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Mental Health Counseling

Philadelphia Campus


Master of Science (MS) in Mental Health Counseling

The Mental Health Counseling degree program prepares master’s-level graduates to pursue further doctoral training and/or credentialing to work in the mental health field. Our program is designed to meet the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) educational requirements in many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Elective courses provide the opportunity to receive advanced training in addictions treatment; cognitive behavioral therapy; applied behavioral analysis; and counseling in medical settings.

Designed to be completed in two years by full-time students, the program also offers part-time options. Most courses meet in the evenings, and a few courses meet on Saturdays.


Program Details

The Mental Health Counseling program provides specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy and training in empirically supported treatment techniques. The mission of the program is to prepare highly skilled, compassionate counselors to provide empirically based, culturally sensitive and collaborative interventions.

Grounded in the cognitive-behavioral tradition, this program trains practitioner-scholars to offer assessment, therapy, consultation, program evaluation, social justice advocacy and follow-up services.

Incorporating knowledge of the biopsychosocial model (mind + body + interpersonal/culture/community), the program provides a foundation for ethical practice that facilitates the well-being of individuals, families and communities.


PCOM offers two MS counseling programs:

Standardized Patient Program

PCOM offers a standardized patient program where students practice counseling skills in a simulated environment with faculty review sessions.

MS in Mental Health Counseling and Counseling and MS in Clinical Health Psychology students participate in multiple clinical interviews using the Standardized Training and Evaluation of Psychologists and Psychotherapists (STEPPS) program. STEPPS is a performance-based program that provides the opportunity for students to practice their clinical skills and receive feedback. The STEPPS program consists of standardized patients (SPs), who are individuals specifically trained to accurately simulate medical and mental health conditions in a standardized way that facilitates the assessment of the student's counseling skills.

Each STEPPS video is digitally recorded. Students are able to review their STEPPS clinical interviews, track their progress, and use feedback to inform personal learning goals. Additionally, each student is assigned a PCOM faculty member/supervisor who will evaluate and review each of his or her STEPPS interviews. Students then have the opportunity to receive feedback from their supervisor in a face-to-face conference. Finally, students write a reflection paper following each STEPPS interview wherein they reflect on their performance, including strengths and areas they would like to improve.

Career Options

  • This curriculum fulfills the course requirements for becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • The addictions and correctional counseling specialization provides students with a foundational curriculum, additional coursework, and specialized practicum experiences to prepare them to work in addiction recovery and correctional settings.
  • According to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis Behavioral Health Workforce Projections, demand for mental health counselors is projected to exceed supply by 2030.

Program Highlights

Mental Health Counseling (MS)

Curriculum and Training

Students complete a foundation curriculum and electives in the program. They receive specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy.


Electives can be in a variety of topic areas, such as marriage and family therapy, trauma and others, or can focus on health counseling/behavioral medicine, cognitive-behavior therapy, or addictions and correctional counseling.

Treating the Whole Person

Our programs emphasize treatment of the whole person, incorporating knowledge of mind and body to promote health and wellness.

Faculty Role

Faculty mentorship is a key component of our programs.


All courses are offered in the evenings and on some weekends.