Masters Program in Mental Health Counseling

February 1st

About the Program

Become eligible for NY State Licensure as a Mental Health Counselor for less in tuition costs than other programs!

The CCNY Department of Psychology offers a full-time Master of Arts degree program in Mental Health Counseling. The program satisfies all New York State education requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor. For more information about these requirements please visit the New York State Education Department.

Mission Statement

The mission of the CCNY Mental Health Counseling program is to provide individuals from diverse populations with the knowledge and experience required to become a licensed professional counselor. The curriculum provides a thorough foundation in the theory and practice of counseling for the prevention and amelioration of psychological distress. Graduates of the program are prepared to deliver high-quality, ethical, and culturally-competent mental health services that meet the needs of increasingly diverse communities.

Program Overview

The MA in Mental Health Counseling program is designed primarily for students who have completed a baccalaureate degree in Psychology or a Master of Arts degree in General Psychology and who wish to obtain the training needed to become a licensed professional counselor. Students in the program study theories of psychotherapy and psychological development, examine ethical issues in counseling, explore the impact of culture on the counseling process, review issues associated with work in various settings (e.g., community clinics, schools, hospitals, etc.), participate in immersive topical coursework in areas such as Substance Abuse and Trauma and Resilience, and learn the foundational skills associated with counseling couples, families, groups, and individuals across the lifespan.

The program provides an education in a high demand, high growth career area. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to work in both private and public settings and with clients representing a variety of socio-cultural backgrounds, age ranges, and clinical issues.

Admissions Cycle

The Mental Health Counseling program accepts new students for the fall semester only.

Application Deadline: February 1st 

The annual deadline for applications is February 1st. On years when this falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the deadline will be moved to the following Monday/next business day.   

Applications completed by January 1st receive a decision by March 15th.



Admission Requirements

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. In addition, all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Academics. Applicants must have either an undergraduate major in psychology OR have completed the following five (5) prerequisite courses in psychology (or their equivalents):
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology
  • Theories of Personality/Personality Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology/Psychology Research Methods

The prerequisite courses can be taken at any accredited institution(s) of higher learning, including fully accredited online programs, and may be taken at either the undergraduate and/or graduate level(s).

Grade Point Average (GPA): In general, we expect applicants to have an overall GPA of at least 3.2 and a GPA in psychology of at least 3.5. Moreover, we expect students to earn at least a B in all prerequisite courses.

  • Applied Experience. Successful applicants will also have some degree of formal training/experience relevant to the counseling profession. Any supervised role requiring one to draw upon the core skills of a counselor would be considered applicable. Examples include, but are in not limited to, experience such as volunteer work on a crisis hotline, work as an ABA therapist, or employment as a social worker/case manager.

Finally, it is preferred, but not required, that applicants be at least two years post-baccalaureate (i.e., two years since completing their undergraduate degree) by the time they enter the program.

  • Recommendations. Two letters of recommendation are required; three are preferred. At least one letter of recommendation should be from a past instructor—ideally, a past psychology instructor for a course with clear relevance to counseling. The other should be from someone familiar with the applicants’ performance in an applied setting, such as a supervisor for any relevant applied work.

Complete applications require the following:

  • The CCNY Graduate Admissions Application Form.
  • Personal Statement. The personal statement should be no more than one single-spaced page/two double-spaced pages describing why one is interested in the field of Mental Health Counseling and any formative educational and/or applied experience to-date.
  • Diversity Statement. A brief statement describing ways that you have—either in your professional and/or personal life—thought about or practiced being sensitive or responsive to individual differences. The essay must be limited to no more than one double-spaced page or half a page of single-spaced.
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one letter should be academic (i.e., from a past instructor, preferably an instructor from a psychology course). If relevant to one’s experience, then another letter should be from someone who is familiar with the applicant’s training, extant skills, and aptitude for the counseling profession.
  • Academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. Unofficial transcripts can be submitted with the initial application, but official transcripts must be submitted if and when one is admitted into the program.
  • Current Resume/Curriculum Vitae.
  • Test scores such as GRE & TOEFL. The GRE is NOT required for admission, however, if the GRE was taken then test scores should be submitted in the associated section of the application form.

