Mental Health Counseling Program

The Mental Health Counseling entry-level degree program is designed to prepare ethical, culturally competent counselors to provide professional counseling services in various clinical settings. The faculty-approved settings where students have served their internships include: mental health centers, women’s centers, state hospitals and training schools, facilities for clients with dual diagnoses, group homes (for youth and adults), primary prevention programs for children, youth and families, as well as multipurpose mental health agencies, and alcohol and substance abuse centers.


In addition to meeting the objectives listed on pages three-four, by completion of the Mental Health Counseling program, graduates will:

1 Be able to conduct clinical intakes and psychosocial histories;

2. Develop the knowledge and skills to assist clients from a variety of diverse perspectives (e.g., chronic severe mental illness, developmental issues, cultural issues such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.);

3. Demonstrate sound assessment and diagnostic skills;

4. Use current research to develop effective counseling treatment plans for persons with normal development issues and persons with mental illness;

5. Clearly articulate the role of professional counselors in mental health settings;

Program Requirements

The Mental Health Counseling option offers a comprehensive array of studies, which integrates the historical, philosophical, societal, cultural, economic, and political dimensions of mental health counseling with the roles, functions, and professional identity of clinical counselors. Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders are included in the coursework.

Students begin the program in the fall session and must be enrolled on a full-time basis (including the summer session between their first and second years) through the spring semester of the second year. Students will be awarded a combined M.Ed. and Ed.S. degree upon completion of the Mental Health Counseling program.

Practicum and Internship Requirements: Students’ field experiences are comprised of a 100-hour practicum in the Personal and Career Development Center operated by the Counselor Education Program and a 900-hour internship in an appropriate, approved mental health setting. Students complete their practicum in their first spring semester. Of the 100 hours required, students must accrue a minimum of 40 hours of direct client contact (e.g., intakes, assessment, counseling). Students complete 100 hours their internship during the summer between their first and second year of study and then 800 hours during the fall and spring of their second year (400 hours each semester). Of the 900 hours required, a minimum of 360 must be direct client contact. Students attend weekly group supervision in their internship seminar and also receive weekly individual supervision from their on-site supervisors. Examples of previous internship sites include the UVA Women’s Center, Charlottesville League of Therapists, Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents, Region Ten Community Services Board, Shelter for Help in Emergency, and the Sexual Assault Resource Agency. Please see the Practicum and Internship Guidelines for further information. These are distributed during the academic year.

Coursework: The Mental Health Counseling program requires a minimum of 60 (core, specialty, elective) credit hours. Please see the section in the Student Handbook on the Common Core Courses (pp. 7-8). Following is a list of required specialty area courses and the suggested sequence for completing coursework. Because the specialty courses are offered only once a year (as are many of the core courses), if students do not take these courses during the semesters suggested below, it will most likely delay the date of graduation by one year.

Required Specialty Courses in Mental Health Counseling: 32 Credits


EDHS 731 3 Mental Health Counseling I

EDHS 732 3 Mental Heath Counseling II

EDHS 768 3 Psychopathology

EDHS 824 3 Substance Abuse Counseling

EDHS 828 3 Marriage & Family Dynamics

EDHS 829 3 Practicum in Mental Health Counseling

EDHS 839 9 Master’s Internship

Electives: 5 The Mental Health Counseling option requires a

minimum of 5 hours of advisor-approved electives directly related to mental health counseling.

Suggested Course Sequence for Mental Health Students

All courses are three-credits unless otherwise noted






EDHS 721-Intro to the Profession

(2 credits)

EDHS 724-Group Counseling Procedures

EDHS 722-Intro to Career Interventions

EDHS 733-2

Ethical-Legal Aspects of Counseling

(2 credits)

EDHS 727-Research & Evaluation

EDHS 723-Theories & Techniques

EDHS 732-Mental Health Counseling II

EDHS 730-Multicultural Counseling

EDHS 828-Marriage & Family

EDHS 839-Internship

(4 credits)

EDHS 729-Essential Counseling Skills

EDHS 768-Psychopathology

EDHS 839-Internship

(1 credit)*

EDHS 839-Internship

(4 Credits)

Possible Elective Class(es)

(1-6 credits)

EDHS 731-Mental Health Counseling I

EDHS 824-Substance Abuse




EDLF 718-Tests & Measurements*

(2 credits)


EDLF 716-Human Growth and Development

EDHS 829 – Practicum


Possible Elective Class (1-3 credits)


EDHS 733-1 Ethical-Legal Aspects of Counseling (Intro)

(1 credit)





15 Hours

15 Hours

7 Hours

11 + Hours (depending on elective)**

7 + Hours (depending on elective)

*Mental Health Counseling Internship begins in mid-late July.

**Reminder—Students need a minimum of 5 credits of electives