Online Master's Degree In Counseling | Mental Health & School Counseling | Bradley University Online

Define your career in counseling by choosing from two specialty tracks:

Online Master of Arts in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)

Online Master of Arts in Counseling - Professional School Counseling (PSC)

Crafted to meet the needs of both aspiring and experienced counselors,
Bradley’s online MAC program allows you to:

  • Prepare for the National
    Counselor Exam.
  • Graduate with a direct
    path to licensure.
  • Study the groundbreaking
    practice of neurocounseling.
  • Complete
    practicums locally.
  • Choose your site supervisor,
    with guidance and approval
    from the University.
Ranked 6th among
Midwest Regional Universities.
Recognized for quality and regionally accredited
Accredited by the Council for
Accreditation of Counseling &
Related Educational Programs.


Highly trained and empathetic counselors have the power to inspire change and make a profound impact in the lives of those they serve. In today’s era of healthcare reform, demand for care continues to surpass the number of qualified professionals available to provide it. That’s why Bradley University offers an online Master of Arts in Counseling program that can equip you with the specialized expertise to help those who need it most.

Why study Professional
School Counseling?

Student enrollment in U.S. schools — from kindergarten through college — continues to surge. As a result, there’s an ongoing nationwide demand for licensed professional school counselors.

In fact, the American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of one school counselor for every 200 to 250 students, but the current ratio in U.S. schools hovers around one school counselor per 471 students. That’s less than half the number deemed sufficient. This is where you could make an immediate impact in the lives of today’s school-aged children and young adults.

Why study Clinical Mental
Health Counseling?

Today’s insurance plans are required by law to cover treatment for mental health issues — and people are seeking care in record numbers. In fact, in the United States alone, employment of clinical mental health counselors is projected to grow by 19% through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Even more compelling: One in five adults — roughly 44 million Americans — endures mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. What does that mean for aspiring clinical mental health counselors like you? It means you have nearly 44 million opportunities to inspire change and improve lives.


Change Lives. Transform Futures.

Earning a Master of Arts in Counseling online from a top-tier university like Bradley can open the door to new opportunities in a wide variety of settings. Let’s explore a few career paths now.

Clinical Mental Health Counselors:

What can you do?

  • Clinical Mental Health Counselor Utilize a range of therapeutic techniques to help individuals, families and children deal with emotional and/or psychological problems.
  • Substance Abuse Counselor Provide support for clients who suffer from addictions to various substances.
  • Rehabilitation Counselor Work with those living with a disability or dealing with a life-changing accident and help them to lead positive, productive lives.
  • Crisis Counselor Offer guidance to those who have experienced a serious traumatic event and help them refocus to become functional again.
  • Grief Counselor Counsel those coping with the grief and sense of loss that follows the death of a loved one or tragic life experience.
  • Marriage, Couples and Family Counselor Help heal fractured relationships and strengthen bonds between spouses and family members.
  • Veterans Counselor Give counsel to the more than 5 million U.S. veterans struggling with the myriad physical, emotional, mental and social issues that can arise after combat; help them adjust to life after military service.

Where can you work?

  • Outpatient and residential care centers
  • Social and human service agencies
  • Community clinics
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Governmental agencies
  • VA hospitals, medical centers and clinics
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Private corporations (employee assistance programs)
  • Private practices

Professional School Counselors (PSC):

What can you do?

  • Professional School Counselor Work with students — from kindergarten through college — to support academic achievement, nurture social development, encourage personal growth and bolster self-esteem.
  • College Advisor Counsel students who are having difficulty selecting a major or identifying career goals; help them navigate the collegiate environment and position them for academic and personal success.
  • Guidance Counselor Help students in elementary, middle and high school work through academic challenges and address emotional struggles (such as stress and peer pressure).
  • Career/Vocational Counselor Prepare individuals to start, change or advance their career; serve as a coach as you help them explore their professional interests and set realistic goals for growth.
  • College Readiness Counselor Offer guidance to students as they prepare for college selection, admission and acceptance; ensure they’re thriving academically and ready to transition to higher education.

Where can you work?

  • Private schools (K-12)
  • Public schools (K-12)
  • Higher education institutions
  • Education-based corporations
  • Government — state or federal department of education
  • Education-based nonprofit organizations
  • Career centers


The first step toward helping others know their self-worth is to know your own. That’s why Bradley University created an online Master of Arts in Counseling program that aims to deliver a career-defining, life-changing educational experience.

  • Experience our
    cutting-edge approach.

    What really sets our online counseling program apart is its focus on today’s leading neuroscience-based practices. Through a groundbreaking approach called neurocounseling, we’ll challenge you to explore the inner workings of the mind and study how counseling directly affects brain function.
  • Benefit from our
    CACREP-accredited curriculum.

    The online MAC program’s innovative curriculum — which is delivered by Bradley’s esteemed faculty of expert clinicians and experienced counselors — is structured to meet the high standards set by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  • Choose your own
    site supervisor.

