MAC Program at Aquinas College

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Admission Requirements

Applications for admission to the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program are submitted online.  Questions about applications should be directed to Lynn Atkins-Rykert ( in the Graduate Enrollment Office in the Academic Building 201. 

Applicants who meet the minimum requirements for Conditional Admission are eligible to begin classes in the following Fall semester. To receive full consideration for Fall, 2018 admission, please submit all required materials by August 1, 2018. 

Steps for Completing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree (MAC)

Step 1.  Requirements to Enter MAC Program
All applicants enter the Program as Conditional Admits. The specific requirements needed for an applicant to take a graduate course are as follows:

  1. A completed Graduate Studies Application for Admission.
  2. An official report of GRE scores
    1. Preferred Minimum Scores:
      1. Verbal Reasoning: > 142
      2. Quantitative Reasoning: > 142 
      3. Analytical Writing: > 3.3
  3. Transcripts will be accepted from institutions accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission or other regional accrediting commissions which have been recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Official (sealed) transcripts must be sent directly from all previously attended colleges or universities. Applicants must have:
    1. Earned a Bachelor’s degree.
    2. A minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
      1. Applicants who either do not meet the undergraduate minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 or the minimum GRE score requirements (Section 2) may be admitted on Probation and considered for full admission. These applicants must earn minimum grades of B in each course taken to qualify for final admission in the CMHC Program.
    3. International applicants must complete the above requirements in addition to the international applicant requirements for students wishing to attend Aquinas College.
  4. Two letters of recommendation to be written on forms supplied by the MAC program.  The letters must be from professional or academic persons knowledgeable of the applicant’s academic and/or professional experiences and dispositions (letters from family or personal friends are not acceptable). Please use the form located here
  5. A two to three page statement of professional goals with biographical information that includes reasons for seeking the MAC degree and a statement of how this degree will enable the student to reach their goals.
  6. Submission of current Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and FBI background checks.
    1. In the event that the applicant has been convicted of a felony offense, Aquinas College will require a separate explanation of circumstances.  The Program Director reserves the right to make the final decision with regard to acceptance in the Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, and also reserves the right to depart from and/or supplement the admission criteria based upon the best interests of Aquinas College.
  7. The MAC Program at Aquinas College admits new students in the Fall and Spring semesters.  All students must complete COU 500: Orientation to Graduate Studies at Aquinas and MAC prior to beginning classes. COU 500 is offered as 1 day, 0 credit hour course, on the Saturday before classes begin.
  8. Completion of at least the equivalent of nine semester hours in social or behavioral sciences from an accredited institution.
    1. If the applicant is judged to be deficient in the social or behavioral sciences, he/she may be required to complete successfully appropriate undergraduate courses without graduate credit before admission to the program.
  9. The MAC Program at Aquinas offers full-time and part-time cohort plans beginning in the Fall and Spring semesters.
  10. Upon receipt/completion of items 1 through 6 above, conditionally admitted students may enroll in their cohort courses while completing the final admission process.
    1. Full-time cohorts will take COU 502, COU 503, and COU 504
    2. Part-time cohorts will take COU 502 and COU 504

Step 2:  Requirements for Final Admission into the MAC Program
The following must be received or completed, in order to be considered for full admission:

  1. Receipt of all materials from Step 1: Requirements to Enter MAC Program.
  2. Successful completion of first semester courses (with minimum grade of B). 
  3. Maintenance of Good Academic Standing as defined in the Graduate Catalog.
  4.  An interview during the second semester with the MAC Graduate Admissions Committee who will make a recommendation for final admission to the Program Director. Following this interview, the student will receive a written decision regarding their admission status.  Conditionally admitted students accepted into the MAC Program are reclassified as Fully Admitted candidates, meaning they are a candidate in the MAC degree program. Candidates are then assigned an academic advisor. (Throughout this catalog, the terms “full admits” and “MAC candidate” are used interchangeably).
  5. All MAC candidates will be held to the catalog requirements in effect at the time they first enrolled in coursework in their graduate program unless these changes are based on changes to Michigan Licensure Law or Rules. Revisions to course prerequisites will apply to all candidates regardless of the catalog of admission.

