The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60-credit hour program (20 courses) leading to the Master of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC).  This degree fulfills the educational requirements for the two levels of licensure as professional counselors in the State of Illinois: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Find out more information at Counselor Education’s accreditation, licensures, and credentialing.

Admission Requirements

Counselor Education admits students twice a year, in January and August. The deadline to submit a complete application for the program for the spring term is Aug. 15. The deadline to submit an application for the fall term is March 15. Counselor Education deadline dates differ from other Northeastern M.A. program deadline dates.  

To formally apply, applicants must submit the following to Graduate Admissions and Records, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699. Applicants must also attend the Preadmission Workshop (PAW) as part of the application process:

  • Application for Admission to Graduate Programs (print out) or use the online application
  • $30 application fee
  • Counselor Education application  (Print a hard copy of the application, complete and sign it. The completed application may be emailed to Graduate Admissions at graduateadmissions@neiu.edu. Otherwise, it may be mailed to Graduate Admissions.) 
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended OR transcripts sent electronically to Northeastern Illinois University through Parchment or E-Script (transcripts CANNOT be sent to a personal email address).
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Current resume (may be emailed to graduateadmissions@neiu.edu)
  • A two-page essay, typed and double-spaced (instructions are on Page 2 of the Counselor Education application). The essay can be substituted for the Statement of Goals on the Graduate College application.  (May be emailed to graduateadmissions@neiu.edu)
  • Mandatory attendance at the Preadmission Workshop (PAW). The PAW involves applicants participating in a series of group discussions facilitated by Counselor Education faculty. Dates and times to attend a PAW session are located on Page 2 of the Counselor Education application. Failure to attend the PAW will defer your application to the next application deadline. 
  • Optional: GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores may be submitted by applicants with a lower GPA and/or as one measure in support of exceptionality. General Test only. Northeastern's Institution code is 1090; the Department/Major Field code is 3802.

Approximately two weeks after the application deadline, Counselor Education sends an email to applicants reminding them of their PAW date. Please contact the Department at (773) 442-5550 if you applied to the program but have not been contacted regarding your PAW confirmation.

MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION TO THE PROGRAM

Graduate Admissions and Records has established a minimum grade point average of 2.75 for undergraduate degrees. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 2.75 will not be admitted unless their overall application suggests areas of exceptionality. Applicants who have earned M.A. degrees are exempt from this requirement:

  • In no case will an applicant with an undergraduate GPA of 2.25 be admitted.
  • An applicant with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 and a verbal score on the GRE below the 25th percentile is not eligible for admission.
  • Problematic or poor performance during the PAW will make an applicant ineligible for admission.
  • Meeting the minimum requirements is no guarantee of admission.
  • Admission to the Counselor Education Department is competitive. It is possible for an otherwise acceptable applicant to be denied admission due to the competitive strength of the applicant pool. The number of applicants that can be admitted to the program is limited. Those not selected for admission may reapply only once.

ADMISSION DECISIONS

Admission decisions are based on the following:

  • Academic: Undergraduate GPA/Advanced Degree; Essay (writing sample)
  • Experience: Recommendations; Work/Volunteer Experience
  • Interpersonal: Preadmission Workshop (PAW); Spontaneous Writing Sample
  • Exceptionality (optional): GRE (other test results)/Other Factors

Eligibility to Enroll in Classes

Once applicants are officially admitted to a program, they may register for classes during online registration periods. Those who have not yet been reviewed for selection may take only one course before being admitted: COUN 401 Professional Orientation and Legal/Ethical Practices. If an applicant is formally accepted into the program, the credits for the course will count towards their degree requirements. However, taking a course as a student-at-large does not guarantee admission to the program. Applicants admitted to the fall semester may begin taking classes in the summer semester.

The Department of Counselor Education allows non-degree seeking students to take courses as a student-at-large under certain circumstances, such as completing deficiencies for licensure.  To request approval to take a course as a non-degree seeking student, please click on the following link and complete the form:   https://www.neiu.edu/academics/college-of-education/content/permission-take-courses-counselor-education-student-large. We will contact you with an answer within five working days of receiving your form.

Authorization to enroll in courses as a non-degree seeking student in Counselor Education does not constitute admission to any of the Department's programs.  Students who wish to pursue a master's degree in counseling must submit a formal application to Graduate Admissions.  Non-degree seeking students can enroll only in courses for which they have been authorized by this Department.  Some of the courses in the Department are not open to non-degree seeking students.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program requires completion of 60-credit hours (20 courses):

Clinical Mental Health Counseling required courses:
COUN-401Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-407Mental Health Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-420Introduction To Family Counseling3
COUN-425Addictions Counseling3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-429Psychopharmacology3
COUN-430Social & Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
COUN-438Trauma And Crisis Counseling3
COUN-439Case Conceptualization & Treatment Planning3
COUN-444Practicum: Ethical/Legal Issues In Mental Health Counseling3
COUN-464Internship I: Mental Health Counseling3
COUN-474Internship II: Mental Health Counseling3
Total Hours60

PROGRAM COMPLETION REQUIREMENTS

Clinical Mental Health Counseling students must complete all course requirements, successfully pass each transition level, and meet the graduation requirements.

