Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling (MSMHC)

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Lance Newman, Interim Dean
Scott Gust, Associate Dean
Ashley Seitz Kramer, Assistant Dean

Core Faculty: Ellen Behrens, Allison Lafollete, Colleen Sandor, Janine Wanlass
Associate Faculty: Lesa Ellis, Jennifer Simonds, Barbara Smith

Program Mission

The Masters in Mental Health Counseling program at Westminster College educates students in the fundamentals of counseling theory and practice in an experiential and interpersonal learning environment that facilitates personal and professional growth. Our aim is to train professional counselors with a sound basis in ethical behavior, psychological theories, and professional counseling skills, creating a knowledge base and capacity for thinking that can be translated into effective counseling practice with individuals, families, and groups from diverse backgrounds. We strive to guide our students to become more self-aware and self-reflective as they hone their intellectual and emotional skills. We encourage critical thinking, emphasize professional honesty and integrity, and foster a commitment to providing services to local communities.

Program Goals

The program of study is designed to develop a student’s ability to:

  • Practice in the field of mental health with a comprehensive understanding of ethical and professional behavior.
  • Establish a professional identity in a career as a mental health counselor within a local community.
  • Articulate a fundamental knowledge of research, theory, and practice in the field of counseling from a broad range of clinical perspectives.
  • Engage in critical thinking skills and develop a heightened self-awareness.
  • Appreciate and practice counseling skills with an acute sensitivity to issues of diversity.
  • Seek professional consultation with colleagues and supervisors, facilitating engagement in a life long learning process.
  • Assess individuals, families, and groups using appropriate theory and skills and derive appropriate intervention strategies to help these clients resolve their problems of living.

Admission to the Program

See the Admission to the College section for admission requirements.

Retention in the Program

The student must:

  • Maintain a grade point average of 3.0. If the student receives a grade of C+ or lower in any course, the credit hours for this course do not count toward graduation requirements.
  • Pass comprehensive exam (70%) and write an acceptable case conceptualization of a client in the third year of study.
  • Complete the program within 5 years.
  • Comply with ethical standards for counselors (ACA, ACMHCA codes) and all policies for practicum students, interns, or employees at community clinical placements. Failure to do so may result in suspension or dismissal from the program.

Academic Probation and Suspension Policy

See Grading and Academic Standards for graduate academic probation and suspension policies.

Appeals for Readmission

See Grading and Academic Standards for information on appeals for readmission.

Program Probation and Dismissal Policy

A student may receive a practicum/internship/classroom warning of program probationary status at any time during a field or classroom experience if the instructor determines that the student’s performance is unsatisfactory. The written warning will outline what the student must do to meet the course or program requirements. Students placed on program probation will be formally evaluated at the end of that course. Program probation will be removed if the student is able to satisfy the conditions listed in the written warning; however, any program probationary status will be documented in the student’s record.

A student can be dismissed from the Masters in Professional Counseling program for any of the following reasons:

  • Violation of the academic honesty policy.
  • Violation of the ethical code for counselors.
  • Failure to maintain a GPA appropriate for the program.
  • A documented pattern of unprofessional behavior in the classroom or clinical setting.
  • A documented violation of agency policy or procedures in a clinical placement.

Graduation Requirements

Candidates for graduation should apply to the Registrar’s Office approximately two regular semesters prior to planned completion of graduation requirements. Applications for December graduation are due in March and applications for May and August graduation are due in September. Please see the Academic Calendar for more specific dates. Candidates are notified of remaining degree requirements within four weeks after applying for graduation.
To be eligible for a master’s degree or graduate certificate, students must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Meet all credit hour and other course requirements.
  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above.
  • Be enrolled at Westminster College during the semester in which they wish to graduate.
  • Maintain good academic standing.
  • Earn a grade of B- or higher in all graduate courses.

Note: Only graduate-level coursework may be applied toward degree or certificate requirements.
The final responsibility for being informed about, and adhering to, graduation requirements rests with the individual.

