Admissions & Aid
The Master of Arts degree in mental health counseling (MHC) prepares students to work within medical, community, and private practice settings. Through rigorous academic course work and clinical internship training, students learn to apply mental health approaches to contemporary practice, assessment, and treatment. The MHC program provides in-depth exposure to three principal approaches to counseling: psychodynamic, experiential/humanistic, and cognitive/behavioral. The program focuses primarily on clinical work with adults and families. After 3,000 hours of supervised, postdegree experience, students are eligible to take an exam for licensure permitting private and independent practice of counseling.
Licensed mental health counselors can treat mental illness and apply their skills in a variety of career settings, including mental health organizations, educational settings, agencies, and corporate environments.
The program information listed here reflects the approved curriculum for the 2023-2024 academic year per the Brooklyn College Bulletin. Bulletins from past academic years can be found here.
The 60-credit master’s degree in mental health counseling (MHC) prepares students to work as mental health counselors within medical, community, and private practice settings. Through rigorous academic course work and clinical internship training, students learn to apply mental health approaches to contemporary practice, assessment, and treatment. The MHC program provides in-depth exposure to three principal approaches to counseling: psychodynamic, experiential/humanistic, and cognitive-behavioral. In addition to the internship, students perform intake evaluations and psychotherapy at the college’s counseling center. The program focuses primarily on clinical work with adults and families. After 3,000 hours of supervised, post-degree experience, students are eligible to take an exam for licensure permitting private and independent practice of counseling.
Applicants must offer a minimum of 15 credits in undergraduate courses in psychology, with at least one course in each of the following areas: child or adolescent (developmental) psychology; general or introductory psychology; abnormal psychology’ psychopathology; and statistics or evidence of appropriate comparable background in related fields. Applicants must provide a personal statement, including discussion of related work, internship and/or personal experiences. Applicants must also submit letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with applicants’ professional and academic experience. The program invites selected applicants to participate in an interview and to complete an on-site writing sample.
General matriculation and admission requirements of Graduate Studies are in the section “Admission.”
Sixty credits are required for the degree, a minimum of 48 of which must be taken in the Psychology Department. Students must pass a comprehensive examination after completing 48 credits.
Required courses are: Psychology 7410G, 7720G, 7755G, 7421G, 7431G, 7771G, 7441G, 7449G, 7442G, 7443G, 7110G, 7544G, 7591G, 7545G, 7106G, 7592G, 7245G; the remainder of each student’s program must be approved by the program director. The program must be completed on a full-time basis.
Failure to earn a grade of B (3.00) or better in any one attempt at Psychology 7431G, 7449G, 7591G or 7592G may result in implementation of a student remediation plan, independent of the overall GPA, as deemed appropriate and according to procedures adopted by the department. Following remediation, failure to earn a grade of B or better in a subsequent attempt at Psychology 7431G, 7449G, 7591G, or 7592G may result in restrictions on registration in the mental health counseling program. In addition, continued enrollment in all clinical practicum and internship courses is also contingent upon the student’s adherence to and demonstration of standards of professional conduct and demeanor as deemed appropriate by the Psychology Department in concurrence with standards codified in the American Psychological Association and American Counseling Association and American Mental Health Counseling Association professional and ethical codes and guidelines and New York State regulations, as well as Brooklyn College standards for student conduct. These standards include, but are not limited to, confidentiality, client welfare, honesty, and academic integrity. Significant and/or repeated violations of these standards may result in dismissal from the mental health counseling program when warranted and in conformity with policies and procedures adopted by the department and the college as appropriate.
Three thousand hours of supervised post-degree experience are required to be eligible for licensure permitting private practice of mental health counseling. Information about New York State licensing for mental health counseling may be found here.
Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:
Be advised this program does not accept nondegree-seeking applicants.
Refer to the instructions at Graduate Admissions.
