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Degree Overview

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Dr. Charlotte Hamilton, Former Department Chair, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

South University Columbia’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed for those interested in helping people in need. Our coursework is focused on experiential learning designed to help you become a compassionate professional counselor. Our program offers: comprehensive studies of theories and principles, dynamic applications in the field, training in effective assessment and treatment practices, a thorough understanding of the significance of research in the field and competence in ethical, legal, and professional standards

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare graduates to sit for licensure in their state and the opportunity to become certified as a National Certified Counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

Admission Requirements

Procedure for Admission to the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Admissions criteria for the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program are consistent with those required in other master's degree level programs at South University. As the admissions process also takes into consideration the characteristics deemed essential to becoming a clinical mental health counselor, material is also required which will enable a determination to be made of the applicant's personal integrity, maturity, interpersonal skills, and ability to communicate effectively. The criteria used in determining admission to the graduate program include:

  1. Completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  2. A grade point average of at least 2.7 (on an Admissions scale of 4.0) for the last 60 semester hours/90 quarter hours of coursework (including relevant graduate work), or, a bachelor's degree with an overall CGPA of 2.7, or, an earned graduate degree from an accredited institution with a CGPA of 3.0 or higher.
  3. A minimum score on a South University preapproved English language proficiency test is required for all applicants whose "first" language is not English as specified in the English Language Proficiency Policy.
  4. Interview with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling department chair/program director or designated faculty member.
  5. Approval of the campus program admissions committee.
  6. Completion of an application for admission.
  7. Submission of a personal/professional statement addressing the applicant's interest in counseling, professional goals, along with a self-appraisal of academic and professional qualifications.
  8. Submission (within 10 weeks of class start dates) of official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended.
  9. Current résumé (or career summary).
  10. Background Check

All required admissions documentation and criteria will be reviewed and evaluated. Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance. Applicants should review the published general graduate requirements listed in the South University catalog. Students who are citizens of countries other than the United States should also refer to the section in the South University catalog entitled International Student Admissions Policy.

Provisional Admission

Applicants with an undergraduate degree CGPA of less than a 2.70, but not lower than 2.30, for the last 60 semester hours/90 quarter hours of coursework (including relevant graduate work), or, a bachelor's degree with an overall CGPA of 2.70, but not lower than 2.3, or, an earned graduate degree from an accredited institution with a CGPA of less than 3.00, but not lower than a 2.70, will be considered for provisional admission.  Students who do not attain a 3.00 GPA in the first quarter will be dismissed. Students cannot appeal the dismissal from the university as a result of failure to meet the conditions of provisional admission.

The applicant will need to provide evidence of academic and professional potential demonstrated by career and/or personal accomplishments indicated in a personal statement of academic and professional goals, a career resume or curriculum vita, and two letters of academic and/or professional recommendations.  The Program Chair in consultation with the Campus Dean of Academic Affairs and Operations and College Dean or designee must approve exceptions. The College Dean serves as the final decision maker. Students are required to complete the provisional admissions form for entry as a provisional admission student.

Program Course Requirements

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program: 91 Credits, 10 quarter program

Curriculum for South University, Columbia; South University, Richmond; South University, Savannah and South University, Virginia Beach campuses only

Quarter 1: 9 Credits

  • CNS6002 Counseling Theory 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6313 Professional Orientation and Ethics 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7900 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Quarter 2: 8.5 Credits

  • CNS6018 Psychopathology 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6161 Counseling Techniques 4 credit hours
  • CNS7901 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Quarter 3: 9 Credits

  • CNS6050 Lifespan Development 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6051 Diagnostics of Psychopathology and Treatment 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7902 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS8100 Preliminary Clinical Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 4: 9 Credits

  • CNS6509 Group Dynamics 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6565 Multicultural Foundations 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7903 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Quarter 5: 8.5 Credits

  • CNS6425 Clinical Mental Health Counseling 4 credit hours
  • CNS6535 Clinical Mental Health Appraisal I 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7904 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Quarter 6: 5.5 Credits

  • CNS6529 Research and Statistical Evaluation 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7010 Practicum IA (100 clinical hours) 1 credit hour
  • CNS7905 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS8101 Preliminary Didactic Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 7: 9.5 Credits

  • CNS6602 Lifestyle and Career Development 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6850 Psychopharmacology 4 credit hours
  • CNS7011 Practicum IB (100 clinical hours) 1 credit hour
  • CNS7906 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS8201 Clinical Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 8: 8 Credits

  • CNS7510 Internship IA (200 clinical hours) 4 credit hours
  • CNS7907 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS7950 Child/Adolescent Psychopathology and Treatment 4 credit hours
  • CNS8202 Didactic Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 9: 12 Credits

  • CNS6901 Diagnosis and Treatment of Addictive Disorders 4 credit hours
  • CNS7610 Internship IIA (200 clinical hours) 4 credit hours
  • CNS7908 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS7970 Clinical Mental Health Appraisal and Treatment II 4 credit hours

Quarter 10: 12 Credits

  • CNS6709 Couples, Marital, and Family Dynamics 4 credit hours
  • CNS6775 Counseling Administration, Advocacy, and Policy 4 credit hours
  • CNS7611 Internship IIB (200 clinical hours) 4 credit hours
  • CNS7909 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Notes:

*Students wishing to move to North Carolina will be able take additional .5 seminar courses to fulfill the State of North Carolina requirements. Students taking these additional courses must following the Coursework Taken Outside a Student's Degree Program policy found in the Academic Affairs Section of the Academic Catalog.

