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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)


Why a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Counseling Session

Counseling Degree

Fulfill the educational requirements to obtain counseling licensure in both Illinois and Missouri.

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The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) is designed to provide students with a practitioner model that fulfills the educational requirements for students to obtain counseling licensure in both Illinois and Missouri. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program has a mission of training reflective, ethical practitioners who work in a variety of mental health settings. The counseling program faculty is committed to providing a dynamic education that prepares students to promote health and wellness in an ever-changing world. An emphasis is placed on both professional and personal development, recognizing that well-prepared counseling professionals are those who possess relevant academic training, as well as the self-understanding and awareness needed to facilitate growth, development, and healing among others. The counseling faculty provides an open and stimulating intellectual climate that prepares professional counselors who:

  • Respect cultures, values, beliefs, and talents of all people.

  • Conceptualize human behavior and the change process through the application of theory.

  • Develop appropriate knowledge and skills to effectively affect wellness and facilitate change.

  • Reflect the American Counseling Association's Code of Ethics.

  • Commit to professional development essential for growth in learning, advocacy, and service.

  • Commit to clinical mental heath counseling based upon lifelong reflection and learning.

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication.

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Why McKendree University?

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at McKendree University focuses on academic excellence through didactic coursework as well as courses that focus on the counselor-in-training developing skills through the use of live supervision. Students achieve competency in counseling skills on campus by participating in skills lab; individual practicum in the Stress Management Clinic; and a group practicum that focuses on facilitating graduate student mentor groups, process groups, or career decision making groups. Internships are completed off campus through pre-approved clinical sites.



 McKendree University admits students who present evidence of their potential to complete graduate level work. Applicants are considered on an individual basis without regard to sex, race, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion. The following documentation is required for consideration of admission:

1. A completed graduate admission application (no fee).

2. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

3. Official transcripts from each college or university attended. Official transcripts are those sent from institution to institution.

4. A minimum 3.0 GPA on a four-point scale in undergraduate studies.

5. A current resume or vita.

6. Three recommendation forms from master’s or doctoral level professionals who can attest to the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate work in a clinical program. Recommendations from personal acquaintances (e.g., friends, church leaders, family members) are not acceptable. This form will be provided to applicant after application has been submitted. 

7. Essay describing interests in counseling as a career, personal strengths and weaknesses, perceived ability to successfully pursue/complete graduate work, and future career goals.

8. The successful completion of the equivalent of six undergraduate credit hours in a behavioral science, of which three must be in introduction to psychology. 

9. Applicants who meet initial qualifications will be interviewed.


 Application Deadline

The program admits students once a year, for the fall semester. Applicants should use the deadline of August 1st in order to receive consideration for admission to the program.


Tuition & Financial Aid

The tuition for the 2020/2021 academic year (August-July) is $510 per credit hour.

McKendree Worldwide Tuition Discounts

Graduate Financial Aid





This program is offered in a campus-based evening format. Classes meet either one time per week for 16 weeks or in a blended 8 week format. The program follows a cohort model that begins every fall and is completed in three years.




Curriculum Requirements

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree is 60 credit hours completed in a three year cohort format. 

CNL 590 - Foundations of Professional Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 600 - Counseling Theory (3 Credits)

CNL 601 - Social & Cultural Foundations (3 Credits)

CNL 602 - Professional & Ethical Issues (3 Credits)

CNL 603 - Counseling Skills (3 Credits)

CNL 604 - Maladaptive Behavior & Psychopathology (3 Credits)

CNL 605 - Research & Evaluation (3 Credits)

CNL 606 - Human Development & Learning (3 Credits)

CNL 607 - Substance Abuse Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 608 - Individual Assessment (3 Credits)

CNL 609 - Couples & Family Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 610 - Group Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 611 - Career Development & Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 614 - Grief, Loss, & Crisis Intervention (3 Credits)

CNL 630 - Individual Practicum (3 Credits)

CNL 635 - Group Practicum (3 Credits)

CNL 637 - Internship I (6 Credits)

CNL 638 - Internship II (6 Credits)

CNL 697 - Comprehensive Examination (0 Credits)



Career Opportunities

Graduates with a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling find employment in:

  • Mental health agencies
  • Private practice groups
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • University counseling centers




Interesting Classes

The following reflects the courses in which students develop counseling skills through live supervision on campus and real world experience in the field.

CNL 603 Counseling Skills

A fundamental study of the helping relationship is provided. The course provides an overview of basic and advanced counseling skills, including listening, reflection, rapport building, creating a therapeutic alliance, interviewing, goal-setting, session structuring, and confrontation. Information regarding facilitation of client self-awareness and change will be provided. The importance of therapist self-understanding and development will be emphasized throughout the course.

CNL 630 Individual Counseling Practicum

This course is a supervised practice of advanced individual counseling skills. Students must accrue a minimum of 100 clock hours for this experience. Emphasis is placed on the development of the counselor/client relationship. The focus of the course is on theory integration, assessment, instrument administration and interpretation, counseling technique, and referral/termination procedures.

CNL 635 Group Counseling Practicum

This course is a supervised, pre-internship counseling experience where students learn to apply theory with entry level counseling skills. Students must accrue a minimum of 100 clock hours for this experience. Emphasis is placed on counseling skills as applied to group work.

CNL 637 Internship I

This course provides supervised clinical experience at an approved training site. Students must accrue a minimum of 300 hours of experience. In addition to the required hours working at the training site, students enrolled in internship meet weekly in an internship group supervision led by a faculty member. Supervision facilitates students’ clinical skills such as client conceptualization, application of theory, treatment planning, and intervention.

CNL 638 Internship II

This course is an extension of Internship I. It provides supervised clinical experience at an approved training site. Students must accrue a minimum of 300 hours of experience. In addition to the required hours working at the training site, students meet weekly in an internship group supervision. Supervision facilitates students’ clinical skills such as client conceptualization, application of theory, treatment planning, and intervention.




Internship Opportunities

An internship is a clinical training experience that takes place in a health care delivery system. Students generally take internship during the last two semesters of their course work. To enroll for internship, students must be in good standing, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better, and have successfully completed CNL 590, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606, 608, 610, 611, 630, and 635.

Internship is treated like a course. It carries 6 credit hours per semester for a total of 12 credit hours for the academic year. Students apply for and secure internship sites prior to the semester in which they enroll in the course. All students enrolled in internship must also concurrently attend a weekly group supervision led by a faculty member. The content of the supervision varies according to the internship sites represented.

Fall Start Internship Deadlines

Internship Registration Form Due: February 1

Site Must Be Confirmed By: May 1



Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination assesses students’ knowledge and ability to apply theoretical constructs learned throughout the Program. The Professional Counseling Program uses the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). The CPCE is a standardized examination that assesses knowledge of core content areas that are designated by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and state licensure rules.




Stress Management Clinic

We all experience some stress in our lives; however, when stress becomes overwhelming it is counterproductive and can ultimately lead to depression, anxiety, and deterioration in physical health.

Every fall and spring semester the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program offers free and confidential stress management services that focus on education, prevention, and support. Interested students meet one-on-one with trained practicum students enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. All sessions are supervised live by Dr. Laura Harrawood.




Key Faculty

Kelley Bowers, M.A., LCPC, CADC

M.A. in Professional Counseling, McKendree University

B.A., University of Northern Iowa




Next Step...

Contact your student services specialist below and get details on the admission process.

Photo of Carol FairlieCarol Fairlie

Student Services Specialist
121 Merrill Street, Lebanon, Illinois
(618) 537-6507
(833) 317-7236




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