M.A. in Counseling Psychology

This is content from the Catalog 2019–2020 back issue. Please visit the current catalog for current information.

Specialization: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Program Director: Bryan Kim , Ph.D.
Email: bryankim@hawaii.edu

Website: counseling.uhh.hawaii.edu


Program Description

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. (Counseling Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association)


The Master of Arts program in counseling psychology is accredited through March 2021 by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC), 595 New Loudon Road #265 Latham, New York 12110; http://www.mpcacaccreditation.org/.


The mission of the Master of Arts program in counseling psychology is to provide multicultural, student-centered, graduate training in counseling psychology. The program is designed to train students to become knowledgeable, skillful, ethical 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 later, the program provides training in advanced statistics and research methodology. It also offers opportunities for students to gain research experience by participating in ongoing projects and/or by initiating their own research projects or a Master’s Thesis. The program assigns a high priority to meeting the educational and personal needs of its students and is based on a scientist-practitioner model, with an emphasis on empirical research and evidence-based practices.

Program Goals

  • To provide students with the knowledge and skills to counsel clients from different ethnic, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds;
  • To provide students with a broad understanding of general counseling theory and practice, within a scientist-practitioner framework;
  • To provide students with the knowledge of the social, psychological, health, and economic problems that people of Hawaiʻi face, along with the professional skills to help people cope with and manage these problems in the future;
  • To offer research training opportunities to students who are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling psychology or a related field.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates from the program will be able to:

  1. Provide mental health counseling to clients/patients from different ethnic, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds;
  2. Understand general counseling theory and practice, within a scientist-practitioner framework;
  3. Understand the social, psychological, health, and economic problems that residents of Hawaii face, along with the professional skills to help people cope with and manage these problems in the future;
  4. Obtain licensure in mental health counseling in the state of Hawaii and many other states in the US.

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.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program, students 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;
  • 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 an introductory or survey of psychology, statistical techniques, research methods, and at least two 300-level or higher psychology courses. For these 15 semester hours, similar courses in closely-related fields of study may also be acceptable;
  • At least one 3-semester-credit course in statistics and one 3-semester-credit course in research methods from any discipline;
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (General Test);
  • A score of 550 on the TOEFL (required of applicants for whom English is not their native language and whose undergraduate degree was earned in a non-English speaking country).

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 15. 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 (3)
    • 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 (4)
    • 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.