Master of Arts in Counseling

Counseling student in the library holding note pad

Use your understanding of behavior to help those who need it most.

Westfield State University’s Master of Arts in Counseling curriculum covers theory, research, and applied skills that encourage you to develop critical-thinking, inquiry, and reasoning skills. You’ll build a solid foundation in general counseling knowledge, methods, and best practices while also specializing in a specific counseling concentration to match your career goals. 

No matter which concentration you select, you’ll learn from expert faculty with real-world experience in a supportive learning environment dedicated to exploring diverse perspectives and ideas. Your counseling master’s degree will help you develop career-targeted skills, as well as a broad skillset transferrable to a variety of jobs and professional settings. 

Available concentrations: 

Mental Health Counseling 
Completion of the Mental Health Counseling track is the first step toward fulfillment of a Massachusetts mental health counselor license. Successful completion of these 60 credits will offer you the opportunity to apply for licensure as a mental health counselor. The program of study for mental health counselors consists of 36 credits of required core courses, 12 credits of electives, and 12 credits of internship (600 hours). Practicum requirements for licensure are included in several core courses, as well as two supervision classes. 

Forensic Mental Health Counseling 
A concentration in Forensic Mental Health will prepare you for jobs that address the mental health needs of offender populations. Our curriculum is designed to provide you with specialized training in theory, assessment, and treatment, as well as applied experience in criminal justice settings. 

If you are interested in research or continuing your graduate education, you will have the opportunity to complete a thesis or independent study project. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared for licensure in mental health counseling. 

School Counseling, Initial Licensure 
The School Counseling concentration prepares you for Massachusetts licensure as a school counselor at the Initial level. This program of study for school counselors consists of 40 credits of required core courses and eight credits of practicum (450 hours). In addition, 12 credits in electives are required for the Master of Arts degree program. Pre-practicum requirements for certification are included in several core courses. 

School Adjustment Counseling 
School Adjustment Counselors provide social, emotional, academic, and personal support to students. As a counselor in this field, you’ll meet with students one-on-one in a confidential setting and in small groups and provide other services like bullying prevention, crisis intervention, and collaboration with parents, teachers, and school administrators.

Program Highlights

  • Four concentrations to choose from
  • Develop career-ready skills
  • Complete in as little as 3 years
  • Supporting our Schools Scholarship available for school & adjustment concentrations

Customize your counseling M.A. to fit your career.

Build on your passion for helping and supporting others in a program designed for your unique career goals.

A flexible counseling master’s that prepares you for a lifelong career helping others. 

  • Student Fall 2023

    Learn while you work 

    Our master’s in counseling courses are offered on weekdays during the evening, so you can fit earning your degree into your already busy schedule. 

  • Counseling graduate student smiling in Nettie Stevens Science Center lobby wearing floral shirt.

    Hands-on experience 

    You’ll gain valuable professional experience through a variety of available internships, practicums, independent research, and more. Apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios while honing your professional skill set.

  • School Counseling student at Commencement with faculty member

    Robust student support 

    We understand that it can be intimidating going back to school, and you may be balancing work, family, and education. We offer multiple support services to make your transition easier—like online learning support, reading and writing help, and more.

Some of the most important things that I've learned at Westfield State that I can apply to my career include how to conduct research, hold counseling sessions, and present concepts effectively to colleagues and esteemed professors in a confident and concise manner.

Taylor White, '23

What can I do with a counseling degree?

Your counseling master’s degree will prepare you for a rewarding career in counseling, working in positions such as:

  • School counselor
  • Community health worker
  • Clinical therapist
  • Social worker
  • Family therapist
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Chemical dependency counselor
  • Residential counselor 
  • Career counselor
Counseling graduate student smiling in front of the Nettie Stevens Science Center.

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated graduate students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • February 1

    Application deadline for fall admission

  • On-the-job

    experience through practicum

  • Full-time

    or part-time options

Expert faculty with diverse specialties

Your professors and counseling faculty come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and specialties, but all share a commitment to scientific inquiry. Small class sizes mean you’ll have easy access to faculty eager to help you master and expand upon your coursework as well as collaboration and networking opportunities with your fellow students.

Robert Hayes, Ph.D., Chair of the Psychology Department poses for a professional photo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the application requirements for the Master of Arts in Counseling program?

Prospective students should access the graduate application online at

The following material must be received for an application to be reviewed:

  1. Completed graduate application and $50 application fee. In your application, please indicate your concentration preference: Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Mental Health Counseling, School Adjustment Counseling, or School Counseling. Additionally, please specify if you will be attending full-time or part-time.
  2. Official transcripts indicating a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. 
  3. Applicants must submit three letters of reference, including at least one academic reference. 
  4. Applicants must submit a personal statement that describes (1) reason for interest in the field, (2) assessment of personal strengths and limitations, and (3) goals of graduate study. 
  5. Applicants must submit a professional vitae or resume, including information on prior and/or current volunteer and/or employment positions. 
  6. Applicants applying to the School Counseling program or School Adjustment Counseling must submit passing scores on the Communication and Literacy Skills portions of the Massachusetts Educators Certification Tests (MTEL)

The closing date for receipt of all admissions materials is February 1st for fall admission.

