Prepare for a career as a compassionate mental health counselor. Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.)

Our unique M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling blends clinical skills with Christian faith and fortifies your commitment to serving the underserved at home and around the world.


Credential Type

  • M.A.

Major Credits Required

  • 60


  • 2 years, full-time


  • Residential, Cohort Model

3 Semesters of Clinical Training

Earn your graduate degree through rigorous coursework and a counseling practicum and internship.

20% International Students

Christian mental health counselors are in demand worldwide. Our alumni serve in more than 25 countries.

98% National Exam Pass Rate

Acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to obtain your professional license and launch your career.


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Prepare to serve the underserved Why Wheaton for Your Master's in Counseling?

Earn your M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from a top-tier Christian institution. Designed to integrate faith and counseling, our CACREP-accredited program explores the impact of a Christian worldview on your professional identity.

Close-Knit Cohorts

A close-knit student community is a hallmark of Wheaton's graduate counseling program. Our cohort model allows you develop deep, meaningful relationships with your classmates and offers a built-in support network.


Personal Reflection

Enrich your development as a counselor and increase self-awareness through personal growth counseling prior to your internship. As you get to know yourself better, you'll set yourself up for success in the mental health counseling field.

ChicagoLand Connections

Our ChicagoLand location offers students plentiful internship and practicum experiences — and, after graduation, rich employment opportunities. Many of our site supervisors are program alumni!

CACREP LogoAccreditation

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) at Wheaton College through October 31, 2024.

Our Curriculum

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum meets or exceeds the educational requirements in most states for licensure as a clinical professional counselor and certification as a National Certified Counselor.

In addition to your counseling core, you'll also take courses in theological studies and complete on-site clinical training.

Please see the graduate course catalog for current requirements as well as the most up-to-date course numbers, titles, and descriptions.

Sample Courses

Clinical Mental Health Counseling core and elective options include:

  • Counseling Theories & Practice
  • Lifestyle & Career Development
  • Substance Abuse & Addictions
  • Foundations of Play Therapy
  • Theological Anthropology
  • History of Christianity

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Trauma Certificate

The School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy and the Humanitarian Disaster Institute have partnered together to offer a specialized Trauma Certificate for both future and current mental healthcare providers.

Learn More about the Trauma Certificate

Develop as a counselor — and a Christian Engage in Experiential Learning & Personal Development

As a graduate student, you'll not only participate in rich, real-world experiences in mental health counseling settings — you also will develop personally, professionally and spiritually.

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Internships & Practicums

Gain three semesters of hands-on clinical training in professional settings that fit your goals and interests. You'll find our students putting theory into practice in locations such as:

  • Outpatient clinics
  • Church counseling centers
  • Community mental health clinics
  • Inpatient treatment facilities
  • College counseling centers
Two students focusing on a class

Research & Professional Development

Participate in research groups with faculty and students, such as at our Multicultural Peace & Justice Collaborative. You'll even have an opportunity to submit research for review to present at national academic and industry conferences.

You can also connect and collaborate with classmates and others in the counseling field through membership in professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors. 

Campus & Community Engagement

Our students are actively engaged on campus and in the local area. They participate in worship services, volunteer with community organizations, attend lectures (like our Scandrette Series), go on field trips, and much more.

They also join (and lead) student groups such as the Graduate Student Council and Graduate Psychology Student Association.

Our Faculty Compassionate and Intelligent Educators

Learn from scholars and practitioners who are distinctly Christian in their focus, widely published in their field, and deeply invested in the academic, spiritual, and vocational growth of their students. Our faculty members have a strong interest in the intersection of ministry and mental health practice and actively explore this integration with students.

Mandy Kellums Baraka, Ph.D. Headshot

Mandy Kellums Baraka, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Counseling
Ki Chae, Ph.D. Headshot

Ki Chae, Ph.D.

Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, Associate Professor of Counseling
Tammy Schultz, Ph.D. Headshot

Tammy Schultz, Ph.D.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Training Coordinator, Professor of Counseling, Co-Coordinator of the Trauma Certificate Program
Terri Watson, Psy.D. Headshot

Terri Watson, Psy.D.

Professor of Psychology

Should I choose Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Marriage and Family Therapy?

While there are many similarities between Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), our programs offer two distinct approaches:

  • CMHC emphasizes an eclectic approach to working with clients including cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, person-centered, and systemic approaches.
  • MFT emphasizes the individual-in-context and systemic theory as foundational in conceptualizing relational and clinical issues.

Learn More about the Programs’ Distinct Qualities

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Investing in You

Financial Wellness

The Wheaton College Graduate School Student Financial Services team can help you understand how much your graduate studies will cost and what financial assistance may be available to you.

Learn About Graduate Financial Aid
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Stepping Into a New Role

Alumni in Action

“I am confident that the deeply experienced, clinically gifted faculty, along with my talented, supportive cohort mates, all served to prepare me well to step into the therapeutic and redemptive role that God was calling me to as a mental health counselor.”

— Christopher Bobkowski M.A., '22

For more than 20 years, Christopher Bobkowski M.A. ‘22 served as a teacher in an inner city, public high school, and as a ministry volunteer at my church, but he had grown weary of bearing witness to the frontlines of trauma and crisis, anxiety and despair, broken hearts and broken families.

He prayerfully prepared to step through God’s open door to return to Wheaton Graduate School for a brand-new season of forming, shaping, and refining. Today he's a Licensed Professional Counselor at Stenzel Clinical Services.

Next Steps

Interested in becoming a clinical mental health counselor? Our accredited graduate program might be right for you. Request more information or start your application today.