Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration

Professional Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration, M.Ed.

Christopher Quarto, Program Director
(615) 898-5933

The M.Ed. in Professional Counseling offers concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The goal of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration is to prepare students to provide professional counseling services in mental health-related settings. Students are offered preparation to diagnose and treat select mental and emotional disorders and to promote optimal mental health.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Students apply separately to the College of Graduate Studies and the Professional Counseling program. Admission to the Professional Counseling program is not automatic for students meeting minimum admission requirements. Admissions decisions for the Professional Counseling program will be made after reviewing all materials and determining the applicant's capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study in this area.

Successful applicants for the Master of Education in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling typically have demonstrated the following:

  1. 3.00 or higher undergraduate GPA (If an applicant's GPA is lower than 3.00, Professional Counseling faculty will consider applicant's academic performance during the last 60 hours of his or her undergraduate program);
  2. Completion of undergraduate courses in basic statistics and abnormal psychology (with minimum grades of B in both courses);
  3. A combined Verbal + Quantitative score of 291 or higher on the GRE with scores on both the Verbal and Quantitative measures of the test above 146 and 140 respectively;
  4. Three positive references on Professional Counseling recommendation form;
  5. A written essay/statement of purpose on the supplemental application form in which the applicant's reason for pursing a master's degree in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is congruent with the focus/emphasis of the program;
  6. Resume that includes name, address, and phone number of applicant; school applicant attended and applicant's major, minor, and grade point average; honors and awards; and employment and volunteer experiences;
  7. If invited, participate in a half-day interview within the first six (6) hours of coursework (invitation based on how the applicant compares to other applicants in relation to the previous six requirements). The interview is conducted by Professional Counseling faculty, a practicing mental health professional, and school counselor. An invited applicant must review the Professional Counseling handbook and the most current version of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics prior to the interview day and agree in writing to abide by the contents of those documents-should they be admitted into the program-on the day of the interview. Applicant must receive a positive recommendation from the faculty and counselors for program admission.

Note: Meeting minimum requirements for program admission does not guarantee admission, as applicants are selected on a competitive basis.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application materials for Summer/Fall admission must be submitted by February 10; September 10 is the deadline for Spring admission.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at;
  2. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  3. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  4. submit a current resume;
  5. complete and submit a Professional Counseling Program supplemental application. This is available online at;
  6. submit recommendation forms that are specific to the counseling program. These are available at If possible, two of the recommendations should come from faculty who can attest to the applicant's academic abilities. The third can come from someone who has either supervised the applicant's work, has been a colleague, or has known him/her for at least three years (other than family).

Professional Counseling faculty will review all completed application files (all of the above), and if minimal requirements are met, will arrange with the applicant for participation in an admissions interview during the spring or fall semester. The admissions committee consists of Professional Counseling faculty members and at least one practicing mental health professional and school counselor.

Following the admissions interview, Professional Counseling faculty will make admissions decisions. The following are considered in the decision-making process:

  1. input from regular, adjunct, and affiliate program faculty (if the applicant has taken or is currently taking classes);
  2. input from practitioners who served on the admissions committee;
  3. each applicant's potential success in forming effective interpersonal relationships in individual and small-group contexts;
  4. each applicant's aptitude for graduate-level study, including technological competence and computer literacy;
  5. each applicant's career goals and objectives and their relevance to the program; and
  6. each applicant's openness to self-examination and personal and professional self-development;
  7. each applicant's written acknowledgment that they reviewed the Professional Counseling handbook and the most current version of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics prior to the interview day and agree to abide by the content of those documents-should they be admitted into the program-on the day of the interview.

Applicants will be formally notified of the admission decision by the College of Graduate Studies within 30 days of the admissions interview. If accepted into the Professional Counseling program, the applicant must within two weeks notify the program coordinator of his/her intention to enter the program.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Education in Professional Counseling degree with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires completion of 61 semester hours.

Candidates must successfully complete the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (may be taken no more than twice).

Curriculum: Professional Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

 Candidate must complete 61 hours in the following course of study:


  • PSY 3020 - Basic Statistics for Behavioral Science with a minimum grade of B (or an equivalent undergraduate statistics course taken at another accredited educational institution)
  • PSY 3230 - Abnormal Psychology with a minimum grade of B (or an equivalent undergraduate abnormal psychology course taken at another accredited educational institution)

Professional Counseling Core Courses (31 hours)

  • COUN 6110 - Introduction to Professional Counseling

    3 credit hours

    An introductory study of the counseling profession. Basic educational, historical, philosophical and psychological foundations of counseling as well as specific traits and skills of professional counselors. Beginning level concepts and skills required for certification and licensure.

  • COUN 6150 - Career Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: COUN 6840 and COUN 6260 or permission of department. History, theory, and issues related to career development, career choice, and career education. Demonstration of the ability to teach career information seeking behavior and decision-making skills.