5401 James Hall
222 West Quad Center
2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210
Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
To make an appointment with a graduate admissions counselor, visit:
BC Admissions Appointment Tool
Application Summary Factsheet (PDF)
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.30 on a 4.00 scale (or equivalent) from an international institution, and relevant professional or volunteer experience.
Applicants should also possess a minimum of 15 credits in psychology courses with at least one course in each of the following areas:
While applicants may apply with deficits in their undergraduate psychology preparation, if admitted they are required to complete additional undergraduate course work before or during graduate study. Applicants with no prerequisite psychology courses, who are strong students (GPA of 3.30 or above) with good understanding and motivation related to mental health counseling, may apply if able to complete the required courses before entering the program.
Related internship, work experience, or participation in personal counseling or psychotherapy are not required but are considered highly desirable. Most accepted applicants have such experience(s).
Applicants must provide a personal statement, including discussion of related work, internship, and/or personal experiences. Applicants must also submit three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with applicants’ professional and academic experience. Provide at least two academic references. The program invites select applicants to participate in an on-site or phone interview and to complete an on-site writing sample.
Successful applicants to the MHC program usually have some kind of related work, internship, or volunteer experience(s) that involves helping others in such settings as hotline, peer counseling, tutoring programs, teaching, camp counselor, social services, etc.
We admit approximately 60 applicants for each fall to fill 40 places, which are divided into cohorts of 20 students each to limit class sizes. More than 200 applications are received each year. Good-quality applicants, who meet our entrance requirements, have a strong chance of being offered an on-site group interview and subsequent admission.
While standardized tests are not required, applicants are encouraged to submit GRE (including the Psychology Subject Test), MAT, and other test scores, especially if their undergraduate records do not adequately reflect their academic abilities.
While there is no minimum GPA required for admission, most successful applicants possess a GPA of 3.30 or above.
There are always exceptional circumstances: people who performed poorly years ago but have since performed well in subsequent academic or work settings; students who performed poorly for a period but subsequently sustained a much higher level of performance, particularly in upper-level psychology courses; etc. Please address such issues in the personal statement.
Applicants with poor academic records need to demonstrate sufficient academic preparation in psychology.
Preparation can be demonstrated by performing well on the GRE Psychology Subject Test, attaining strong grades in graduate-level courses, and addressing preparation in the personal statement. You may apply without being able to demonstrate appropriate preparation, but you should be aware that you will be competing for admission with relatively large numbers of strong applicants.
The Mental Health Counseling Program requires the following application materials:
Nonmatriculated students are not permitted to take program courses.
We do not offer spring or part-time admission. All students begin in the fall semester of each academic year. The program may be offered on a part-time basis or with spring admission in future years.
Only credits for courses that are directly equivalent to MHC Program course requirements may be applied toward this degree, with the possible exception of one advanced elective. A maximum of 12 credits may be transferred from other institutions or from outside the Psychology Department. Courses that have already been applied to an awarded degree may not be transferred. It is not possible for the program to pre-evaluate which credits would be eligible for transfer.
It is difficult to apply as a transfer student because most other MHC programs are not interchangeable (directly equivalent) with the Brooklyn College program. It is unusual for students to have all of the courses required to enter the second year of our program. Also, because we have only one elective course, we are unable to award credits for courses that do not match those in our curriculum.
If you wish to apply as a transfer student, compare the courses you have completed with those required for the Brooklyn College MHC Program, especially first-year courses. If you think you have completed a directly equivalent course for nearly all first-year courses, file an official admission application. Also e-mail or fax a complete copy of your application, including an unofficial transcript copy, a description of all equivalent courses, and a syllabus for each.
The MHC Program is not well-suited for those holding related degrees because we cap transfer at a maximum of 12 credits. Those wanting to “fill in” a few “missing” courses to qualify for licensing will not find the MHC Program a good fit for this purpose. This may change in the future.
If you have a school counseling degree, you may instead want to consider mental health licensing preparation courses.
