School of Professional Studies in Chicago

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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Requirements

The Master of Arts Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MACMHC) program comprises 60 credit hours of coursework and 700 hours of supervised clinical training experiences. Students learn to promote mental wellness, prevention, and resilience in individuals and communities. 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 assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of clients. Students can apply for licensure as a licensed professional counselor upon program completion.

Graduates of North Park’s CMHC program can work in a range of professional counseling settings. The curriculum follows a generalist counselor training model, in which students can define areas of particular interest based in part on their internship site selection. Some potential areas of specialization include counseling children and adolescents, working in integrated behavioral healthcare, rehabilitation counseling, career counseling, couples and family counseling, community mental healthcare, pastoral counseling, and addictions prevention and treatment.

The counselor education faculty at North Park are committed to dynamic and rigorous training for professional counselors. The program follows meets all of the academic requirements for professional counselor licensure in Illinois. Additionally, the curriculum is based on the eight core counseling content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level. The program is in the process of applying for specialized accreditation through The Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). North Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

In alignment with North Park’s commitment to spirituality and diversity, the program embraces integrating multicultural education and diversity across its curriculum. The program welcomes students from all backgrounds and faith perspectives, recognizing that multicultural practice is essential for competent clinical practice.

Degree Requirements for MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Required Semester Hours: 60

Courses are offered in primarily online formats. While the campus is in Chicago, CMHC students can take courses from all over. When enrolled in a full-time course load the program can be completed in two years. There is also an option to take a slower pace and complete the program in three years. The clinical training courses (Practicum and Internship) include a weekly virtual meeting for group supervision throughout the semester.

Core Courses:

    • 5010 Counseling Theory
    • 5020 Counseling Techniques
    • 5025 Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • 5110 Psychopathology and Maladaptive Behavior
    • 5120 Group Dynamics
    • 5210 Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling
    • 5220 Professional, Legal, and Ethical Responsibilities Relating to Counselling
    • 5310 Research and Evaluation
    • 5320 Human Growth and Development
    • 5410 Integrating Spiritual and Religious Issues in Counseling
    • 5420 Appraisal of Individuals
    • 5510 Advanced Multicultural Counseling Techniques
    • 5520 Substance Use Disorders
    • 5540 Trauma and Healing
    • 5610 Career Development
    • 5620 Family Dynamics
    • 5640 Child and Adolescent Counseling
    • 5960 Practicum
    • 5970 Internship I
    • 5971 Internship II


All MACMHC students must complete 700 hours of supervised clinical work (100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship) under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional, delivering counseling, and related professional services. The practicum experience is completed in one semester and the internship lasts an additional two semesters. However, one can lengthen the clinical experience to accommodate work and life schedules. North Park has partnerships with various internship settings, or you can seek your own that closely aligns with your interests. Along with on-site clinical hours, the practicum and internship courses meet weekly throughout the semester to provide feedback and support during your clinical training.


Click on the links below for course descriptions of all graduate clinical mental health counseling psychology courses. For a complete list of all North Park’s programs and course offerings, review the academic catalog.

This course examines the major philosophical bases for counseling theory, ethical and professional issues, and various theories that contribute to the practice of professional counseling, including: object relations, humanistic/existential, cognitive/behavioral, and systemic approaches.

This course is an introduction to the principles, procedures, and techniques of the intentional interviewing that occurs in professional counselor-client interactions. Through experiential exercises (mock counseling sessions), beginning counselors will learn specific interviewing skills, the goals and stages of interviewing, as well as strategies for therapeutic change. Beginning counselors will explore the importance of nonverbal behaviors, values, working alliance, the role of emotions and cognitions, as well as cultural factors in counselor-client communication. Throughout the course, beginning counselors will have the opportunity to reflect upon their own beliefs, skills, and values, as well as assess their competence in the specific interviewing skills.

This course covers general principles of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, controversies, and cultural factors of mental and emotional disorders. Emphasis is placed on mental status assessment and diagnostic categories as organized in the DSM-V.

In this course, students explore the dynamics related to group counseling process. Topics include: various counseling theories applied in group work; phases of group development; therapeutic factors in group work; group work with ethnic/racial minority individuals; and skills related to group therapy documentation and casenotes. Students will have the opportunity to develop group facilitation skills in a mock group experience.

