M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Specialization: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Program Director: Charmaine Higa-McMillan, Ph.D.
Email: mhcp@hawaii.edu

Website: counseling.uhh.hawaii.edu


Program Description

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology is a 60 semester hour program that is designed to provide multicultural, student-centered training in counseling psychology with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. The program is offered through the Department of Psychology.

Counseling psychology as a psychological specialty aims at facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Through the integration of theory, research, and practice, and with sensitivity to multicultural issues, this specialty encompasses a broad range of practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to live more highly functioning lives. Counseling psychology is unique in its attention both to normal developmental issues and to problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders. Here are two websites that contain more information about the field of counseling psychology: Society of Counseling Psychology and CounselingPsychology.org .


Our program is nationally accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council for the period of June 2021 through June 2029. MPCAC accredits academic programs in psychology and counseling, which promote training in the scientific practice of professional psychology and counseling at the master’s level. Accredited programs must demonstrate a commitment to science-based training in all aspects of psychology and counseling and to enhancing services to the consumer and the public at large.

Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
595 New Loudon Road #265
Latham, New York 12110


The mission of the Master of Arts Program in Counseling Psychology (Specialization: Clinical Mental Health Counseling) is to prepare students to help meet the mental health service needs of the diverse and multicultural populations in Hawaiʻi and beyond. The program is designed to train students to become knowledgeable, skillful, ethical, and reflective mental health counselors, and to serve as a foundation for students interested in pursuing advanced graduate studies. The program assigns a high priority to meeting the educational needs of its students and is based on a scientist-practitioner model, with an emphasis on empirical research and evidence-based practices.

Program Objectives

The degree objectives are designed to enable the student to:

  1. Understand legal and ethical principles as they pertain to professional conduct and responsibility.
  2. Display multicultural awareness and competence when working with diverse individuals, groups, and communities.
  3. Develop their theoretical orientation and identity as a reflective practitioner.
  4. Demonstrate effective skills in evidence-based assessment, case conceptualization, treatment planning and intervention strategies to alleviate suffering and promote health and well-being.
  5. Recognize and apply research principles to real world clinical situations and settings.

Prospects for Graduates

Graduates of the program will be able to seek employment as professional counselors. Employment prospects for mental health counselors are currently good in Hawaiʻi and in many other areas of the United States. Employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow at a faster than average rate over the coming years. Professional counselors may find employment in a wide variety of settings, including the following:

  • Community mental health clinics
  • Public and private elementary and secondary schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Vocational rehabilitation centers
  • Job training and career counseling centers
  • Residential care facilities
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and agencies
  • Private practice settings
  • Mental hospitals and psychiatric wards
  • General medical hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Child welfare and other family assistance agencies
  • Military settings


The program curriculum meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in the state of Hawaiʻi. Additional information can be obtained from the Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs . Please note that, in addition to completing the M.A. program, the current law has other requirements, including earning a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and accruing at least 3000 hours of post-graduate experience in the practice of mental health counseling.

The American Counseling Association maintains a web page with links to all of the state licensing boards for mental health counselors .

Admission Requirements

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.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Eligible applications are reviewed by the Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee, which uses multiple criteria for the assessment of applicants. Admission is selective. Priority may be given to students applying for full-time enrollment. Depending on program needs, a few outstanding applicants for part-time enrollment may be admitted.

The application priority deadline for Fall admission is January 20, 2023. Please see Graduate Application Procedures for detailed information.

Transfer of Credits

Requests for transfer of credits must be made during the first semester in which the student is enrolled in the program. Students need to obtain departmental approval for all credit transfers. 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. Students may transfer a maximum of 12 semester hours (or the equivalent). On rare circumstances, requests for an exception to the 12-credit limit could be considered by the program faculty. All requests for transfer of credits must be accompanied by a transcript and course syllabi.

Program Curriculum (60 credits)

  1. Required courses (51):
    • PSY 601 Applied Multivariate Statistic (4)
    • PSY 602 Research Meth & Prgm Evaluatn (4)
    • PSY 603 Psychological Assessment (4)
    • PSY 604 Profssnl Identity, Ethics (3)
    • PSY 611 Lifespan Human Development (3)
    • PSY 612 Career Development (3)
    • PSY 613 Psychopathology over Lifespan (3)
    • PSY 620 Counseling Theories (3)
    • PSY 622 Group Work & Counseling (3)
    • PSY 623 Social & Cultural Foundations (3)
    • PSY 624 Counseling Skills (3)
    • PSY 640 Practicum Supervision (3)
    • PSY 640F Practicum Fieldwork (3)
    • PSY 659 Internship Supervision (3)
    • PSY 659F Internship Fieldwork (6)
  2. Electives (9):
    • An additional nine (9) credits of PSY courses at the 600 or 700 level, not included in the list above.