  • COUN 6170 - Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: COUN 6830, COUN 6260, or permission of instructor. Corequisite: COUN 6180. Group process, ethics, and techniques. Application of counseling theory, group procedures, sociometrics, and group dynamics to interpersonal relations, mental health, school, and industrial settings. Supervised experience. Liability insurance required prior to enrollment.

  • COUN 6180 - Laboratory in Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

    1 credit hours

    Taken in conjunction with COUN 6170. Students will experience group processes as members of a growth group during the first half of the semester and will demonstrate group skills as leaders of group session(s) during the second half of the semester.

  • COUN 6210 - Multicultural Counseling

    3 credit hours

    A theoretical and skill development course related to the field of Professional Counseling. Information provided to strengthen multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills in the competencies necessary to create helping relationships with ethnically and culturally diverse clients.

  • COUN 6260 - Pre-Practicum in Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: COUN 6830 or permission of instructor. Introduces basic communication skills, techniques, and process involved in working with clients in a counseling relationship; extensive role-play practice with peer and faculty feedback. Liability insurance required prior to enrollment.

  • COUN 6270 - Practicum in Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: COUN 6170, COUN 6180, COUN 6230, COUN 6260, COUN 6830; permission of instructor. Practical supervised experience in individual and group counseling in a school setting and MTSU Psychological Services Center; audio and/or video taping of sessions for peer and faculty feedback.

  • COUN 6830 - Theories and Techniques of Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Survey of leading counseling theories, including applications of theories to case studies. Demonstration and practice of specific techniques.

  • COUN 6840 - Measurement and Appraisal in Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Individual and group approaches to measurement and appraisal in counseling. Psychometric properties of tests and how to select, administer, and/or interpret aptitude, achievement, intelligence, personality, performance, and interest tests for use in counseling-related activities.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses (24 hours)

  • COUN 5655 - Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. History, roles, and duties of the professional clinical mental health counselor. Managed care and third party reimbursement issues, administration and supervision of mental health services, and other salient issues relating to the role of the professional clinical mental health counselor.

  • COUN 6520 - Psychopharmacology

    3 credit hours

    Biochemical, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical basis; emphasis on drugs used in investigating and treating psychological disorders.

  • COUN 6540 - Internship: Clinical Mental Health Counseling  3 credit hours  (two semesters, 6 credit hours) 

    COUN 6540 - Internship: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: COUN 6270. Requires 300 hours in a mental health setting with at least 40 percent in direct service. May be repeated; enrollment must be continuous.

  • COUN 6765 - Diagnosis and Treatment Planning in Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: An undergraduate course in abnormal psychology; permission of department. Development of skills in the diagnosis and treatment of select mental disorders across the lifespan. Treatment planning strategies using evidence-based treatment interventions.

  • COUN 7520 - Assessment and Treatment of Addictions

    3 credit hours

    Systematic analysis of the addictional phenomena with particular emphasis on dynamics and behavioral manifestations. Alcohol, street and prescription drugs, gambling, TV, religion, politics, and sex as aberrational forms of altering consciousness explored. Causation, clinical diagnostics, and treatment procedures as well as prevention addressed in detail.


  • COUN 6610 - Introduction to Counseling Research

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: An undergraduate statistics course. Common methods used by researchers and practitioners to answer questions pertaining to counseling-related phenomena including quantitative and qualitative methods, action research, needs assessment and program evaluation.

  • PSY 6615 - Basic and Applied Research Methods in Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Survey of experimental and quasi-experimental research designs employed in mental health fields. Theoretical and practical knowledge of various research designs and data analysis procedures explored through class lectures and lab assignments. Offers preparation for those training to become mental health practitioners to understand and critically evaluate psychological research.

Mental Health Counseling Specialty Area (6 hours)

Select one:

Child/Adolescent Counseling Specialty

  • PSY 6080 - Interventions with Children and Adolescents

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 5250 or PSY 6400 or permission of instructor. Theoretical and practical issues related to interventions with children and adolescents exhibiting behavioral and emotional problems. Intervention strategies for specific problems. Experience designing and evaluating intervention plans. Legal, ethical, and practical issues.

  • COUN 6885 - Play Therapy: Theory and Practice

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Permission of instructor and COUN 6260. Covers theory and techniques of play therapy useful to both the school counselor and school psychologist and to the practitioner in community practice. Includes a practicum experience using play therapy with young children in play therapy lab. Liability insurance required prior to enrollment.

Adult Counseling Specialty

  • COUN 6800 - Adult Topics in Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Overview of salient issues in the counseling profession related to working with adult clients. Introduction to topics such as spirituality, intimate partner violence, gerontological counseling and working with couples in counseling. Other topics may be added as relevant issues emerge in counseling literature.

  • COUN 6810 - Adult Counseling  3 credit hours  

    COUN 6810 - Adult Counseling

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. Analysis of common issues encountered when counseling adults. Development of case conceptualization, treatment planning, and counseling intervention skills. Examines counseling as a process.

Program Notes

A 100-hour combined practicum in a mental health setting and the MTSU Center for Counseling and Psychological Services is required. In addition, a 600-hour internship in a mental health setting is required.

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which the student intends to graduate.