    When you choose Bradley University, you choose flexibility. Get the most out of your practicum and internship hours by choosing an approved site supervisor. Bradley will ensure all on-site supervisors meet their local laws’ requirements for providing supervision to our students through the approval process.
  • Enjoy our dynamic online
    learning environment.

    As an online student, you can benefit from an innovative learning environment that is highly immersive and extremely collaborative. You’ll join a rich culture of support and shared values — one that can challenge you to grow personally and professionally.


Learn from Experienced Counselors

The dedicated faculty members who lead our online Master of Arts in Counseling program are committed to helping you succeed as you take the next step in your career. They each bring a broad base of clinical experience, professional skills and research achievements into your online classroom, and they are eager to share their knowledge with you. Learn more about their credentials now:

Lori Russell-Chapin
EHS Associate Dean
Co-Director for the Center for
Collaborative Brain Research (CCBR)
» Read More
Kathleen Buchko, Ph.D., LCPC
Associate Professor
Director, Counseling Research and Training Clinic
» Read More
Robert Davison Avilés
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Professional School Counseling
» Read More
Nancy Sherman
Interim Associate Dean for
Distance Education
Professor and Clinical Coordinator
» Read More
Jobie Skaggs
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
» Read More



To graduate with your Master of Arts in Counseling, you must successfully complete 60 credit hours of coursework, including one practicum, two internships and two, one-week-long campus-based residencies. The first residency will take place during your first term, and the second will occur in the eighth term.

Graduate Core Courses (6 semester credit units)

ENC 604
Research Methodology and Applications (3)
Focus on quantitative and qualitative methods of research utilized in the areas of education and social science. Examination of sources of information for research, various designs, basic statistics, interviewing strategies and observational techniques. Students will learn to critique and write research proposals in their areas of study. Prerequisite: graduate standing.
ENC 606
Interpersonal Behavior and Organizational Leadership (3)
Skills related to interpersonal communication, organizational behavior and leadership values clarification with diverse populations. Extensive opportunities for practicing and evaluating personal communication skills. Prerequisite: graduate standing.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialty Courses (6 semester credit units)

ENC 608
Brain-Based Interventions (2)
Instruction, demonstrations, practice and evaluation of counseling interventions that assist individuals in learning to work more efficaciously with their brains to improve management of emotions and behaviors as based on current research and understanding of brain functioning.
ENC 651
Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3)
How communities and community agencies can work to promote human development. Role of the counselor as a change agent and client advocate within the network of community agencies along with an introduction to administration, finance and accountability within mental health organizations. Prerequisite: EHC 620 or consent of instructor.
ENC 663
Counseling and the Dynamics of Aging (1)
The mental health dynamics of aging and its impact on the human service professions. Practical skills of gerontological counseling and their relationship to the concerns of aging.

Professional School Counseling Specialty Courses (6 semester credit units)

ENC 585
School for Non-Teachers* (2)
Intended for non-teachers seeking Illinois certification for school counselors. This course is a combined survey and field observation experience. Students will learn about the structure, organization and operation of the U.S. educational system P-12 as exemplified in local school districts. Students will be required to observe in a school four hours per week.
ENC 608
Brain-Based Interventions (2)
Instruction, demonstrations, practice and evaluation of counseling interventions that assist individuals in learning to work more efficaciously with their brains to improve management of emotions and behaviors as based on current research and understanding of brain functioning.
ENC 653
Professional School Counseling, K-8 (3)
Elementary and middle professional school counseling programs, including administration, finance and accountability, and cognitive and experiential skills. History and development of school counseling, elementary and middle school education and counseling programs (similarities and differences), group and individual counseling, the counselor's role in school testing and career planning and exploration. Practical experiences. Prerequisite: ENC 620 or consent of instructor.
ENC 655
Professional School Counseling in Secondary Schools (3)
Secondary professional school counseling programs, including administration, finance and accountability, and cognitive and experiential skills. History and development of school counseling, secondary school education and counseling programs (similarities and differences), group and individual counseling, the counselor's role in school testing and career planning and exploration. Practical experiences. Prerequisite: ENC 620 or consent of instructor.
ENC 669
Special Education Law (2)
Statutory provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Special education process including classification, identification and evaluation; related services; least restrictive environment and due process proceedings.
ENC 699
Thesis (2)
Advanced educational or social science research under the guidance of a departmental faculty member. Student will design, develop, and present the research proposal, then conduct the approved research study consistent with the Committee for Use of Human Subjects in Research (CUHSR) regulations and university ethical guidelines. Minimum of 3.0 and maximum of 6.0 hours may be taken and applied toward Master's degree.

