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Mental Health Counseling, AGC

The Mental Health Counseling AGC program is a part-time program and can be completed fully online. This program has been designed for students to "bridge the gap" to gain a license in Mental Health Counseling in New York State.

On this page:

Program Overview

If you hold a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related human services field and aspire to earn a license to counsel people with mental health diagnoses (licensed mental health counselor; LMHC) by gaining the skills to transform the lives of clients and advancing your career goals, this program is for you.

Mental health counseling is a profession that requires both a master’s degree and a license to practice in New York State. As a graduate of the Mental Health Counseling program, you will be able to provide services such as:

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Completing psychosocial histories and progress notes
  • Consultation with people with mental illness and their families
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Treatment planning

Completion of this program results in student eligibility to take the New York State licensing exam in mental health counseling. After completing the initial course work, you will participate in clinical instruction and a supervised internship.

Why Mental Health Counseling?

According to the United States Department of Labor and Department of Labor Statistics, employment of mental health counselors is expected to grow 28 percent over the next decade. Employment opportunities will be favorable because job openings are expected to exceed the number of graduates from counseling programs, particularly in rural areas.  Also, there has been increased demand for mental health services as individuals become more willing to seek help. Mental health counselors are trained in the principles of:

  • Counseling
  • Positive psychology
  • Psychotherapy and prevention

Practitioners are dedicated to the optimal functioning of individuals, families, and organizations. As an LMHC, you will be able to establish and implement evidence-based interventions to address the clients’ needs. Not only may you work in a private practice, but you may also practice with other licensed professionals in a setting authorized to provide services.

As a mental health counselor, you will use assessment, treatment planning, case management, and preventive intervention for dealing with mental health and non-mental health issues such as:

  • Adjustment disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychiatric disorders (e.g., bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, psychotic disorders)
  • Quality of life, psychological and vocational well being
  • Substance abuse

After the identification and evaluation of the mental health issues, you will be able to employ evidence-based methods to treat individual conditions.

To find out more about the different domains of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the mental health counseling profession visit the O*NET website.  O*NET is the nation's primary source of occupational information. The O*NET Resource Center is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, and developed by the National Center for O*NET Development.

Application Requirements

Students are accepted into the program and may start coursework in either the fall or spring semester. The application deadline for a spring semester start is November 1 and July 1 for a fall semester start.  

Applicants must submit:

  • An online application
  • A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system
  • Transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate academic work. This includes evidence of earning an advanced degree in counseling or designated equivalent showing a minimum of 48 graduate credits.
    Applicants who are currently at UB or have studied at or graduated from UB do not need to request an official UB transcript. GSE's Office of Admissions can download and print the transcript.
  • Applicants must have previously completed coursework related to the following areas: counseling theory and practice, social and cultural foundations of counseling, group dynamics, life style and career development, research and program evaluation, consultation, and practicum or internship.
  • A personal statement outlining the reasons for interest in becoming an LMHC. Include in this statement how you plan to meet the internship and additional LMHC eligibility requirements. Lastly, describe your work experience in the counseling field.
  • At least three (3) letters of reference regarding your previous academic work and any mental health counseling or related experience.  On the application you will be asked to provide contact information about each individual providing you a recommendation.  Please note that your recommenders will receive the electronic request to provide a recommendation letter only after you "formally submit" the application.  
  • GRE test scores are NOT required. However, if you have already taken the GRE please have your test scores sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Student Services. The institution code is 2925. The department code is 2005.

Former/Maiden Name: The Graduate School of Education must be made aware if applicants have ever changed their name.  If this is the case, be sure to ask the institution sending your transcripts to indicate your current name and any former or maiden names.

Supporting Documentation

All supporting documents must be uploaded and attached to your online application. This includes unofficial copies of your transcripts and any other documents required for review.


Recommendation Letters:

If your program requires letters of recommendation, you will be asked to provide contact information about each individual providing a recommendation. Please note that your recommenders will receive the electronic request to provide a recommendation letter only after you "formally submit" the application.

Program Requirements

The Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) in Mental Health Counseling (MHC) is delivered fully online as a “Bridge Program” to meet the eligibility requirement to earn the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) credential.

If you have previously completed one or more of the required courses as part of your master’s degree program, you will work with the program director to substitute an alternative mental health counseling course offered by the Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology (CSEP) to meet the 4-course/12 credit requirement.

Typical courses for the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Counseling include:

  • CEP 521 Introduction to Mental Health Counseling (3 credits)

  • CEP 541 Human Growth and Development
 (3 credits)
  • CEP 586 Assessment in Mental Health Counseling (3 credits)
  • CEP 695 Psychopathology and Evidenced Based Interventions (3 credits)
  • CEP 600: MHC Internship/Clinical Experience (6-12 credits) 

If you have not completed a minimum of 600 hours of clinical internship experience under a LMHC, or NYSED approved equivalent in a previous program, you are required to complete 12 credits in CEP 600 MHC Internship (minimum of 600 clock hours).

If you met the internship requirement during your master’s degree program, (i.e., your prior internship meets or exceeds all of the current NYSED guidelines for internships), 6 internship credits may be waived upon formal approval by the program director, thus allowing the MHC AGC to be earned with 18, rather than 24 credits.

What is the Time Commitment?

Online courses traditionally require a minimum of 9 to 12 hours of dedicated study outside of participation in the virtual classroom, so it is important that you take into consideration other personal and professional commitments as you pursue your coursework.

The Mental Health Counseling AGC program is just one of many programs in the Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo.

Contact Us

Dr. Wendy Guyker

Progrm Director and Clinical Assistant Professor


Phone: (716) 645-1105


Learn More

University Computing Standards

All students are required to have access to an adequately equipped computer that meets the University computing standards as well as daily access to a reliable broadband  connection (i.e., DSL or cable). Students are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning their course work.