Program Requirements

Students must complete at least 60 hours of graduate course work drawn from the following:

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 54
MSMHC 605      Seminar in Professional Roles I (1)
MSMHC 606      Seminar in Professional Roles II (1)
MSMHC 610     Counseling Ethics (2)
MSMHC 612     Statistics and Research Methods (3)
MSMHC 614     Psychopathology and the DSM (3)
MSMHC 617    Individual Counseling I (3)
MSMHC 619      Individual Counseling II (3)
MSMHC 621     Human Growth and  Development (3)
MSMHC 625     Test and Measurement Theory (2)
MSMHC 628     Group Psychotherapy (3)
MSMHC 631     Applications of Cognitive Behavioral Theory (3)
MSMHC 633     Child Psychotherapy (3)
MSMHC 636     Clinical Assessment (3)
MSMHC 639     Multicultural Counseling (3)
MSMHC 640     Counseling Practicum (3)
MSMHC 642     Substance Abuse Treatment (3)
MSMHC 644     Applications of Psychodynamic Theory (3)
MSMHC 645   Career Counseling and Development (3)
MSMHC 660     Internship I (1–3)
MSMHC 661     Internship II (1–3)
II. Elective Courses 6
MSMHC 650*   Special Topics Seminars (3)
MSMHC 670*   Thesis Research (1–3)
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE MSMHC DEGREE 60

*All numbered courses are required; however, students may select from two special topics courses in the spring semesters of their second and third years. Students are required to take and pass comprehensive exams prior to April 1st of their third year. (Students should be aware that completion of this program is partial preparation for licensure as a CMHC, since additional clinical practice hours are needed to meet the licensure requirements. Utah requires 4,000 supervised clinical hours prior to licensure.)

Recommended Plan of Study

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 605   Professional Seminar
610    Ethics
612    Stats & Research Method
617     Individual Couns I
621    Human Growth & Dev


606    Professional Seminar
619     Individual Couns II.
628    Group
631     CBT
633    Child


Year 2 614    Psychopathology and DSM
625    Tests & Measurement
642    Substance Abuse Tx.
644    Psychodynamic
639    Multicultural
636    Clinical Assessment
650    Special Topics I
640    Practicum –or-
650    Special Topics II

Some students enter the MSMHC program only to learn that while they love the study of counseling, they no longer desire to practice.  For those students who seek an education in the applications of psychology but who are not license eligible, the Master of Applied Psychology is a degree option.   At the end of the first and second years of academic study in the graduate program, students and faculty determine if a student will graduate from the MAP program or the MSMHC program.

Master of Science in Applied Psychology

Core Faculty: Ellen Behrens, Seong-In Choi, Colleen Sandor, Janine Wanlass
Associate Faculty: Lesa Ellis, Angela Hicks, Jennifer Simonds, Barbara Smith

Students may wish to pursue the Master of Science in Applied Psychology if they have an interest in understanding human behavior and how change occurs within a treatment context but do not have a wish to practice as a licensed therapist.  For example, a student may wish to work in an administrative capacity in a human or social service agency or non-profit.  Perhaps one aspires to head an HR/EAP program or run a for-profit residential treatment center, and while the student does not wish to provide direct services to clients, the student wants a deep understanding of best practices within the fields of psychology and counseling.

Program Goals

  • Demonstrate knowledge of how psychological and counseling theories are applied in human and social services
  • Prepare students for administrative or staff positions within social services agencies
  • Understand how theories of human development, psychology, and counseling are used to promote health and change in individuals and groups

Program Requirements

Students must complete at least 45-48 hours of graduate course work drawn from the following:

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 42
MSMHC 605     Seminar in Professional Roles I (1)
MSMHC 606     Professional Seminar (1)
MSMHC 610      Counseling Ethics (2)
MSMHC 612      Statistics and Research Methods (3)
MSMHC 614      Psychopathology and the DSM (3)
MSMHC 617      Individual Counseling I (3)
MSMHC 619      Individual Counseling II (3)
MSMHC 621      Human Growth and  Development (3)
MSMHC 625     Test and Measurement Theory (2)
MSMHC 628     Group Psychotherapy (3)
MSMHC 631      Applications of Cognitive Behavioral Theory (3)
MSMHC 633     Child Psychotherapy (3)
MSMHC 636     Clinical Assessment (3)
MSMHC 639     Multicultural Counseling (3)
MSMHC 642     Substance Abuse Treatment (3)
MSMHC 644     Applications of Psychodynamic Theory (3)
II. Elective Courses 3-6
MSMHC 640 Practicum (3)
and/orMSMHC 650 Special Topics (3)
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE MS in Applied Psychology 45-48  

Recommended Plan of Study for MS in Applied Psychology

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 605 Professional Seminar
610 Ethics
612 Stats & Research Method
617 Individual Counseling I
621 Human Growth & Dev


606 Professional Seminar
619 Individual Counseling II
628 Group
631 Applications of CBT
633 Child Psychotherapy


Year 2 614 Psychopathology & DSM
625 Test and Measurement
642 Substance Abuse Tx.
644 Applications of PDT
639 Multicultural
636 Clinical Assessment
650 Special Topics I
640 Practicum –or-
650 Special Topics II