Graduate Division

Admission Guide: Counseling Psychology, MA

Guide to Completing the Application for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (Specialization: Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
Program Website:
Entry Term: Summer

Next Application Term: Summer/Fall 2024
Application Opens: July 1, 2023
Priority Deadline: January 19, 2024
Final Deadline: February 28, 2024

Program Mission and Program Learning Outcomes

Please see the Counseling Psychology, MA Program Website.

Eligibility Criteria for Admission

To be eligible for admission to the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program, candidates must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution;
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale during the last 60 semester credits (or equivalent);
  • A strong background in psychology or a closely related field, with a minimum of 15 semester hours of course work in psychology, strongly recommended are:
    • introductory or survey of psychology,
    • statistical techniques,
    • research methods, and
    • at least two 300-level or higher psychology courses;
  • At least one 3-credit course in statistics and one 3-credit course in research methods from any discipline;
  • For International Applicants: A score of 550 (paper based) on the TOEFL (other equivalent TOEFL scores: 79 internet based and 213 computer based; the IELTS equivalent is 6.0.

M.A. Application Checklist

Required Documents to be Uploaded in the Documents Tab of Online Application

  • Personal Statement
    • Your personal statement should address the following:
      1. Your short and long-term academic and career plans
      2. Your reasons for pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.
      3. How graduate study at UH Hilo will help you accomplish your goals.
      4. How your experience has prepared you for graduate study and work in the field of counseling psychology.
      5. Attributes that make you well suited to the field of counseling psychology
    • There is no minimum/maximum length for the personal statement, however, successful statements are typically between 700 and 1000 words in length.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Requested in the Recommendations Tab of the Online Application

  • 3 Recommendations from academic and/or professional referees.
    • Recommendations from professors who are familiar with your work are preferred. We will also accept letters written by supervisors who have observed your work in the human service field or research activities. We discourage letters from co-workers, friends, family members, and members of the clergy (unless they supervised your work).
    • Once you request your letters in the electronic system, your letter writers will be sent an email and instructions on how to use the electronic letters of recommendation system. They will be asked to upload a letter of recommendation and also be instructed to evaluate your academic aptitude and suitability for a career in counseling.

Sent Directly to the UH Hilo Graduate Division

  • Official transcripts sent directly from all non-UH system colleges or universities you have attended.
  • Official transcripts from UH system institutions will be pulled via STAR.
  • We recommend certified electronic transcripts sent directly from your institution to the UH Hilo Graduate Division-
  • Baccalaureate degree transcripts from international institutions must be submitted to an independent transcript evaluation service.
  • Hard Copy transcripts should be mailed to: UH Hilo Graduate Division
    200 W. Kawili Street
    COBE Building, Room 201
    Hilo, HI 96720

  • For international applicants

Application Process

Priority deadline for receipt of all application materials in the Graduate Division: January 20, 2023.
Final Deadline for Application Materials: February 28, 2023.

This means that applications that are submitted and are complete by the priority deadline will be reviewed first. Any applications that are submitted after the priority deadline and become complete before the final deadline will be reviewed but considered on a space-available basis.

New students are accepted for Summer semester only.

Complete applications are applications that have a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation and all official transcripts from current and prior institutions have been received.

Complete applications that meet the minimum requirements are reviewed by the Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee, which uses multiple criteria for the assessment of applicants. Admission is selective and is based on the following factors:

  1. Personal Statement,
  2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae,
  3. Letters of Recommendation,
  4. GPA (last 60 semester hours)
  5. Interview Responses

The Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee reviews applications and selects candidates for a phone/video interview. Based on the entirety of information garnered from the application materials and the interview, the admissions committee determines whether the applicant will be offered admission to the program.

The UH Graduate Division receives applications and supporting documents and maintains the applications through final notification. The UH Hilo Graduate Division sends the final notification to the applicant.

Please also see FAQs about Admission

Acceptance to the program is competitive, and meeting all the minimum requirements does not guarantee that the applicant will be admitted.

Admission Status

The applicant’s admission status is valid only for the semester to which the applicant is accepted. Applications for students who do not register or who withdraw from the University are voided but retained for a period of one (1) year. Students may reapply for admission the next year by submitting a new application and application fee.

