The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares graduates to work with clients across a spectrum of mental and emotional disorders, as well as to promote mental health and wellness.

The CMHC program prepares professional counselors to provide assistance with psychological wellness through flexible, consumer-oriented therapy to individuals experiencing various problems, including mental disorders and substance abuse. The program combines traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a dynamic, efficient path for change and problem resolution.

Program Overview

Our Master's program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Professions (CACREP) and provides an array of community and clinical experiences to prepare clinically skilled, knowledgeable and committed mental health counselors.

Program Requirements

For a complete list of courses and requirements:


As part of the MA in Clinical Mental Health, you will also take at least 9 s.h. of electives tailored to your academic goals and career interests. You will work with your program advisor to determine the best electives for you. Some electives include:

  • Introduction to Substance Abuse
  • Human Sexuality
  • Introduction to Couple and Family Therapy
  • Trauma Across the Lifespan

Clinical Opportunities

From practicums to internships, you will take part in a variety of clinical opportunities to give you experience with clients in the field during your time in the program.

Mental Health Counseling as a Profession

Mental health counselors work with individuals, couples, families, and groups that are dealing with issues that affect their mental health and well-being. They specialize in problems in living such as, but not limited to depression and anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, and substance abuse.

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares professional counselors to assist persons with psychiatric disabilities in particular and mental health conditions by coordinating resources and providing services in:

  • Private Practice
  • Community Agencies
  • Managed Behavioral Health Care Organizations
  • Integrated Delivery Systems
  • Hospitals
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Financial Support

Assistantships provide valuable experience, open new career paths, and help finance your graduate education. In addition to a monthly salary, assistantships frequently provide a fee waiver for the out-of-state portion of tuition. Positions vary from quarter-time (10 hours per week, the minimum necessary for out-of-state tuition waiver) to half-time (20 hours per week) and may span nine or 12 months. Some assistantships are closely related to specific departments or fields, and all require specific skills or aptitudes. In addition to assistantships, students might be eligible to work for individual faculty members as research assistants if funds are available, or as teaching assistants in the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education.

Each year, the Iowa Testing Programs award a limited number of fellowships to students with outstanding academic credentials in the College of Education. Students of color with strong credentials may be eligible for Graduate College Graduate Opportunity Fellowships.

We are particularly interested in encouraging applications from those traditionally underrepresented in the field, particularly persons with disabilities and/or those with minority or ethnic group status. The Center for Diversity and Enrichment (CDE) offers financial, social, and academic support leading to graduation. 

Faculty and Research

To see associated faculty, please: Visit Faculty Listing 

Admissions and Application

Application Deadline  February 18 (priority). March 1, 2023 (final).

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale
  • NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General test – verbal and quantitative
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)
  • A personal interview (in person or by telephone) with the faculty

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. Official GRE scores from Educational Testing Service (the university’s institutional code is 6681)
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • Current Resume
  • A statement of purpose, including a statement of your personal career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation*

Apply Now

Please review the required supplemental documents above before starting the general graduate application. To begin the application process, set up an account with an existing email address and password

Program Resources

Program Vision

To be the premier graduate clinical mental health counseling education program recognized for its diversity, and known for excellence in teaching, learning and research.

Program Mission

The mission of the Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at The University of Iowa is to increase opportunities for participation and choices of people served through education, training, research, leadership, and community engagement.

Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The program is a consumer-focused mental health counseling and counselor education program. For many years, The University of Iowa has contributed numerous practitioners, educators, researchers, and administrators to the profession of mental health counseling. The programs have achieved national recognition through many faculty and student awards and publications. The master's program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation on Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP)  and it is in good standing.

The Graduate Programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is part of the College of Education as well as the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education. In addition to clinical mental health counseling, the Department provides accredited M.A. programs in school counseling and rehabilitation counseling. At the doctoral level, the Department offers the counselor education and supervision degree. The close coordination and support among the Department's programs provide students access to a wide range of faculty and courses.


This program is administered through the Department of Counselor Education. To see accreditation information, academic, and outcomes measures, please visit the CE Accreditation page.

CE Accreditation, Academic, and Outcome Measures

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

John Wadsworth
Associate Professor
N338A Lindquist Center

Counselor Education Department Main Office
N338 Lindquist Center

Application questions can be directed to: Anne Sparks, 319-335-2146,

We look forward to receiving your application!