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Counseling & Psychology

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts (MA), full-time or part-time graduate program

Listen with purpose.

Develop the understanding, social justice perspective, and clinical expertise needed to become a creative and effective mental health counselor. Gain comprehensive training and eligibility for your counseling license by completing one or two internships for a total of 700 to 1,300 hours of field experience. Through coursework and supervised contact with clients, become versed in the ethical and professional guidelines for practice, and leave fully prepared to counsel individuals, families, and groups.

In our graduate clinical mental health counseling program, you’ll examine the human condition from multiple angles, from the physical and behavioral to the cultural and spiritual.  

You'll be guided and supported in gaining a nuanced understanding of yourself as an instrument of therapeutic benefit to others—that is, how your lived experience impacts your values, beliefs, and perspectives on the nature of well-being. Both in the classroom and in the field, you’ll apply a social justice lens to mental health care and investigate issues of access and equity.

Our Cambridge location is a springboard to field placement opportunities, where you’ll put your learning into practice. You’ll work in clinics, schools, and community agencies alongside innovative mental health practitioners and activists. Our program emphasizes multicultural understanding and fosters the skills and abilities to work competently and respectfully with diverse populations. 

Graduate Program Inquiry Form

Program Structure

Full-time or part-time on-campus program

60 Credits

  • Lesley-Somerville ARPA Scholars Application

    Lesley University has been awarded a Federal ARPA grant through the City of Somerville to financially support Somerville residents or individuals employed in Somerville who wish to pursue or advance a professional undergraduate or graduate degree at Lesley University in Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, or Human Services.  

    • New students must apply to and be accepted into one of the eligible programs at Lesley to be considered for ARPA funding.
    • Matriculated students in one of the eligible programs may apply for the ARPA funding. 
    • Accepted applicants for the ARPA funds will receive tuition relief at Lesley University for up to one year during the period from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. Funding decisions will be made on a funds-available basis. 
    • Lesley’s financial aid team will work with individuals to identify additional funding opportunities beyond the first year of study. 
    • All ARPA funding applicants are required to fill out a FAFSA form regardless of need. 

    Apply for ARPA funding

  • Riverside Scholars@Lesley

    We are thrilled to introduce Riverside Scholars@Lesley - a groundbreaking solution to address the nationwide shortage of mental health professionals. Riverside Scholars@Lesley is an innovative workforce development partnership between Riverside Community Care and Lesley University. Riverside Scholars@Lesley offers exciting benefits to students admitted to Lesley's M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program who apply for this program. Riverside Scholars benefits include:

    • A $15,000 tuition scholarship
    • A guaranteed internship at Riverside Community Care
    • Priority consideration for post-graduation employment at Riverside Community Care
    • Additionally, Riverside Scholars alumni who are employed by Riverside Community Care immediately after graduation from Lesley are eligible for:
      • A $5,000 payment at the end of their first year of full-time employment with Riverside Community Care, and
      • A $10,000 payment at the end of their second year of full-time employment with Riverside Community Care

    Riverside Scholars@Lesley is designed to facilitate a smooth transition from student to practicing counselor, providing a supportive cohort to nurture the well-being of counselors throughout their careers. Admission to Riverside Scholars is ongoing until all available seats are filled, and enrollment is granted on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to apply for Spring 2024 is November 1. Applicants are encouraged to call if they apply after the deadline.

    Apply for Riverside Scholars@Lesley

group of women working at table
700 hours of field experience

One-Internship Option

The one-internship option is the most flexible way to complete your 60-credit master’s degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. If you choose to do one internship, over 2 semesters, you’ll engage in 700 hours of supervised internship/field experience in a clinical setting. You’ll earn 6 graduate credits through the supervision courses you take while completing your internship and you will meet the minimum requirements for licensure in Massachusetts. Because you’ll be doing one internship, you’ll take 18 credits in electives.

school guidance counselor
1,300 hours of field experience

Two-Internship Option

You might choose the two-internship option to gain experience in an organization that will only accept students who already have internship experience in a clinical setting, or if you want to gain experience in a variety of settings. Over four semesters, you’ll engage in 1,300 hours of supervised internships/field experiences in clinical or school settings. You’ll earn 12 graduate credits through supervision courses while completing your internships, and you'll exceed the minimum requirements for licensure in Massachusetts. Because you’ll be doing an additional internship, you'll take 12 credits in electives.

