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M.A. in Clinical Mental Health CounselingClinical Preparation,
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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The importance of mental health and wellness is critical and vocations in the field of behavioral health have become an important part of holistic health care. With a growing need for qualified counselors, Cornerstone University has designed an innovative, top-ranked degree program to prepare you to facilitate wellness, emotional health and empowerment in diverse individuals and groups.

At the heart of a counselor is the desire to help people establish wellness, develop healthy coping styles and overcome maladaptive strategies. Professional counselors support their clients through clinical and ethical competence coupled with a willingness to journey alongside people experiencing pain, loss and trauma. The M.A. in clinical mental health counseling degree will prepare you clinically for a future career as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

  • Spring 2023 Application Deadline: Dec. 5, 2022
  • Required Orientation & Three-Day Intensive: Jan. 11-13, 2023
  • Classes Begin: Jan. 17, 2023

Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • Online


  • Online

Credit Hours

  • 60


  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling is a 60-credit degree program offered in an online format. This degree program is designed to develop competency in foundational counseling theories and skills, present professional dispositions essential to the practice of counseling and provide the academic base for professional licensure in the state of Michigan.

Throughout the duration of the program, the Department of Graduate Counseling performs four comprehensive evaluations of student development, learning and application:

  • Admissions interview.
  • Professional Development: New Student Orientation and COU-503.
  • Professional Development: Pre-practicum Orientation and COU-610 and COU-612.
  • Pre-graduation: Degree requirements and completion of CPCE (Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination).


Graduates of the M.A. in clinical mental health counseling program at Cornerstone, go on to serve in a number of diverse settings and post-graduate counseling placements.


  • Community mental health agencies
  • University/college counseling centers
  • Inpatient psychiatric services
  • Foster/adoption counseling services
  • Refugee counseling services
  • Church-based counseling centers
  • Private practices
  • School-based counseling centers
  • Veterans' services
  • Child/adolescent counseling services
  • Treatment centers for disordered eating
  • Treatment centers for addictions
  • Hospice services

Admission Requirements

  • Application
  • Three recommendations
  • Transcripts
  • Minimum 2.7 GPA from accredited undergraduate school
  • Interview with counseling faculty


Of Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling alumni have obtained their limited license or full license as a professional counselor (LLPC or LPC).


Program Concentrations


Student-to-faculty ratio.

Licensure and Continued
Professional Development

You must become a Licensed Professional Counselor to work in any facility as a professional counselor within the state of Michigan. We have designed the M.A. in clinical mental health counseling degree program to meet the graduate school licensure requirements in Michigan. Upon graduation, you will qualify to apply for your Limited License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC).

Michigan Counseling Licensure

The M.A. in clinical mental health counseling program at Cornerstone University is designed to meet the educational requirements for the state of Michigan for the limited license professional counselor credential (LLPC). In Michigan, the limited license is known as a provisional licensure. Four steps need to be completed before applicants can progress from the “limited” license (LLPC) to the “full” license (LPC). These requirements are completed after students earn their M.A. in clinical mental health counseling degree. They are as follows:

  • Complete 3,000 hours working as a counselor.
  • Attend supervision for at least 100 of those hours with a LPC who has completed the supervision requirements as outlined by the state of Michigan.
  • Pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE).
  • Allow no less than two years and no more than 10 years to pass before applying.

Please visit the Michigan Board of Counseling for more information regarding Michigan state licensure.

Out-of-State Counseling Licensure

If you are seeking to pursue licensure in other states, please review the requirements of that state to determine if the M.A. in clinical mental health counseling curriculum at Cornerstone University aligns with the state’s requirements. Cornerstone University is not liable for students seeking to pursue licensure out of the state of Michigan. It is your responsibility to contact the state for which you are seeking licensure to confirm curricular alignment. Information regarding the licensing boards for each state is available below. Additionally, NC-SARA maintains a list of contact information for each state’s licensing board.


As you begin your degree program, we encourage you to consider getting involved in professional organizations for counseling professionals. These organizations offer professional development opportunities related to the field of counseling.