Note:  Students who fail to complete COU 500 will not be permitted to take classes. Orientation is designed to prepare new candidates for entry into the MAC Program and will introduce new students to:

  • Policies of the MAC program and Aquinas College
  • Academic advising and program matriculation
  • MAC Program faculty and staff, counselor training facilities, curriculum, registration, financial aid, bookstore, library, and other College resources
  • Michigan licensure Laws & Rules

Students will receive a current copy of the Graduate Catalog, the Student Handbook, and a tour of Aquinas web based resources.

Step 3:  Requirements for Admission to Advanced Techniques & Practicum in Clinical Counseling 
Guidelines for all field placements are outlined in the Aquinas College Graduate Student Handbook under Standards of Practice as well as in the Graduate Studies in Counseling Field Experience Handbook both available in PDF form on the program’s website. In accordance with CACREP Standards and Michigan Law, all CMHC Program candidates are required to complete a minimum 100 hour practicum (40 hours must be in direct service with clients) in an approved mental health setting.  Candidates may not register for Practicum until they have completed all required 600 level courses and have an overall collection of satisfactory ratings on their Personal Characteristics Review Forms. All field experiences are coordinated by the CMHC Field Placement Coordinator.

Step 4:  Requirements for Admission to Internship
Guidelines for all field placements are outlined in the Aquinas College Graduate Student Handbook under Standards of Practice as well as in the MAC Field Experience Handbook both available in PDF form on the program website. The internship is designed as a capstone experience providing candidates an opportunity to receive on-the-job training and experience in an approved mental health environment under the supervision of a Licensed Professional Counselor.  In accordance with CACREP Standards and Michigan Law, all MAC candidates are required to complete a 600 hour internship. The MAC Program requires that Internship is completed in no less than two terms and not more than three terms. 

All information pertaining to field experiences is coordinated by the MAC Field Placement Coordinator.

  • COU 702: Internship 1 in Clinical Counseling Internship 1 allows for the initial accumulation of a total of 100 to 300 clock hours.  It may be taken for 1 to 3 hours up to two times for a total of 3 hours. CMHC candidates are not eligible to begin Clinical Internship prior to successful completion of COU 701: Advanced Techniques & Practicum.
  • COU 703: Internship 2 in Clinical Counseling Internship 2 allows for the accumulation of an additional of 100 to 300 clock hours.  It may be taken for 1 to 3 hours up to two times. MAC Candidates must complete a total 6 semester hours of internship with no less than 600 clock hours of time in the field placement. MAC candidates are not eligible to begin Clinical Internship 2 prior to successful completion of COU 702: Internship 1 in Clinical Counseling.

Step 5:  Requirements for Graduation
In order to be recommended for graduation, candidates must:

  1. Maintain good academic standing as defined in the Graduate Catalog and as evidenced by a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Complete no less than 60 semester hours of coursework (including field experiences) within the published time limit.
    1. Candidates have six calendar years from the date of the first course taken toward their graduate degree to complete the MAC Program.
  3. Pass COU 790: Comprehensive Examination
    1. The comprehensive examination is intended to be one of the culminating experiences of the graduate program.  The exam is offered in January for May graduates and in September for December graduates. Candidates must register for COU 790: Comprehensive Examination in the semester prior to their expected graduation. Candidates who fail to register for COU 790 by the Last Day to Add listed on the Graduate Studies Calendar may be ineligible to take the exam and may be unable to graduate by their expected date.
    2. b. The Comprehensive Examination is a 200 question, multiple choice exam designed to model the National Counselor Exam used as the Board Exam by the state of Michigan. The exam is designed to prepare candidates for their licensure exam. It is also used to evaluate the candidate’s accrued knowledge across the eight CACREP core areas and as part of the CMHC Program’s ongoing evaluation process. The exam consists of eight subtests of 25 questions each. Candidates have thirty minutes to complete each subtest and a total of four hours to complete the entire exam. Candidates will not be considered for graduation until they have passed the comprehensive examination with a minimum score of 68% in each of the eight subtests.
    3. Candidates who fail any section of the examination will have 30 days to prepare for a second attempt at which time they will retake only those sections failed. A candidate fails the exam a second time may to not be able to retake it until the next offering except as determined by the Program Director. If a candidate fails the exam a third time, then he/she may be dropped from the MAC program or required to retake courses at the discretion of the Program Director.