We strongly encourage all applicants to complete their application as early as possible—during December, January, or February, if possible. We accept applications for fall from December through March 1 (and beyond on a space-available basis). We will begin scheduling interviews and making admissions offers by e-mail in January. Please check your spam filter, junk mail folder, etc.
Call us if you would like to apply late, and we’ll let you know if we are still considering applications. Most applicants can expect a decision by June 1.
See the Applications section for more details about applying.
Brooklyn College’s tuition and fees compare favorably with most private university programs, and class sizes are small. Students are expected to pay tuition for four academic semesters (fall, spring, fall, spring), one summer course (after year 1), and two January courses (in years 1 and 2). First-year students may apply for financial aid but are usually not eligible to apply for scholarships. Occasionally a small amount of additional aid funds are available through the Psychology Department. In previous years, approximately six MHC students have received aid grants of approximately $500 to $800 each.
Although it may be possible to work on a part-time basis during the first year, it is not advisable to do so. It is virtually impossible to do so during the second, with its 20-hour per-week internship, plus course work and comprehensive examination. Occasionally we offer a small number of part-time clerical support staff positions through the Personal Counseling Program or Psychology Department offices. These positions generally pay approximately $12 per hour.
Students who need housing should plan their arrival in New York to allow sufficient time before classes begin in order to arrange housing. Low-cost housing in New York City can sometimes take considerable time to locate. The college provides housing information for the convenience of its students. Housing arrangements, however, are the exclusive responsibility of the student.
In the first semester of the program, students undertake an introductory MHC course in addition to developmental psychology, psychopathology, and clinical assessment, with an assessment practicum. An intensive January course covers ethical and legal issues in counseling.
In the second semester, students undertake course work in psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral approaches to counseling as well as group processes. Students continue to explore the counseling process through role-play and other in-class exercises in their counseling practicum course. Through this course, they have the opportunity to conduct, intake, and counsel a relatively uncomplicated client at the Brooklyn College Personal Counseling Program. They also may continue their counseling practicum at the college’s Personal Counseling Program and may begin their clinical internships.
Over the summer, students participate in a social, linguistic, and cultural foundations of counseling course.
In the third semester, internship experience is the primary focus. Students carry out a 20-hour per-week internship at a site of their choosing. MHC faculty members provide group supervision of interns as part of a yearlong internship course (six credits per semester). In conjunction with the internship class, in-depth course work focuses on experiential approaches and couples and family counseling.
An intensive January course covers career development counseling. In the final semester of the MHC Program, course work relates to research and program evaluation, along with an advanced elective. Students also continue with their yearlong internship and group supervision course.
This is a very demanding, full-time, daytime, year-round program. Although it may be possible to work on a part-time basis during the first year, by the second year outside work is generally not possible. The combination of internship and course work makes it very difficult to work while attending the program. We wish to stress that this is an intensive, two-year program with course work in the summer and during the January breaks. Please bear this in mind when deciding whether to apply.
The M.A. program requires the following courses (60 credits total). The ordering of specific courses, particularly intersession and summer classes, may vary annually.
The program is offered only on a full-time basis with fall admission.
Courses are scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students should expect to be on campus for classes three to four days per week (excluding Fridays). In addition, students are expected to be available for substantial, unpaid practicum work in the first year. Mandatory practicum client and supervision appointments may be scheduled for you on Fridays, Saturdays, and/or Sundays.
Courses are scheduled on Mondays and Wednesdays from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students are expected to be available for substantial, unpaid internship work, 20 hours per week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays), in the second year.
Outside employment cannot interfere with students’ ability to meet these requirements.
Students must pass a comprehensive examination after completing 48 credits in order to advance in the program. The comprehensive exam consists of diagnosis, formulation, treatment planning, etc., of two case vignettes, one psychodynamic and one CBT treatment approach. Detailed information about and practice for the comprehensive exam is provided to students through multiple courses.
In addition to course work, students complete a clinical internship in an approved mental health setting.
