Mental Health Counseling, MS

Our master's program in mental health counseling focuses on the development of counseling knowledge and skills, supported by research and other empirical evidence. After completing this program, you will meet the requirements for being license-eligible as a mental health counselor in New York State. Our program is based on a philosophy that emphasizes personal and professional growth, respect for human diversity, multicultural competence, social justice, client strengths and ethical responsibility. The MS in mental health counseling at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) for the period of February 2018 through February 2028.

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Why Mental Health Counseling at UB?

In our program you will:

  • understand the nature, development and treatment of various forms of mental health related problems
  • gain the knowledge and skills needed to utilize and evaluate evidence-supported practices
  • develop the counseling, assessment and consultation skills necessary for professional practice 
  • be capable of distinguishing between typical developmental issues from psychopathology and promoting strengths
  • be provided the opportunities to exhibit multicultural awareness, knowledge, skills and principles of social justice practice

Program Overview

Academic credential granted Master of Science (MS)
Credits required for completion 60
Time to completion 4 full-time semesters plus summer or 5 full-time semesters
Course delivery On campus

Mental health career settings include:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health centers
  • State government agencies
  • Substance abuse treatment facilities
Experiential contact hours 600
Application deadline Feb. 1

Program Coursework

Standard Program of Study

Semester 1

CEP 521 Introduction to Mental Health Counseling
CEP 532 Introduction to Statistical Research
CEP 653 Foundations of Counseling Theory*
CEP 504 Intro to Rehab of Substance Abuse (or CEP Elective)

Semester 2

CEP 615 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
CEP 618 Principles of Counseling Practice*
CEP 634 Multicultural Counseling
CEP 658 Introduction to Group Counseling

Semester 3

CEP 600MH Internship
CEP 586 Assessment in Mental Health Counseling**
CEP 695 Psychopathology & Evidence-based Interventions

Semester 4

CEP 600MH Internship
CEP 541 Human Growth and Development
CEP 664 Process of Consultation**

Semester 5

CEP Elective
CEP Elective
CEP 629 Family Counseling
CEP 680 Career Development

* Prerequisites for internship
**  Requires concurrent enrollment in internship

Accelerated Program of Study

You can complete this program with four semesters of full-time study plus coursework that is taken during the summer between the first and second years.


CEP 548 Coaching for Wellness
CEP 553 Self Care in Service
CEP 566 Wellness and Engagement
CEP 611 The Mindful Therapist
CEP 616 Grief Counseling
CEP 644 Counseling Children and Adolescents
CEP 645 Intro to School Counseling
CEP 661 Medical/Psychosocial Aspects of Disability and Chronic Illness
CEP 683 Vocational Placement Process

Additional electives are available, and vary by semester.

CEP 548, 553, 566 and 611 are offered through the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology's advanced certificate program in mindful counseling for wellness and engagement.

Internship (12 credits)

Six credits of CEP 600MHC Internship in Mental Health Counseling are taken during third and fourth semesters in residency. You are required to complete a total 600 hours of on-site agency time in addition to attending the weekly internship class on campus. You will receive supervision from the on-site clinical supervisor as well as supervision and didactic instruction in the CEP 600MHC Internship course over the span of the clinical internship.

Concurrently with CEP 600MHC Internship, you must also enroll in:

CEP 586 Assessment in Mental Health Counseling (during semester 3)
CEP 664 Process of Consultation (during semester 4)

Program Handbook

Application Requirements

You must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. 

Submit your completed online application, which includes:

  • Application fee: A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system.
  • Graduate Record Exam scores from tests taken within the last five years, including verbal, quantitative and writing sections. Please use institution code 2925 and department code 2005.
  • Contact information for at least three individuals who will each be asked to provide an electronic recommendation letter.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended. (UB transcripts are automatically submitted for current UB students and alumni.)
  • Statement of intent regarding why you want to become a mental health counselor.

Former/Maiden Name: Please provide us with your former/maiden name if you have one. When requesting transcripts, please ask the sending institution to indicate your current name and former/maiden name.

Admission Decision: The admission decision will be communicated to you as soon as review is complete. The decision is based on a number of factors and is the result of a thorough and deliberate process. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

International Applicant Additional Requirements
  • Official original proof of your degree
  • A copy of your passport biographical page
  • Official test scores for either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic. Test scores must be dated within two years of submitting your application.
    • TOEFL minimum score is a 250 for a computer based test, 600 for a paper based test and 79 for the Internet based test
    • IELTS minimum score is 6.5 overall
    • PTE minimum score is 55 overall
  • Financial documentation — International graduate applicants must document their ability to pay for all costs incurred while studying in the U.S.
  • An official bank statement

All financial forms and supporting documentation with required signatures must be uploaded with your application, and must be dated within one year of your intended enrollment date.

Are you in China and unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL?

If you currently in China and unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL tests because they are cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University at Buffalo will accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for proof of English proficiency. This test can be taken online, in your own home. More information can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

Learn More

University Computing Standards

You are required to have daily access to a reliable broadband connection and a computer that meets university computing standards. You are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning your coursework.