Depending upon the country-of-origin, prospective international students are required to complete the TOEFL to demonstrate proficiency with the English language. See question #26 of the FAQs for the list of countries exempt from this requirement. See also the CCNY Graduate Studies page for International Applicants: International Applicants | The City College of New York (cuny.edu).

The Mental Health Counseling program requires the following minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores: 550 (PBT), 79-80 (IBT) or 6.5.

Application Deadline: February 1st.
Applications completed by January 1st receive a decision by March 15th.

To learn more about Graduate Studies at CCNY and apply for admission to the Mental Health Counseling Program, please visit the CCNY Graduate Studies Admissions website.

Program Structure

The Mental Health Program is a full time, 60-credit program designed to be completed in two years. We are unable to accept part time, non-matriculated students into the program at this time All students enter the program in the fall semester as fully matriculated members of the Mental Health Counseling program and take a set sequence of courses in tandem with their fellow cohort members.

The full program curriculum is comprised of twenty (20) courses (see “Curriculum” section for more details), with students taking a set sequence of five courses during each of the program’s four semesters. All of the required courses are:

  • Held exclusively on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Scheduled during one of the following time slots: 10 am-12:30 pm, 2-4:30 pm, and 5-7:30 pm
  • Offered exclusively during the fall and spring semesters. (The MHC program does not run courses over the summer or winter sessions)

 Students must agree to commit to the above-outlined course schedule. Again, courses are held exclusively on Tuesday and Thursdays. On the longer of the two days, courses will be held during all three of the above-listed times (i.e., 10am, 2pm, and 5pm). On the shorter of the two days, courses will be held at either 10am and 2pm or 2pm and 5pm.  Which day of the week (Tuesday/Thursday) is the longer of the two days will vary by semester. As such, it is recommended that applicants consider all day Tuesdays and Thursdays to be reserved for taking required courses.

The MHC program is a strictly full-time program. Students are required to enroll in at least four classes in each of the four semesters, as outlined in the curriculum. Enrolling in fewer than four courses would, in most cases, mean extending one’s time in the program by one full year given that each required course is offered only once per year.


Practicum and Internship

Beginning in Year 1, Semester 2  in addition to their full-time coursework, students also begin participating in the fieldwork requirements associated with the program.

In Semester 2, the Practicum in Counseling course requires completion of a least 100 clock hours at the practicum site (at least 40 hours of which must be in direct service hours with clients) by the end of the semester. This amounts to approximately 7 hours/week at a program-approved practicum site of the student’s choice. The practicum is when and where students begin to apply their burgeoning skills in the areas of assessment, counseling, and related services, and serves as an experiential entry point for more extensive and immersive training that takes place in Year 2.

In Semesters 3 and 4 (Year 2), students enroll in Internship in Counseling I and Internship in Counseling II, respectively. The internship sequence is an academic year-long placement at a program-approved internship site of the student’s choice. The internship site may be the same place where the student has completed their Semester 2 practicum, but not necessarily (i.e., this is not a requirement). Students are expected to spend the full academic year at the same internship site, where they will get applied experience working in the field and engaging in professional tasks such as conducting intakes, performing assessments, and providing counseling services under the guidance of their site supervisor. By the end of the academic year, students must complete a minimum of 600 clock hours (approximately 20 hours/week) at their internship site, with at least 240 of those hours in direct service to clients. The remainder of the required hours are accrued through tasks such as a supervision, education, and training. Students are required to receive at least one hour of supervision per week from their site supervisor.

For both practicum and internship, students are allowed to select their own placements based on their particular interests, preferences, and priorities. The program does not assign placements to students, but we do maintain a live document that is regularly updated with potential placements throughout New York City and the surrounding area. The list is not considered to be exhaustive, and students are welcome to seek out and apply to sites not currently on the program’s list, so long as the site is able and willing to meet program requirements. Students are expected to be proactive about applying to potential practicum and internship sites beginning in Semesters 1 and 2, respectively. They are supported in this process by the Internship Coordinator.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the program, then please contact  mhcprogram@ccny.cuny.edu .