Transfer of Credits

Requests for transfer of credits must be made during the first semester in which the student is enrolled in the program; departmental approval for all credit transfers is required. Only credit hours with a grade of B or better from accredited universities are transferable. Credit hours for practicum and internship courses are not transferable. Transfer credit hours must have been completed within five years prior to admission, and may not have been used towards completion of another degree. Students may transfer a maximum of 12 semester hours (or its equivalent). On rare circumstances, requests for an exception to this limit could be considered by the program faculty. All requests for transfer of credits must be accompanied by a transcript and course syllabi.

Employment Opportunities for Graduates

Please see the Counseling Psychology program website Frequently Asked Questions.

Course of Study

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program’s curriculum was designed to satisfy the educational requirements for licensure in mental health counseling in Hawaiʻi. The core curriculum consists of course work in methods, concepts, and skills of the profession and the evidence-based practice of counseling psychology. Program electives will enable students to choose courses in family counseling, school and career counseling and special topics courses.

During the second year of study, students will complete a practicum course and an internship designed to provide counseling experience in real-life practice settings. Students who wish to prepare and defend a Master’s thesis may do so.

Overall, students will take 60 credits of graduate course work. It is expected that full-time students (12-15 credits per semester) will complete the degree in two years. Students begin in the summer with an online class. Students will need to maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the program.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Charmaine Higa-McMillan
Director MA Program in Counseling Psychology UH Hilo Department of Psychology
Ph: (808) 932-7090

For questions regarding the application process, contact:
Shelby Iwamoto
UH Hilo Graduate Division
Ph: (808) 932-7927

Required Courses & Recommended Sequence of Courses (60 Credits)

Summer Year 1 (3 Credits):
PSY 611 Lifespan Human Development (3)

Fall Year 1 (13 Credits):
PSY 601 Applied Multivariate Statistic (4)
PSY 604 Profssnl Identity, Ethics (3)
PSY 613 Psychopathology over Lifespan (3)
PSY 620 Counseling Theories (3)

Spring Year 1 (14 Credits):
PSY 602 Research Meth & Prgm Evaluatn (4)
PSY 603 Psychological Assessment (4)
PSY 622 Group Work & Counseling (3)
PSY 624 Counseling Skills (3)

Summer Year 2 (6 Credits):
PSY 612 Career Development (3)

Fall Year 2 (12 Credits):
PSY 623 Social & Cultural Foundations (3)
PSY 640 Practicum Supervision (3)
PSY 640F Practicum Fieldwork (3)

Spring Year 2 (12 Credits):
PSY 659 Internship Supervision (3)
PSY 659F Internship Fieldwork (6)

Note: This recommended full-time schedule, which includes summer months, was instituted in response to feedback from accreditation site visitors and students. This means that students begin taking courses during the summer of their first year.

Tuition Schedule

Students in this program pay the Graduate Tuition Rate. Resident and Non-Resident rates are available. UH Hilo also participates in the WICHE WRGP program for residents of qualified states.

UH Hilo Tuition Schedule
UH Hilo Fees Schedule

Total Credits in Program: 60 Credits

Students are charged tuition on a per credit hour basis up until 12 credits per semester.

For financial aid assistance, please contact:
UH Hilo Financial Aid Office:
Ph: (808) 932-7449

Native Hawaiian students who need assistance with applications and/or scholarships, please contact:
Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center:
Ph: (808) 932-7418

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete the program?
The program is designed to be completed in 2 years, including practicum and internship.

Do I have to take the GRE?
No, the GRE is not required for application to this program.

Can I transfer credits?
Yes, up to 12 graduate credits excluding Practicum and Internship may be transferred, subject to program approval.

How much will it cost to live in Hilo?
You should budget approximately $38,000 (residents) and $50,000 (non-residents) per year for tuition, books, housing, food, and personal expenses. More information can be found on the Financial Aid - Estimated Cost of Attendance page.

Is financial aid available?
Contact the UH Hilo Financial Aid Office for information: or (808) 932-7449.

Do I need to write a Master’s Thesis?
Some students may elect to write a Master’s thesis in preparation for application to a doctoral program.

Additional FAQ’s may be found on the Counseling Psychology Frequently Asked Questions page.