Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Online or On Campus)

Become a licensed mental health counselor with a master’s degree from one of New England’s top counseling programs.

Finish in as little as 2 years as a full-time student.

Photography for Merrimack College.

Graduate Admission Virtual Information Session

Wednesday, July 17, 2024 
from 5:30 pm 
to 6:30 pm

Learn about Merrimack's graduate programs, full- and half-tuition graduate fellowship opportunities, scholarships and financial aid, how to apply, and more!

Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree: Why Merrimack College?

Superior field placements.
Whether you study online or on campus, Merrimack College’s accredited mental health counseling master’s program includes 700 hours of hands-on clinical training in schools, hospitals, rehab centers, correctional facilities and other settings. We carefully select clinical sites and supervisors to ensure they align with curriculum, promote exceptional mental health counseling skills and qualify you to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC).
Supportive community.
At Merrimack, you’ll be paired with a faculty mentor who provides personalized guidance throughout the mental health counseling master’s degree. Our program features a 16:1 student to faculty ratio ensuring expert faculty are available to help with any questions throughout your coursework. With small classes, an intimate campus and a culture of service, Merrimack fosters close-knit relationships that encourage academic and professional growth.
Modern, evidence-based practice.
Curriculum in our mental health counseling master’s program focuses on the most current evidence-based techniques. You’ll become proficient in diagnosis and assessment, group counseling, addiction and trauma, crisis intervention, telecounseling, research and more. You will also develop population-specific competencies and learn counseling techniques through a social justice lens while acknowledging the role of privilege and oppression. To complete the master’s in mental health counseling, you’ll produce a capstone project that consists of a written client case study.
Convenient and flexible options.
Our master of science in clinical mental health counseling was designed to fit the life of the working adult or recent college graduate. In our online graduate program, asynchronous coursework allows you to complete your degree at your own pace and on your own schedule. Whether you study online or on campus, you can choose to earn your master’s in 3-4 years of part-time study, or complete the degree in 2 years full-time.
Robust fellowships and scholarships.
In the on campus M.S. program, you can earn while you learn via one of Merrimack’s clinical mental health counseling fellowships. These competitive awards provide supervised work experience on campus, along with a tuition discount. Whether or not you seek a fellowship, you’ll automatically be considered upon admission for a merit scholarship that can meet up to 20% of your tuition.
Accredited program.
Merrimack is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Our master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling also meets the requirements of the Massachusetts state licensing board, so upon graduation, you will be eligible to sit for the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

Program Format

  • Online or On-campus
  • 60 credits
  • Complete in 2 years full-time or 3-4 years part-time

Scholarships & Fellowships

(On Campus Program Only)

Start Terms

  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer


Transform People’s Lives as a Mental Health Counselor

Our master’s degree curriculum emphasizes culturally sensitive clinical mental health counseling. You’ll work with diverse populations on a wide range of mental health issues, including those that arise from psychological dysfunctions and social injustices.

Deeply rooted in Merrimack’s tradition of moral and ethical education, our mental health counseling master’s degree equips you to help individuals confront challenges, transform their lives and empower their communities. You’ll have the skills to provide clinical mental health counseling related to issues such as:

  • Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Domestic violence
  • Anger management
  • Depression
  • Marriage and relationships
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Stress
  • Racial and ethnic identities

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Since its inception in 2018, the on campus MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Merrimack College has graduated nearly 80 students and earned a reputation as one of the area’s best CMHC master’s programs. You can also choose to complete the program online! Whichever modality you pick, you’ll benefit from the same rigor, expert faculty, and close-knit community. Read on to discover which option is right for you.

What the on campus and online graduate programs have in common:

  • The same rigorous curriculum, taught by Merrimack’s expert faculty
  • Earn your M.S. in 2 years of full-time study, or 3-4 years part-time
  • Includes 700 hours of hands-on clinical training (100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours)
  • Meets the requirements of MA & NH state licensing boards to apply for the designation of Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
  • Aligns with the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) standards
  • Aligns with Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards

Differences between the on campus and online master’s degree:

 On Campus M.S. ProgramOnline M.S. Program

Course Format

Classroom, synchronous

Online, asynchronous

Entry Terms

Fall, Spring, or Summer

Fall, Spring, or Summer

Credit Hours



Fellowships AvailablePresidential Fellowships (full tuition) and Provost Fellowships (half tuition)None

Automatic Scholarship Eligibility

Deans Scholarship (up to 20% of tuition); Double Warrior Alumni Scholarship (up to 33% of tuition)


Learning Outcomes – What You Will Learn in the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

In either the online or on campus graduate program, you will receive a foundational curriculum in counseling skills and techniques, diagnoses, assessments, and interventions to meet the needs of culturally diverse individuals, families, and communities. You will be exposed to individual and group treatment modalities and complete a 12-month clinical internship training with a community-based mental health agency.

