NOT plan to pursue licensure as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or other states that require completion of an integrated, 60-credit Master’s degree.

60-Credit Master's

The 60-credit, two-year program meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. When you graduate from this program, you will be eligible for entry-level counseling positions and prepared, with postgraduate supervision and experience, to obtain licensure and accreditation for advanced skills/specialization. 

The Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) concentration serves as a pathway for students seeking to work as Mental Health Counselors in integrated medical settings. Our courses take a whole-person approach to health and are geared toward triaging clinical care, assessing social determinants of health, and utilizing short-term evidence-based psychotherapies. Students in this concentration will be required to complete a practicum in an integrated behavioral health setting where they will learn practical hands-on skills. The concentration can be taken by students in either the 48- or 60-credit track. Students should ensure they are registered for the Foundations of Counseling I & II courses specifically for Integrated Behavioral Health in their first year.

What is Integrated Behavioral Healthcare?
Integrated behavioral health care, a part of “whole-person care,” is a rapidly emerging emphasis of the practice of high-quality health care. Integrated behavioral health care blends care for medical conditions and behavioral health concerns that affect health and well-being in a single setting, or “medical home”.  Medical and integrated behavioral health clinicians (IBHCs) work together as a team to address a patient’s behavioral health concerns.

APSY7310,

APSY7311

Foundations of Counseling: Integrated Behavioral Health (I & II)

The purpose of this yearlong course is to introduce counseling students to an integrated behavioral health (IBH) framework that will help facilitate their learning and understanding of this model. Students will learn fundamental principles, clinical skills, and have the opportunity to expand upon their professional identity. Students will: a) learn to examine the multiple settings of IBH, b) learn to develop strong interdisciplinary relationships, c) gain practical knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to engage competently in professional practice working with patients from diverse backgrounds and within different healthcare systems, d) develop insight into one’s cultural background and the influence of personal identities and values in their engagement with patients and professionals of the field, e) identify and understand social justice issues that intersect with the realities of patients and the ways they impact patients’ quality of life and the wellness of communities, f) foster an awareness of the role of ethical considerations, relevant professional development issues, the role of supervision, and self-care of the counselor. , and g)  prepare for clinical internships available in the second year of the program. Through weekly lab experiences, students will engage in further discussion, practice their skills, and implement their knowledge of IBH.

3+3
APSY7312

Short Term Therapies & Integrated Behavioral Healthcare 

This course is designed to provide in-depth training and skill development in evidence-based theoretical models of brief therapy within an Integrated Behavioral Health framework. Counseling students will develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of brief therapy models, including Solution Focused Brief Therapy; Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Motivational Interviewing (MI); and Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Other areas of emphasis will include crisis intervention, posttraumatic stress disorder management in integrated primary care; addressing substance use disorders in primary care; and trauma-informed integrated primary care. Students will also be given the opportunity to translate this understanding into practice of techniques and skills from these brief therapies.

3
APSY7313

IBH Practitioner Skills and Multidisciplinary Teamwork

This course is intended to provide the learner with specialized skills necessary in delivering behavioral health assessment/intervention in an integrated medical setting. The course will focus on how to manage a caseload in an integrated care setting (e.g., maintaining open access, triage as necessary, determining who could benefit from targeted treatment) as well as how to conceptualize cases, formulate treatment plans, provide documentation appropriate for the setting and crisis intervention strategies. Additionally, we will discuss the importance of collaboration and information sharing with other team members, as well as how to provide consent for this communication and the potential ethical issues that can arise. We will discuss the nuanced role that an IBH clinician has in managing chronic disease, engaging health promotion, and assessing and treating special populations. Lastly, the role of an IBH practitioner extends beyond intervention in the clinic (e.g. telehealth), and thus we will also learn the importance of interdisciplinary consultation and referral as well as strategies for  outreach to community resources and settings in order to support both clinic and patient in whole person health.

