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Northwestern University Master of Arts in Counseling online

Develop the practical skills of a self-reflective clinical mental health counselor in this highly-collaborative and CACREP-accredited program.

About the program

  • CACREP-accredited curriculum: Prepare for licensure in your state as you learn how to serve diverse client populations.
  • Two paths available: Choose between the Standard Program or Bridge to Counseling Program, depending on your relevant experience.
  • Hands-on clinical training: Work with dedicated placement specialists to find suitable clinical sites and gain supervised experience attending to a range of client needs.

About Northwestern University

As one of the highest-ranked private research and teaching universities in the United States, Northwestern University is committed to the personal and professional growth of its diverse community through the exchange of ideas and experiences. The Family Institute at Northwestern advances behavioral health and trains the next generation of healthcare professionals serving clients from all walks of life. 

Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change and may increase each academic year. Tuition does not include student fees, technology platform licensing, or support services. Learners are also responsible for travel and accommodation costs related to any in-person immersions or residentials.

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Northwestern University’s online Master of Arts in Counseling program offers a curriculum that focuses on self-reflective practice. This approach prepares aspiring clinical mental health counselors to support diverse populations in need. Learners acquire the necessary skills and shape their approach to counseling through hands-on faculty mentoring. Learners in the program may choose to concentrate in 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 who face mental illness.
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The online Master of Arts in Counseling program offers rolling admissions with four start dates per year: January, April, June, and September. Successful candidates require strong writing skills, and should be open to receiving feedback and analyzing their experiences, opinions, and personal traits. Applicants must also hold a bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution. To complete an application, you will need to submit:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

  • Two professional or academic letters of recommendation

  • Résumé with any clinical experience

  • Statement of purpose and supplemental essay

  • Application fee

Internships and immersions

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The placement process starts during a learner’s first semester, enabling learners to begin integrating as early as possible what they learn in the classroom, with practical, real-world experiences. Each learner also works with a dedicated Faculty Placement Advisor who supports and guides them throughout their multiple placements, and who also provides ongoing feedback.

Learners attend two in-person immersion experiences at the Chicago campus, where they get in-depth training and an opportunity to engage with, and learn from, their peers and Northwestern faculty. And, in the final stages of the master’s degree program, learners also participate in an online capstone immersion to help them prepare for their transition from learner to aspiring practitioner.

Frequently asked questions

To graduate, you must complete 24 courses — or 27 courses if you are enrolled in the Bridge to Counseling Program — as well as a two-part clinical placement. The curriculum and clinical requirements are equivalent to those of a 60-credit hour program.

Depending on whether you pursue your degree on an accelerated, traditional, or part-time basis, you can expect to graduate within 18 to 36 months.

No. Applicants do not need to have an undergraduate degree in psychology or human services. Northwestern offers an online Bridge to Counseling Program designed specifically for career-changers who are entering the mental health profession.

Qualifying applicants must complete a group interview with the admissions on the program’s online learning platform. Once the committee has reviewed your completed application, they will send successful applicants a request to schedule a group interview.

After earning an MA in Counseling degree from Northwestern University, newly graduated counselors must first obtain their state licensure before being allowed to legally practice counseling in the state of their choice. The requirements for a counseling license are state-specific and may include additional post-master’s supervised clinical hours and examination.

Graduates of Northwestern’s Master of Arts in Counseling program are prepared with the necessary skills and knowledge to sit for licensing exams in each of the 50 states, including the District of Columbia. Licensure requirements differ from state to state. Learners should research the requirements specific to each state.

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