This course examines the myriad ways in which culture and identity impact mental health and the clinical counseling process. In this course, diversity will be defined not only in the traditional manner of addressing the four major racial/ethnic groups, but will also explore dynamics related to gender, disability, religious belief, immigration status and sexual orientation. There will be a special emphasis on how these identity issues are manifested in the professional clinical counseling relationship. An important aspect of this course will be for the student to explore sensitive issues of oppression and privilege, and how the student has been impacted personally by these larger systemic patterns.

This course covers topics including: professionalism in counseling, federal and State laws relevant to counselors, the ethical decision making process, and ethics with an emphasis on the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association.

This course covers statistical principles, research designs, methods, techniques and tools used in performing and interpreting research in counseling. Topics include: developing the ability to evaluate relative strengths and weaknesses inherent to any research paradigm; quasi-experimental research design; qualitative research methodologies, meta-analysis, threats to internal validity; threats to statistical conclusion; and the process of replication to verify scientific findings.

This course will provide an overview of the various stages of the human growth cycle and include information about multiple theories of development; such as physical, personality, social, cognitive, moral and faith development. An emphasis will be made on how these developmental processes interact with presenting issues in the clinical context.

This course will explore the vital role that faith plays in an individual's life. Topics that are addressed include: faith development theories; exploring the historical pathologization of healthy faith by the psychology profession, assessing the spiritual worldview of the client, the implicit and explicit integration of spirituality into the counseling process, ethical issues of addressing spirituality in counseling, collaboration with clergy during the counseling process, and the potential role of religious beliefs in psychopathology.

This course covers assessment of the various attributes of a person through standardized tests. The course also includes an overview of statistical procedures relevant to test standardization and interpretation. Topics included in this course are: item development, validity, reliability, standardization of tests, and using professional benchmarks to evaluate the psychometric soundness of an instrument. Students will critique a commonly used psychological instrument as well as develop and validate their own scale.

This course provides in-depth opportunities for students to deepen and expand their multicultural competencies and counseling skills for working with diverse belief systems and populations. Exploration of diverse spiritual, religious, ethnic, and systemic belief systems will allow students to develop cross-cultural competencies and understanding of the impact of the cultural context on the therapeutic process. Topics included will be pedagogy of the oppressed, the development of culturally responsive role induction skills, the assessment of racial/cultural identity, and an overview of psychological instruments used to measure multicultural issues in counseling.

This course covers chemical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of drug use, abuse and dependency, and effects on the family. Counseling skills are acquired in the areas of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment intervention.

This course focuses upon current theory and research related to traumatic events and their survivors. Attention will be given to the special skills and dynamics involved in counseling survivors of trauma. The course will place emphasis upon the role of spirituality in the recovery process.

This course covers the lifelong processes and the influences that lead to work values, occupational choices, career path/patterns, decision-making style, and integration of self- and career-identity with patterns of work adjustment. The course is designed around the concepts of career development and includes an overview of the major career development theories.

This course covers family systems theory and its applications, prevention approaches for working with families, and specific problems that impede family function. Students will learn how to construct a multigenerational genogram. The major systems theories will be covered as well, including: Satir, Whittaker, Bowen and Minuchin.

This course explores the provision of counseling services for children and adolescents. It focuses on the acquisition of theoretical, applied, and collaborative techniques and practices required to understand and help children and adolescents' function effectively within their social and emotional worlds. Overriding course principles include ethical, legal, professional, multi-cultural, and humane approaches to treatment delivery; understanding and partnering with the systems in which children and adolescents reside and learning and demonstrating various evidenced-based and developmentally guided individual and group treatment delivery models.

This course introduces students to professional counseling practice. Students provide counseling services in preparation for Internship I and II. Students apply counseling theory and techniques in practicum placements and must complete 100 hours, 40 of which must be direct service. Supervision is provided in the course along with supervision at the Practicum site.

This course provides practical experience in counseling for the purpose of developing both individual and group counseling skills. This course should include a minimum of 100 clock hours on-site, with a minimum of 40 hours of direct client contact. These experiences allow students to perform some of the counseling activities that an employed Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor would be expected to perform.

This course provides direct client experiences in assessment, individual counseling and group counseling, as well as opportunities to become familiar with a variety of professional activities other than direct service (e.g., referral sources, case histories and progress notes, data management, etc.). The internship provides an opportunity for a student to perform a variety of activities that a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor would be expected to perform. A minimum of 600 clock hours with a minimum of 1 hour per week of onsite supervision is required during the internship.