MA in CHS: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Department of Counseling & Human Services faculty group photo


The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) emphasis within the Department of Counseling and Human Services is designed to prepare graduate students to assume positions in the provision of professional counseling and consultation services involving the principles of psychotherapy. Students will be prepared in the areas of human development, learning theory, group dynamics, and the etiology and diagnosis of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior. They will be prepared to provide professional services to individuals, couples, families and groups for the purposes of treating psychopathology and promoting optimal mental health. Promotion and enhancement of healthy, self-actualizing, and satisfying life-styles is the goal of clinical mental health counseling, whether the services are rendered in an educational, military, business or industrial, health or medical, private practice or human services setting.

The Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) training program is currently recognized by CACREP.  The CMHC track is based on CACREP training standards and is designed to meet the academic requirements for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC) in Colorado to practice psychotherapy. In addition to completing the Master’s Degree, applicants for the Professional Counselor License must complete appropriate post-master’s degree supervised experiences and pass a written examination.

Students must complete a rigorous 60 semester-hour program that has been developed by the departmental faculty to prepare Clinical Mental Health Counselors for the responsibility of professional practice.

Students graduating from the CMHC degree program will be eligible to take the National Counselor Exam on campus during their last semester in the program. The student may submit the score from this examination as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Professional Counselor license in Colorado. Other requirements, including appropriate post-master’s supervised clinical experience, must be met prior to being eligible to be licensed. Additionally, graduates of the program will be immediately eligible, and are encouraged to apply for National Certified Counselor (NCC) recognition.

Core (18 credits)

Course/Title Semester Credits
COUN 5010 - Theories & Techniques of Individual Counseling 3
COUN 5020 - Lab in Individual Counseling 3
COUN 5100 - Theories & Techniques of Group Counseling 3
COUN 5110 - Lab in Group Counseling 3
COUN 5130 - Theories and Techniques of Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling 3
COUN 5300 - Lab in Marriage & Family Counseling 3

Foundations in Professional Counseling (27 credits)

Course/Title Semester Credits
COUN 5040 - Human Growth & Development 3
COUN 5330 - Issues, Ethics, & Trends in Professional Counseling 3
COUN 5410 - Measurement & Appraisal 3
COUN 5430 - Career Development 3
COUN 5510 - Principles of Addiction Treatment 3
COUN 5550 - Practice of Crisis Counseling, Trauma and Disaster Work 3
COUN 5860 - Social & Cultural Foundations of Professional Counseling 3
LEAD 5700 - Introduction to Research & Statistics 3
Elective      - See List Below 3

*COUN 5510 & COUN 5520 designed and need to be taken concurrently.

The Mental Health Counselor within the Community System (15 credits)

Course/Title Semester Credits
COUN 5120 - Practicum in Professional Counseling 3
COUN 5440 - Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis 3
COUN 5720 - Internship: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (2 semesters) 6
COUN 5950 - Roles & Functions of the Clinical Mental Health Counselor 3


Electives (optional 3 credits)

As the Department transitions to a sixty semester hour program, students will be offered an array of elective courses. These courses may be selected to compliment the student’s required coursework and/or professional career objectives. Students will select two electives if they desire to graduate with a 60 semester hour master’s degree.

Course/Title Semester Credits
COUN 5070 - Adventure Education and Experiential Learning 3 (Spring semester)
COUN 5090 - Spiritual Dimensions of Counseling 3 (Summer semester)
COUN 5520 - Infectious Diseases in Addiction Treatment 1 (Fall Semester)
COUN 5530 - Theory & Techniques of Motivational Interviewing 2 (Spring semester)
COUN 5800 - Roles & Functions of the School Counselor 3 (Fall semester)
COUN 5810 - Organization & Administration of School Counseling Programs 3 (Spring semester)
COUN 5570 - Play Therapy and Child Counseling 3 (Fall semester)
COUN 5580 - Sexuality In Counseling 3 (Fall semester)
COUN 5960 - Psychopharmacology 1 (Fall semester)
COUN 5970 - Advanced Pharmacology 1 (Spring semester)

Selection of a university and graduate program of study is an important decision. Therefore, prospective students are required to meet and consult with a departmental faculty advisor as part of the application process. Students should schedule an appointment to discuss career goals and special circumstances with a member of the faculty as soon as possible by calling 719-255-4996 or This meeting will also serve as an admissions interview for the program.

