Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A./ED.S.) - JMU

M.A/ED.S in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program welcomes a diverse student population and encourages applicants of different ages, from different social, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, and with different abilities and learning styles. The program provides the coursework necessary for students to become Licensed Professional Counselors in community mental health centers, community agencies, mental health facilities, and private practice settings. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the three-year, 60-credit-hour program leads to the awarding of both the Master of Arts and the Educational Specialist degrees. Graduates are also eligible to become Board Certified Counselors.

We offer small, experiential classes that rarely involve more than eight to ten students. Our dynamic and student-focused faculty members have been the recipients of national ACES awards, along with numerous other honors at the regional, state, university, college, and department levels. Students receive constant feedback and supervision throughout their training. We place great emphasis on personal and professional growth and the practical application of skills at our on-campus practicum and community-based internship sites.

During the 2022-2023 academic year, 29 students were enrolled in the JMU Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. The total number of graduates during this academic year was 10. In recent years, we have typically admitted nine or ten students into the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program each fall semester. Our full-time students complete the program in three years and our part-time students usually complete the program in five years. Our completion rate for full-time and part-time students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program for the graduating cohort was 91%.

View the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program 2022-2023 Annual Report

Once they graduate, our alumni who desire to be licensed in Virginia then complete a 3,400 hour supervised residency that includes at least 2,000 hours of face-to-face client contact in providing clinical counseling services. Our students may apply up to 300 hours of their internship hours provided those hours were earned after the completion of 30 graduate semester hours and are in excess of the required 600 total internship hours and 240 face-to-face client contact hours of 240. For specific licensure information, please visit the Virginia Board of Counseling LPC Licensure Process Handbook.


The collective objectives of the Counseling Programs and specific objectives of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program are as follow:

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to take responsibility for embodying and practicing professional and ethical standards at the degree of mastery. Graduates are able to and hold themselves and colleagues accountable for practicing as ethical professional counselors.

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to work collaboratively and responsibly with colleagues, clients, and community members representing a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Graduates are able to recognize their own beliefs and values and embrace attitudes and practices of understanding, respecting, and competently addressing the beliefs and values of others.

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to apply developmentally appropriate counseling theories and techniques, which are ethically and culturally relevant, in the best interest of their clients.

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to provide developmentally appropriate career assessment and intervention strategies. Accounting for the clients’ varying stages of career and educational development, program graduates employ relevant assessments and apply labor market trends.

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to provide evidence-based counseling service to diverse clients, grounded in principles of developmental competence, empathy, humanism, and social justice. Program graduates are able to make decisions that are in the best interests of their clients.

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to employ relevant assessments related to clients and programs in their respective workplaces. Program graduates are able to assess clients for serious and foreseeable harm to self or others and/or abuse and neglect.

JMU Counseling Program graduates are able to critically evaluate research related to core areas of counseling practice and use data-informed decision-making practices for program evaluation and management.

JMU Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program graduates demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to address a wide variety of circumstances within the context of clinical mental health counseling. Applying evidence-based interventions for prevention and treatment of a broad range of mental health issues, graduates also demonstrate skills for interprofessional collaboration and advocacy.