The Mental Health Counseling program curriculum offers courses in various aspects of understanding psychological adjustment, including the etiology, development, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological distress. This includes specialty foci in areas such as substance abuse and trauma and resilience.

The degree requires 60 credits to be completed in two years, with five classes taken during each of four semesters.  Classes are exclusively scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM – 12:30PM, 2:00 - 4:30 PM, and 5:00 - 7:30 PM.  On the longer of the two days, courses will be held during all three of the above-listed times (i.e., 10am, 2pm, and 5pm). On the shorter of the two days, courses will be held at either 10am and 2pm or 2pm and 5pm. Which day of the week (Tuesday/Thursday) is the longer of the two days will vary by semester. As such, it is recommended that applicants consider all day Tuesdays and Thursdays to be reserved for taking required courses.

To be accepted into the program students must agree to commit to this schedule.  We are sorry that we are unable to accept part-time students into the program.

The Two-Year, 4 Semester Sequence*

Semester 1 - Fall

  • Developmental Psychology (PSY V2000)
  • Psychopathology (PSY V5500)
  • Theories and Techniques of Counseling (PSY V6532)
  • Professional Orientation and Ethics (PSY V6584)
  • Clinical Instruction (PSY V6587)

Semester 2 - Spring

  • Group Dynamics and Group Counseling (PSY V6556)
  • Assessment and Appraisal of Individuals, Families, Couples, and Groups (PSY V6575)
  • Practicum in Counseling (PSY V6580)
  • Foundations on Mental Health Counseling and Consultation (PSY V6597)
  • Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders (PSY V7000)

Semester 3 - Fall

  • Trauma and Resilience (PSY V6540)  
  • Research and Program Evaluation (PSY V6563)
  • Counseling Adolescents (PSY V6582)
  • Internship in Counseling I (PSY V6589)
  • Family and Couples Counseling I (PSY V6593)

Semester 4 - Spring  

  • Multicultural Issues in Counseling (PSY V6560)
  • Psychoeducation and Community-Based Interventions (PSY V6564)
  • Internship in Counseling II (PSY V6590)
  • Lifestyle and Career Development (PSY V6591)
  • Family and Couples Counseling II (PSY V6594)


* Updated  June 2023

If you have any questions or would like more information about the program, then please contact  mhcprogram@ccny.cuny.edu .


Q1: What is the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling Program?

It is a two year, full-time, 60-credit Master of Arts program approved by the State of New York as a licensure qualifying program pursuant to becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). The program is offered by the Department of Psychology, which is situated within the Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York of the City University of New York.


Q2: Will completion of this program allow me to become a licensed professional counselor?

Yes. The CCNY MA in Mental Health Counseling program meets all education requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in the state of New York. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing exam and fulfill the state post graduate supervised work requirement for licensure. For information regarding licensure requirements, see the website for the NYS Mental Health Counseling:License Requirements (nysed.gov).


Q3: Is the program accredited by CACREP or MPCAC?

At this time, the CCNY MA in Mental Health Counseling program is not accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program is, however, aware of the value of accredited status for programs and students, and is actively working towards becoming accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). For more information about MPCAC, visit their website at MPCAC - Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (mpcacaccreditation.org)

Note that, while the program is not currently accredited by CACREP or MPCAC, the curriculum is fully aligned with the requirements of both accrediting bodies. This means that graduates wishing to pursue licensure outside of New York State will generally find that their academic credentials will be accepted by the other state, just as they would from a CACREP/MPCAC-accredited program. Specific licensure requirements do vary by state, so it is recommended that students considering licensure outside of New York explore the requirements in states of interest and compare education requirements.


