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Degree Overview

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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

South University Virginia Beach’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 that can help you to 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

After earning an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, graduates are eligible 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

Please see the South University academic catalog for program specific admissions requirements.

Course Requirements

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

Curriculum for South University, Austin; 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

*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


The objectives of the South University, Virginia Beach Clinical Mental Health Counseling program are to recruit eligible students from all areas and provide fair and equitable admissions criteria; make available a variety of instructional models and resources to provide the student with the most effective learning arrangements and to provide appropriate learning opportunities for counseling students that will prepare them to perform their expected competencies in an ethical, legal, safe, and effective manner upon graduation; prepare counseling students to communicate effectively; instill the importance and value of continued education and involvement in appropriate professional and community affairs after graduation; and encourage the counseling students to recognize their own strengths and limitations.

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, synthesis, and application of the major theories comprising the foundation of counseling from a historical and contemporary perspective.
  • Students will demonstrate an awareness and comprehension of the normal and abnormal mechanisms of change within individuals across the lifespan.
  • Graduates will demonstrate an ability to properly identify, assess, conceptualize, diagnose, and treat mental disorders in the context of the accepted diagnostic nomenclature.
  • Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the contributions of quantitative and qualitative research and the synergy among the theoretical, clinical and scientific components of the field.
  • Students will explore and understand the impact of their personal view as it relates to their world view and the multidimensional nature of cultural influences as a Counselor Educator.
  • Students will develop effective verbal and written communication skills necessary to interface with various constituents including clients, treatment teams, and public entities.
  • Student will demonstrate an appropriate level of professional development as evidenced by the knowledge and understanding of pertinent ethical and legal principles in the profession, in addition to current/emerging issues in the field.
  • Students will achieve an appreciation and level of proficiency concerning the knowledge, skills, and competencies deemed appropriate for use in the profession as identified by the ongoing need for education and training beyond graduation.

Core Faculty

Virginia Beach Campus Core Faculty

 Dr. Susanne Preston-Josey, Program Director for Virginia Beach

Dr. Susanne Preston-Josey is the Program Director at South University.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner.  Dr. Preston-Josey has a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Old Dominion University.  She specializes in counselor supervision and in play therapy, with an Approved Clinical Supervisor credential and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor credential.  She attended Chaminade University of Honolulu and earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis in School Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech.  She is also a National Certified Counselor and a Board Certified Tele-Mental Health Provider.  She enjoys working with students in their internship experiences and training professionals in the community.  Dr. Preston-Josey serves as a Leader in the Virginia Counselors Association; on the board of the Virginia Clinical Counselors Alliance and Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision divisions of VCA.

Dr. Julie Vogel LPC, NCC, BCPC, EdD

Dr. Vogel has been teaching at South University since July of 2018.  She is also seeing individual clients at Solutions Psychotherapy which is a private community mental health facility.  She received her EdD from Argosy University in Nashville, TN.  Before receiving her EdD Dr. Vogel owned and operated a private practice in both Nashville (2 years) and Cookeville (2 years) Tennessee.  She has worked as a Case Manager, Community Organizer, and was the regional director of an adoption agency in New York.  Dr. Vogel received her Master's degree from Long Island / CW Post University in New York.  She was born and raised in Wisconsin, moved to Long Island, NY, and then moved to Tennessee.  She loves the Virginia Beach area and plans to stay until retirement.

Dr. Susan O. Dye

Susan O. Dye, EdD, LPC, LSATP is an assistant professor and Clinical Coordinator for South University's Virginia Beach Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.  Dr. Dye is a graduate of the University of Virginia with her doctor's degree in Counselor Education and Supervision.  She has worked as counselor and supervisor in a variety of clinical settings over her career including community service boards, psychiatric hospitals, outpatient practices, and children's residential treatment facilities.  She was an adjunct faculty member at several universities throughout her career.  Dr. Dye has strong interest in the areas of counselor supervision, assessments,  substance abuse, and treatment of children.

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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.)