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Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MA (CAGS)

Graduate Counseling Master of Arts


College of Adult and Graduate Studies


School of Counseling

The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Colorado Christian University combines rigorous coursework and professional practice in a comprehensive graduate educational experience. What sets the CCU program apart is the evangelical Christian worldview that promotes study of biblical principles with the spiritual and physiological dimensions of the whole person. All coursework required to prepare for professional licensure in the state of Colorado, and in many other states, is included in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, and by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Objective of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree Program

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become influential and effective licensed professional counselors. Throughout the program, students are challenged to use what they learn in the classroom, and in professional practice experiences, to impact their communities, churches, and families. The curriculum prepares students to take the National Counselor Exam (NCE), and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), which are two exams commonly required for licensure in many states.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Colorado Christian University is selective. Each applicant is carefully evaluated for an aptitude for graduate-level study, career goals, potential success in forming effective counseling relationships, and respect for cultural differences. Admission to the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is not guaranteed.

Applicants to the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program will complete all admissions requirements before being considered by the Admission Committee. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Admission Committee determines whether an applicant is accepted or denied admission.

After the first semester in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, students are formally assessed by the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling faculty and administrative team based on their academic work, basic counseling skills, and professional behavior. This evaluation process is performed to fulfill CACREP and professional gatekeeping responsibilities, and to ensure that each student has the capacity to develop the skills required for the field of counseling.

Counseling admission requirements:

  • A completed application for admission (including essay, transcripts, and fees).

  • Valid state-issued driver's license or state-issued ID card or passport.

  • Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae.

  • An official transcript showing a conferred bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average between 2.0 and 2.49 may be admitted on a conditional admit (CAD) basis for the first semester. CAD students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better in their first semester to continue in the program.

  • Official transcript(s) of completed graduate level counseling related credits completed at another institution.

  • A criminal background check through CastleBranch from every country the applicant has resided in the past 7 years. Applicants should consult with their enrollment counselor before placing their CastleBranch order.

  • A completed Candidacy Writing Sample per essay prompts.

  • Admission interview(s) and additional documentation and/or requests from the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Admission Committee, and/or designated program personnel.

Application Deadlines

Cohorts begin in July of each year. Students who wish to begin classes before their cohort starts may take electives and/or CSL 512 and CSL 515.

It is recommended that applications are completed at least four weeks prior to the applicant's anticipated start date. All required admission documents and background check results must be received by CCU before an admission interview will be scheduled. Applicants will be extended an interview invitation and are required to respond within three days to schedule the admission interview. A delayed response may result in a delayed start date if the applicant is accepted.

Application files will be evaluated in the order received. Applicants should complete the admission process as early as possible to allow adequate time to work with an advisor and finalize financial aid.

Transfer of Courses

In accordance with CCU's Graduate Residency Policy, students transferring from a regionally accredited institution may transfer a maximum of twelve (12) semester hours of graduate credit. The remaining hours must be completed at CCU.

Transfer coursework must be equivalent to that offered at CCU and fulfill the CCU degree requirements for the counseling program. CCU will not accept the following courses, or their equivalents, for transfer to the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program: 

  • course Theories of Personality and Clinical Practice

  • course Professional Ethics and Clinical Practice

  • course Counseling Practicum

  • course Counseling Internship I

  • course Counseling Internship II

  • course Counseling Internship III

  • course Counseling Residency I

  • course Counseling Residency II

  • course Counseling Residency III

Format of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is offered in both on-site and online formats and is designed to be completed within seven to nine semesters of intensive study in a lock-step sequence. The length of the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program cannot be accelerated and will be longer for students who complete internship in more than two semesters, and/or step out of the prescribed sequence of classes.

All classes utilize an online learning platform. Due to the nature of the counseling curriculum, some online courses will have a synchronous component, requiring students to be available for scheduled real-time videoconferencing with a small group and/or the professor and class. The program administration reserves the right to move students from one course section to another to provide equity in class size.

On-site classes are held in the late afternoon and evenings. In both face-to-face and online classes, students must be able to meet attendance requirements. Counseling on-site courses are taught in a blended format, with face-to-face time and online assignments. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling electives, courseTheological Foundations for Counseling, and courseSpiritual Formation for Counseling are delivered exclusively online.  

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program requires each student to attend a five-day on-campus residency held each summer of the program. Students will attend a total of three residencies during their matriculation in the counseling program. It is the student's responsibility to make arrangements for transportation, hotel, and food expenditures. There is a non-refundable residency fee to defray the cost of facilitating the residency experience, required resources, and materials.

Due to the nature of the lock-step cohort format, students desiring to move from an on-site cohort to an online cohort must submit a Petition for Exception to Academic Policy and secure the permission of the Dean of the School of Counseling. Decisions regarding requests to move from on-site to online or from online to on-site will be based upon careful review of the student's extenuating circumstances, academic standing, degree progress, and space availability.

Time Limitation

All work applied toward the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree must be completed within a six-year period from the date of enrollment. After the six-year period, any student who has not completed the requirements to graduate, and desires to complete the program, must complete a Petition for Exception to Academic Policy. Continuing study is not guaranteed, and must be approved by the Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Students are required to adhere to the most current Academic Catalog, CAGS Student Handbook, Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Handbook and Manuals, fees, and tuition rates.

Students who have not attended a class for a period of 365 days, and desire to reenter the program, are required to reapply and meet all standard application procedures. If accepted, the student will be admitted under the current catalog standards. Stepping out of the cohort may result in a delayed completion of the student's program.

Assessment Policy

Student performance is assessed throughout the counseling program. Assessments include evaluation by the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling faculty and administrative team and is based on academic work, foundational counseling skills, professional disposition, professional behavior, and compliance with state statutes and the American Counseling Association's 2014 Code of Ethics. The evaluation process of informal and formal assessments fulfills the University's regional accreditation and CACREP's professional gatekeeping standards to ensure each student is adequately prepared for the counseling profession. If the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program's administration and/or faculty determine there is a need for formal remediation, the student is expected to fulfill the goals of the remediation plan to continue in the counseling program. If the student is unable to reach academic and professional practice expectations through remediation, the student may be dismissed from the program. If the student violates standards of student conduct as outlined in the CAGS Student Handbook, an ethical guideline or legal statute, the student may be dismissed immediately. In some situations, the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling's administration may bypass the remediation process and recommend immediate dismissal from the program.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Colorado Christian University offers several academic programs which lead to professional licensure in the state of Colorado and, in some programs, prepare students for a national exam. All students should be aware that states vary in their educational and professional requirements depending on the profession. Some states require specific educational requirements, clinical requirements, accreditation requirements, or exam requirements. See professional licensure disclosures for details.

Program Requirements

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree requires completion of the following 60 hours:
Residency Core (4 hours)
Bible and Theology Core (4 hours)
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Curriculum Core (39 hours)
Practicum/Internship Core (9 hours)
Electives Core (4 hours)

Program Type

Master's Degree