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Counseling & Psychology

Clinical Mental Health Counseling: School & Community Counseling

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

Help young people reach their academic and personal potential.

Train to excel as a counselor, learn to work with children, adolescents, families, teachers, and administrators while gaining consultation skills that support schools and community settings to address the needs of individuals and groups served. After completing your supervised field training hours, you will be eligible for both licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in addition to the initial license as School Counselor (K - 12) or School Adjustment Counselor (Grades K -12) from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Through our graduate program in school and community counseling, you’ll work with children and adolescents, as well as their families, to build an environment of respect, cooperation, and support.

At Lesley, we recognize the importance of regarding schools and communities as ideal places to promote growth, healing, and social change. You’ll benefit from our ongoing partnerships with public schools in the Boston area, and also from our well-established reputation training counselors for over 40 years.

Here, you’ll receive training that integrates school counseling with mind-body behavioral health, trauma studies, and social justice advocacy. As you gain the skills to guide youth toward personal and academic goals, you’ll learn to recognize multiple worldviews and the power of connection in the context of learning and counseling.

Choose to specialize in adjustment counseling or school counseling, and complete two internships. You’ll graduate prepared for professional licensure with options for working in both school and community settings in addition to being well prepared to make a meaningful difference in the lives of youth and their families.

Graduate Program Inquiry Form

Program Structure

Full-time or part-time on-campus program

60 Credits



Have questions about the clinical mental health counseling master's program? View our frequently asked questions to find your answer.

  • When do the master’s degree programs enroll?
    The master’s degree programs enroll in the Fall and in the Spring. However, once in the program, students take courses during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.
  • What is the application deadline for the master’s degree programs?
    The master’s degree programs have two application deadlines. The application deadline to start in the fall semester is on May 1. The application deadline to start in the spring semester is on November 1.
  • Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in psychology in order to apply for these master’s degree programs?
    No! All applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree, but it does not have to be in psychology, counseling, or a related area of study.
  • Does the program have online courses?
    No. All graduate programs within the Division of Counseling & Psychology are on-campus here in Cambridge, MA. The Division does not offer online programs at this time.
  • Can I take courses part-time?
    Yes! Part-time students will take one or two courses (3 or 6 credits) per semester. Full-time students will take three courses (9 credits) per semester.
  • When are courses offered?
    Courses within the Division of Counseling & Psychology are all on-campus and offered in two different formats: weekday and weekend formats. Course format offerings/availability are subject to a variety of factors and can change from semester to semester. Some classes may be offered in both the weekday and weekend model, and in that case, you could choose which format you prefer. However, other courses may only be offered in one format for a given semester. Formats include weekdays, in which you will have class once a week for 2.5 hours for each class in which you are enrolled. Classes are usually offered from 1-3:30pm, 4-6:30pm, and 7-9:30pm. The second is a weekend format in which you will be on campus for only two weekends, with four weeks in between the two weekends for each class in which you are enrolled. Those two weekends consist of classes on Friday evening from 5-9:50pm, Saturday from 9-6pm, and Sunday 9-6pm. With the weekend format, you are only required to come to campus twice each semester for each class. Please note that it is not possible to complete the entire program in just the weekend model.
  • Can I schedule a class visit?

    The Division of Counseling & Psychology does not currently allow class visits due to the sensitive nature of topics that can arise during class discussion. This is in an effort to make sure that classes are always safe spaces for the current students. We encourage you to schedule a tour of Lesley’s campus or request to speak with a current student. Sign up for a campus tour hosted by a current graduate student.

  • What license does this program allow you to pursue?

    This program is designed to prepare graduates to pursue their license as a Mental Health Counselor, School Counselor, of School Adjustment Counselor in the state of Massachusetts, depending on the program you complete. We strongly encourage prospective applicants who intend to pursue licensure or credentialing to review our “Licensure and Credentialing Information for Prospective Applicants” document prior to applying to our program.

  • Can I take a class or two before formally applying to the program?

    Yes! There are two courses within the Division of Counseling & Psychology that are open to non-matriculated students. Your ability to enroll in the course will depend on if there is room in the course once fully matriculated students are registered. If you are interested in taking a course within the Division, please email Courtney Millette at millette@lesley.edu.

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.

school guidance counselor

School Adjustment Counseling

Choose this track to address the mental health needs of children and adolescents in schools. Qualify to apply for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) credential, as well as an initial license for PreK–12 school adjustment counseling in Massachusetts.

Required courses for this track include:

  • Counseling Young Children and Adolescents     
  • Issues in School Counseling for the School Adjustment Counselor              
  • Consultation Skills for Counselors and Mental Health Professionals           
School Guidance Counseling

School Counseling

Choose this track to gain expertise in the developmental needs—both academic and psychological—of children and adolescents in schools. Qualify to apply for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) credential, as well as an initial license for PreK–8 or 5–12 school counseling in Massachusetts.

Required courses for this track include:

  • Counseling Adolescents                    
  • Issues in School Counseling for School Counselors 
  • Psychoeducational Approaches to Counseling and Prevention
“Principals and school counselors trust that our graduate students are well prepared to lead group sessions and help their guidance staff provide psychosocial support to their students.”
Dalia Llera, Professor Emerita of Counseling and Psychology, School and Community 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: School & Community Counseling
  • 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.

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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.