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Master of Arts in Counseling: Online Learning

The Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies at Northwestern University offers a world-class education and clinical training program where learners can earn an online counseling degree. The Master of Arts in Counseling program prepares you to work as a clinical mental health counselor, directly helping children and adults.

This program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and can be completed on an accelerated full-time track over the course of six quarters, or on a full- or part-time basis.

Why Choose A Master's Degree in Counseling Online

Choosing to earn an online counseling master’s degree means that you are able to earn your degree through live, online classes while studying either part-time or full-time. You will be able to graduate in 18 to 36 months, and will be prepared to pursue licensure to help clients lead healthier, more empowered lives.

How You Will Learn

You’ll connect with peers, professors, and counseling professionals during collaborative, online classes. You will study key concepts with your peers, gaining diverse perspectives. Classes are taught by Northwestern University faculty, and the program encompasses 24 graduate-level courses, a 200-hour practicum, a 600-hour internship, and in-person immersions. Studying on the accelerated track, you will complete your education in 18 months. The traditional track takes two-and-a-half years to complete, and the part-time track takes three years to complete.

Online Counseling Degree Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Counseling program curriculum focuses on self-reflective practice. Learners are required to take classes such as:

  • Research Methods in Counseling
  • Psychodynamic Counseling
  • Theory and Technique of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Psychopathology and Diagnosis in Counseling
  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Foundations of Family, Marital, and Couples Counseling
  • Assessment in Counseling (Adult Focus)
  • Assessment in Counseling 2 (Child/Adolescent Focus)
  • Career Development
  • Theory and Technique of Substance Abuse
  • Methods 1: Introductory Counseling Skills
  • Methods 2: Advanced Counseling Skills
  • Methods 3: Skills for Social Justice Advocacy, Outreach, and Prevention
  • Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Professional Topics in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Supervised Practicum in Counseling
  • Supervised Internship in Counseling

You will also choose between Human Growth & Development (Child & Adolescent Focus) and Human Growth & Development (Adult Focus), in addition to elective courses.

For learners enrolled in the Bridge to Counseling Program, for those with less counseling experience, these courses are also taken:

  • Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Introduction to Clinical Interviewing
  • Contemporary Topics in Counseling

Learners in the program may also choose to concentrate on the following:

Child and Adolescent Specialization: As you prepare to work with adults, learn to tailor your treatment to meet the developmental needs of young people facing challenges related to mental illness.

The Online Experience

Online learners learn by doing, and are prepared for real-world practice through online classes and coursework. Learners of all levels are accommodated in this program, which can be completed from anywhere with a stable Internet connection.

Who Will Teach You

Northwestern University faculty who are practicing counselors teach classes for this degree, and enrich your learning through diverse interests and perspectives. Learners have the opportunity to connect with faculty during office hours and during class, building long-lasting relationships.

What Degree You Will Earn

Graduates will earn an MA in Counseling degree from Northwestern University upon successful completion of the program. New graduates, prior to practicing, must obtain their state-specific licensure. Learners should research the requirements specific to each state.

Careers in Counseling

After completing the MA in Counseling program, learners will be able to work in a variety of different settings. As a mental health practitioner with an online mental health counseling degree, clinical mental health counselor jobs are available in:

  • Private practice
  • Career services
  • University student services
  • Research institutions
  • Inpatient/outpatient clinics
  • Inpatient/outpatient hospitals
  • Community mental health centers