The 600-hour (approximately one year), unpaid internship is carried out in the second year. Our students have completed internships at various mental health agencies, clinics, hospitals, counseling centers, and specialized programs including domestic violence, substance abuse, and eating disorder settings. The internship is an opportunity to specialize in a treatment approach or client population or gain broad clinical training.
The Brooklyn College MHC internship coordinator must approve all sites before students can begin their internship placements. Approval decisions are based on the breadth and depth of experience offered at the site, in addition to the setting. In all cases, on-site supervision is required by a credentialed mental health professional with at least three years of appropriate professional experience. While the program maintains a list of approved internship sites, we encourage students to apply to additional sites of interest.
The Brooklyn College MHC Program requires the following of all internship placements:
Internship students are required to keep weekly logs of their hours, activities, and details of the clinical work being carried out at their practicum sites. These logs are submitted to the Brooklyn College internship supervisor on a monthly basis, accompanied by a Supervisor Verification of Internship Hours Form, which certifies the supervision times and content of discussion, signed by the supervising counselor. MHC students who do not complete the minimum number of direct contact hours during the academic year (i.e., 240 hours) are required to complete their hours in the summer following the second year of the program. Internship site supervisors formally evaluate students at the end of each semester. Students are required to keep a copy of this evaluation, which is reviewed and signed by the student, the internship site supervisor, and the Brooklyn College internship course instructor.
While there are undergraduate teaching opportunities, first-year master’s students typically do not have the academic background or experience to teach these courses. It might be possible for an exceptional second-year student with appropriate background and experience to be considered for a teaching position.
There are opportunities to participate in research projects, although this is a practice-oriented program and not primarily a research program. You also may arrange to carry out a research project with a Psychology Department faculty member. The MHC Program provides a research course in the final semester, and clinical research is addressed in most courses. Applicants who intend to pursue research or university teaching as a significant part of their careers are advised to attend a doctoral program.
We encourage MHC students seeking internship to apply to additional sites beyond those listed.
Representative sites that have indicated interest in hosting—or have hosted—interns from the MHC Program:
Prior to 2015:
*Indicates intern currently or formerly placed on-site.
The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics offers national projections on job prospects for mental health counselors and related professionals. The New York State Department of Labor periodically posts information about the prospective employment status of mental health counselors in the New York City area.
In addition, services provided by licensed MHC practitioners are covered by some insurers. Coverage regulations are governed by the policies of the individual insurance providers. Visit the New York State Department of Education’s Office of Professions website for additional practice information.
The American Mental Health Counselors Association and American Counseling Association both offer career centers and professional development information for members.
Effective January 1, 2010, persons must have completed a 60-credit program to meet the education requirement for licensure as a mental health counselor in New York State. Many other states already require a 60-credit degree for licensure. Check with the American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Counseling Association, or state counseling organizations for specific requirements and additional information:
The MHC degree is focused on preparation for the counseling role, whereas social work programs also cover policy and case work. As a result, social work programs may give less attention to counseling training. On the other hand, social work is a more established profession in New York State. To our knowledge, entry-level salaries are comparable.
The Brooklyn College Mental Health Counseling Program was first offered in 2006 to address the needs of those training for the MHC license. Many other programs were created by altering or expanding existing tracks, which often are in Schools of Education and were originally designed to train school counselors. In addition, other programs may focus on one approach to counseling, with brief exposure to others, while the Brooklyn College program aims to provide in-depth exposure to each of the three principal approaches to counseling: cognitive-behavioral, experiential/humanistic, and psychodynamic counseling.
We also offer two specialized programs that require course work and fees in addition to those of our MHC Program. While undertaking the program—or, more usually, following its completion—students may opt to earn Advanced Certificates in grief counseling, autism spectrum disorders, or play therapy. An advanced certificate in aging and course work in substance abuse counseling leading to a CASAC are planned.
The master’s degree in mental health counseling is a two-year degree. Doctoral programs are considerably longer, typically a five- to eight-year commitment (although see ** below). Doctoral degree programs are appropriate for those interested in research or teaching careers.
