Become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

100% Online Coursework + Onsite Internship

Yes! I Want To Learn More About Earning My Master of Science In Clinical Mental Health Counseling From Merrimack College

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

There is an ongoing mental health crisis in the United States and the need for Licensed Mental Health Counselors is growing at an exponential rate. Are you ready to channel your passion for helping people with a rewarding career in mental health?

Get ready to transform lives and empower communities by earning your M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC).

Choose to complete your coursework online or on-campus through the on-site M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The choice is up to you.

Get Licensed

Graduates will complete the minimum 60 credit hours to apply for the designation of Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, and the LMHC or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) designation in most other states in the US.

What Will I Learn?

Students 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. They will be exposed to individual and group treatment modalities and complete a 12-month clinical internship training with a community-based mental health agency.

  • Online Asynchronous Coursework

  • 12-month On-Site Clinical Internship with Synchronous Group Supervision
  • Complete in 2 years full-time or 3-4 part-time
  • 60 credits

Get Ready to Transform Lives and Empower Communities

Earn your M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Alumni in the Field

The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Merrimack College has graduated nearly 80 students since its on-ground inception in 2018.

Where are CMHC alumni working?

Alumni Job Titles:
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

Alumni Employers:
Arbour Counseling Services
Arlington Police Department
Bay State Community Services
Beth Israel Lahey Health
Blueskies Wellness, Inc.
Chapters Recovery Center
Clearview Horizons
Elliot Community Human Services
Lahey Health Behavioral Services

Lowell General Hospital
Northeast Family Services
Riverside Community Care
Spectrum Health Systems
St. Ann’s Home
Wayside Youth and Family
Whitney Academy

High-Quality Clinical Internships

Previous Placements include:
Arbour Counseling, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Catholic Charities, Justice Resource Institute, Merrimack Counseling Center, Salem State University Counseling Center, Elliot Community Health Services, Recovery Centers of America, Children’s Friend and Family Services, Home for Little Wanderers, and many more.

Merrimack’s CMHC Onground Internship Placement Rate since 2018

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Clinical Foundational I Courses:

This course begins by introducing and providing practice in the foundational counseling skills necessary to establish a counseling relationship with the client characterized by warmth, respect, empathy, and genuineness. These core skills include, but are not limited to, the following: invitational skills, attending, reflecting, paraphrasing, interpreting, confronting, self-disclosing, and summarizing. Students will engage in experiential exercises, including role plays, to develop the skills needed to create client-centered helping relationships and adhere to ethical standards. Individuals will learn to foster a therapeutic alliance, conduct an intake interview, and construct evidence-based treatment plans. Prevention strategies and strength-based approaches will also be examined. The various techniques will be discussed in reference to the diagnosis and treatment of the DSM-5 classifications. 4 credits

This course equips students with an understanding of the different forms of trauma clients might experience and how these different experiences impact decisions regarding trauma-informed care. Topics will include the following: the neurobiology of trauma, attachment theory, understanding trauma through a developmental lens, stabilization, complex and acute trauma, trauma theories, dissociation, trauma processing techniques, vicarious trauma and self- care. 4 credits

This skill-based course will further develop the students’ working knowledge and basic competency in multicultural counseling theory and application. To this end, the course will focus on the counselor on both a professional and personal level. Additionally, the course will examine salient client population-specific issues related to the life experiences and world view of the culturally different client and how such experiences impact on the counseling relationship and therapeutic process. Underlying values and assumptions associated with widely used traditional counseling interventions and their appropriateness with disenfranchised populations will be explored. Traditional and nontraditional culturally competent counseling approaches will also be discussed. 4 credits

This course informs students of their ethical and legal duties as a counselor. Students will engage in a case study method to understand how to apply the American Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association Codes of Ethics to ethical dilemmas. Topics will include informed consent, mandated reporting, confidentiality, record keeping, distance counseling, duty to warn, family rights and special education. Standards for working with diverse and multicultural clients will be discussed. 4 credits

