School of Education

Master of Science in Education – Mental Health Counseling

Graduate Degree Program

BVU’s two-year hybrid master’s program enhances the skills of practicing professionals who have goals of becoming effective mental health counselors. The heart of our program is the deep connections and valuable training that students experience during a summer course at BVU and a weekly live video class. With training and licensure, graduates with a master’s in mental health counseling pursue a variety of positions at mental health agencies, college campuses, or in private practice.

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Why Should I Earn a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling?

BVU’s Mental Health Counseling master's program prepares students to address the growing need for accessible, professional mental health services. Licensure in mental health counseling includes options for concentrations in:
   •  Addictions Counseling
   •  Child and Adolescent Counseling
   •  Couple and Family Counseling

The mental health counseling program is designed to meet the curricular requirements for Iowa professional licensure under section 31.6(2) of the Bureau of Professional Licensure of the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science standards for a content-equivalent program. 

The program is offered in a combination of online and face-to-face classes. Classes begin in July with online assignments combined with a summer residency held from Friday through Thursday in Storm Lake. The residency requirement will be for each summer of enrollment. Students may stay in residence halls for a nominal fee.

Classwork throughout the rest of the terms/semester will be completed in a hybrid format with some online coursework through Canvas, combined with one class meeting in the evening each week via Zoom—virtual meetings through your computer. 


  • Program Syllabi

    Program syllabi are available for review upon request. Please contact for more information.

  • Annual Executive Report

    Program goals and objectives are evaluated using multiple methods over a five-year cycle. Our annual executive report is available for your review. You may download the report here.

  • Mental Health Counseling 2019 Vital Statistics

    In 2019, 13 students graduated from the Mental Health Counseling Program, with a 70 percent completion rate. Of the students seeking employment following graduation, 100 percent were able to obtain employment in the mental health field. For those students who choose to complete the credentialing examination, 90 percent passed on the first attempt with a 100 percent passing rate after a second attempt.

Apply for our Summer 2021 cohort! The registration deadline is March 15, 2021.

Why Study Mental Health Counseling at BVU?

Learn Online and In Person

This two-year mental health counseling program is designed to be taken alongside your current career. You will spend one week at the beginning of each year learning at our Storm Lake campus. Then, you will complete coursework online and participate in a virtual meeting once each week in the evenings.

On-Campus Residency

Face-to-Face Experience and Skill Building

As part of our professional school counseling and mental health counseling programs, students take part in a week-long residency at our beautiful campus on the shores of Storm Lake in Iowa. This week of learning is one of the highlights of the program, where you get to know others in your cohort and gain experience working on your skills with your classmates.

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Join a Welcoming Community.
Share Remarkable Experiences.


I fell in love with BVU’s mental health counseling program. I was really blown away because even though this is a challenging discipline, the professors contribute real-life experiences. I appreciate the mentorship aspect that the instructors provide for us.

Courses & Application Requirements

Our comprehensive MSEd curriculum will prepare you for practice, developing your skills in counseling assessments, research, and advanced counseling practices. Through supervised practicums, you'll graduate with hands-on experiences that will prepare you for the real-world of counseling. And, our elective courses allow you to focus even more on topics like addictions counseling, child and adolescent counseling, and couple and family counseling.

  • Mental Health Counseling Courses (60 Hours)

    Mental Health Counseling - Year One Courses

    BVU's Mental health counseling courses begin each July (Term 6)

    • GMHC 546 Methods and Procedures in Counseling
    • GMHC 519 Professional and Ethical Orientation to Counseling
    • GMHC 530 Theories of Counseling
    • GMHC 528 Research Methods in Counseling
    • GMHC 510 Assessment and Appraisal Techniques in Counseling
    • GMHC 540 Psychopathology and Psychological Disorders
    • GMHC 550 Diagnostics and Treatment Planning

    Mental Health Counseling - Year Two Courses

    • GMHC 548 Group Counseling
    • GMHC 544 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling
    • GMHC 580 Supervised Practicum in Mental Health Counseling
    • GMHC 581 Supervised Practicum in Mental Health Counseling II
    • GEDU 529 Human Development and Learning Through the Lifespan
    • GMHC 590 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part I
    • GEDU 552 Counseling Children and Adolescents
    • GMHC 570 Advanced Counseling Practices and Crisis Interventions
    • GMHC 591 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part II
    • GMHC 592 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part III
    • GMHC 535 Program Evaluation and Consultation in Counseling
    • GMHC 594 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part IV
    • GEDU 549 Career Development and Assessment
    • GMHC 520 Counseling Couples and Families
    • GMHC 598 Capstone: Professional Issues in MHC


    • GMHC 521 Advanced Couple and Family Counseling
    • GMHC 553 Play Therapy Theories and Techniques
    • GMHC 593 Overview of Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders
    • GMHC 595 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part V
  • Application Requirements
    • Official transcripts
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • BVU Analytical Writing Assessment
    • BVU Autobiographical Questions
      • Describe significant personal experiences that influenced you to pursue the counseling profession.
      • Describe significant professional experiences that influenced you to pursue the counseling profession.
      • Discuss how you would make a contribution as a professional school counselor to the counseling profession, both within a local school district and the profession at large or as a mental health counselor to the counseling profession both within the local community and the profession at large.

    After we receive all of your application materials, you will be invited to an informal zoom meeting with the program director, after the March 15th priority application date.

Financial Aid

We’ll help you figure out your options for receiving financial assistance.

Learn More

Mental Health Counseling Faculty

Our instructors are committed to helping you build the future of Iowa and beyond.

See Our Faculty

No GRE Required

BVU does not require students to take the GRE for admission — saving you time and money.

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