Dr. Marta Garrett, Director
The Graduate Counseling Program at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor aspires to be the program of choice for persons seeking development as viable, competent, effective, and ethical professional mental health and marriage and family counselors. Students and faculty collaboratively pursue knowledge, faith, compassion, justice and innovative ideas so that they may develop and provide counseling and educational services to diverse community populations throughout the nation and abroad.
The Graduate Counseling Program seeks to prepare students from diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences as master’s level clinicians for the mental health and family therapy fields. The program also equips students with skills needed to later continue their academic training at the doctoral level if they choose. This program gives students opportunities to develop knowledge and competence in counseling skills, theory, assessment, empirically based research and personal growth so that they may deliver professional mental health services in a variety of work settings. Our mission embodies the values of UMHB as a Christian-based institution and the ethical principles of the mental health professions: autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance, justice, fidelity, and veracity. The programs are designed to meet the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and educational requirements for Texas licensure by the Texas State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors, and the Texas State Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists.
PROGRAM GOAL I: To prepare students from diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences to become ethical master’s level clinicians for the counseling profession in a global society.
PROGRAM GOAL II: To provide students with knowledge and competence in counseling skills, theory, assessment, empirically-based research, and personal growth so that they are able to deliver counseling services in a variety of work settings.
PROGRAM GOAL III: To provide students with a broad-based counseling curriculum that meets the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), educational requirements for Texas licensure and/or certification by the Texas State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors, and/or the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, as applicable to the student’s program of choice.
PROGRAM GOAL IV: To equip students with skills needed to continue their academic training at the doctoral level if they choose.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor offers the Master of Arts Degree in Counseling as follows:
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program (CMHC) – 60 hours (CACREP accredited)
Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Program (MFCC) – 60 hours (CACREP accredited)
Non-Clinical Professional Studies in Counseling Program – 36 hours (does not lead to licensure or certification)
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) track is designed for students who have an interest in working with individual clients across the lifespan in a variety of counseling and mental health settings and private practice. This track prepares graduates to apply for licensure as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) in Texas.
The Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC) track is for students who want to work in a variety of public settings that serve couples and families in the community or in private practice. This track prepares graduates to apply for licensure as an LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) in Texas.
The main difference between the Clinical Mental Health track and the Marriage and Family track is the focus of the clinical work – the CMHC track focuses on individual interventions, and the MFCC track focuses on helping clients through a relational or systemic intervention (couples or families).
The two licensure and certification programs follow a core curriculum which is the basic building block for the professional counselor, regardless of setting. All students complete courses in the following areas:
- developmental counseling
- counseling theories
- group theories, dynamics, and process
- lifestyle and career development
- multicultural counseling
- measurement and appraisal
- research and evaluation
- professional orientation and ethics
In addition, a sequence of specialized courses is offered within each program area (i.e., Clinical Mental Health Counseling- Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling) Clinical practicum and/or internship experiences in an appropriate clinical setting are offered in conjunction with the core and specialized counseling courses. Program requirements in the Non-Clinical Professional Studies in Counseling allow students to take courses offered by other departments which enable students to broaden their knowledge base in their area of interest.
A student’s allowable course load is typically nine (9) credit hours in the fall and spring semesters, and six (6) credit hours in the summer or when enrolled in the Internship sequence. Exceptions must be submitted to the Program Director in writing and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
Applicants seeking enrollment in a Master of Arts program must submit or complete the following: Three (3) letters of recommendation (from professionals, former instructors, bosses, etc.) attesting to applicant’s character and ability to complete graduate work.
- A completed interview with the Departmental Graduate Admissions Committee.
- A signed student agreement form (which includes a background check)
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program & Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Program
To enter either of these 60 credit programs the student must have completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university with a major in psychology or closely related field with a minimum of 12 semester hours of psychology or social sciences. The hours of undergraduate psychology should include, but are not necessarily limited to, a general introduction to psychology course, a human growth and development course, a course in abnormal behavior, and a statistics or research course.
Students in all counseling degree tracks must meet the following requirements:
- Have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) or have a minimum 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) on the last 60 semester hours of course work.