By the completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a continually broadening sense of self-awareness and self-monitoring across a spectrum as a means to foster: (a) Practice conducted within the boundaries of competencies and (b) Commitment to lifelong learning;
  • Engage in reflective practice (i.e., reflection on action) and self-assessment as a means to foster: (a) engagement with scholarship, critical thinking, and (b) a commitment to the development of the profession;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and respect for scientific knowledge of the bases for behavior (biological, cognitive-affective, and lifespan human development) and incorporate this knowledge into professional practice;
  • Be familiar with and appreciate research methodology and techniques of data collection and analysis appreciate scientifically derived knowledge;
  • Demonstrate an ability to form and maintain professional, productive, and respectful relationships with clients, peers/colleagues, and supervisors,
  • Demonstrate awareness and sensitivity in working professionally with diverse individuals, groups, and communities who represent various cultural and personal backgrounds and characteristics;
  • Apply ethical concepts, codes, laws, rules, and regulations to professional activities with individuals, groups, and organizations;
  • Articulate an awareness of multiple and differing worldviews, roles, professional standards, and contributions across contexts and systems, and identify distinctive roles of related professionals;
  • Assess and diagnose problems and issues associated with individuals, groups, and/or organizations by utilizing systematic approaches to gathering data to inform clinical decision-making; and
  • Apply and evaluate interventions designed to alleviate suffering and promote the health and well-being of individuals, groups, and/or organizations.

Mental Health Counseling Career Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts very rapid growth in clinical mental health counseling jobs over the next decade, with jobs projected to increase by more than 20 percent. Graduates of Merrimack’s clinical mental health counseling program have a job placement rate of nearly 100 percent, based on their top-notch training and the program’s strong reputation among employers. Our alumni have found immediate employment with mental health counseling organizations such as:

  • Arbour Counseling, Woburn, MA
  • Arlington Police Department, Arlington, MA
  • Bay State Community Services, Quincy, MA
  • Beth Israel Lahey Behavioral Health Services, Lawrence, MA and Quincy, MA
  • Blueskies Wellness, Methuen, MA
  • Bridgewell, Peabody, MA
  • Center for Life Management, Salem, NH
  • Clearview Horizons, Andover, MA
  • Family Continuity, Lawrence, MA

Positions our alumni have gone on to fill include:

  • Lowell General Hospital, Lowell, MA
  • New Hampshire Center for Life Management, Salem, NH
  • Northeast Family Services, Manchester, NH
  • Rise for Wellness, Saco, ME
  • Riverside Community Care, Dedham, MA
  • Seacoast Treatment and Stabilization Center, Hampton, NH
  • Spectrum Health Systems, Worcester, MA
  • St. Ann’s Home, Methuen, MA
  • Wayside Youth and Family, Lowell, MA
  • Whitney Academy, Freetown, MA
  • Child & Adolescent Mental Health Therapist
  • Child Counselor
  • Clinical Supervisor
  • Clinical Therapist
  • Court Liaison
  • Jail Diversion Clinician
  • Licensed Mental Health Therapist
  • Mental Health Clinician
  • Outpatient Clinician
  • Residential Clinician

Grad Chat Podcast

In this episode of the Grad Chat podcast, the Official podcast of Merrimack’s Graduate Admissions, you will hear from Amy Schram, a student in Merrimack’s Master of Science Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and the program’s faculty Dr. Michael Mobley and Melissa Spencer.

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Want to Learn More about the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Contact the Merrimack College Office of Graduate Admission at

Schedule an Informational Call with the Program Director

Scholarships & Fellowships

Mental health counseling scholarships and fellowships can reduce your tuition by thousands of dollars.

Learn More

How to Apply

Create your account to get started. Apply to start your Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

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