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Mental Health Counseling: Application Process

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Program Pre-Requisites:

Admissions decisions are based on a composite of criteria applied to all of the credentials presented in an individual’s application. Absolute minimum scores ("cut-offs") are not used to make admissions decisions.  However, a GPA of at least 3.0 at the bachelor's level are encouraged to apply. 


  • Baccalaureate degree: Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree prior to beginning the MHC master’s program.  While most students in the program have a degree in psychology or a closely related major, applicants with degrees in any field are welcome to apply to the program as long as they meet all admission requirements.  It is recommended that applicants have prior coursework and/or knowledge in the following areas: personality or abnormal psychology; social or developmental psychology; learning; physiological or neuropsychology; and multicultural issues in psychology. 

Statistics Requirement: Two background statistics courses (PSY362 and PSY363) are required for full admission to the MHC program. These courses (or their equivalents) may be pursued concurrently with graduate courses, however, we strongly recommend that they are completed before one begins the program.  All requisite stats courses must be completed within the first two quarters in the program. The Program Director may assist you in determining if your introductory and intermediate statistic courses from prior institutions satisfies this requirement. 

Because mental health counseling students work with children and members of other vulnerable populations, they must complete a background check p
ursuant to RCW 43.43.834 and RCW 43.43.839.  Any student who knows that he or she is not likely to pass a background check should be aware that these circumstances may affect the likelihood of securing clinical placement, which may prevent the student from participating in practica and internship experiences effectively forfeiting the student’s ability to complete the program. Such individuals are encouraged to proactively discuss concerns regarding such matters directly with the program’s Clinical Director and/or advisor.  They are also encouraged to contact the Washington State Department of Health directly to discuss their specific situation to determine if it is possible for them to be licensed as a mental health professional in the state of Washington. 


How to Apply:

Application and Selection Timeline

  • The application deadline for fall quarter admission is January 10 (Applications submitted after this date will be actively considered if space in the program is still available).
  • The MHC faculty review all applications by mid-February.  Prospective applicants thinking of submitting an application after the January 10th deadline should check-in with the Program Director and/or request their materials be considered for the subsequent year.
  • Applicants who advance through an initial screening will be invited to a mandatory interview day, which occurs the last Friday in February.  Interviews usually occur in the Psychology Building at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. If you are unable to travel to Ellensburg, we have alternative interview formats.
  • The program will begin to make offers to prospective students soon after the interview date, typically by mid-March.

To apply to the MHC program you will submit an application to the School of Graduate Studies and Research.  Information can be found at the Apply to CWU School of Graduate Studies and Research page.  Be sure to read their information thoroughly. 

A complete application will include the following:

  • CWU School of Graduate Studies and Research Application (including $75 application fee).  We encourage you to apply online; paper applications will also be accepted.  Find the online form at Forms and Documents.
  • Personal Statement (Statement of Educational and Professional Objectives): Part of the application is your personal statement. Please address the following questions when you write your personal statement:
    1. Why do you want to become a counselor?


    1. What strengths and weaknesses do you have that will impact your ability to become a counselor?


    1. What are your long-term goals?


Your personal statement should be limited to approximately 500 words (two pages, double spaced). 

  • Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended.  The address to which transcripts should be sent is:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
Central Washington University
400 East University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7510

  • Letters of Recommendation: You must submit three letters of recommendation.  One or more of these letters must be an academic recommendation from an instructor.  Find the online form at Forms and Documents.

Checklist for Application to the Mental Health Counseling Program






Application to the School of Graduate Studies and Research

See for detailed instructions


Official Transcripts

From all higher education institutions you have attended


Personal Statement

NOTE:  See three questions above for guidelines on how to formulate your paper


Resume or CV

Your up-to-date resume
NOTE: This is a program requirement that is not mentioned in the School of Graduate Studies and Research requirements


Three Letters of Recommendation

Preferably academic references.  At least one letter must be an academic letter, from an instructor

Financial Information

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