While students may be able to transfer some credits from MHC courses toward a doctoral degree, this will depend on the policies and requirements of specific doctoral programs, and it is rare for a doctoral program to accept all master’s-level credits completed elsewhere. Those interested in doctoral-level work should inquire about the requirements of specific programs. Generally, the MHC Program is not the best avenue for those seeking a doctoral degree.
In general, a doctoral program provides more robust training than master’s degree programs, including MHC**. Although many students believe that the MHC will provide a quicker route to employment, a doctoral program may be almost as expeditious in length of training to reach full licensure with better, more diverse training and employment opportunities. The MHC program can be completed in two years, but an additional three years of postgrad (under-compensated), supervised work experience is required for full MHC licensure (versus one year of postdoc), making the total length and investment of the pre-licensure training period more similar than it might appear. Typically, pre-doctoral interns and postdocs are paid during training. For most students who can gain admission to a doctoral program, the doctoral program is a better option.
Visit the American Psychology Association website for additional information related to Accredited Doctoral Programs in Professional Psychology.
We accept applications for fall from December through March 1 (and beyond on a space-available basis). We will begin scheduling interviews and making admissions offers by e-mail in January. (Check your spam filter, junk mail folder, etc.)
We strongly encourage all applicants to complete their application as early as possible—during December, January, or February, if possible. Usually, we are able to consider late applications on a space-available basis through the spring (and sometimes into summer), and we urge you to apply late if you are interested in doing so. You can call or e-mail us to check whether we are still considering applications.
Applications and further information are available from the Brooklyn College Graduate Admissions website.
Be sure to complete and include your Application Summary Factsheet (pdf) with your application.
If you have had an interview but did not hear back from the program, e-mail us or call 718.951.5601.
If you have not received an interview but wish to ensure that we received and reviewed all of your application materials, e-mail us or call 718.951.5601. We regret that we cannot provide individual feedback to each student who applied to the program. However, please carefully review our admissions requirements.
This document is intended for those who have been offered admission for fall and are seeking information regarding official admission documents, registration for fall courses, prerequisites, transfer credits, etc.
Notice of admission-related information from the MHC Program is unofficial but does reflect the decision of the Program Admissions Committee and will lead to an official offer unless there are unusual circumstances, such as submission of fraudulent documents. You will receive from Graduate Admissions or the MHC Program notice of any outstanding application materials that need to be resolved, such as fee payment or missing official transcripts. The official admissions process proceeds slowly, so it may be many weeks before you receive official documents.
You are required to have completed a minimum of 15 prerequisite credits in undergraduate courses in psychology, with at least one course in each of the following areas:
You must have completed all four of these courses—plus at least one additional psychology course—with a satisfactory grade. Otherwise, you must submit a specific, written plan to satisfy these prerequisites. Options include:
Your admission is contingent upon having your plan approved by the program director as well as on verification of authenticity and accuracy of all your application documents and statements.
It is your responsibility to prepare a detailed plan and description of readings, activities, papers to be completed, etc., if anything other than formal course work is proposed.
Only credits for courses that are directly equivalent to MHC Program requirements may be applied toward this degree. A maximum of 12 credits may be transferred from other institutions and/or from outside the Psychology Department. Courses that have already been applied to another awarded degree may not be considered for transfer. Your proposal should tell us the number and name of the Brooklyn College MHC course for which you are seeking transfer credit and the details on the equivalent grad course(s) you have completed, including grades, course descriptions, syllabi, etc.
We prefer that you e-mail your transfer credit proposal. We need enough information to understand whether the courses for which you seek credit are directly equivalent in content to our required courses. If a course covers the same material as the MHC course, up to 12 credits may be accepted for transfer. There are three elective credits (one course) for which we can be more flexible in accepting transfer credit. The course must be reasonably related to MHC and not overly duplicative of curricular material from other MHC courses.
