Counseling Program Options

The Department of Health and Human Development offers a Master of Science degree in counseling with options in marriage and family counseling or mental health counseling, and a Master of Education degree in School Counseling. All three programs, marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling, and school counseling, are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The marriage and family and mental health counseling programs are 60 credits and require a minimum of two years of study. The school counseling option is 48 credits. All programs are designed to meet Montana licensure requirements for professional counselors. Students obtain up to 1,500 hours supervised counseling experience and training in core counseling areas. Completed applications must be filed by February 15 as students are expected to begin their graduate program the following summer session. Applications are screened only once each year following the February 15 deadline. A maximum of 25 students shall be admitted into the counseling areas each year.

Marriage & Family Counseling / Mental Health Counseling

Marriage and family and Mental health counseling students at Montana State University graduate with a master’s degree in counseling. The program is accredited by CACREP (council for the accreditation of counseling and related educational programs). Upon graduation, students must apply for a licensed professional counselor candidate’s license from the State of Montana Board of Behavioral Health. The candidate’s license is a training license while students accrue the required post-masters counseling hours to obtain their full LCPC (licensed clinical professional counselor). This license allows the graduate to practice independently. 

School Counseling Licensure Process

School counseling students at Montana State University graduate with a master of education degree in school counseling. The school counseling program is accredited by the Montana Office of Public Instruction and therefore when students graduate they are eligible to apply for a class 6 license or a school counseling endorsement on their pre-existing class 2 (standard teaching) license. Upon review of degree completion, licensure applicants are granted an appropriate license to practice as a school counselor in grade levels d-12 throughout the state.

Interested students may obtain more descriptions by visiting the department website at montana.edu/hhd or by calling 406 994-3241.


Marriage and Family Counseling

The 60-credit marriage and family counseling option prepares counselors to address mental health and relationship problems with individuals, couples, families, and children from a family systems perspective. Students are taught a conceptual framework for assessment and intervention which focuses on the multiple systems and family context of individual development. Emphasis is on a positive, competency-based view of individual and family strengths. This approach examines the larger environments in which individuals and families interact and the plethora of influences (i.e., social, cultural, and economic) that affect human growth and development. Interpersonal issues between family members and the family and outer environmental systems are highlighted.

In addition to family systems theory, students are well grounded in individual and group counseling theories. Collaboration between marriage and family counselors and other mental health care providers is emphasized.

The marriage and family counseling option meets educational licensure requirements for a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Montana. After licensure, graduates of the option work in a variety of counseling contexts where they see children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and families. In this program track students are prepared to work with individuals, as well as with couples and families. This extended focus beyond individual counseling provides a well-rounded training experience.

Summer
HDCO 502Cnsl Ethic Prof Orient2
HDCO 508Counseling Theories I3
HDCO 558Career Counseling2
Fall
HDCO 503Prof Issues in Counseling3
HDCO 510Counseling Theories II3
HDCO 521Counseling Skills Lab1
HDCO 522Group Counseling3
Spring
HDCO 523Theory and Practice of Addiction2
HDCO 525Counsel Child & Adolescents3
HDCO 550Counseling Research and Evaluation2
HDCO 564Diagnosis and Mental Health3
HDCO 571Prof Counsel Practicum3
Summer
HDCO 524Consultation and Crisis: Theory and Practice3
HDCO 551Appraisal3
HDCO 598Internship2
Fall
HDCO 554Develop Theory Across Lifespan3
HDCO 563Multicultural Awareness3
HDCO 565Marital & Relationship Counsel3
HDCO 598Internship2
Spring
HDCO 569Advanced Family Counseling3
HDCO 598Internship2
Electives6
Total Credits60

Partial List of Electives

CHTH 430Mental Health & Social Issues in Aging3
CHTH 435Human Response To Stress3
HDCO 526Adventure Counseling3
HDCO 530Mind-Body Well-Being Self-Care3
HDCO 556Sexuality Counseling3
HDCO 568Mental Health Methods3

Mental Health Counseling

The 60-credit mental health counseling option prepares counselors to apply principles of human development, counseling theory, learning theory, group dynamics, and the etiology of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior in their work at a variety of mental health facilities.

The mental health counseling area of study provides students with 700 hours of supervised experience in appraisal, individual, group counseling, and consultation in primarily clinic and community agencies. The goals of the mental health counseling program are the following: to enhance students' personal and professional development as counselors; to increase their ability to understand the characteristics and concerns of various client populations and their environments; and to develop their knowledge and skills in use of theory based counseling model.

The mental health counseling option meets educational licensure requirements for a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Montana. After licensure, graduates of the mental health program work in a variety of mental health counseling contexts where they see adults.

Summer
HDCO 502Cnsl Ethic Prof Orient2
HDCO 508Counseling Theories I3
HDCO 558Career Counseling2
Fall
HDCO 503Prof Issues in Counseling3
HDCO 510Counseling Theories II3
HDCO 521Counseling Skills Lab1
HDCO 522Group Counseling3
Spring
HDCO 530Mind-Body Well-Being Self-Care3
HDCO 550Counseling Research and Evaluation2
HDCO 564Diagnosis and Mental Health3
HDCO 568Mental Health Methods3
HDCO 571Prof Counsel Practicum3
Summer
HDCO 524Consultation and Crisis: Theory and Practice3
HDCO 551Appraisal3
HDCO 598Internship2
Fall
HDCO 554Develop Theory Across Lifespan3
HDCO 563Multicultural Awareness3
HDCO 598Internship2
Electives3
Spring
HDCO 523Theory and Practice of Addiction2
HDCO 598Internship2
Electives6
Total Credits60

Partial List of Electives

CHTH 430Mental Health & Social Issues in Aging3
CHTH 435Human Response To Stress3
HDCO 525Counsel Child & Adolescents3
HDCO 526Adventure Counseling3
HDCO 556Sexuality Counseling3
HDCO 565Marital & Relationship Counsel3
HDCO 569Advanced Family Counseling3

School Counseling

The Master of Education in School Counseling is a 48-credit program designed to prepare students to work in public or private schools as professional counselors. Upon completion, students are eligible to apply for certification as a school counselor with the Montana Office of Public Instruction. School counselors in Montana can be certified with a class 6 (specialist) certificate (for those without a Montana teaching certificate), or certified with a Guidance and Counseling endorsement on a Montana teaching certificate.

School counseling students take a common core of counseling and human development courses. This core of course work provides all students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be a professional counselor and follows the standards developed by CACREP. In addition, students in the school counseling option also study aspects of counseling germane to the school setting. The program focuses on a comprehensive and developmental approach to designing and implementing a school counseling program, and follows the standards developed by the American School Counselor Association. The program emphasis strives to provide the necessary self-awareness, knowledge, and skills for counseling students to become competent and capable professional school counselors.

Summer
HDCO 502Cnsl Ethic Prof Orient2
HDCO 508Counseling Theories I3
HDCO 558Career Counseling2
Fall
HDCO 510Counseling Theories II3
HDCO 521Counseling Skills Lab1
HDCO 522Group Counseling3
Spring
HDCO 523Theory and Practice of Addiction2
HDCO 525Counsel Child & Adolescents3
HDCO 550Counseling Research and Evaluation2
HDCO 571Prof Counsel Practicum3
Summer
HDCO 506School Counsel Programs3
HDCO 526Adventure Counseling (recommended elective)3
HDCO 551Appraisal3
Fall
HDCO 505Prof Iss in School Couns3
HDCO 554Develop Theory Across Lifespan3
HDCO 563Multicultural Awareness3
Spring
HDCO 598Internship6
Total Credits48