Q4What is the deadline for applications?
February 1st is the annual application deadline. Applicants whose applications are completed by January 1st will receive a decision by no later than March 15th


Q5How do I apply for admission?
To apply, visit the Graduate Studies Admissions page on the College website:



Q6: I’ve submitted my application. What happens next?
All applications are thoroughly reviewed by Mental Health Counseling program faculty. Strong candidates are invited for a one-on-one interview with up to 2 MHC faculty members. Invitations to interview usually begin mid-February, regardless of when an application was received, and continue to as late as early April, depending upon the total number of applications in the admissions cycle. Final decisions are generally rendered by April 15th, although accepted applicants are generally informed within two weeks of interviewing. All applicants can track the status of their application in ApplyYourself, the system where all applications are submitted.


Q7: How many students apply for the program and how many are accepted?

In recent years we have received up to 200 applications and have accepted 20-30 applicants (modal cohort size: 24). Currently, we are unable to accept more than 30-40 applicants per year.


Q8Do you accept students for the spring semester?
No. We only accept students for the fall semester of each year.


Q9: Do you take part-time or non-matriculating students?

No. We are a full-time program that requires students to be able to take five classes for four consecutive semesters, in addition to completing a 100-hour practicum (approximately 7 hour per week) in Semester 2 and a  600-hours internship (approximately 20 hours per week) across Semesters 3 and 4.


Q10: What academic requirements must be met to be eligible for admission?

The minimum requirements are an undergraduate degree in psychology OR completion of the following five prerequisite courses: introductory psychology, child development, abnormal psychology, theories of personality/personality psychology and experimental psychology, or their equivalents. Most applicants have completed a bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology, but this is not required. For those who have not completed


Q11: What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) to be considered for admission?

In general, we expect applicants to have an overall GPA of at least 3.2 and a GPA in psychology of at least 3.5. Moreover, we expect students to earn at least a B in all of the prerequisite courses. Applicants with GPA’s lower than the preferred minimums may still apply but note that it would generally mean that the application is not as competitive as one might desire.


Q12Do students who do not meet these academic criteria have any chance of being considered for admission?
We try to be flexible in our evaluations and examine each transcript in detail, taking into account the nature of the courses completed and whether the student shows improvement towards the end of their undergraduate training.


Q13Will classes taken years ago be accepted?
We have no set policy regarding number of years since completed coursework, but we do expect at least some required classes to have been taken within the last five years.


Q14What other requirements are there aside from academics?
Applicants are expected to have supervised work or volunteer experience helping others and to be able to substantiate that experience by providing a letter from their supervisor. Applicants who advance to stage two of the admissions process are also required to participate in an interview with faculty as part of their evaluation for admission.


Q15Are letters of reference required?
Yes, at least two letters of recommendation are required, three are preferred. We request that at least one be from a supervisor for any relevant applied experience (e.g., work or volunteer experience that demonstrates generalized counseling skills) and one from an academic instructor.


Q16: Is the GRE required?
No. The GRE is not required for admission; however, if an applicant has taken the GRE then it is requested that they submit their scores with their online application.


Q17When are classes scheduled?
Classes are scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am – 12:30 pm, 2 pm to 4:30 pm, and 5 pm to 7:30 pm. One day will have all three times filled and the other only two, with the specific days (T/Th) and times varying by semester.


Q18Is it possible to work while completing the program.
It is very difficult to work more than 20 hours per week during the first year in the program. Students must be full-time and carry five classes per semester. During the second year (semesters 3 and 4 in the program) it is difficult to work even part-time: Students work at their internship for roughly 20 hours per week in addition to the full-time required coursework.


Q19: Do students find their own placements for the required practicum and internship courses?

The program provides students with a list of pre-approved internships to which they can apply; however, the list is not exhaustive, and students are encouraged to look for and recommend additional options that suit their professional interests. New practicum and internship sites must be approved by the program before a student is allowed to officially select it as a placement. Placements are competitive, so students are encouraged to being applying as soon as September for practicum placements (which begin in January/February) and as soon as January for internship placements (which begin in August/September). All of our students have found placements.


