MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Counseling master's program

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Help people find happiness through improved mental health

Passionate about helping clients navigate life’s challenges? Then the master’s in clinical mental health counseling program from Capella University is right for you. This CACREP-accredited program covers the theories and practical skills you need to evaluate and treat mental health disorders, so people can live happier, healthier lives. You’ll emerge with the training and confidence to pursue state licensure and positively impact patients’ mental, behavioral, and emotional health.

At a Glance

  • GuidedPath
  • Online & in-person
  • 10 Core courses
  • 7 Specialization courses
  • 2 Residencies
  • Practicum
  • 2 Internships
  • CACREP accredited

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

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$50 application fee (waived w/promo FALL20).

MS in Clinical Mental Health Program Overview

In addition to a curriculum that meets today’s highest industry standards, students in this program benefit from having the personalized guidance of a faculty advisor. The GuidedPath format combines the flexibility of an online program with applied clinical and residency experience, during which students work onsite with faculty.

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling—program highlights

Blended, flexible learning

Build clinical mental health counseling expertise with a combination of online courses, in-person learning experiences, and engaging curriculum.


Apply your skills and knowledge in the field with direct client contact and supervision.

Learn more about practicum/internship »

All core faculty hold doctorates

All of our core faculty members hold doctorates and bring years of experience, as well as the latest theories and practices to students.

View all core faculty »

87% of MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling alumni agree that their degree positioned them to achieve their professional ambitions.*


Enhance the skills you develop in your program through interaction with faculty and students in a supportive environment.

Learn more about residency »

Professional alignment

Our curriculum is designed to incorporate the values, principles, and ethical standards of national, regional, and state professional counseling associations and honor societies.

*Source: Alumni Outcomes Survey, 2019-2020

Meet your counseling faculty

Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach you critical knowledge and skills and to help enrich your education and career by bringing real-world relevance to the courseroom. View all core faculty.

Theresa M. Kascsak, PhD, LPCS, NCC, RPT-S, LSC

Faculty Chair, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Rosanne Nunnery, PhD, LPC-S, NCC

Core Faculty, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Dale Wayman PhD, LCAC, LMHC, ACS

Harold Abel Distinguished Faculty Core Faculty, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Get the support you need for success

You’ll never go it alone at Capella. Our dedicated support teams are waiting to help you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.

Career center

For this team, it’s more than resumes and interview tips. It’s about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$487 per credit, 90 total quarter credits, 20 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

$5K toward your master's

Apply for a $5K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your master’s degree.

"The structure around Capella’s program has taught me the clinical language I need. I also think it’s taught me how to be a better human being."

Read full interview »

Samantha Mangum
MS in Mental Health Counseling
Actual Capella student who agreed to appear in our promotional materials.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Understanding professional licensure

It is important to understand all educational and individual requirements for licensing. Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for your state.

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling—sample courses

Our online master's in clinical mental health counseling program is built on CACREP counseling standards and includes both online coursework and face-to-face experiences that help you gain clinical training needed for state licensure eligibility.

Show course with description
Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling

This course is an introduction to current practices and trends in the clinical mental health counseling profession. Learners analyze the effects of current issues and public policy on the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Learners examine professional counselors’ roles in a variety of health service delivery modalities within the continuum of care. In addition, learners review models and strategies of professional consultation and supervision.

4 quarter credits
Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations

This course introduces theory, research, and models that inform ethical and culturally competent counseling, as well as social justice advocacy, in a variety of settings. Learners assess how biopsychosocial characteristics and concerns of diverse populations impact access to and utilization of community-based resources, optimal development across the lifespan, and equity. Learners also present strategies to address the influence that their own heritage, attitudes, beliefs, and acculturative experiences has on the counseling process. In addition, learners identify effective counseling and advocacy strategies with diverse individuals, couples, families, and groups, and explore the role of the counselor and advocate in promoting social justice at multiple levels.  For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5830 *
Mental Health Counseling Approaches and Interventions

This course cultivates foundational concepts and relationship-building skills, while integrating introductory application of assessment, therapeutic interventions, and ethical and legal standards. Learners apply theories, methods, and practices of clinical mental health counseling. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.  COUN-R5831 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN5830. Prerequisite(s): COUN5004, COUN5217, COUN5223, COUN5239, COUN5336.

4 quarter credits
COUN6965 *
Applied Research and Program Evaluation in Mental Health Counseling

In this course, learners demonstrate proficiency in mental health counseling by applying learning from required courses to create a program evaluation proposal in which they examine a theory-based mental health application. Learners select appropriate research methods to assess client needs and evaluate outcomes in counseling interventions and programs. Learners also demonstrate their understanding of using ethical and culturally relevant strategies for conducting, interpreting, and reporting results. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. Prerequisite(s): COUN5007, COUN5106, COUN5223, COUN5832, COUN-R5831. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Child and Adolescent Counseling

This course presents major theories and research of adolescent and child development. Learners examine biological and psychosocial development factors and evaluate the influence of family, community, society, and trauma on development.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

Take advantage of online education designed with your success in mind. Here are some of the real-world skills you can gain in your clinical mental health counseling program.

  • Apply mental health counseling theories and research to contemporary clinical practice settings.
  • Deliver culturally and ethnically sensitive counseling and therapy services to clients in practical settings.
  • Think critically and write effectively in the mental health counseling discipline and/or professional practice.
  • Apply the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics to professional behavior and practice.
  • Communicate professionally and empathically with others in all professional contacts.
  • Apply theories, practices, and professional standards to the mental health counseling discipline.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling career insights

The First Thing to Look for in a Master’s Counseling Program

When selecting a master’s counseling program, you can’t place too much importance on accreditation.

Tips on How to Become a Counselor

Interested in a career in counseling, but not sure how to approach it? Here’s what you need to know.

Capella Faculty Member to Lead American Counseling Association

As president of the American Counseling Association, Simone Lambert, PhD, hopes to advocate for the profession.

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling—professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the job titles and employment settings to explore as you consider an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Counselor/therapist
  • Behavioral health counselor/therapist
  • Professional counselor
  • Mental health counselor
  • Professional clinical counselor
  • Substance abuse/addiction counselor
  • Adjunct or part-time counseling faculty
  • Full-time counseling faculty

Employment settings to explore

  • Community mental health center
  • Family/social service agency
  • Psychiatric hospital
  • Residential treatment center
  • Mental health agency
  • Employee assistance program
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Community college
  • College counseling center
  • Family service agency
  • Private/group practice
  • Federal, state and local government

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Looking to make a difference in people’s lives?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career that allows you to help others, our Helping Professions Guide can provide insights into a variety of options to consider.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

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