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Clinical Mental Health Counseling


The Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares graduates for employment in a variety of settings such as community mental health agencies, public and non-profit human service facilities, inpatient psychiatric clinics, drug and alcohol centers, child and family service agencies, business and industry, and private practice. Through rigorous coursework and clinical experiences, graduates are trained to provide culturally competent counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. In addition to the common core and clinical experiences, coursework also emphasizes an orientation to mental health agencies, assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning, substance abuse, crisis management, ethics, multicultural competencies, and advocacy and social justice activities. Students are expected to do the following: (a) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the foundations, professional issues, professional literature, research, and clinical skills needed for competent clinical mental health practice; (b) provide quality counseling services to a variety of clientele; (c)understand the organizational structure and components of a comprehensive clinical mental health agency and issues impacting clinical mental health settings, services, and systems; and (d) engage in professional development, advocacy, and social justice activities.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Core and Specialty Area Objectives

1. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the multiple professional roles and responsibilities of counselors and the ethical standards that apply to those roles and responsibilities.

2. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diversity though the application of multicultural, advocacy, and social justice practices and skills across client populations, settings, and concerns.

3. Student will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of factors that affect human development and abilities across the lifespan.

4. Students will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and strategies for assessing abilities, interests, values, personality and other factors that influence career development across the lifespan.

5. Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills to include the application of theoretical frameworks and ethically and culturally relevant strategies for establishing and maintaining in-person and technology-assisted relationships.

6. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of types of groups related to client’s goals and other considerations that affect group work across varied counseling settings.

7. Students will demonstrate knowledge of statistical concepts and psychometric properties necessary to understand and utilize assessment information for diagnosis and treatment planning.

8. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of evidence-based counseling practices used to inform counseling outcomes.

9. Students will engage in multicultural, advocacy, and social justice practices in counseling. 

Specialty Area Objective             

10. Students will demonstrate skills in the application of theories and models of clinical mental health counseling, the diagnostic process, clinical interviewing, biopsychosocial and mental health history, and psychological assessment for treatment planning and caseload management.

Accreditation Information

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Mississippi State University is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The accreditation runs through 2030. 


This program is designed to fulfill the academic requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor in the state of Mississippi. Upon graduation from this program, individuals are eligible to sit for the NBCC Certification Examination (NCE); eligible to apply for the Mississippi PLPC credential; eligible to pursue the 3,000 hours of supervised clinical mental health counseling experience for licensure which is necessary to be eligible to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination the final step in becoming a Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Program Requirements

The program requires completion of sixty (60) graduate hours of academic course work to include counseling core courses, specialty courses, electives, clinical experiences, and successfully passing the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). 700 hours of clinical experience done in a clinical mental health counseling setting is required. Students are required to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA in coursework and have good computer word processing and writing skills. No graded work below a C is acceptable towards the requirements for the degree.

Counseling Core Coursework 24 Hours

COE 6903: Developmental Counseling and Mental Health
COE 8023: Counseling Theory
COE 8013: Counseling Skills
COE 8043: Group Techniques and Procedures
COE 8063: Research Techniques for Counselors
COE 8083 Assessment Techniques in Counseling                                                                                                                                                                                      COE 8203: Career Development and Placement
COE 8073: Cultural Foundations in Counseling
EPY 8263: Psychological Testing in Educational and Related Settings

Specialized Courses Coursework 15 hours
COE 8703: Principles of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
COE 8633: Psychosocial Rehabilitation
COE 8303: Family Counseling Theory
COE 8803: Crisis Response in Counseling
COE 8773: Counseling the Chemically Dependent Client
COE 8783: Counseling the Chemically Dependent Family
Clinical Coursework 9 Hours
COE 8053: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Practicum
COE 8730: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Internship
Elective Coursework 12 hours
with 9 having the COE prefix
Elective coursework includes but is not limited to the following counseling courses: Counseling Sexually Abused Clients, Utilizing Art and Art Therapy in Counseling, Spirituality in Counseling, Grief Counseling, Gender Issues, Issues in Aging, Counseling Elderly Clients, Advanced Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling, Counseling Children, and Counseling Gifted Students.

