Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master of Science in Education

Program Information and Admission Requirements


The clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) as of April 1, 2000 and CACREP's international affiliate, the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs (IRCEP) as of February 11, 2011. This program also meets the academic requirements for Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP) regulated by the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).


All students are assigned an academic advisor within the department upon admission.

Admission to Pursue a Degree

Those planning to be full-time students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program should obtain full admission the semester prior to their enrollment by completing the following steps:

  1. Complete the UNK Graduate online application. All materials listed below are uploaded with the online application:
    1. $45 non-refundable application fee.
    2. Academic history-official transcripts of all previous academic work. If your GPA falls below the UNK Graduate Studies minimum expectation of 2.75, please upload a Low GPA Statement with explanation for your past academic performance, how you be successful academically at the graduate level (minimum 3.0 GPA), and why you should be admitted as an exception to the GPA requirement.
    3. Resume with requested information (listed in the application).
    4. "Motivation for becoming a clinical mental health counselor professional" essay.
    5. Three electronic professional references.  Forms are automatically sent to recommenders when application is submitted.
  2. When all materials have been received, the Office of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach will conduct an initial evaluation. Applicants meeting admission requirements for graduate study will be forwarded to the Department for consideration and recommendation.
  3. Applicants must participate in the CSP Department admission interview/intake process which occurs each semester. When the application is complete, the CSP Department Office Associate will send the applicant a confirmation of this meeting via electronic mail to the preferred email address indicated on the application.
  4. Department recommendations for admissions are submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach.
  5. Letters with admission decisions (i.e. an unconditional/full status, conditional/provisional status, or denial) are mailed from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach.

Application for Candidacy

To be eligible for candidacy (i.e. approval to continue coursework and "stand" as a candidate for the degree), the student must have fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. If you were conditionally admitted, this condition must have been met.
  2. Application for Candidacy must be made prior to completion of half of the required credit hours on the student's program of study.
  3. A grade of B or higher in CSP 855 with a B or higher.
  4. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
  5. Demonstrate professional fitness and competencies.
  6. Adhere to ethical standards.

Failure to meet any of these conditions can result in denial of the Application for Candidacy.

Comprehensive Examinations

All students seeking degrees and/or endorsements are required to complete comprehensive examinations. The examinations may be written, oral or both. Additionally, in order to successfully complete a degree program, students must meet the expectations outlined in department academic progress and ethical conduct policies (see respective Program Handbook for more detailed information).

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Mission and Objectives

Counselor Education Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Counselor Education Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is to graduate knowledgeable and clinically skilled professional counselors who are competent to work with and advocate for diverse clients in a variety of settings, with special emphasis in rural mental health. The program helps students develop a strong counselor professional identity through ethical and competent practice as well as expanding self-awareness. Thus, graduate students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal development.

The general objective of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling major prepares graduates to meet the highest standards for delivering effective counseling in a wide variety of community and agency settings. Employment of mental health counselors is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow by 21 percent.

In addition to the CACREP common-core objectives, clinical mental health counseling majors will:

  1. Possess knowledge of the development of the mental health counseling movement.
  2. Understand the general roles, duties, and expectations of the mental health counselor.
  3. Know the specialized legal and ethical responsibilities and functions of the mental health counselor.
  4. Possess an understanding of cultural diversity as it relates to mental health counseling.
  5. Possess an understanding of the relationship of mental health counseling to other health and human services.
  6. Be familiar with the factors related to the management of mental health services.
  7. Be familiar with the treatment procedures of mental and emotional disorders.
  8. Know specific models for assessing psychopathological behavior and be familiar with the DSM diagnostic categories.
  9. Be knowledgeable about the effects and side effects of the commonly used psychotropic drugs.
  10. Be familiar with case management procedures and the steps for developing a treatment plan.
  11. Be familiar with procedures for referral and possess consultation skills for use with other mental health professionals.
  12. Understand factors related to client advocacy and patients' rights.
  13. Be familiar with several approaches to individual, group, marital, couple, and family counseling.

Counseling and School Psychology Mission Statement

The Department of Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) promotes a field-based scientist/practitioner model in order to prepare culturally competent and compassionate professionals at the graduate level to provide service and leadership in clinical mental health counseling. The focus of the scientist/practitioner model within the CSP department is to create practitioners who understand, critically evaluate and effectively use the research base within their profession in order to make decisions and guide practice. CSP is an interdisciplinary department committed to work towards equity and social justice within the College and University, our professions, and throughout the broader society.

Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and CACREP's international affiliate, the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs (IRCEP).

See Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Mission and Objectives on the Overview tab for more information specifically related to this program.

Prerequisite Competency: Abnormal Psychology (appropriate coursework or documented experience)

The following program meets the academic requirements for the Mental Health Practitioner License (LMHP) regulated by the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Students in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are eligible to obtain the appropriate national certification (e.g., NCC) and Nebraska state licensure (LMHP/LPC/LIMHP).

All students are required to complete an exit survey during the semester of graduation or program completion.

Required Courses
CSP 802Research Methods In Psychology and Education3
CSP 805Child and Adolescent Development and Interventions 13
CSP 807PClinical Treatment Issues in Addictions Counseling 23
CSP 815Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Counseling 23
CSP 840Adult Development 23
CSP 850PIntroduction to Counseling and Social Advocacy 23
CSP 855Techniques of Counseling3
CSP 856Multicultural Counseling 23
CSP 859Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental and Emotional Disorders3
CSP 860Theories of Counseling 23
CSP 862Administration and Consultation in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 23
CSP 865Group Counseling3
CSP 870Marriage and Family Counseling 13
CSP 875Career and Lifestyle Development 23
CSP 880Appraisal and Evaluation of Individuals and Systems 13
CSP 885Practicum in Counseling and Guidance3
CSP 886Advanced Practicum in Clinical Mental Health Counseling3
CSP 892Internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 26
Appropriate electives will be selected in consultation with the advisor.
Assessment, Case Planning & Management of Addiction
Medical & Psychosocial Aspects of Addictions
These electives meet Nebraska Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counseling (LADC) eligibility.
Total Credit Hours60

Blended courses


On-line courses