PROGRAM TRANSITION LEVELS:

Students must successfully complete all the program transition levels. Students cannot obtain more than two grades of “C” in graduate work as per the College of Graduate Studies and Research Policy. Students are required to earn a grade of "B" or better in their clinical courses (e.g., COUN 405, COUN 406, Practicum and Internship).

TRANSITION LEVEL I

  • Successful completion of prerequisites for clinical skills training courses
  • Completion of first-semester student survey
  • Demonstration of appropriate professional and ethical behaviors and dispositions
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Passing key program assessments for level I

TRANSITION LEVEL II

  • Successful completion of clinical skills training coursework
  • Demonstration of appropriate professional and ethical behaviors and dispositions
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Satisfactory rating on professional disposition evaluation
  • Complete the Practicum application and submit to the Coordinator for Clinical Experiences
  • Passing key program assessments for level II

TRANSITION LEVEL III

  • Successful completion of clinical experiences including Practicum and Internship
  • Completion of minimum of 100 hours of Practicum
  • Completion of minimum 600 hours of Internship
  • Satisfactory ratings on all evaluations from site and university supervisors
  • Demonstration of appropriate professional and ethical behaviors and dispositions
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Passing key program assessments for level III

TRANSITION LEVEL IV

  • Completion of student exit survey
  • Passing of the departmental proficiency examination (DPE) prior to graduation

EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR DEGREE COMPLETION:

  • Successful completion of all transition levels and required credit hours
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00

Clinical Experience

During the fall semester of the year before planning to do Practicum/Internship, students meet with their advisor to review readiness for Practicum and to sign the application form. Applications for clinical experience are distributed at the mandatory Practicum Orientation meeting or may be printed from the forms tab of the Department website. Applications for Practicum/Internship are due November 1 for fall placements of the following year. Students must attend a mandatory orientation meeting before submitting the application form. The date and the place of the orientation meeting are posted on the Department website, listserv, and Departmental bulletin boards. All applications must be reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor. The student may then submit the signed application and the student’s resume to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences. 

Practicum: Practicum is a 100 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 50 hours of clinical contact with clients (contact hours), and is a prerequisite for Internship. Practicum is offered in the Fall semester.

Internship: Internship is a 600 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 250 hours of clinical contact with clients, of which 150 must involve direct work with couples and families. Students are strongly encouraged to complete all coursework prior to beginning Internship. Students earn six credit hours for internships I and II.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

Prior to graduation, all students are required to pass a comprehensive examination. The DPE application must be completed and signed by the student and their advisor and submitted to the Department of Counselor Education no later than two weeks prior to the exam date. Students in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program may take the examination after completion of 30 credit hours of coursework including, but not limited to:

COUN-401Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-430Social & Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
Total Hours30

Notification of Student Recess

Once having begun the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, if a student does not attend classes for more than two consecutive semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer), the student must notify the College of Graduate Studies and Research and their program advisor regarding intent to continue in the program. The Department reserves the right to review the student’s course work upon reentry by the student and to require that certain courses be repeated if necessary. Students have a maximum of six years in which to complete their degree programs.

This sample curricular map is provided to guide program planning for graduate students who plan to attend as full-time students. This guide should not replace regular consultations with your program advisor. For specific recommendations of courses not identified, please consult your program advisor. Please note that students may choose to attend either full-time or part-time, depending on their need. 

The Plans of Study for the programs in Counselor Education should be used as general guidelines for the completion of courses.  These plans suggest how a student might complete a program in two calendar years by beginning in the fall semester and attending through two summer semesters.  There are many factors that affect how students complete their programs, including whether they begin in the fall or spring semesters and whether they attend full-time or part-time. 

All students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program have a mandatory orientation at the beginning of their program and have a faculty advisor who will help in the planning of each student’s course of study.

First Year
Term 1Hours
COUN-401Professional Orientation Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
 Term Hours12
Term 2
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-420Introduction To Family Counseling3
COUN-430Social Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
 Term Hours12
Term 3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-425Addictions Counseling3
 Term Hours12
Second Year
Term 1
COUN-407Mental Health Counseling3
COUN-438Trauma And Crisis Counseling3
COUN-444Practicum: Ethical/Legal Issues In Mental Health Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 2
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-439Case Conceptualization Treatment Planning3
COUN-464Internship I: Mental Health Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 3
COUN-429Psychopharmacology3
COUN-474Internship II: Mental Health Counseling3
 Term Hours6
 Total Hours: 60