This course introduces students to the etiology, presentation and treatment of mental health conditions that are stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Students will learn strategies for differential diagnosis as well as how to work with diverse client populations to create effective, strength-based treatment plans. 4 credits

This course introduces students to major counseling theories that inform case conceptualization and practice in clinical settings. Students will learn to distinguish between different counseling interventions based upon client need and evidence-based research practices. Students will also examine how a counselor’s self-awareness, self-reflection and self-care impact both treatment and establishing a strong therapeutic alliance. 4 credits

This is an online, self-directed course that provides students with an overview of the history and foundations of the counseling profession. This course is designed to teach and assess student competency in topics associated with the Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs’ core area of Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice. Students will complete a 5-module course that covers the history of the counseling field, as well as ethical, legal, philosophical, technological, and sociocultural trends in counseling. Specific topics include: professional roles and functions, counseling specialty areas, preparation standards, licensing, credentialing, ethical standards, and the impact of technology on the counseling profession.  0 credits

Clinical Foundational II Courses:

This course focuses on physical, cognitive, and social-emotional continuity and changes that occur throughout the lifespan. An introduction to research and theories in human development is included. In addition, this course addresses development and cognitive processes governing learning from conception to death. Normative, non-normative and historical effects within childhood, adolescence, adulthood and later life are presented. Formal developmental and learning theory is emphasized in conjunction with practical interpretation and application. The course provides an orientation and background for sound educational and clinical practices. 4 credits

This course will focus upon the theories of career development with the objective of establishing a framework for the implementation of techniques and tools which can be employed by educators/counselors at every level to provide students with occupational, educational and social information designed to help them understand, analyze and select personal career goals. 4 credits

This course trains counselors to be practitioner-scientists who are able to evaluate the efficacy of research studies and to understand study results as a way that informs evidence-based practice. Topics will include statistical analysis, needs assessment, program evaluation, and multifaceted research methodologies. Students will examine studies from recent journals as a way to further analyze recent developments in the fields that impact counseling practice. This course also will examine the ethical and legal obligations of researchers. 4 credits

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about group process by participating in experiential activities that demonstrate the basic principles of group counseling as well as advanced counseling techniques that facilitate therapeutic process in group counseling settings. Students will examine the various types of groups and the different techniques related to each. The course also allows students to understand the specific roles of group leaders and members, group dynamics in depth, facilitation techniques, group process, methods for selecting group members, counseling theories for group application, and the needs of population-specific groups (e.g., AA, domestic violence survivors, etc.). Emphasis will also be placed on the ethical guidelines related to group work. 4 credits

This course provides students with an understanding of the process of psychological assessment, in both group and individual modalities.  Students will learn about the assessment of interest, career, personality, intelligence, achievement, and aptitude. In addition to this overview of the assessment process, students will learn about the conceptual underpinnings of assessment as well as the statistical analysis of such assessment, including basic concepts like measures of central tendency, validity, reliability, norm and criterion referenced tests.  Ethical guidelines, issues of diversity, and procedural considerations will be discussed.  Administration, scoring, and interpreting test results for report writing will be considered along with the writing of assessment reports. 4 credits

This course examines the etiology, prevalence, treatment and consequences of substance addictions, including process addictions (i.e., behavioral addictions).  Students will learn about assessing and treating co-occurring disorders.  The course considers a strength-based, holistic model for assessment, conceptualization, and treatment planning.  Pharmacological, physiological, and medical aspects of addictions along with current evidence-based research and treatment care models are reviewed.  In addition, the course examines the role of trauma in addictions and mental health issues.  4 credits

Clinical Applied Courses:

This course is distinctly defined as the practicum experience during the fall semester of the second year of the program. Students provide 100 hours of clinical work.  The practicum provides the opportunity to integrate learning and develop skills in providing individual and group counseling, case conceptualization, treatment planning, as well as facilitative skills such as warmth, genuineness, and empathy. Students will engage in the supervision process both on site and on campus.  Students will co-register for Internship I. 2 credits

