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

Priority Deadline: January 15
Final Deadline: February 28

Program Mission

The mission of the Master of Art program in Counseling Psychology is to provide multiculturally-focused, student-centered graduate training in counseling psychology with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. The program is designed to train students to become knowledgeable, skillful, ethical and multiculturally competent counselors, who will be able to help people in need of professional counseling services. For students who may wish to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, the program provides training in advanced statistics and research methodology and also offers opportunities for students to gain research experience by participating in ongoing projects and/or by initiating their own research projects. The program assigns a high priority to meeting the educational and personal needs of its students and is based on a scientist- practitioner model. Program Goals

  • Provide students with the knowledge and skills to counsel clients from diverse backgrounds (e.g. ethnic/racial, socioeconomic, age, gender).
  • Provide students with a broad understanding of general counseling theory and practice and evidence-based practice.
  • Provide students with a strong scientist-practitioner foundation.
  • Provide students with both knowledge of the social, psychological, health, and economic problems that citizens of Hawaiʻi face and the professional skills to help people cope with and manage these problems in the future.
  • Prepare students for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in the state of Hawaiʻi; graduates also may be eligible for licensure in other states.
  • Prepare students for the academic requirements of a doctoral degree in counseling psychology or a related field.

M.A. Application Checklist

Note: The GRE Test Requirement has been waived for the 2021 application cycle

  • UH Hilo Graduate application form Online
  • $50 Application fee paid online
  • Official transcripts from all non-UH system colleges or universities (must be received in a sealed envelope). Official transcripts from UH system institutions will be pulled via STAR.
    • We will accept certified electronic transcripts sent directly from your institution to
    • Baccalaureate degree transcripts from international institutions must be submitted to an independent transcript evaluation service, more information can be found at International Graduate Student Information.
  • Psychology Personal Statement including short- and long-range goals (see page 2 of this Guide)
  • Resume
  • 3 Recommendations from academic and/or professional referees including the letter of recommendation form (PDF).
  • Official GRE score report- General Test [UH Hilo code: 4869]- (Waived for 2021 Application Cycle)

For international applicants

  • International Graduate Student Supplemental Information Form
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (non-native speakers of English; see Eligibility Criteria)

GRE Testing

Note: The GRE Test Requirement has been waived for the 2021 application cycle

The UH Hilo testing center offers a limited number of GRE testing seats. More information and a schedule can be found on the UH Hilo Testing Center website.

Test seats are limited, so scheduling in advance is highly recommended.

Application Process

Priority deadline for receipt of all application materials in the Graduate Division: January 15th.
Final Deadline for Application Materials: February 28th.

New students are accepted for Summer semester only. Complete applications received after the priority deadline will be considered on a space available basis.

The UH Graduate Division receives applications and supporting documents and maintains the applications through final notification. Applications that meet the admission requirements will be forwarded to the Psychology Department where they will undergo a comprehensive review. Priority will be given to students applying for full time enrollment, but a few outstanding applicants for part-time enrollment may be admitted. Admission decisions will be made by the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Psychology Department and forwarded to the UH Hilo Graduate Division, which sends the final notification to the applicant. Acceptance to the program is competitive and meeting all of 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.

Eligibility Criteria for Admission

An applicant must:

  1. Have earned a baccalaureate from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 semester credits.
  3. Have a strong background in psychology, with a minimum of 15 semester credits of work in psychology. Highly recommended are an introductory class in psychology, 3 credits in statistical techniques, 3 credits in research methods from psychology or another social science discipline, and two 300-level or higher courses in psychology. Courses in closely related fields may be acceptable.
  4. Obtain a score of 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based), or 79 (internet based) on the TOEFL (applicants for whom English is not the native language). The IELTS score must be 6.0. Students with degrees from colleges whose language of instruction is English need not submit TOEFL scores.

Psychology 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.

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.

International Student Admissions

Official college transcripts in the original language and official translations into English must be provided. To expedite your application, all graduate applicants with international transcripts are required to send the baccalaureate transcript for professional evaluation by one of the credential evaluation services listed on our web site: International Student Application Information. Only graduates of accredited universities will be considered for acceptance.

Employment Opportunities for Graduates

Graduates from the program will be able to work in a variety of counseling settings that include, but are not limited to, state and federal counseling agencies, a variety of mental health programs, schools, and the private mental health care industry. Employment prospects for professional counselors are good in Hawaiʻi and in many other areas of the United States. Currently a shortage of qualified counselors exists, and employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow at a faster than average rate over the coming years.

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:

Bryan Kim
Director MA Program in Counseling Psychology UH Hilo Department of Psychology
Ph: (808) 932-7090

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

Required Courses & Recommended Sequence of Courses (60 Credits)

Summer Year 1 (4 Credits):
PSY 601 Applied Multivariate Statistic (4)

Fall Year 1 (12 Credits):
PSY 602 Research Meth & Prgm Evaluatn (3)
PSY 604 Profssnl Identity, Ethics (3)
PSY 613 Psychopathology over Lifespan (3)
PSY 620 Counseling Theories (3)

Spring Year 1 (11 Credits):
PSY 603 Psychological Assessment (4)
PSY 622 Group Work & Counseling (4)
PSY 624 Counseling Skills (3)

Summer Year 2 (9 Credits):
PSY 611 Lifespan Human Development (3)
PSY 612 Career Development (3)
Elective: Psychopharmacology (600 or 400 level course) (Online)

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]] [[PSY 659F]] Elective (3): Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Tuition Schedule

Students in this program pay the Graduate Tuition Rate. Resident and Non-Resident rates are available.

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:
Kipuka 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.

What are the entrance requirements?
See Check List and Criteria for Admission on page 1 of this document

Do I have to take the GRE?
Yes, applicants are required to submit General GRE exam scores to UH Hilo. The GRE Test requirement has been waived for the 2021 application cycle. Is there a passing GRE score?
No, there is no minimum required score.

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.

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

Do I need a computer?
Yes, or at least daily access to one.

Is there a website for the program?
Yes, the counseling psychology website has information on pertinent program information.

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.