Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

In this section we cover topics including:


The application deadline can be found on the How to Apply page. The program starts in the Fall.

We accept applications at any time leading up to the deadline; however, decisions are not made until after the application deadline passes.

Yes, you can apply to multiple counseling programs. Your admission to each program is separate. Scholarships awarded by each program are separate and can’t be transferred.

We do not require that applicants have an undergraduate degree in any particular field. Applicants with any undergraduate degree are encouraged to apply.

We do not have a certificate-only option or a post-master's option. All students must complete the entire 90-credit program.

This program does not require the GRE. However, if your undergraduate degree was non-graded (i.e., you have no GPA), Seattle University requires that you take a standardized test in order to apply. You may choose either the GRE or the MAT (Miller Analogies Test).

Applicants who don't want to attend this Fall will need to re-apply to the program. All application documents do not need to be resubmitted, but some may need to be updated by the application deadline to be considered complete. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check their application status page to make sure all documents are complete prior to the next year's program application deadline.

Program Details

The counseling cohort begins every year in the fall (September). We do not admit during the winter, spring, or summer quarters.

Yes. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling program (OCMHC) mirror each other.  However, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program has instruction live and in-person.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program takes three (3) years to complete. The first two years include classroom-based courses, both content courses and skills courses. The final year includes practicum and internship along with an associated clinical class. 

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program takes three (3) years to complete. The first two years include classroom-based courses, both content courses and skills courses. The final year includes practicum and internship along with an associated clinical class.

Although students do take summer courses, there is a 6-week break between summer and fall quarters from mid-August to late September. There is also a 3-week break between fall and winter quarters. You can view the academic calendar.

This program was designed with the working adult in mind. We anticipate that most students will be able to work full-time while taking courses during the first two years of the program. During the third year, it may be difficult to work full-time because students will be in the field completing their practicum and internship, which are usually 30 hours a week.

The Clinical Mental Health program is a three-year full-time program.

Because of the sequence of classes and cohort system, it is not possible to complete our program in less than 3 years.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is on a 10-week quarter system for fall, winter, and spring, and on an 8-week quarter system for summer. More detailed information on the academic calendar can be found here.

Faculty bring a combination of research and counseling experience to their teaching. All our faculty have doctoral degrees in counselor education, are experienced in the field of counseling, and those who teach clinical courses are fully licensed.

Each class session is between 3-4 hours long and meets once per week. Most students take three courses per quarter and are thus on campus three nights a week. Courses are offered starting at 4 p.m. or at 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday only. Course start times vary; the start time depends on the specific course. Students take courses all four quarters each year (fall, winter, spring, and summer).

Our course list can be found here.

Classes are on a 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio. Cohorts will stay together throughout the three-year program.

Program cost information can be found here. For reference, the program is 90 credits.

Information on scholarships can be found here. We occasionally have opportunities for graduate assistantships, which are posted for current students on Handshake as they become available.

The graduate counseling program at Seattle University is a generalist program grounded in social justice principles. Graduates are prepared to work with a diverse base of clients using multiple methods of counseling intervention. Students will be introduced to a broad variation of counseling interventions. Students may use their course assignments to explore their own areas of interest, and search for internship opportunities where they can gain more experience in their interests. Specializations may be developed during the post masters supervised experience toward independent licensure as mental health counselor. Specializations are usually certified by professional organizations, not degree programs.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates can practice upon graduation in mental health agencies and clinics, private practice, mental health programs in schools, hospitals, and other settings looking for masters-level counselors. Graduates must practice under supervision until they are licensed. Licensure requires an additional 3000 hours of experience and the successful completion of a state exam. Due to our CACREP accreditation, the State of Washington Department of Health credits Seattle University Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) applicants with 500 hours toward the 3000-hour post masters supervised experience requirement for independent licensure.

Licensure and Accreditation

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is a counselor licensure and Washington State Substance Use Disorder Certification preparation program.

Practicum and Internship

Practical counseling experience occurs in your third year of study. Practicum occurs in the fall quarter of the third year, and internship occurs at the same location in the subsequent winter, spring, and summer quarters.

Practicum is 100 hours of which 40 are direct client contact. Students take part in a weekly group supervision class on campus, as well as individual or triadic supervision with a faculty supervisor one hour per week.

Internship is 600 hours of which 240 are direct client contact. Students also take part in weekly group supervision class on campus each quarter.

Fingerprints and background checks will be required. 

Counseling students can choose from a wide variety of practicum and internships experiences. Students have interned at Sound Health, Valley Cities Behavioral Healthcare, Edmonds College Counseling Center, Protea Wellness, Social Impact Center of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Center for Human Services where Seattle U has a partnerships. Students can also request permission to intern at new locations if they work with the Counseling Internship Placement & Licensing Coordinator. Most commonly students pursue site experience in community mental health agencies, inpatient treatment facilities, clinical counseling in school-based settings, private group practices, and hospitals.

The counseling programs have a dedicated Internship Placement and Licensing Coordinator who supports you as soon as you enter the program with discerning the right internship experience, including monthly workshops on how to research sites, prepare a counseling resume, prepare for interviews, or initiate opportunities with new internship sites. The program has extensive partnerships and a robust system of resources and supports for the internship search process. 

Most of our students end up pursuing internships in sites where students have worked before. However, we support the coordination of unique internship opportunities. Student internships are governed by regulations set forth by CACREP, Washington state administrative codes, and program advisory councils.  In these cases, we will work in collaboration with students to explore how the unique internship can meet practical counseling experience requirements.

Yes, there are opportunities for paid internships. Though they are not the norm, paid internships are on the rise in an effort to establish equity in access to counseling education for all clinical counseling students.

Get In Touch

If you have any questions about the program or application, we’re here to help!

Diana Calderon

Admissions Counselor

Diana Calderon smiling for headshot