Skip to main content

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is a 60+ hour credit master’s degree. Graduates are eligible for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential. In addition, graduates meet educational requirements for licensure in a majority of states.

A mental health counselor (CMHC) is a professional who is qualified to provide professional counseling services, involving the application of psychotherapy, human development, learning theory, group dynamics, and the etiology of mental illness and dysfunction behavior to individuals, couples, families, and groups for the purpose of treating a broad range of mental health issues and promoting optimal health.

Mission and Objectives

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program at UNC prepares students with knowledge, clinical practice expertise, cultural humility, knowledge, dispositions, and skills to work with diverse individuals with a broad range of mental health issues. Graduates are prepared to be successful in careers in mental health treatment, human services, education, research, private practice, government, military, and business and industry. The curriculum provides extensive training in principles of mental health counseling, the nature and etiology of mental health and behavioral disorders, culturally responsive counseling approaches, and evidence-based practices. Graduates achieve mastery in clinical mental health counseling and are competent in clinical practice, individual, professional, and systemic advocacy, leadership, consultation, and collaboration to assess client’s mental health needs, goals, resources, and barriers. Graduates of the UNC program will be proficient in developing and implementing mental health treatment and prevention programs and in providing consultation, leadership, and advocacy to individuals across the age spectrum and to groups, organizations, and communities. Counselors trained at UNC will successfully fulfill their professional counselor roles in practice, research, leadership, and community advocacy in the clinical mental health counseling specialty area.

Graduates of the CMHC Master’s Program will:

  1. Effectively apply established counseling theories and evidence-based practices in clinical mental health counseling within a community-inclusion model;
  2. Accurately assess the mental health counseling needs of individuals with mental health and behavioral disorders, including substance use and provide mental health services within the continuum of care (e.g., inpatient, partial-hospitalization, outpatient);
  3. Acquire specific knowledge and skills to address the mental health counseling needs of individuals, including the impact of biological and neurological mechanisms, and the impact of crisis and trauma on mental health;
  4. Work collaboratively with professionals, family members, community providers, and policy makers to achieve optimal treatment outcomes for individuals with mental health and behavioral disorders;
  5. Demonstrate multicultural and social justice counseling competencies, including cultural humility practices;
  6. Demonstrate strong clinical skills in mental health counseling (biopsychosocial case conceptualization, diagnosis, and treatment planning and delivery);
  7. Engage in a process of lifelong learning, collaboration, collegiality, and ethical relationships as part of ongoing professional development for CMHCs;
  8. Have the necessary leadership, business and management, and public policy skills to assume leadership roles in CMHC; and
  9. Promote and support consumer empowerment and self-advocacy of individuals with a broad range of mental health issues.

Scope of Practice