There are no summer MHC courses until after the first year, unless you have undergraduate prerequisites to complete. If you wish to enhance your preparation for the MHC Program, we recommend work as a volunteer at a hotline or other setting related to counseling.
As soon as your admission has been processed you may register for fall MHC courses, and you should do so as soon as possible. Courses are scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students should expect to be on campus three to four days per week (excluding Fridays). In addition, mandatory practicum client and supervision appointments may be scheduled for you on Fridays, Saturdays, and/or Sundays. You must register for all five courses listed below unless you have an approved or pending request for transfer credit for one or more of these:
Note: Times are subject to change. See the Bulletin and Schedule for course descriptions, schedule, etc.
MHC program administrative staff will contact you by e-mail to inform you about your section codes. They can be reached by e-mail or by phone, 718.951.5601.
Paying at least part of your tuition is required at the time of registration. If you require more time due to financial aid or immunization certification processing, let us know when you expect to be able to register. We will hold your place as long as these are in process and you keep us informed.
Be aware that this is a full-time program and any outside employment or other activity cannot interfere with your ability to participate in these requirements on a full-time basis.
It is usually not possible to schedule practicum supervision and client appointments according your convenience, around your work schedule, etc., so be prepared to set aside other activities to give priority to your program participation.
Consult the academic calendar to determine your first day of classes, orientation, and other events.
Under the terms of a CUNY-wide program, Brooklyn College students may enroll in the approved budgeted tuition payment plan.
To maximize the benefit of this plan, students should complete their enrollment and commence making payments two months before the start of the fall or spring semesters, but can enroll at any time as long as they pay “up-to-date” as of the date of enrollment. There is no payment plan for summer or intersession terms. The enrollment fee is $18. Interest is not charged, but late payment fees do apply.
The MHC Program, like all programs in New York State, is registered (approved) by the New York State Education Department and meets all NYSED laws, rules, and regulations, which are based on national accreditation standards. The MHC Program has not yet applied for accreditation, since programs must first operate for three years. The educational programs of Brooklyn College are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
It is unlikely that the accreditation status of the program would impact on students or graduates—especially in New York State—because the program is constructed in compliance with national standards incorporated into NYSED regulations. You may have to submit more detailed descriptive information (e.g., copies of course syllabi, etc.) about the MHC Program to licensing authorities in states other than New York in order for them to verify that the program meets their standards.
If you know that you intend to seek a license in another state, you should check with local licensing authorities—even after attending an accredited program—since each state has its own procedures and regulations. Most state standards are based on the national standards also employed by New York State. For example, not every state licenses master’s-level mental health practitioners (approximately 40 states do). Therefore, if you intend to practice in a specific state, you should ensure that they license MHCs and become familiar with the detailed requirements for that state.
Although there is no formal deferred admission to the MHC Program, you are welcome to re-apply without prejudice for the next admission date. You can contact Graduate Admissions and request that they reactivate your application file. There is no guarantee of admission a second time, but your chances would be very good, having been admitted previously.
We advise applicants who intend to put off pursuing a degree for financial reasons to consider their options carefully. It usually makes more sense to take a loan than to avoid borrowing through continued work. We understand that debt can be a concern, but often a decision to withdraw does not add up in our view should you put off enrollment for one year solely to earn money.
The annual tuition at Brooklyn College is relatively affordable. Most applicants already have invested substantially (at least their time) in an undergraduate education, so to delay over a relatively small further investment may not make sense in the long run. Admittedly, there may be many factors influencing your decision of which we are unaware.
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Brooklyn College is an integral part of the cultural and artistic energy of New York City. Our faculty members in Psychology offer incomparable expertise and tremendous talent, and each brings a unique perspective to their teaching and mentoring in and out of the classroom.
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Through job fairs, the internship database, and internship panels, the Magner Career Center gives students in the psychology—mental health counseling M.A. program access to internships and jobs at a variety of organizations, including:
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