The CACREP accredited master's degree in counseling, with a clinical mental health counseling concentration, provides a clear path to licensure – a requirement to practice counseling professionally in Maryland and neighboring states. Coursework can be planned to include specialty training in gerontology or thanatology.
The mission of the Master of Science in Counseling program at Hood College is to prepare motivated students for professional careers as counseling practitioners in the specialty areas of clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. We accomplish this by providing rigorous academic coursework and exemplary field training according to the exceptional standards set forth by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). Our program also provides students with the unique opportunity to cultivate additional expertise in the disciplines of thanatology or gerontology. We especially wish to inspire and prepare our students to use scholarly and research literature to inform their practice of counseling.
Professional Skills and Knowledge
The program is intended to prepare individuals to work in community mental health programs, hospitals, substance abuse clinics, at-risk youth programs, social services agencies, private counseling practices and similar settings. Instructional domains include: foundations; counseling, prevention, and intervention; diversity and advocacy; assessment; research and evaluation; diagnosis; collaboration and consultation; and leadership.
The 60-credit program was first accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) in Summer 2019. It received an extension of the accreditation through October 1 2027.
Faculty members are subject-matter experts whose scholarly and real-world experiences ensure that instruction is grounded in academic knowledge and practical application. Small classes mean close interaction with instructors, rich discussion among students and the kind of meaningful experiences that result from a community-based learning environment.
Methods of Instruction
Late afternoon, evening and weekend classes accommodate working adults. Courses may be taken on a full-time or part-time basis; students are encouraged to consider how they will balance the requirements of coursework and practicum/internship with other commitments.
NOTE: Students should be aware that the clinical, occupational and emotional demands of practicum and internship can make simultaneous full-time employment challenging. Few sites offer evening and weekend hours, and students are expected to be as flexible as possible. Students receive extensive support from faculty in identifying and securing a site; however, placements and specific scheduling needs are not guaranteed. Applicants should speak to faculty for further information.
If you are interested in working with marginalized communities, explore our HRSA Scholarship, which promotes diversity of licensed counselors in under-served regions of the country. This opportunity is generously funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). To learn more, simply select the option that indicates you are interested in applying for the HRSA Scholarship on the online application for admission to our clinical mental health program.
Your completed application is not a guarantee of funding.
NBCC's National Certified Counselor (NCC) Program
The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is the premier credentialing body for counselors, ensuring that counselors who become board certified have achieved the highest standard of practice through education, examination, supervision, experience, and ethical guidelines.
The Hood College Counseling Program continues to participate in NBCC's National Certified Counselor (NCC) Application Options for Participating Universities. Students in participating programs, and who are in their final two semesters of their master's programs, have a unique opportunity to begin the application process to become a NCC prior to graduation. It should be noted that the NCC credential does not take the place of state licensure.
Counseling students who have questions or are interested in participating in either the fall or spring application cycle with NBCC should contact the NBCC Campus Coordinator, Dr. Atiya Smith, for more information. The Counseling Program Director will also share information about the application cycle on the Counseling Program's Blackboard page. Eligible students should follow the instructions outlined on Blackboard in full to be considered for the current application cycle. Eligible students who do not complete the instructions in full will be considered for the next application cycle. More information about NBCC's NCC Program can be found here.
Matriculation Requirements. The Master of Science degree in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) specialty, is a 60-credit program. The Program of Study (see M.S. Counseling, CMHC Program of Study below) outlines required coursework. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in order to be in good academic standing and eligible for grade completion. If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, that student must restore the GPA to a 3.0 within 9 credits completed from the term in which the GPA fell below a 3.0. See the Grade Expectations and Appeal Policy section within the student handbook for more information. All coursework and degree requirements must be met within seven years of enrolling in the first course at Hood College. Students may transfer up to 9 credits from another institution if approved by the academic advisor and program director. Failure to receive approval for course substitutions prior to enrollment may result in a delay of program completion.
In addition to coursework, students are expected to demonstrate a range of skills in the areas of academic competence, counseling skills and appropriate interpersonal behavior. These skills must be mastered in order to successfully complete all program requirements. Students who do not meet these expectations will be called upon for remediation and, in cases of gross misconduct, dismissed from the program. Failure to successfully complete a professional development or remediation plan is also means for dismissal. See the Student Retention, Remediation, Appeal, and Dismissal Policies section within the Student Handbook for more information.
Program of Study. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program of Study (also detailed below under M.S. Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program of Study) outlines required coursework for completion of the 60-credit program. Full-time students take at least 9 credits in the fall, 9 credits in the spring, and 3 credits in the Summer. Program completion requires students to take 27 credits of core coursework, 12 credits of coursework related to Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 12 credits of electives, and complete a 700/hour practicum and internship.