Where Students Intern
Our field training office will guide you in finding the best placement to grow your skills, match your career goals, and meet requirements for licensure. With over 450 sites in the Greater Boston area and beyond, and new sites added every year, you'll have the opportunity to explore the variety of roles that professional counselors serve, including:

Expected Program Competencies and Outcomes

Learn more about the expected competencies and outcomes that our clinical mental health counseling programs meet:

  • Read the Program Outcomes

    Outcome 1: Professional counselor identity development integrating multicultural awareness, culturally competent counseling, and social justice advocacy interventions

    Outcome 2: Capacity for empathic engagement, therapeutic alliance, and critical self-reflection as a counselor including the recognition of personal worldview and biases to enhance working with diverse groups in school and community settings

    Outcome 3: Knowledge of cognitive, social, and emotional development across the lifespan including ecological, contextual, multicultural, and social justice foundations

    Outcome 4: Understanding of a variety of counseling theories, prevention, intervention, consultation, and social justice advocacy strategies

    Outcome 5: Knowledge of individual psychopathology, mental health assessment and diagnosis, as defined by classification systems such as Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) and the International Classification of Disease (ICD) and their relationship to treatment, prevention and knowledge of cultural biases associated with these systems

    Outcome 6: Ability to conduct an intake interview, use biopsychosocial case conceptualization for treatment planning, and conceptualize and deliver a case presentation in both written and oral form  

    Outcome 7: Knowledge regarding the use, limitations and interpretation of assessment tools with an awareness of the cultural bias in assessment protocols and use of assessment/evaluation instruments and techniques that foster social justice among diverse client populations

    Outcome 8: Skills for training, consulting, and collaborating with families, school personnel, and healthcare providers for education, systems change, and social justice advocacy

    Outcome 9: Understanding of ethical and legal professional standards of care grounded in federal and state laws, public policy processes, and ethical standards of ACA, AMHCA and ASCA

    Outcome 10: Knowledge of principles and practices of career counseling including the study of vocational/career development theories and decision making models; career assessment instruments and techniques, and the application of social justice theories to people’s vocational/career development

    Outcome 11: Understanding of how to critically evaluate and interpret traditional and social justice oriented research and apply relevant research in counseling practice with the knowledge of cultural biases associated with research practice

    Outcome 12: Knowledge of group theory, effective group interventions, principles of group dynamics, group processes, and group leadership, and the application of group work theory and practice to organizational dynamics and social justice advocacy in difficult settings

    Outcome 13: Neuroscience, physical and biological foundations of human development, behavior and wellness; including the use of neuro-scientific research findings for culturally competent counseling practices and social justice advocacy interventions

    Outcome 14: Completion of supervised field placement experiences that focus on the promotion of mental health, human development, wellness, cultural competency, and social justice advocacy, under the clinical supervision of appropriately credentialed professionals

man walking in harvard square, cambridge

Cambridge, MA

A nexus for higher education and mental health counseling practice and research, each year 250,000 students arrive to Cambridge from around the globe. The intellectual and cultural capital runs deep, and so do your opportunities addressing barriers to wellness. From Lesley’s location, access innovative community, hospital, and school-based mental health programs.

Licensure Information

Depending on your professional goals, where you reside or plan to practice, and the licensure requirements within that state, there are different pathways toward licensure or credentialing that may be relevant. In accordance with Lesley University’s institutional participation in SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) and with federal regulations, we strongly encourage prospective applicants who intend to pursue licensure in a state other than Massachusetts to visit the Lesley University Licensure and Credentialing webpage and review the “Licensure Information for Students and Applicants” document for their specific program.

Counselors, therapists, and other mental health practitioners were trained at Lesley University in the last 5 years, making us the largest provider of training for licensed mental health counselors in New England.
Massachusetts is the best state in the nation for mental health care according to Mental Health America, with excellent access to care for both youth and adults.
Careers in mental health counseling are expanding, with projections for a 22% increase in job openings from 2018 to 2028. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Jobs You Could Have
The field of mental health counseling is expanding rapidly, making this an exciting time to pursue graduate study. Common job titles for people with master's degrees in mental health counseling include:
Where Graduates Work
Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area have a large concentration of medical, healthcare, and mental health-related facilities and organizations. Graduates find careers in a wide range of places, including:


Total approximate cost for this master's degree program.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Tuition
    $1,300 x 60
  • Fees
    Field Experience Fees
    MAP Tevera Fee
    Comprehensive Fee
  • Total
Estimated Cost

All graduate students are reviewed for merit scholarships through the admissions process and are awarded at the time of acceptance. Other forms of financial aid are also available. Review all graduate tuition and fees, and what they cover. Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective in the Summer term.

  • Tuition
    $1,300/credit x 60
  • Fees
    Field Experience Fees
    MAP Tevera Fee
    Comprehensive Fee
  • Total
Estimated Cost

All graduate students are reviewed for merit scholarships through the admissions process and are awarded at the time of acceptance. Other forms of financial aid are also available. Review all graduate tuition and fees, and what they cover. Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective in the Summer term.

Apply Now

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.

Total approximate cost for this master's degree program. Tuition and fees are for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.