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On this page, you will find: admissions criteria for the CMHC program, and information about the application process including frequently asked questions, and criminal record checking.

Admissions Criteria

Candidates for the program are evaluated on the following criteria:

    1. Applicants should have a strong academic background and/or potential, as evidenced by a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. For applicants with undergraduate GPAs between 2.5 and 3.0, GPA Waivers may be possible under certain circumstances, with program faculty and university approval. For information on how to increase your undergraduate GPA to above a 2.5, you can use a GPA calculator to identify how many courses you would need to take to improve your GPA. If you are applying to the Post Master's Certificate, you will also need to present proof of a Master's Degree in School Counseling.
    2. Applicants should have a foundational knowledge related to psychology, as represented by holding a Bachelor's degree (in any field) and having at least 3 required prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology, Statistics or Research Methods, and Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology. It is possible for students to complete prerequisites after acceptance. If you are applying to the Post Master's Certificate, you will not need to complete these undergraduate pre-requisites.
    3. Applicants should be strongly recommended by 3 individuals who have known them in a professional and/or academic setting and can speak to their potential as a graduate student and clinical mental health counselor, including an assessment of their interpersonal skills and commitment to diversity. At least 1 recommendation must be from an academic reference (e.g., professor). 
    4. Applicants should submit a clear, well-written 500-word essay describing the basis of their interest in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling profession, as well as why they wish to enter the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at SCSU. 
    5. Applicants should have some experience, either volunteer or professional, in a helping role, as demonstrated on their resume.
    6. Applicants should illustrate potential as a counselor, interpersonal skills, and knowledge of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling field within an admissions interview, if invited.


Application Process

Last Updated: February 13, 2018

In order to be considered for admission to the program the following fall, all admissions materials must be received by January 15th. The Masters program only accepts students for entry each fall, with the due date for application materials being January 15th. The Post Master's Certificate program accepts students in each semester, with the due dates for fall being January 15th; the due date for application materials for entry in the spring semester for the Post-Master's Certificate is September 1st.

In order to apply to the program, please follow the steps below:

    • Complete the application to Southern Connecticut State University’s Graduate School. The application can be found and completed online. A non-refundable fee of $50 must be paid at the time of submission with a credit card.
    • Send official transcripts from ALL institutions where you have completed coursework to:
                                         Southern Connecticut State University

      School of Graduate Studies
      Application Processing Center
      PO Box 8057
      Portsmouth, NH 03802
      ** If you have attended SCSU, you only need to indicate this on your application; you do not need to send your official transcript in.

    • Upload Personal Essay to the portal to which you logged in to apply. The essay should address why the applicant wishes to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and attend SCSU's CMHC program.
    • Upload Current Resume or Vita to the portal to which you logged in to apply.
      • When you fill out your application, you will fill in contact information for your recommenders, an automated email will be sent to them providing them with a link to use to upload your recommendation(s). No letters of recommendation are to be mailed/emailed in to us, they will not be accepted in hard copy. You may change/remind your recommenders through the Graduate Admissions Portal.


Q: My undergraduate major wasn't psychology. Will I need to take the prerequisite psychology courses?
A: Yes. You must complete the following courses or their equivalent: Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology, and Statistics/Research Methods. It is strongly recommended that the first courses you take are the prerequisite courses, rather than any graduate classes in the department if you have not completed them all. Note: A completed prerequisite course is not a guarantee of admission to the program.

Q: May I register for graduate courses prior to formal admission?
A: Yes. You are allowed to take up to three courses (9 credits) as a non-matriculated graduate student, which can transfer in if you are accepted into the program. 

Q: I've completed all of the prerequisite courses. What would be the appropriate first courses (up to the 9 credits allowed) to take in the program as a non-matriculated student? Taking these courses does not guarantee acceptance into one of our programs.
A: These CMHC courses are open to non-matriculated students: 521, 540, 568, 569, 572, 578, 691.

Q: Where do I send my materials for my application?
A: Follow the instructions listed above and make sure you upload all materials to the website directly.

Q: Is your program full-time or part-time?
A: The Masters program in CMHC can be either full-time or part-time. The full-time program can be completed in 2.5 years. The part-time program can be completed in 3.5 years. The template 2017 course sequences can be found here: for full-time and part-time. Once a student is accepted into the program, they are given a tailored course sequence for their own records. 

Q: When will I hear an application decision?
A: Typically, by the first of February, applicants will hear whether or not they have a completed file and will find out if they have been invited for an interview or not. We typically make application decisions a few weeks following the interviews, by the first of March. We meet in the month of April for a program orientation, and then in August for the department and graduate school orientation. 

Criminal Record Check/Fingerprinting

A criminal record check is a required component of Licensure as a Professional Counselor. Additionally, some sites require fingerprinting and a criminal check when working with vulnerable populations, such as children or prisoners.