New Student Orientation. During the first semester of enrollment, all students are required to attend the Hood College Graduate School and Counseling Program New Student Orientation. During this orientation, students will meet core faculty and receive information and policies related to the Counseling Program and curricula, students’ ethical and professional obligations, personal growth expectations as counselors-in-training and eligibility for licensure/certification.
Faculty Advisement. Students will have an assigned faculty advisor at all times during the program. Students will develop a planned program of study with their faculty advisor during the first semester of enrollment and meet with their advisor at least once (at a minimum) a year to review their progress and development. In addition to enrollment decisions, faculty advisors assist students in identifying opportunities for professional involvement, activities appropriate for students, expectations of students, policies and procedures of both the College and Counseling Program and assist with other relevant questions.
Faculty advisors review and approve all student registration information for each semester. Students are strongly encouraged to work directly with their faculty advisor in regard to course enrollment.
Assessment of Students. Each student’s progress throughout the program is assessed by examining student learning in relation to a combination of knowledge and skills. This assessment process includes an evaluation of student learning in relation to eight core areas of counseling and three core areas related to each student’s specialty area (i.e., CMHC or School Counseling). These areas directly correspond to the Hood College Counseling Program Objectives (see M.S. Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Objectives below). To measure student development towards these core areas, Key performance indicators (KPIs) are evaluated regularly (typically three times) as students advance through the program curricula. KPIs are primarily assessed via Key Assignment Performance Indicators (KAPAs), which are included as course assignments. Students and faculty use this information to help students develop the appropriate knowledge and skills they need to enter the counseling profession. Identified areas of strength and deficiency will be reviewed with students and, as needed, professional development plans assigned. Information from this assessment process is also used, in aggregate form, to identify programmatic trends, systematically assess program objectives and as part of the program’s annual review.
Professional Dispositions. In addition to core knowledge and skills related to professional counseling, students are also assessed at different points of the program based on professional dispositions they need to enter into the counseling profession. Professional dispositions are assessed by students, faculty and (when applicable) site supervisors as part of the Comprehensive Evaluation of Student Progress (CES-P). Counseling dispositions and professional behaviors are based on the CACREP Standards for entry-level counseling professionals (CACREP 2016, Section 2.F; Section 5.C; and Section 5.G) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) 2014 Code of Ethics (https://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf). Identified areas of strength and deficiency will be reviewed with students and, as needed, professional development plans assigned.
Student Evaluation. Students have regular, systematic opportunities to formally evaluate program faculty and site supervisors. Course evaluations are administered through the Hood College Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) at the end of each class. Students enrolled in COUN 596 Practicum, COUN 597 Internship I and COUN 598 Internship II will complete a site supervisor and faculty supervisor evaluation. This information is used at both the course and programmatic level, along with student assessment data, to help program faculty reflect on aspects of the program that work well and those that need improvement. Completion of all assessment data (course evaluations, site supervisor evaluations and the CES-P) is integral to informing programmatic and curricular decisions. See Appendix A within the Student Handbook (see Handbooks & Manuals below) for a copy of the CES-P (student version).
Note: Upon graduation from the program, graduates and employers of program graduates will be asked to complete a survey designed to evaluate the program’s overall effectiveness as related to the Hood College Program Outcomes.
Scholarship Opportunities and Loans
- HRSA Scholarship for Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. If you are interested in working with marginalized communities, explore our HRSA Scholarship, which promotes diversity of licensed counselors in under-served regions of the country. This opportunity is generously funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). To learn more, simply select the option that indicates you are interested in applying for the HRSA Scholarship on the online application for admission to our clinical mental health program. Your complete application is not a guarantee of funding.
- The Sally Oros Graduate Counseling-Thanatology Scholarship Established in 2019, Hood College shall award a scholarship each semester (fall and spring) to cover a minimum of one course credit for a female graduate student enrolled in either the Counseling (clinical or school) graduate program, or pursuing a graduate certificate in Thanatology. The student must have a 3.3 or higher Hood GPA, and the scholarship may be awarded to a different student each academic year. Contact the Hood Financial Aid office for details.
- NBCC Foundation has several scholarships specifically for counseling students.
- Unigo.com is a free search tool that matches students with scholarships.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to graduate students and there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
Counseling Programs Application Deadlines
Application deadline: October 15
Interview day: November 15
Decision notifications: November 22
* If you are applying for the HRSA scholarship, your HRSA materials will need to be received by December 7 and awards will be made by December 13
Priority application deadline: March 15
Priority interview day TBD
Regular application deadline: May 15
Regular interview day TBD
*The strongest applicants will be invited to an interview soon after the priority deadline, while other applicants may be invited to an interview following the regular deadline based on departmental scheduling and the size of each applicant pool.