- Have a minimum cumulative score of 300 on the verbal and quantitative portions (if GRE is taken after August 2011; 900 minimum if taken before August 2011); and a minimum score of 3.0 on the analytical section of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – if overall undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0.
- Upon receiving an offer of admission, demonstrate physical, mental, and emotional qualifications sufficient, with or without reasonable accommodation, to meet the academic and technical requirements of the counseling profession.
Student Evaluation and Degree Requirements
To obtain the Master of Arts degree, students must demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge within their chosen field, an understanding of self, and the promise of skilled performance in cognitive and affective areas. To ensure that program standards are high, students will be evaluated at the following points:
1. Upon admission through a review of their writing sample, interview, academic credentials, and letters of recommendation.
2. Within each course:
Students are graded on academic knowledge, class participation and interpersonal skills, writing ability (both content and construct), speaking and presentation skills, independent research, professional orientation, and capacity to successfully perform in the counseling profession. Appropriateness of classroom demeanor, behavior, and ethics is also evaluated. “A” work is considered above average performance; “B” work is considered average performance; “C” work is considered below average performance. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00, semester and cumulative, is required of all graduate students enrolled in a Master of Arts program. Students with a semester and/or cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 will be placed on probation. Failure to correct the deficiency in the next semester of attendance will result in dismissal.
The Graduate Counseling Program is both academic and experiential. Therefore, the student must demonstrate more than cognitive abilities. Evaluation using the Counselor Competencies Scales (CCS) and Professional Performance Evaluation (PPE) will be made at various points throughout the program as the faculty deems appropriate.
The Professional Performance Evaluation (PPE) supersedes all other requirements for a class, and no credit for the class may be earned in the event that a “0” (does not meet criteria for program level) is indicated. A copy of the PPE and CCS can be electronically accessed at
3. Acceptance as a candidate is required for all clinical degrees. Students with a GPA of 3.00 or better must apply twice for admission to candidacy: after the completion of a minimum of 12 semester hours [before beginning the Practicum course] and again after the completion of Practicum. The departmental graduate faculty committee evaluates each student on the student’s overall performance in courses completed to determine if the student is qualified to be a candidate to receive the Master of Arts degree. Areas evaluated by the committee include academic knowledge, class participation and interpersonal skills, writing ability (both content and construct), speaking and presentation skills, independent research, professional orientation, self-reflection and self-care, and freedom from mental health problems that, even with reasonable accommodation would interfere with occupational functioning.
The committee may decide to accept the applicant with qualification pending completion of the first semester of practicum or reject the applicant. “Acceptance with qualification pending completion of the first semester of practicum” means that the student will make improvements in the areas that the faculty have commented on in the “candidacy letter” and will demonstrate good use of counseling knowledge, skills, and ethics in the first semester of practicum. Rejection for candidacy means that the student has consistently performed at an unacceptable level and/or has made few attempts to remedy deficiencies as recommended and may result in dismissal from the program.
A student’s application for candidacy may be deferred if the committee has some question regarding the student’s appropriateness for candidacy. Students will be notified in writing (“candidacy letter”) of the response to their application for candidacy and of any recommendations or requirements for improvement.
4. During clinical instruction:
Students must apply for and be approved to take clinical instruction classes prior to enrolling in these courses. Students are evaluated during Practicum and Internship by their Faculty Supervisor when working only at the Community Life Center or by their Faculty Supervisor and Site Supervisor when working at both the Community Life Center and an off-campus counseling site. All supervisors will use the Counseling Competencies Scales (CCS) to give their students evaluations at mid-term and at the end of the semester.
5. Following administration of comprehensive examination:
Students accepted for candidacy must register for and successfully complete a comprehensive examination conducted by the graduate counseling faculty during the students’ last semester of course work prior to graduation. All comprehensive examinations cover material presented in the courses required according to the degree specialization. The comprehensive exam in the three clinical programs is a standardized written examination. The comprehensive examination in the Non-Clinical Professional Studies is a written examination constructed by three or more faculty to represent the student’s individualized degree plan. The policies and procedures for the administration and scoring of the comprehensive examination for each specialization are available through the Director of the Graduate Counseling Program. The comprehensive exam may only be retaken once. If the examination is failed a second time, the student will no longer be eligible to receive a Master of Arts degree with a major in Counseling from UMHB.