  • CNS6006 Counseling Theory Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6056 Lifespan Development Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6317 Professional and Ethical Issues Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6504 Group Dynamics Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6532 Research and Evaluation Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6538 Clinical Mental Health Appraisal Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6568 Multicultural Foundations Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6605 Lifestyle and Career Development Seminar 0.5 credit hour

 

 

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program: 91 Credits, 8 quarter program

Curriculum for South University, Columbia; South University, Richmond; South University, Savannah and South University, Virginia Beach campuses only

Quarter 1: 13.5 Credits

  • CNS6002 Counseling Theory 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6050 Lifespan Development 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6313 Professional Orientation and Ethics 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7900 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Quarter 2: 13 Credits

  • CNS6018 Psychopathology 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6161 Counseling Techniques 4 credit hours
  • CNS6565 Multicultural Foundations 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7901 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Quarter 3: 13 Credits

  • CNS6051 Diagnostics of Psychopathology and Treatment 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6425 Clinical Mental Health Counseling 4 credit hours
  • CNS6535 Clinical Mental Health Appraisal I 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7902 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS8100 Preliminary Clinical Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 4: 10 Credits

  • CNS6509 Group Dynamics 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6529 Research and Statistical Evaluation 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS7010 Practicum IA (100 clinical hours) 1 credit hour
  • CNS7903 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS8101 Preliminary Didactic Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 5: 9.5 Credits

  • CNS6602 Lifestyle and Career Development 4.5 credit hours
  • CNS6901 Diagnosis and Treatment of Addictive Disorders 4 credit hours
  • CNS7011 Practicum IB (100 clinical hours) 1 credit hour
  • CNS7904 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS8201 Clinical Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 6: 8 Credits

  • CNS7510 Internship IA (200 clinical hours) 4 credit hours
  • CNS7905 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS7950 Child/Adolescent Psychopathology and Treatment 4 credit hours
  • CNS8202 Didactic Evaluation 0 credit hours

Quarter 7: 12 Credits

  • CNS6850 Psychopharmacology 4 credit hours
  • CNS7610 Internship IIA (200 clinical hours) 4 credit hours
  • CNS7906 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours
  • CNS7970 Clinical Mental Health Appraisal and Treatment II 4 credit hours

Quarter 8: 12 Credits

  • CNS6709 Couples, Marital, and Family Dynamics 4 credit hours
  • CNS6775 Counseling Administration, Advocacy, and Policy 4 credit hours
  • CNS7611 Internship IIB (200 clinical hours) 4 credit hours
  • CNS7907 Clinical and Professional Development Seminar 0 credit hours

Note(s):

*Students wishing to move to North Carolina will be able take additional .5 seminar courses to fulfill the State of North Carolina requirements. Students taking these additional courses must following the Coursework Taken Outside a Student's Degree Program policy found in the Academic Affairs Section of the Academic Catalog.

  • CNS6006 Counseling Theory Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6056 Lifespan Development Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6317 Professional and Ethical Issues Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6504 Group Dynamics Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6532 Research and Evaluation Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6538 Clinical Mental Health Appraisal Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6568 Multicultural Foundations Seminar 0.5 credit hour
  • CNS6605 Lifestyle and Career Development Seminar 0.5 credit hour

 

 

Mission, Goals & Outcomes

Mission & Goals

The mission of the South University Master of Arts degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is to prepare students to meet the local and regional need for qualified counselors. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counselling is designed to provide advanced and broad training for South University graduate students regarding theories, principles, and dynamic applications in the field. Students develop the skills necessary to engage in effective assessment and treatment practices, achieve competence for ethical, legal, and professional issues, and understand the significance and utility of research to the field. Faculty members are dedicated to maintaining high teaching standards, developing intellectual curiosity, advancing critical thinking, and engaging in service to the University, community, and profession.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be able to -

1. Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice:  Demonstrate knowledge and application of all aspects of professional functioning, to include ethical standards, legal implications, advocacy and social justice, counselor roles, and professional credentialing.

2. Social and Cultural Diversity: Demonstrate the ability to apply multicultural research and core theory to issues and relationships in the context of culturally competent counseling.

3. Human Growth and Development Through the Lifespan: Apply research and core theory to the needs of diverse individuals across the lifespan, to include atypical personality and neurological development, addictive disorders, family and social relationships, and crisis response.

4. Lifestyle and Career Development: Demonstrate implementation of research and  core theory related to the processes of decision-making in career development and planning in the context of the psychology of work.

5. Counseling and the Helping Relationship: Demonstrate knowledge and skill application of the major theories of change, consultation practices, diagnostic impressions, and evidence-based interventions to a diverse clientele for the delivery of effective and ethical treatment.