Comparison of Helping Professions: LPC, LMSW and LP

You might be curious about the differences between the LPC (licensed professional counselor), LMSW (licensed master social worker) and the LP (licensed psychologist). While each of these careers can have an outcome of doing the work of counseling, the identity of a clinical mental health counselor is unique and distinctive with a focus on development across the lifespan, wellness, holistic health and empowerment of clients.

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Courses and
Learning Outcomes

Required Classes

  • COU-503 Introduction to Counseling and Professional Development
  • COU-501 Counseling Theories
  • COU-502 Counseling Ethics and Issues
  • COU-521 Foundations of Marriage and Family Counseling
  • COU-525 Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling
  • COU-602 Clinical Assessments
  • COU-610 Counseling Techniques
  • COU-611 Career Development
  • COU-612 Group Techniques
  • COU-643 Trauma Informed Advocacy and Crisis Intervention
  • COU-653 Addictions Counseling: Treatment and Intervention
  • COU-661 Psychopathology & Diagnosis
  • COU-662 Human Growth and Development
  • COU-672 Treatment of Mental & Emotional Disorders
  • COU-675 Technology-Assisted Counseling
  • COU-680 Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience in Counseling
  • COU-700 Research Methodology
  • COU-782 Practicum: Counseling Field Experience
  • COU-784 Internship I: Counseling Field Experience
  • COU-785 Internship II: Counseling Field Experience

Note: One 3-credit counseling elective is also required.

Graduate Counseling Concentrations

The purpose of the graduate counseling concentrations is to offer further development to better serve various populations. The COU-program allows for degree-seeking students to select one, two, or all three optional concentrations in preparation for one’s career in clinical mental health counseling. For non-degree-seeking students, a tailored plan will be drafted by the Program Director to meet the full requirements of each concentration. The concentration offerings are as follows:

  1. Marriage and Family Therapy: Students become equipped with systemic therapeutic approaches to best serve marriage and families in ministry and clinical settings. Our MFT curriculum (COU-program + MFT concentration) aligns with Michigan’s LMFT licensure requirements.
  2. Addictions Counseling: Students completing this concentration work to prepare students for the educational requirements for the Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) in Michigan (COU-program required).
  3. Trauma Counseling: Students learn the importance and implications of trauma to administer evidenced-based treatment (COU-program required).

Practicum and Internships

The program incorporates clinical practice through Practicum and Internship experiences. All students will complete a 100-hour Practicum and a 600-hour Internship experience where they will practice hands on counseling skills with clients. Graduates will be equipped to:

  • Practice evidence-based counseling strategies, demonstrate clinical technique, develop sound theoretical orientation, and demonstrate multicultural competency.
  • Facilitate the counseling process with individuals, groups and families.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and appropriate application of biblical and theological concepts and ethical faith integration.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • State a personal philosophy of clinical mental health counseling that reflects awareness of personal beliefs, foundational theories and worldview integration.
  • Facilitate the clinical mental health counseling process for individuals, groups and/or families by providing consultations that foster awareness, growth and restoration that is based on established client-centered goals and a sound systemic framework.
  • Articulate and apply effective counseling strategies reflecting practical techniques and social, cultural and religious applications.
  • Demonstrate understanding and competency in the use of testing instruments and research interpretation in appraisal and diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate theoretical understanding and basic competency in career development counseling.
  • Exhibit understanding and compliance with the legal requirements and ethical codes of the counseling profession.


Cornerstone University is accredited and recognized by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Each course touched on relevant information that kept me immersed in the field and connected me to a lot of resources.

Christine Davenport (M.A. ’19)


The core counseling faculty at Cornerstone University all have professional counseling and supervision experience, areas of clinical specialization and are engaged in research and scholarly activity. They value getting to know their students and act as faculty advisers to mentor and guide students throughout their educational journeys and on the path to a future career as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

The adjunct counseling faculty at Cornerstone University are practicing clinicians who offer their unique skill sets in the field of counseling.

Related Programs

Cornerstone offers several options for students interested in clinical mental health counseling. Take a look at some of the other degree programs offered by the university.

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