Clinical Mental Health Counseling

  • The University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Application and $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.

        • Students who earned their bachelor's degree from an institution outside the United States must submit a course-by-course degree evaluation conducted by a NACES current member.  
      • 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.
    • NOTE:  
      • Official E-Transcripts are acceptable only if emailed to
      • Transcripts from study abroad courses and/or transfer credit are not required.
      • Letters of Recommendation and International Transcript Evaluations must be received by the program deadline to complete your application.
  • A minimum of two professional letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  • A current resumé or curriculum vitae
  • 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.
  • International applicants only:
    • Official score reports for the  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)or the  International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international applicants and may only be waived if English is the applicant’s primary language or if he or she obtained a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia.
      • TOEFL minimum scores:
        • Internet-based test: 83
        • Computer-based test: 237
        • Paper-based test: 580
      • IELTS minimum score:
        • Band score 7
    • Transcripts from universities outside of the United States must be accompanied by a Course-by-Course transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES).

Admissions Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements

  • No standardized testing is required in order to apply. Applicants who have taken the  Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test are invited to submit scores, but this is not required.
  • Applicants who feel that their Grade Point Averages do not adequately represent their ability to succeed in a graduate program may find it helpful to submit GRE scores for consideration. For more information on preparing for the GRE, visit  USD's Test Prep or call (619) 260-4585.

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 Requirements

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. 

Application Process

Application Deadline

All application materials, including transcripts, test score reports and letters of recommendation, must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the final deadline in order for your application to be considered. View current deadlines for admission.

Application Status and Decisions

To confirm that application materials have been received or to check the status of your application, please log in to the  MySanDiego portal with your applicant login or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (619) 260-4524. Admissions decision letters are sent via US Mail.

Submit all application materials online, or to:

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

For questions about this program or the admissions requirements contact:

Office of Admissions and Outreach
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 143

Phone: (619) 260-7988

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2019-2020, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2019. Access the catalog of record at

The MA Degree requires successful completion of the following:

  1. A course of study based on a core counseling curriculum and specialization courses. (Further information is provided under the Program Specializations sections below.) The Counseling Core is designed to meet the program requirements recommended by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Specialization courses (described in sections below) meet the program requirements specified by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling program areas.
  2. Successful completion of the 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.
  3. Completion of the Internationalization Requirement. All students in the Counseling Program are required to participate in a program-approved internationalization experience outside of the United States. Examples of approved experiences would include study-abroad course or program participation, cross-cultural collaboration on professional or scholarly projects, participation in bi-national or multi-national collaborative research projects, joint student-faculty research abroad and international internships. With few exceptions, the experience must take place during the student’s program of study at USD and all international activities should take place prior to the last semester of enrollment in the Counseling Program. This requirement is designed to enhance the student’s international and global perspective, particularly as it relates to professional counseling. The experience will increase student’s knowledge and skills for working with international students, employees and clients and preparing clients for educational and professional experiences in a global environment.

Program Specializations and Requirements

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 598PClinical Mental Health Counseling Practicum3
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 Practicum3
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 Practicum3
Total Units24