6. Group Dynamics and Group Work: Apply culturally appropriate group skills, techniques, and theory-based interventions in the context of group counseling dynamics while exploring effective facilitation styles.

7. Assessment and Appraisal: Analyze historical and current testing and assessment methods for implementing ethical and accurate appraisal of diverse clients by individual or group methods.

8. Research and Program Evaluation: Apply needs assessment, program evaluation, and research methods to ethical and effective practice and to add to the body of literature in the counseling profession.

Courses are taught according to the matriculation sequences provided by each campus and at the discretion of the school. Courses must be attempted in the curriculum sequence as defined by each campus. Curriculum content and sequence are subject to change with notification.

Core Faculty

Columbia Campus Core Faculty

 

Katherine H. DeWitt, PhD
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director / Assistant Professor

Dr. DeWitt is Program Director and Assistant Professor at South University in Columbia, South Carolina. She first joined the faculty of South University as the Clinical Coordinator and has spent the last several years working throughout the Columbia community developing relationships with mental and behavioral health agencies so that South University students have excellent field opportunities for their clinical training. Dr. DeWitt earned her PhD in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Education in Community Counseling from Lamar University, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History from Stephen F. Austin State University. Spending most of her professional life working in higher education as an academic and career counselor, Dr. DeWitt has worked closely with at-risk populations, developing programs and resources to help first generation, underrepresented, and low-income college students persist to graduation and, for many of her students, on to graduate programs. She has served several institutions in roles including academic and career counseling, as well as a retention specialist.  Dr. DeWitt’s clinical experiences include working with adolescents in the juvenile justice system, as a case manager for teen dug court, as a family reunification/reintegration specialist for the juvenile probation system of Jefferson County, and as a group leader facilitating parent/family psychoeducational groups as part of a behavior intervention program for Richland County District II schools in Columbia, SC.  Dr. DeWitt’s research interests focus on social media engagement that stemmed from her observation of the increasing integration of social media platforms in every aspect of daily lives, from the digital documentation of daily activities to becoming the primary sources of global news and information.  In the helping professions, where the relationship between the clinician and the client is the foundation of service and care, how the clinician is perceived digitally is as important as how they are received in person.  Dr. DeWitt’s research is expanding from examining social media engagement of counselors in training to practicing clinicians and supervisors.

Dan Lawther, PhD
Assistant Professor, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Dr. Lawther’s background and experience are diverse.  His BA degree is in History and English from the University of Indianapolis, he holds a MA in General Experimental Psychology from Indiana State University, and a PhD in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina.

He has variously worked as the Director of Housing at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Director of Cottage Life for the Midlands Center (SCDMR), the Director of the Charleston Evaluation Center (SCDJJ), Psychologist III for the Intensive Behavior Modification Program (SCDJJ), Assistant Coordinator for the Intensive Care Units (SCDJJ), Director of Staff Development (SCDJJ), and Training Director for First Corrections Corporation.  He has previous teaching experience at Limestone College and Webster University before beginning employment with South University.  Dr. Lawther is coauthor of “Institutional Programs” in L. Villeponteau and D. Kirkpatrick (Eds) The Correctional Learning System.

Dr. Lawther’s major area of interest has been developing programs for the oppositional and conduct disturbed adolescent.  To that end, he has presented programs for the Southern States Correctional Association and consulted with various program entities in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, and the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix.

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success stories

Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

We're committed to helping our graduates make an impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our counseling and psychology graduates have to say.

Sandy S Johnson 2008
Sandy Johnson Grad Alumni
Class of '08
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

“Having [instructors] that are experts in the field was an inspiration to me and allowed me that firsthand experience of the day-to-day knowledge. I am elated that I had these professors, and when I have had to call on them post-graduation, they have always been so helpful. Having a master's degree has made me a competitive applicant…[and has] given me the confidence in myself to accomplish any goals I may set for myself.”

Mary Blevins 2014
Mary Blevins Grad Alumni
Class of '14
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

“My education has made a huge difference in my life! Without my degree from South University, I would still be working a dead-end job. The professors had worked extensively in the field and incorporated real-life experiences into the textbook material. For the first time in my life, I can genuinely say I am happy with my career and where I am in life.”

LaDonna Cook 2011
LaDonna Cook Grad Alumni
Class of '11
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

“South University impacted my life in numerous ways, from the phenomenal staff and faculty who helped me to believe in and challenge myself, to my amazing peers in my cohort, who became lifelong friends. My time at South University was the best. The faculty and staff encouraged us to excel in all areas of our lives, and it pushed me to be a better person and counselor.”

blue cap and gown graduate icon
Niya Warner Calderon Grad Alumni
Class of '10
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

“My professors at South University placed a great deal of knowledge and resources at my fingertips. My classes were never just a presentation of material; they were a discourse of experience where the instructor could answer the question directly when I asked.”

Ty White 2009
Ty White Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

“The teachers were so caring and personable. We all became family. We cried together. We laughed together. It was a domino effect: the people at South University were so helpful to me that I wanted to help others.”

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

The Master of Arts (MA), Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program at South University is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, 1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22314, phone (703) 535-5990.)