School of Professional Studies in Chicago

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA)

Earn Your MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program offers students rigorous training in the application of counseling techniques combined with a recognition of the deeply spiritual core of human persons. Students learn to promote mental wellness, prevention, and resilience in individuals and communities. Through an inclusive approach to spirituality and cultural diversity, the program prepares graduates for careers as culturally competent professional counselors in a variety of settings. Students will receive a strong foundation in counseling theory, acquire an understanding of the profession’s legal and ethical responsibilities, and master the skills necessary for effective assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of clients. Upon program completion, students will be eligible to apply to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Professional Counseling Careers

  • Counselor with mental health agency
  • Grief counselor with hospital or hospice center
  • Addictions or rehabilitation counselor
  • Spiritual counselor affiliated with a church, denomination, or church-affiliated community agency
  • Private or group practice, working with couples, families, or individuals

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Michael DeVries

Dr. Michael DeVries, who directs the CMHC program, has been a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois for over 30 years and maintains a clinical practice with Olive Branch Counseling Associates in Tinley Park, Illinois. DeVries brings a wide range of clinical experience to his teaching. He is deeply committed to the integration of spirituality into the counseling process and is dedicated to the development of interculturally competent professional counselors.

More about Dr. Devries

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Clinical Internship

All CMHC students must complete 700 hours of supervised clinical work (100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship), working under the supervision of a licensed counselor, delivering assessment, counseling, and related professional services. Typically, this stretches over two semesters, but it can be lengthened to accommodate work and life schedules. North Park has partnerships with a variety of internship settings, or you can seek your own internship that closely aligns with your interests. Along with on-site hours, the internship course meets for a selected number of times throughout the semester to provide feedback and support during your practicum. 

How it Works

This program follows a generalist model of counselor training, in which students are broadly trained to function as competent, professional counselors in a broad range of settings. Within this generalist model, students have the opportunity to define specific areas of specialization, based on course selection and internship site selection. Some of these potential areas of specialization include: culturally responsive counseling; pastoral counseling; and addictions prevention and treatment. In order to complete the program, students complete a capstone project related to a clinical issue within the context of the Internship II course

CMHC Coursework

Coursework blends theory with practice, designed to prepare you for the Licensed Professional Counselor exam. Courses follow an accelerated format with classes meeting once a week for 7-week sessions, with the exception of the two semester-long internship courses. The program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. This master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling builds upon the broader North Park identity of embracing cultural diversity and the active integration of an inclusively defined Christian perspective. Students will learn the skills and knowledge bases that are required to function as a professional counselor. 

Pre-Licensure Preparation

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program aligns with degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check.  

Admission Requirements

Along with this convenient online, no-fee application, you’ll need: 

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. An electronic copy of your current resume.
  3. Two professional and/or academic recommendations are required as part of your application. Log in to the supplemental items list in your account at send a recommendation request through our online system.
  4. An essay, as described on the application 
  5. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, sent directly to North Park University. 


Continuing Education (CE) Workshops for Professional Counselors

Looking to enhance your counseling skills? The School of Professional Studies  offers a variety of Continuing Education (CE) workshop opportunities for mental health professionals seeking to expand their skills. Continuing Education Units, required by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, are available for Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors. Various sessions are offered during the spring 2023 semester.

Approximately 50 % of the population is single. This means that half of our clients are single. Some of them relish being single, and others struggle with the desire to be in a romantic relationship. This tension often emerges in their presenting problems. This workshop will discuss how we can support and care for our clients well as they navigate their relationship status in a society that still highlights and believes that romantic love is fundamental for a full and rich life. Led by Elizabeth Pierre, Ph.D. LPC, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Counseling.

Earn 3 hours of CE Credit for Licensed Professional Counselors.  RSVP here.

This workshop teaches participants how to counsel women whose spiritual identity is foundational to their health. What extenuating variables come up in counseling women of faith that can impact service delivery? How can we use cultural and ethnic faith factors as strengths in therapy? How does a counselor utilize their client’s faith as a platform on which to build a strength-based approach to treatment? Led by Daisy Santiago, MSW, LCSW, Former Director, North Park University Counseling Center

Earn 3 hours of CE Credit for Licensed Professional Counselors. RSVP here.

The reality of loss and the emotional consequences manifested in grief reactions are universal human experiences that at times acquire clinical significance. This workshop will discuss grief reactions and examine various treatment approaches to prolonged grief. The role of spirituality in the counseling process for clients surviving loss and living with grief will be discussed. The workshop examines psychoanalytic and stage models of grief as well as emerging perspectives on the reality of ongoing relationships with lost loved ones. Examples from clinical practice will be explored in small group discussions. Led by Michael DeVries, Ph.D., LCPC, Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Counseling.

Earn 3 hours of CE Credit for Licensed Professional Counselors. RSVP here.

CMHC Viewbook

Take a look at some facts about the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling below.

2021–22 Annual Report

View our annual report here.