Top Schools for Mental Health Counseling

Read about programs in mental health counseling, which can lead to a graduate degree or certificate. Find out what three universities have to offer in terms of academic awards and reputation, and use the table at the end of the resource to find other schools in the U.S. that provide training in mental health counseling.

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School Information

Graduate programs in mental health counseling, such as those offered by the three national universities featured below, teach students how to treat patients with mental and emotional disorders through group, individual and family sessions. Qualified graduates may find work in community centers, schools, mental healthcare facilities or hospitals; they might also open a private practice.

Top U.S. Schools with Mental Health Counseling Programs

1. Boston College (BC) in Massachusetts

Boston College is a Catholic Jesuit college that ranked 31st among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012. That same year, the university was designated as a best value school by USN&WR and The Princeton Review, which also categorized it as one of the top schools in the Northeast.

In preparation for state licensure, students can pursue a 60-hour Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling Psychology program with a concentration in mental health counseling. Aspiring professionals who intend to pursue a doctoral degree can apply to the 48-hour M.A. in Counseling Psychology - Mental Health Counselor program. At BC, the doctoral program culminates in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology. This course of study is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

2. University of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison

The University of Wisconsin is a public institution that U.S. News & World Report ranked 42nd among national universities and 10th among public schools for 2012. The university was also named a 'Best Midwestern College' and a 'Top 10 Best Value Public College' by The Princeton Review for the same year. UW offers a terminal Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling program with a concentration in community counseling. On the doctoral level, students can enroll in the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology program, which is APA-accredited.

3. The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, The George Washington University (GWU) ranked 50th on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities. In the same year, the university also made The Princeton Review's list of 'Best Northeastern Colleges.' GWU offers a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling, which is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Additional programs can lead to a Ph.D., an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) or a post-master's certificate in counseling.

Ten Good Colleges with Mental Health Counseling Programs

School NameDistinctionLocation
Boston College Faculty members in the counseling program specialize in spirituality and mental health, among other areas of researchBoston, MA
Clemson University Clinical mental health counseling courses typically take place in the evenings Clemson, SC
The George Washington University Clinical Mental Health Counseling Services Center provides opportunities for internshipsWashington, D.C.
Johns Hopkins University Students pursuing a master's degree in mental health counseling participate in applied learning experiences within the community Baltimore, MD
Marquette University Program in clinical mental health counseling allows for a specialization in addiction-mental health counseling Milwaukee, WI
Pennsylvania State UniversityMaster's degree program in mental health counseling emphasizes community and school workUniversity Park, PA
St. John's University Students in the clinical mental health counseling program complete a minimum of three internships Queens, NY
University at Buffalo M.S. in Mental Health Counseling admits only 10-15 students per year and uses a cohort model Buffalo, NY
University of WisconsinCounseling programs emphasize multiculturalism and diversityMadison, WI
Western Michigan University Counseling psychology program offers a concentration in holistic health Kalamazoo, MI
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