Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Application:

  • Submit the University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Online Application with $45 application fee

    • Upload the following to submit your online application
      • Statement of Purpose
      • Resume
      • Recommenders’ Contact Information


An official transcript from the university where you earned your bachelor’s degree is required at the time of application.


  • Official E-Transcripts are acceptable only if emailed to
  • Transcripts from study abroad courses and transfer credits are not required.

Degrees Earned Outside of the United States:

  • Students who earned their bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution outside the United States must submit a course-by-course degree evaluation conducted by World Education Services (WES) at the time of application.  
    • Applications for students educated outside the United States will not be considered complete nor can an admissions decision be made until this degree evaluation has been submitted.

Letters of Recommendation:

  • Two letters of recommendation are required at the time of application. If possible, one letter should come from a professor who can speak to your academic strengths, while the other should come from an employer or professional mentor. Letters should not be submitted by a family member or friend. The letters of recommendation should share how they know you, how long they’ve known you, and how they are familiar with your work. We encourage recommenders to share specific anecdotes that help explain how they think you will be successful in a program and in your career. 

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV):

  • Your résumé or CV should be a summary of your qualifications and transferable skills related to the program. You are encouraged to highlight your professional accomplishments and relevant experiences, including volunteer experiences. In addition, you can submit a cover letter with your resume to provide context to your relevant experiences and share their connection to the program. 

Statement of Purpose:

  • A 500-word maximum statement of purpose: Please include a brief narrative describing yourself, your career goals, and the importance of graduate study in clinical mental health counseling at this point in your life. You may discuss influences on your intellectual development, educational and cultural opportunities (or lack of them) which have been available to you, and the ways in which these experiences have affected you. This should not be a recording of facts already listed on the application; it should give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are and why you are applying to the clinical mental health counseling specialization at the University of San Diego.

English Proficiency Exam for International Applicants

Waiving out of the English Language exam requirement: The English Language Exam waiver may be requested if you:


  1. Have submitted your online application and 
  2. You meet one of the following: 
    • English is your primary language
    • You completed a 4-year bachelor's degree or 2-year master's degree, and obtained (or in the process of obtaining) a bachelor’s or master's degree in the U.S. with a minimum 3.0 GPA. 
    • You obtained your bachelor's degree in Great Britain, Canada, or Australia with an equivalent minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Be sure to promptly order official transcripts or official transcript evaluations, as they are also required to determine waiver eligibility.

If you believe you are eligible for an EPEX waiver, please email the SOLES Admissions and Outreach Office at . Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Education Requirements:

  • Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning the program. Applicants may apply prior to completing their bachelor's degree. In this case, please submit your most up-to-date transcripts, and if admitted, submit a second set of official transcripts after your degree is conferred.
  • The minimum cumulative Grade Point Average is 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • This program does not have any specific prerequisite courses, but undergraduate coursework in psychology and/or other social science fields is recommended.

Experience Requirements:

Experience in a related field is recommended, but not required for admission.

Interview Requirement:

After an initial review of applications to the Counseling program, the most qualified candidates will be invited to USD for a group interview with the Counseling faculty. 

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2022-23, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2022. Access the catalog of record at

Degree Requirements

Program Specialization Courses

Students in all counseling program areas complete courses designed to meet program requirements recommended by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). All students complete core and specialization courses specific to their areas of professional practice. The program requires the student to complete three terms of practicum or fieldwork in an approved setting related to the student’s career goal. 

CMHC Program Plan - Year 1

Fall I
COUN 502Professional Orientation, Law and Ethics in Counseling3
COUN 520Counseling Theories and Practice3
COUN 541Advanced Counseling: Diagnosis And Treatment Planning3
COUN 564Counseling Skills3
Intersession I
COUN 505Human Development3
Spring I
COUN 526Group Counseling3
COUN 530Assessment Techniques in Counseling3
COUN 547Risk Assessment and Trauma Intervention in Clinical Mental Health Counseling3
COUN 555Evidence Based Counseling Theory and Techniques3
Summer I
COUN 510Career Development Across the Lifespan3
COUN 515Multicultural Counseling3
COUN 587PClinical Mental Health Counseling Practicum 3
Total Units36

CMHC Program Plan - Year 2

Fall II
COUN 533Seminar in Field Based Research: Proposal Development1.5
COUN 542Addictions Counseling3
COUN 544Intro Family Counseling3
COUN 598PClinical Mental Health Counseling Internship3
Intersession II
COUN 562Positive Psychology: Theory and Applications3
Spring II
COUN 534Seminar in Field Based Research: Analysis and Reporting of Research1.5
COUN 549Psychopharmacology3
COUN 550Couples and Sexuality3
COUN 598PClinical Mental Health Counseling Internship3
Total Units24

Clinical Contact Hours

Students must successfully complete a minimum of 700 clock hours of supervised practicum over three semesters. At least 240 clock hours of direct service during the three semesters of practicum, during the first semester a minimum of 100 hours/40 direct service hours with a minimum of 120 direct hours per practicum II/III, including experience in leading groups. 

Clinical Instruction Benchmark Assessment (CIBA)

A Clinical Instruction Benchmark Assessment (CIBA) is utilized to assess readiness for practicum training and to provide candidates with personal and professional development feedback.

Capstone Research Project Defense

The Counseling Program utilizes a capstone research project defense as part of the assessment of student readiness to complete the program. The Research project defense requires that students complete a  research project in consultation with their advisor. The defense is a public presentation of the student’s research project and its findings. In addition to the presentation, each student is required to turn in a formal written ‘Research Brief’ project report. The Research defense is generally taken during the final semester of courses.

International Requirement

At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally, and globally.  International experiences are approved by each student's faculty advisor and can be credit based or non-credit based activities.


All application materials must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the final deadline in order for your application to be considered for admission.

Start Your Application

Tuition and Financial Aid

Review tuition rates, fees, and financial aid opportunities to start investing in yourself. 

Status and Decisions

To confirm that application materials have been received, please log into the MySanDiego portal or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (619) 260-4524. Admissions decision letters are sent via US Mail.

Submit all supplemental materials to:

Office of Graduate Admissions 
University of San Diego, Manchester Hall 105
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492

For questions about the admissions contact:

SOLES Office of Admissions and Outreach 
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 143
(619) 260-7988
Advising Appointments