This course is distinctly defined as the clinical experience during the second year of the program. Students provide 300 hours of clinical experience after completing 100 hours of practicum. Students work in a wide variety of clinical settings and engage in on-site clinical supervision. Students meet weekly on campus with a faculty clinical supervisor to discuss experiences in a seminar format with other graduate students/interns. This course enables students to further hone their skills and to evaluate their performance through self-critique and formal clinical case presentations. 4 credits

This course is a continuation of CMH 6010 and takes place during the second year of the program. Students provide 300-350 hours of clinical experience, and by the end of the internship sequence, they will have completed 240 direct clinical care hours. Students continue at their Internship I placement during this course. Students continue to meet weekly on campus with a faculty clinical supervisor to discuss their experiences in a seminar format with other graduate students/interns. This course enables students to further hone their counseling skills and to evaluate their own performance through self-critique and formal clinical case presentations. 4 credits


This course is intended as an introduction to Play and Expressive Art Therapy in counseling when working with children, adolescents, and families. An introduction to the meaning of play and art in children’s lives will be offered as well as an overview of the stages of play in the therapeutic process. Students will learn to distinguish between different play modalities and interventions based upon client need. Students will become familiar with the central principles of play and art therapy and engage in practical application. Key concepts of play and art therapy are introduced through readings and experiential activities. A variety of play and art modalities will be introduced. Emphasis will be placed on Play and Art, specifically Music, Painting, Clay, Craft, Drama, Dance, Stories, Poetry, and Games. 2 credits

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the practice of integrated behavioral health care in the primary care setting. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the roles of behavioral health providers working in primary care settings, theories and models of care, and cross-cultural issues. Students will develop skills in assessment, intervention planning, treatment implementation, and program evaluation that are specific to work in a behavioral health setting. Students will also develop competence in supporting primary care patients who present with a wide range of physical and behavioral health concerns, including considerations for diverse patients and those who face barriers to receiving care. 2 credits

The purpose of this course is to enhance students’ multicultural competence by introducing students to major issues associated with sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and how these issues historically and currently are addressed in the counseling and psychological literature. Issues addressed include mental and physical health, identity development and the coming out process across the lifespan, psychosocial consequences of internalized homonegativity and heterosexism, family and relationship issues, spirituality, affirmative counseling, and professional ethics when working with LGBTQI clients. Mental health issues associated with LGBTQI individuals’ intersecting identities are also examined (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender, social status, ability etc.).

What Our Students Are Saying:

“I can reach out to professors at any time, whether I call or email. They’re extremely responsive. And I’ve also developed close relationships with certain students that I’ve worked with in class for different projects.”

CMHC Graduate

“I was looking for a program that would lead to professional licensure as a mental health therapist. and Merrimack’s online program is one that will prepare me to become licensed, which was most important.”

CMHC Graduate

“The clinical mental health program at Merrimack has given me this space to grow as an individual and also helped me advance my career goals in a way that fits my needs and current circumstances.”

CMHC Graduate

Merrimack College Accolades

At Merrimack College, we’re proud of our long history of providing quality degrees to students entering the job market. Our faculty are more than just teachers. We are committed to helping you grow — academically, personally and spiritually — so that you may graduate as a confident, well-prepared citizen of the world.

  • #10 Top 50 Best Value Online Big Data Programs 2020 by
  • U.S. News & World Report 2022 #34 Best Regional Universities North
  • U.S. News & World Report 2022 #41 Best Value Schools
  • U.S. News & World Report 2022 #3 Most Innovative Schools
  • Money Magazine’s Best Colleges 2020
  • The Princeton Review 2021 Best Northeastern Regional College
  • Apple Inc., Apple Distinguished School

Yes! I Want To Learn More About Earning My Master’s In Clinical Mental Health Counseling From Merrimack College