3
APSY7314

Health Inequity 

This course provides an overview of disparities in health status and the delivery of healthcare in the US. Students will explore relationships among individual characteristics such as gender identification, education, income, literacy, race, ethnicity, culture, acculturation, disability, age, and sexual orientation; interpersonal factors such as communication with healthcare providers, family and social ties, and discrimination; and societal-level factors such as neighborhood and community context, healthcare organizations, economics, politics and policies and seek to understand how those factors shape health behaviors, access to health care services, unequal treatment, and health status. This course will underscore the importance of developing “structural competency”, which is a critical understanding for systems that influence health outcomes above individual interactions. Students will critically examine how to utilize these individual and systemic characteristics when engaging in case conceptualization and treatment planning and identify steps that practitioners and leaders can use to address disparities within their practice and community. Lastly, students will examine the importance of outreach to community resources, agencies, and settings (e.g., community centers, senior centers, churches, shelters) in order to support both clinic and patient in whole person health.

3



This degree is one of the Lynch School’s designated STEM programs as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. F1 visa students in STEM-designated programs may apply for a 24-month extension of the post-completion optional practical training (OPT).

Mental Health Counseling Urban Scholars Program


 
community children

The Mental Health Counseling Urban Scholars Program builds on the Mental Health Counseling curriculum and clinical training. It will prepare you to work effectively with clients and partners in urban communities, including community mental health centers, public hospitals, and community-based clinics.

Throughout your first year, you will receive unique training and monthly seminars on serving clients within urban clinical contexts. In the second year of the program, you will participate in a practicum in an urban mental health setting.

Practicum

Much of the second year of the program focuses on the internship, where you will have opportunities to hone your counseling skills. We emphasize the importance of culture and context, encouraging you to acquire a community-oriented understanding of the settings in which you serve. Our dedicated Director of Practicum Experience works to pair you with pre-practicum and practicum placements that fit your goals including community mental health centers, substance abuse clinics, day treatment programs, eating disorders clinics, public schools, hospitals, and college counseling centers.

Accreditation

The Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) through March 2027. Upon successful completion of the Lynch School of Education and Human Development's 60-credit Masters’s in Mental Health Counseling program, students earn endorsement from Boston College for licensure in Massachusetts. The 600+ hours of practicum and internship experience students receive exceed current Massachusetts requirements for initial licensure as a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC). For more information about mental health counseling licensure, including if you are seeking licensure in another state, please visit  the “LSEHD Counseling Licensure Disclosure” page.

Faculty

Financial Aid

Education should level the playing field. We feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $8.4 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable. 

Careers

Roles

  • Environmental Education Coordinator
  • Clinician
  • Research Assistant
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Research Health Science Specialist
  • Psychologist
  • In-Home Family Therapist
  • Cognitive Trainer
  • Substance Abuse Clinician

Organizations

  • Student Conservation Association
  • Willowglen Academy
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Bay State Community Services
  • Veterans Health Administration
  • Christiana Care Health System
  • Italian Home for Children
  • Brain Excel
  • Community Substance Abuse Centers

Apply

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Application & Deadlines

Apply Now

Prerequisite Information: Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree in psychology should have completed at least 2 of the following foundational psychology courses: General Psychology, Personality Theories, Abnormal Psychology, or Developmental Psychology.

Highly-qualified applicants who have not yet met this criteria may be conditionally admitted with a requirement that the courses be completed before the program begins. A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required. The fee is waived for select applicants.

Deadlines Fall 2023:

  • Priority Deadline: January 4
  • Rolling admission: Until May 1

Resume

To be uploaded to your online application.

In addition to your academic history and relevant volunteer and/or work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Personal Statement

To be uploaded to your online application.

In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required, with at least one preferably coming from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice.

Transcripts

Transcripts from all college/university study are required.

Applicants who have received degrees from institutions outside the United States should view the "International Students" section for additional credential evaluation requirements.

Please begin your online application before submitting your transcripts. Details on how to submit transcripts and international credential evaluations can be found within the application. In order to ensure your transcript reaches our office, it is important to review and follow the instructions.

Standardized Tests

Submitting GRE test scores is optional for this program for the 2023 entry term(s). If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218.

Please view the "International Students" section for information on English Proficiency test requirements.

Writing Sample

Not required.

International Students

Applicants who have completed a degree outside of the United States must have a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript(s) completed by an evaluation company approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Submission of falsified documents is grounds for denial of admission or dismissal from the University.

Applicants who are not native speakers of English and who have not received a degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS test result that meets the minimum score requirement.

Please use link below for full details on these requirements.

Requirements for International Students

Contact Us

  gsoe@bc.edu
  617-552-4214