Applicants with a firm foundation in psychology, education, or related field are highly preferred. Note - applicants with degrees in unrelated fields may enhance their application through the successful completion of undergraduate courses in Statistics, Child or Adolescent Development, Personality, Abnormal Psychology, Counseling, and/or Behavior Modification, as appropriate to the targeted degree program.

Applicants selected for interviews must attend a formal interview with members of the graduate admissions committee. 

Notice of acceptance will occur on or about April 15th for study beginning the following September. 

Due to the competitive nature of these programs, we require a nonrefundable program deposit of $150.00 within 10 days of acceptance. This deposit is used to ensure your space in the program. The deposit is applied to your first registration as a matriculated student in the fall semester immediately following your acceptance. If we do not hear from you within 10 days, we will assume you have selected an alternative direction, and we will close your matriculation.

How long will it take me to complete the master’s degree?

Full-time students typically complete the program in three years, while part-time students take about four years, offering flexibility to accommodate diverse schedules.

How are courses offered?

Most courses are offered in-person during the evening on campus with the some online or remote synchronous courses offered, providing a convenient schedule for our students. It's essential to note that an exception to this is the flexibility required to complete practicum hours during the daytime.

Do I have to submit GRE/MAT or MTEL scores when I apply?

No, we do not require a GRE or MAT.  However, applicants applying to the school counseling or school adjustment counseling programs must submit passing reading and writing scores on the Communication and Literacy Skills portions of the Massachusetts Educators Certification Tests (MTEL)

Is graduate housing available?

Discover graduate living at Welch Hall Apartments – your gateway to a vibrant community and tailored amenities. Choose from four-person apartments featuring single and premium single rooms, all inclusive of utilities and internet. Make connections by signing up as a group or embark on an individual adventure with like-minded roommates. Revel in the comfort of fully furnished apartments, boasting a well-equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar, cozy bathrooms, and inviting shared living spaces.

Your convenience is our priority – enjoy free laundry facilities on campus and parking at an affordable rate. Immerse yourself in academic pursuits with easy access to the campus library or prioritize your well-being at our fitness centers.

Whether you prefer cooking with your roommates or opting for a meal plan, relish access to an array of campus dining options, including late-night and takeaway choices. Elevate your graduate experience with Welch Hall Apartments – where living meets exceptional comfort and convenience.

For more information contact or 413-572-5402.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

Yes, students have a dedicated advisor – your compass through class choices and beyond. Beyond academics, your advisor becomes a mentor, guiding you on further education and career paths. We're not just about classes; we connect you to resources like the Banacos Center and the Reading & Writing Center. At every step, we're here to ensure your success is our priority.

How does the Dispositional Assessment for the Master of Arts in Counseling program work?

Candidates will be subject to an ongoing dispositional assessment coordinated by the faculty advisor in collaboration with cooperating course instructors, faculty supervisors, and site supervisors. In order for a candidate to advance academically from semester to semester, advance to a Field Placement or graduate with an M.A. Counseling degree, they must hold no unresolved “0” or “-1” scores in their dispositional record. 

Any candidate who fails to achieve and maintain a satisfactory level on the Dispositional Assessment will be subject to review by the Graduate Committee in Counseling, who may determine that the candidate can proceed without intervention or may work with the candidate (or provide a designated faculty member to work with the candidate) on a remedial plan. The Graduate Committee in Counseling may also decide the candidate is not eligible to proceed academically or proceed to Field Placement. If a candidate's assessment displays “0” or “-1” scores, the Graduate Committee in Counseling may remove them from a Field Placement.

Are there any other policies for this program that I should know about?

The M.A. program must be completed within seven years of the first course counted toward the degree. Since courses are offered in a sequence rather than each semester, planning with advisors is imperative. Upon acceptance into the program, the student is assigned an advisor who will assist in planning a program to fit individual needs. There will be continual evaluation during the course of study with students apprised of their progress. A favorable evaluation is necessary for continuation in the program. The granting of the degree is based on professional competence, completion of the program of study, and satisfactory performance in a comprehensive exam or professional portfolio. 

To accommodate students who work and/or have other substantial demands placed upon their time, courses are offered during the evenings and/or late afternoon. Important exceptions to this schedule are the Pre-practicum, Practicum, and Internship experiences. While some placements permit flexible scheduling, many place restrictions on scheduling. Since these experiences are an essential component of counselor training, students must plan for the flexibility that will allow them to complete these requirements.

Do you offer graduate assistantships?

Yes, a limited number of graduate assistantships are available each year for graduate students. These opportunities are competitive and are awarded to students with excellent academic records who are enrolled in a graduate degree program.

This valuable opportunity can enhance your academic journey and provide valuable experience. Don't miss out on the chance to be part of this enriching program!

Learn more about graduate assistantships 

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes, we offer the Supporting Our Schools Scholarship for school and adjustment counseling concentrations. 

Request Information

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Master of Arts in Counseling