The Department of Counseling and Human Services faculty select a day and evening cohort of students that begin their academic program each year beginning in June. Admission to the program is a selective process with enrollment limited to 48 qualified students (24 students in the day cohort and 24 in the evening cohort). Students are chosen during the spring semester for admission the following summer. Up to nine hours of approved coursework may be completed as an Unclassified Student or as a transfer student prior to admission. Successful completion of Unclassified Student or Transfer Student coursework does not ensure admission to the program. Consult with a faculty member about courses you wish to take as an unclassified student or to transfer, as certain rules apply to these courses.

To be considered for admission to the Counseling and Human Services program, prospective students must complete the following procedures:

Application deadline is January 28

Financial Aid Priority filing date is March 1

Application Process

  • Carefully read the DCHS Student Handbook and Bulletin and identify questions you have about the program
  • Schedule an admissions and information interview with a Department of Counseling and Human Services faculty member early in the process. The goal of the appointment is to answer questions you have about the program, clarify the procedures for admission to the program, and to determine your level of interest in and preparation for the program. Call 719-255-4996 or to set up appointments/interviews.
  • Complete the online Graduate application found at: Apply Now!  Within the application you will need to: 
    • Pay the $60.00 application fee *International students application fee is $100.00
    • Upload your "goal statement" to include a self-evaluation. We are particularly interested in your level of self-awareness, academic potential, personal growth experiences and your human relation skills as well as why you have decided to become a counselor and what you hope to do with your counseling degree. It may be helpful to address any volunteer work in the human services field.
    • Upload your curriculum vitae or professional résumé
    • Complete the tuition classification form
    • List the name, title/organization, and email of three people who will serve as references for you. The people you identify will be emailed the Counseling recommendation form/instructions. *One reference should be a former instructor, one should be a current supervisor and one should be a professional colleague. Choose your references carefully. Persons who have been in positions to supervise and/or evaluate your human relations skills are often effective references. Do not ask friends or family member who might be biased. Your reference should be able to attest to your ability to successfully complete a graduate program in Counseling and Human Services and your ability to establish effective interpersonal relationships with others.
  • In addition to the above materials that will be submitted with your online application, please email/mail proof of your background check or proof of licensure to the Student Resource Office *(International applicants only complete this step if they have lives in the United States for more than one year). Students who have completed a background check for employment and can provide proof do not have to repeat this process for admission to the department. Instructions for completing your background check are: 
    • Go the website:
    • Click on Individuals
    • $6.85 is the cost to receive the results
    • Print a copy of the background check and turn it in with your admissions materials. (Current CO school or agency employees who completed a background check for employment may provide a copy of their CO license or a copy of the results of the background check for employment).
  • Have one official transcript of all academic work ever completed to date, sent from the institution you attended directly (electronically or by postal services) to:
    UCCS-Office of Admissions and Records
    1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
    Colorado Springs CO 80918
  • Complete the on campus group interview process. The group admissions interview process is held on a Friday from 8:00a.m. - 2:00p.m., usually about 1 week after the application deadline. This day is designed to determine your interpersonal and professional fit for the counseling profession as well as to allow prospective students to analyze whether the Department of Counseling and Human Services is the best fit for their training and professional goals. We prefer all prospective students to participate in the group process, however, exceptions can be made for students who live outside the local area. Students who qualify for an exception will substitute a SKYPE interview with two faculty from the department.
  • Submit official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) taken within the past five years. There are no cut-off scores for the GRE or MAT, a composite score is calculated and added to the overall index score, which will be considered as part of the admission decisions. Please have the overall index score, which will be considered as part of the admission decisions. Please have official scores for the GRE or MAT sent directly to UCCS. The UCCS school code for the GRE is 4874. The GRE department code is 3999. The UCCS School Code for the MAT is 1995.

All graduate materials should be received by the application deadline of January 28; prior to the summer you would like to begin the Counseling program. Please remember, this is a cohort program, so all counseling students begin together each summer session only.

Additional items of note for International applicants:
English Proficiency must demonstrated through providing evidence of an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, a TOEFL score of 550-(paper-based) or 80-(internet-based) or a Kaplan International Tools for English (KITE®) score of a minimum of 460. Students may make arrangements to take KITE® at the Global Engagement Office.
Global Engagement Office
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Copper House 9202
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 USA
Phone: 1-719-255-5018

Applicants with any post-secondary course work from an international higher education institution that is recognized by their country's Education Ministry must submit a course-by-course foreign degree evaluation by member of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, or World Education Services/WES The University of Colorado Colorado Springs does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities.