Course Sequencing and Student Progress

Each student enrolled in the program is assigned a faculty advisor who assists the student with course selection and navigating through the program. Each student is strongly encouraged to communicate frequently with his/her advisor. Coursework provides a balance between theory, practice, and experiential learning. The course sequence varies depending on the students' enrollment status (full or part-time) and enrollment in summer classes. The program can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Most full time students complete the program in two years, including summers. Academic and professional development evaluations are made of all master's students each semester to ensure ongoing professional growth and completion of coursework in a timely manner. There are other important requirements for the master's degree in clinical mental health counseling at Mississippi State University. It is the student's responsibility to know them and to make sure his/her program of study conforms appropriately to these requirements. When in doubt, the student is urged to consult with his/her faculty advisor at all times.

Professional Development

Many opportunities are available for professional development while completing the master's in clinical mental health program. Students are expected to seek membership in professional organizations such as Mississippi Counseling Association (MCA), American Counseling Association (ACA), and American Mental Health Counseling Association. Clinical mental health counseling students attend and deliver presentations at the Mississippi Counseling Association annual conference, and several have attended and presented at ACA. Students are expected to become involved in advocacy and social justice projects on behalf of their clients as well as the profession. Current students have been involved in a variety of community advocacy initiatives and are a part of a very active campus Chi Sigma Iota Chapter.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master's in Clinical mental health counseling program is for Fall semester only, with March 1 as the application deadline. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a fully accredited four year educational institution, and earned a minimum GPA of 3.00 (based on a 4.00 system) cumulative on all baccalaureate and graduate work already completed. Additionally, applicants are required to provide official transcripts, a personal statement describing the applicant's interest in the program and his/her career plans, and three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's education, skills, abilities, and character. Applicants are encouraged to check with the program for additional requirements. Further information may be obtained from the Graduate School Bulletin, and the graduate application may be obtained online at

Graduate Assistantships

Full time graduate students enrolled in the program are eligible to apply for assistantships throughout the university. Applicants should begin the process early to secure an assistantship. Students with assistantships work twenty hours per week and may receive tuition reimbursement and a stipend. For more information and to obtain an application please visit

Financial Aid

A variety of financial aid is available to eligible students. Information about student financial aid may be obtained via the Mississippi State University website at

Program Planning Guide

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Planning Guide (60 hours)

See Counseling Graduate Student Handbook for program planning guide. 

Counseling Core Curriculum (24 hours)
Course Title Semester Hours Grade Transfer
COE 6903 Developmental Counseling and Mental Health   3    
COE 8013 Counseling Skills (Prerequisite: COE - 8023)   3    
COE 8023 Counseling Theory   3    
COE 8043 Group Techniques and Procedures
(Prerequisite: COE 8023, 8013)
COE 8063 Research Techniques for Counselors   3    
COE 8073 Cultural Foundations in Counseling   3    
COE 8083 Assessment Techniques in Counseling   3    
COE 8203 Placement and Career Development   3    
EPY 8263 Psychological Testing in Educational and Related Settings   3    
Mental Health Counseling Curriculum (15 hours)
Course Title Semester Hours Grade Transfer
COE 8303 Family Counseling (Prerequisite: COE 8023)   3    
COE 8633 Psychosocial Rehabilitation   3    
COE 8703 Principles of Clinical Mental Health Counseling   3    
COE 8803 Crisis Response in Counseling
(Prerequisite: COE 8013, 8023)
COE 8773 Counseling the Chemically Dependent Client OR   3    
COE 8783 Counseling the Chemically Dependent Family   3    
Field Experience (9 hours)
Course Title Semester Hours Grade Transfer
COE 8053 Practicum [100 hours] (Prerequisite: COE 8023,
8013, 8043, 8633, 8703, EPY 8263*)
COE 8730 Internship [600 hours] (Prereq: COE 8053)   6    
Approved Electives (12 hours total; 9 must be COE)
Course Title Semester Hours Grade Transfer
COE     3    
COE     3    
COE     3    

Transfer: A maximum of 12 semester hours may be transferred from another accredited institution with advisor's approval.

*Can be taken with Practicum.

Contact Information

For further information about the Master's programs, contact the program coordinator:

Name: E. Joan Looby, Ph. D., LPC, NCC, ACS
Phone: (662)-325-3426