Program Core Courses (48 semester credit units)

ENC 530
Loss and Grief Counseling (1)
Offers students the opportunity to understand the beliefs about loss and grief, blockers and interventions. Students will identify the different types of losses. Loss and grief seem to underlie all life experience, and culture and gender influence how we grieve and mourn.
ENC 540
Human Growth and Development (3)
Cognitive and experiential learning in human growth and development. Cognitive learning through reading and research into developmental patterns of humans through the developmental stages: birth; infancy; early childhood; primary, middle, and high school years; adulthood; geriatrics. Experiential activities emphasize personal contact and on-site work with people at different ages and stages of physical and psychological development.
ENC 551
Substance Abuse Counseling (2)
Basic counseling interventions for prevention, remediation and treatment of substance abuse.
ENC 586
Counseling Diverse Populations (3)
Value systems in diverse groups; the use of philosophies and models of diversity in establishing an effective, helping relationship.
ENC 607
Neurocounseling: Bridging Brain and Behavior (3)
Instruction, simulations, demonstrations, practice and evaluation of concepts of the human brain, its functions and its interconnection to the field of counseling based on current efficacy research and practice.
ENC 620
Intro to Professional Counseling (2)
A survey course introducing the counseling profession as the promotion of human development, including an overview of the historical and philosophical development of the field, a survey of relevant skills, client population and settings. Required of all students preparing to become leaders in the profession of counseling.
ENC 621
Career and Life Planning Across the Life Span (3)
Basic counseling skills for career planning, exploration and decision-making. Vocational guidance and career development of elementary and high school students, roles of women entering the workforce, physically handicapped workers, inner-city youth, adult workers making vocational changes in middle life and older workers preparing for retirement. Practical experience in interviewing, vocational assessment, career information gathering and distribution and labor market research.
ENC 622
Counseling: Ethics and the Law (1)
An advanced exploration of the legal, professional and ethical dilemmas faced by professional counselors and supervisors. Familiarity with an application of the current American Counseling Association Code of Ethics as well as relevant Illinois and federal civil and criminal law will be demonstrated by students.
ENC 623
Pre-Practicum in Counseling (3)
Instruction, demonstration, practice and evaluation in basic interviewing and response skills. Emphasis on practice and skill development. Prerequisite: ENC 620 or concurrent enrollment.
ENC 624
Theories and Techniques of Counseling (3)
Study and evaluation of major theories of counseling toward developing a working theory of counseling and understanding of dynamics of human behavior. Prerequisite: ENC 623 or concurrent enrollment; consent of instructor.
ENC 625
Principles of Group Counseling (3)
Group theory and dynamics as applied in group counseling. Group practices, methods, procedures and group leader facilitation skills. Supervised practice and experience in group counseling as leader and participant. Prerequisite: ENC 623 and 624 and consent of instructor.
ENC 630
Psychodiagnostics and Psychopathology (3)
An overview of the basics of psychodiagnostics and psychopathology. Students will gain a working knowledge of the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as well as a basis of treatments for mental disorders. Prerequisite: ENC 624.
ENC 631
Crisis Intervention Counseling (1)
An overview of responses to crises of various types including those that are more individual, those that affect families and those that have wider impact for entire communities. When these crises occur, normal problem-solving methods are typically insufficient to address the level of emotional and social difficulties involved. Practical intervention techniques are practiced and opportunities to observe people in the field are offered.
ENC 632
Psychopharmacology in Counseling (1)
An overview of the basics of psychopharmacology in counseling. Prerequisite: ENC 630.
ENC 640
Clinical Supervision (2)
Study the principles and procedures for statistical interpretation of data. Explore measures and control tendency, variability, correlation and introductory predictive and inferential statistics.
ENC 641
Appraisal of the Individual (3)
Development of a framework for understanding the individual. Methods of data gathering and interpretation, individual and group testing, case study approaches and study of individual differences - ethnic, cultural and sex factors.
ENC 654
Consultation in the Helping Professions (2)
A conceptual understanding of effective consultation and its relevance to the helping professional. Demonstration of knowledge and skills necessary to deliver effective consultative services in schools and clinical mental health agencies. Prerequisite: ENC 620 and foundational concentration course (ENC 651, 653, or 655) or consent of instructor.
ENC 661
Couples and Family Counseling (3)
Theories and techniques of couples and family counseling. Emphasis is on working with couples, families and children to promote human development, including the role of the family counselor within the network of school and clinical mental health settings. Prerequisite: ENC 651 or 653 or 655.
ENC 690
Practicum (2)
Supervised counseling experience with individuals and groups in student's area of interest. Prerequisite: ENC 625 and consent of instructor.
ENC 691
Internship I (1)
Supervised post-practicum work experience appropriate to student's career goals. Prerequisite: ENC 690; consent of instructor.
ENC 692
Internship II (3)
Supervised post-practicum work experience appropriate to student's career goals. Prerequisite: ENC 690; consent of instructor.


Pursue Your Passion for Helping Others.

Bradley’s online Master of Arts in Counseling program is an ideal choice if:
  • You are fascinated by human behavior and have a strong desire to help others.
  • You’ve already earned an undergraduate degree in a related field (such as psychology, social work or human services), and you’re ready to take the next step in higher education.
  • You want to work in a rewarding and challenging field that combines compassion, communication and relationship building.
  • You’d like to pursue professional licensure or eventually earn your doctoral degree.
  • You’re ready to pursue your passion for counseling — regardless of your educational or professional background.
  • You wish to advance your professional career and work as a counselor.
Online Master of Arts in Counseling Program