Department of Counseling

Montana State University's Department of Counseling trains students to serve as mental health providers or paraprofessionals, utilizing a culturally attuned wellness lens.  Students are prepared to be facilitators of change for individuals, groups, families, and communities. 

The Department Counseling offers a 60-credit Master of Science degree in counseling with options in clinical mental health counseling or marriage, couples, and family counseling and a Master of Education degree in school counseling. All three programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and prepare students to be licensed counselors in schools and communities. The department also offers two graduate certificates: Addictions Counseling and Mental Health Support. The Addictions certificate is a 30-credit certificate preparing  students to become licensure eligible as an addictions counselor. The Mental Health Support certificate is a 12-credit summer only certificate providing mental health training for paraprofessional roles in schools and communities.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Counseling Department is to prepare interpersonally skilled and culturally attuned professionals who promote mental health and well-being. These professionals support the holistic well-being of individuals and families across the lifespan in communities and schools throughout Montana and beyond.


Students are assigned a faculty advisor upon acceptance into their program of study. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor to discuss issues and questions related to professional programs, career opportunities and academic concerns.

Degrees and Options

All three master’s degree options are 60 credits and require a minimum of two years of study.Students obtain up to 1,500 hours supervised counseling experience and training in core counseling areas. Completed applications must be filed by February 1 as students are expected to begin their graduate program the following summer session. Applications are screened only once each year following the February 1 deadline. A maximum of 24-28 students shall be admitted into the counseling master’s degrees areas each year.


Certifications and licensures are dependent on the student's eligibility to sit for certification and licensing examinations and on passing those examinations. Fields of study in the Department of Counseling prepare students to sit for certification and licensing examinations.

The following certifications are related to Counseling disciplines:

Licensed Professional Counselor or Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor 

The MS in Counseling in the Department of Counseling leads to the opportunity to become licensed in the state of Montana as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.  Following completion of a master's degree, the student must complete a minimum of 1500 hours of supervised counseling practice prior to sitting for and passing the NCE exam.

Licensed Addiction Counselor

The addictions certificate in the Department of Counseling prepares students  to pursue licensure as a Licensed Addiction Counselor. State licensure requirements vary. Course credits often count toward interstate licensure; however, the student is encouraged to verify licensure requirements for the specific state they are pursing licensure prior to applying.

Class 6 (Specialist certificate)

The school counseling master’s degree leads to the opportunity to become licensed as a Class 6 specialist through the Office of Public Instruction.  Following completion of the master’s degree, the student is eligible to apply for this license in the State of Montana.