Q20: What if I am accepted and discover that I cannot attend - may I defer admission?
Students may defer beginning the program for one year, after which they must file a new application.


Q21: What is the tuition?
Please check the City College Bursar's Website for the list of current tuition and other fees.


Q22: Is funding available?

There are a limited number of scholarship available for students in the Mental Health Counseling program. Once accepted into the program, applicants are encouraged to apply for one of ten available Rosner Fellowships, which award recipients $5,000 towards tuition and fees for their first year in the program. Second-year students may apply for the NYS Office of Mental Health Scholarship and the Pauline Mei Memorial Scholarship, which award $5,000 and $1,000 to recipients, respectively. All scholarships are awarded based in part on students’ financial need, as determined by the required submission of a FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Applicants can also consult with the CCNY financial aid office to see if there are any loans or programs for which one is eligible. Finally, there are also opportunities to work as a Teaching Assistant, which is a salaried position within the department.


Q23: Can I work as a Teaching Assistant (TA)?
Yes!  All accepted MHC students are guaranteed a job as a Teaching Assistant within the Department of Psychology if they so desire. Pay is determined by the specific course being taught. Details regarding the TA opportunities are provided upon acceptance to the program, and prior to having to make a decision regarding attendance.


Q24: What if I was not a psychology major and have not completed all of the prerequisite courses: may I still apply?

Non-psychology majors are welcome to apply to the program. Applicants who are not psychology majors are required to complete the five prerequisite courses listed in the Admissions Requirements section. All of the courses must be successfully completed prior to the starting the program, but they needn’t all be completed prior to submitting the application. Specifically, at the time of the application, applicants need only have at least three of the five prerequisite courses fully complete, with a final grade reflected on any transcript(s) submitted with the application. Any outstanding courses should be either in progress or enrolled in during the spring semester prior to the fall semester that the applicant plans to attend. For example, if an applicant plans to join the program for the fall 2026 semester, then they should be enrolled in any outstanding prerequisite courses by no later than the spring 2026 semester. This should also be documented in the application.


Q25: Are there research opportunities?
Research is neither a required nor integrated part of the MHC program; however, there are many faculty members in the department with active programs of research. This includes faculty who do not teach within the MHC program. Students are welcome to reach out to any faculty members to inquire about research opportunities. It is recommended that students weigh carefully the additional demand that this would represent. The MHC program is designed to train students to become professional counselors, and there is little time available to invest in other endeavors.


Q26Can I transfer classes from another institution?
No more than 9 credits may be transferred from other accredited graduate programs. In all cases, the classes must be approved by the director of the program. First semester classes must be approved before the first day of classes. Students must provide an official unopened transcript from the institution at which the classes were taken and as well as syllabi for any courses meant to replace required courses in the MHC curriculum. In some instances, a catalogue course description may be acceptable if a syllabus is not available. The classes should have been completed within the last 5 years.


Q27: I am an international student. Do I have to take the TOEFL or another test of English language proficiency, and if so, what are the minimum required scores?
International applicants may be required to take a test of English language proficiency.  Citizens from certain countries are exempt from this requirement (see below for a list of exempt countries).  If you are not a citizen of an exempt country, then a language test is required with the following minimum scores:

Minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores: 550 (PBT), 79-80 (IBT) or 6.5. See below for the list of countries exempt from the TOEFL/other English proficiency exams.

TOEFL EXEMPT COUNTRIES: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Dominica, England, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland (Northern), Ireland (Republic of), Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Montserrat, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Scotland, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
(List current as of Spring 2021)


Q28: Does the program offer any online courses? The MHC program does not offer any online options at this time. All courses are offered in-person and students are expected to be on campus and in class for all required classes.


If you have any questions or would like more information about the program, then please contact  mhcprogram@ccny.cuny.edu .



Fast Facts Background


February 1st.

Applications completed by Jan. 1st receive a decision by Mar. 15th.

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Last Updated: 07/17/2023 16:13