MS in Mental Health Counseling Program | MHC Degree at PCOM
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Mental Health Counseling

Philadelphia Campus

  • No GRE or MAT required
  • Designed to be completed in 24 months
  • Classes held on weekday evenings
  • Faculty mentorship for professional growth
  • Simulated patient program

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Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling 
MHC Degree Program

The Mental Health Counseling degree program prepares master’s-level graduates to pursue credentialing to work in the mental health field as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Our program meets the educational requirements in nearly all states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


The mental health counseling master's program provides specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy and training in empirically supported treatment techniques. Each course has a diversity learning objective. Students practice counseling skills in a simulated environment using the Standardized Training and Evaluation of Psychologists and Psychotherapists (STEPPS) program. This performance-based program provides an opportunity for students to practice their clinical skills and receive feedback.


What Our Students Say

“A holistic approach is important to me as a provider as many individuals of color are not seen nor heard past the color of their skin. When I was looking at various programs, PCOM's values really stood out to me and I felt that I was able to align my own values with that of PCOM's.”

Shannon Tissera

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Shannon Tissera portrait

“I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful professors/counselors that I have learned so much from. Not to mention meeting some amazing future colleagues that I cannot wait to make referrals for!”

Jillian Lynch

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Jillian Lynch portrait

“I like that PCOM emphasizes conceptualizing the individual through their mind, body and spirit. I also like being at a school with different types of healthcare professionals and participating in an integrated learning environment.”

Samantha Stolker

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Samantha Stolker portrait

"My degree at PCOM helped prepare me to provide trauma-informed behavioral health services in a sensitive, effective manner. PCOM also allowed me to learn how to effectively work as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team, which is a vital component for preventing and responding to medical trauma in healthcare settings.”

Nic Schmoyer, PhD (MS '21, current faculty)

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Nic Schmoyer, PhD (MS '21, current faculty) portrait

Our Counseling program emphasizes treatment of the whole person, incorporating knowledge of mind and body to promote health and wellness. Students complete a foundational curriculum and receive specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy and suicide assessment.

Advocacy project and poster session

A student pursuing a degree in mental health counseling presents details of his advocacy project as part of a poster presentation.The student advocacy project and poster session was developed to embody the essence of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics which suggests that counselors should advocate at individual and systems levels to help reduce barriers to client growth and well-being. To that end, students will identify a social advocacy need, cause, and/or a vulnerable population for which they will develop and implement a manageable action plan over three semesters.

How to Apply

Visit the application requirements page to learn about admissions requirements, the application process and the admissions process for PCOM's MS in Mental Health Counseling program.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid

PCOM is committed to helping students maximize funding sources and minimize student debt. Visit our Office of Financial Aid section to learn about cost of attendance, types of aid available and how to apply for financial aid.

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Contact Us

For more information, please contact:

PCOM Office of Admissions
Phone: 215-871-6700 | Fax: 215-872-6719

  • This curriculum fulfills the course requirements for becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • 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.

The mission of the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program is to prepare highly skilled, self-aware, compassionate counselors who provide evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and collaborative treatment using a whole person approach.

Grounded in the cognitive-behavioral tradition, this program trains practitioner-scholars to offer assessment, therapeutic interventions, consultation, program evaluation and follow-up services using a collaborative integrative approach. Incorporating knowledge of the biopsychosocial model, the program provides a foundation for ethical practice and advocacy that facilitates the well-being of individuals, families and communities. The program also trains students to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary settings as health service professionals and to engage in self-care and self-reflection.

The MHC degree program prepares master’s level graduates with the attitudes, knowledge and skills to obtain credentialing as a licensed professional counselor in many states, become advocacy-oriented practitioners and/or pursue further doctoral training.

Program objectives

The MS in Mental Health Counseling program:

  • Meets the requirements for licensure as a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and many other states.
  • Graduates students who have a strong counseling identity and are competent in clinical skills and cognitive behavioral interventions.
  • Facilitates standardized patient (SP) experiences for students as a way to assess students’ clinical skills.
  • Provides students with Interprofessional Education (IPE) experiences in which they collaborate with students and faculty across disciplines as a way to learn with, from and about each other.

Consistent with the program’s mission and vision, all graduates will demonstrate competency in program requirements. Graduates will also demonstrate competency in their respective specialty area.

Upon completion of the MS in Mental Health Counseling Program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the multiple professional roles and functions of counselors across specialty areas (Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical Practice)
  2. Employ a professional counseling identity that includes the integration of self as a vehicle for self-awareness and reflective practices (Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical Practice)
  3. Practice counseling in an ethical and legal manner that aligns with the American Counseling Association (ACA) (Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical Practice)
  4. Analyze individual and family development theories and models across the lifespan (Human Growth & Development)
  5. Evaluate career development theories and models as they relate to the interrelationships of the client's world of work, mental well-being, relationships, and other life roles and factors (Career Development)
  6. Demonstrate application of multicultural counseling competencies and social justice advocacy efforts (Social & Cultural Diversity)
  7. Utilize counseling theories to guide case conceptualization, treatment planning, and clinical practice (Counseling & Helping Relationships)
  8. Apply the theoretical foundations of group counseling and group work to maximize group effectiveness and address the cultural needs of clients (Group Counseling & Group Work)
  9. Select, administer, and interpret assessments and test that are grounded in evidence-based counseling practices (Assessment & Testing)
  10. Use ethical and culturally relevant strategies for conducting, interpreting, and reporting the results of research (Research & Program Evaluation)
  11. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in theory and practice (Specialty Area: CBT)
  12. Apply the principles of working in an Inter-professional collaborative team aimed at treating the whole person (Specialty Area: Interdisciplinary whole person approach)

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

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 their 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.

Student mentors

Each incoming first-year student chooses a second-year student as their mentor. Second year students serving as mentors meet with first-year students as often as the two would like but at least once a month. This mentoring relationship often lasts as long as the mentee is a student but often extends after graduation. This mentorship program was created as a result of student interest and is sustained by the program director and an interested student.

Mental Health Counseling Support Group for People of Color

People of color remain a highly underrepresented group in graduate level programs across the United States. Many researchers have reported that people of color have a tendency to isolate and struggle in silence when they are considered the minority. The Counselors of Color support group was created with the intention to diminish the desire for people of color to matriculate through the graduate process alone and promote intentionality through connection, support and collaboration. This group aligns with the College's stance on its commitment to diversity as well as the Counseling Department's mission and learning objectives. Monthly meetings are facilitated by a faculty advisor with the goal of addressing the unique challenges of graduate school and other important life areas.

Personal growth group

Three students pursuing a degree in mental health counseling are pictured in a classroom with a professor.Many of us are drawn to the counseling field because empathy is part of our way of being, knowing, and understanding. However, it can be a challenge to translate our natural interpersonal skills into the counseling setting. The personal growth group provides students who are looking to grow in this area the opportunity to continue developing their empathy and interpersonal skills as well as see group processes in action. Members of the group engage in this growth opportunity with their fellow students to be able to meet goals with the support of their peers and the facilitator. The group functions like a closed counseling group and runs for 6 to 8 sessions depending on the changing needs of the group members.

LGBTQ+ group

Here in PCOM's Counseling Program, we have a group geared toward people who are either members or allies of the LGBTQ+ community. The group is centered on creating avenues for fellowship and service among community members and allies. We split our time between bonding, processing life, and pursuing means for giving back. We focus on ensuring that the group is led by members of the community, too!

Mental Health Counseling Program News

Learn More About the MHC Degree Program