Admission to the Department of Counseling and Human Services is based on a combination of the following factors:

  1. Past academic record, including GPA.
  2. Written communications skills and ability to identify important personal characteristics as measured by the career goals statement and admission interview.
  3. Oral communication and personal qualities that are important for professional counselors as determined in the admissions interview and other application activities.
  4. Experience in counseling and human services and related positions, paid or volunteer.
  5. Commitment to your own personal growth in the program and the growth of your future clients.
  6. Congruence of fit between your career goals and the objectives of the program, as determined by Goals Statement and admission interview.
  7. Letters of recommendation (evaluated for relevance and strength).
  8. Recent successful graduate course work in counseling as an unclassified student or from another institution. Maximum of 9 hours of relevant and recent (completed within six years of your projected graduation from the Counseling and Human Services program) transfer credit may be allowed.

The Department of Counseling and Human Services “Core Experience” is a six or seven course developmental training sequence beginning in the initial summer semester and lasting for one full academic year (summer, fall and spring semesters). Students admitted to the program must commit to completing these Core courses in sequence during their first year in the program. Students planning to complete their program in two years must complete a 100 clock hour practicum as part of their “Core” year. Student’s planning to complete their program in three years may choose to take practicum in the spring semester of their second year in the program.

After the completion of practicum, all students are required to complete a 600 clock hour internship. The 700 clock hour practicum and internship experience is necessary to complete the requirements for graduation from the program, and are completed in addition to required academic coursework and on-campus supervision groups. Applicants who anticipate problems in completing the 700 clock hour clinical experience portion of the counselor training program (practicum and internship) should consider other options for their graduate study.

Time Limits

Students admitted to the Department of Counseling and Human Services Master’s degree program should plan to complete their degree within a three year time period. Counseling faculty members recommend that students complete the program of study in two years if possible. If this is not feasible every effort should be made to complete the program within three years. Students who will need three years to complete the program may elect to postpone their counseling practicum until the second year and postpone internship and other required courses until the third year.

The Counseling and Human Services counselor training program is specifically designed to meet the needs of the adult learner. All students must begin the program in June of the summer semester. Students are admitted to one of two cohort groups: a daytime cohort or an evening cohort, each cohort admits approximately 25 students. Students must commit to taking all their classes in the specific cohort group to which they are admitted.

Exceptions to the Cohort Model

Students need to be aware that the 4:45PM – 7:20PM time slot is used for classes that combine students from the day and evening cohorts (COUN 5800, 5810, 5920, 5440 and others). Group Supervision Classes for Practicum (COUN 5120) and Internship (COUN 5700 & 5720) for both the day and evening cohorts will be scheduled in the evening in the 7:30PM- 10:05PM time slot to permit students to accrue hours for their field work experience hours during the day.

According to Graduate School Rules, students may transfer no more than nine semester hours of recent and approved graduate credit or credit as an unclassified student to their Master’s degree program. Recent credit is defined as approved graduate coursework completed within six years of date of graduation from the Department of Counseling and Human Services. Requests to transfer courses should discussed with your academic advisor and then be submitted to the Departmental Administrative Assistant who will forward the requests to the Chair, Department of Counseling and Human Services for approval.

All requests for transfer credits and credits for courses taken as an unclassified student must be approved by the student’s advisor, the CHS Department Chair and the Dean of the College of Education as well as the Dean of Graduate School. Students must ensure that their transfer/unclassified credit hours meet the Graduate School requirements and are approved at all levels. Students should seek approval for these courses early in their degree program.

In summary, nine semester hours of faculty approved transfer/unclassified credit may be applied toward the on-campus degree program. The following courses are the only ones that may be taken as an Unclassified Student:

  • COUN 5430 (Career Development)
  • COUN 5040 (Human Growth and Development)
  • LEAD 5700 (Introduction to Research and Statistics)
  • All students will be required to successfully complete a nationally standardized comprehensive examination, the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), during their final semester in the program.
  • As part of the comprehensive examination, each student will be required to successfully complete a Departmental examination in their area of specialization: CMHC or SC.
  • As part of the comprehensive examination, each student will be required to successfully complete an essay examination addressing their personal growth and development over the course of their academic program.
  • School counseling students must successfully complete the Colorado mandated PLACE Examination in order to be licensed as a school counselor.
  • All counseling students seeking recognition as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in Colorado must successfully complete the National Counselor Examination (NCE). This examination will be offered on campus during the student’s final semester in the program.
  • Students who plan to enter private practice and want to strengthen their credentials with the managed care health insurance companies may elect to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE). If interested, discuss this with your faculty advisor.