Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program at Boston University.

What is the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program?

The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine is a rigorous program designed to meet the requirements for an independent mental health counseling license in Massachusetts and other states. Our goal is to train students in mental health counseling with a complementary background in behavioral medicine and neuroscience

Are there a lot of programs like yours?

Although there are certainly many masters-level mental health counseling programs, we are the only program in the country located on a medical school campus with training in behavioral medicine and neuroscience to augment that in general mental health theory and treatment. We are also one of only two institutions in the state of Massachusetts to have CACREP accreditation.

Does the program have any student-run organizations?

The Mental Health and Behavioral Medicine program has a Student Representative Committeethat is integral to the program. The committee organizes social events, serves as a liaison to the faculty, and puts togeather our yearly newsletter.

When does the program admit students?

We have a rolling admissions process and begin interviews for the program in January. There are no absolute deadlines, although it is best to apply early as we close enrollment once we reach the identified cap for new students.

What standardized testing is required before applying?

The General GRE test is required.  International students are also required to take the TOEFL.

What other things do I need to complete the application process?

To complete the application process you will need three letters of recommendation, official academic transcripts from all previous schools, and a personal statement that describes your qualifications and objectives for our program.   Final candidates are also required to to attend an in-person interview.

What are the requirements of the program?

Students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of course work a semester, a year-long clinical practicum, and an academic year-long internship.  A complete list of required and elective courses can be found here.

Can MHCBM graduates move into a doctoral program?

Though we do not offer doctoral-level training through our program, many of our alumni have chosen to apply and continue on for a doctorate.  We work closely with students to explore their career goals and determine whether a more advanced degree is necessary for them to be able to achieve these goals.  A terminal master’s degree is almost always enough to work independently as a mental health practitioner, whereas a doctorate is necessary for an academic career.

How much guidance and support could I expect from program faculty?

Our faculty work quite closely with students.  Each student is assigned an academic advisor with whom they discuss academic options career paths and other professional development needs.  We have an open door policy and strongly encourage students to get to know all of our faculty in order to best support and mentor them.


What is the typical background of your students?

Approximately 3/4 of our students come to us immediately after completing their undergraduate degrees.  Many come to us after 2-3 years of working after receiving their undergraduate degrees.  We also have students who come to us after working in a different field, sometimes for many years, and who are looking for a career change.  Most of our students majored in a mental health related field or the hard sciences in their undergraduate institutions, although that is not a requirement for our program. Our students come to us from all across the United States, as well as internationally. 

What kinds of jobs do your graduates get after graduation?

We’re quite proud of the breadth and nature of positions that our graduates are able to obtain.  They vary considerably by age (young children to geriatric populations), setting (schools, impatient facilities, hospital, general outpatient), severity of dysfunction (serious and persistent mental illness, medically ill, relationship issues), and presenting problem.  Many of our alumni have private practices and several have supervised current students while they are on clinical training placements and/or hired them after they graduate.

How can I contact a representative from MHCBM?

Visit the Contact page for more information.

Do you take international students?

Yes! We typically have 3-6 international students per year. Their trajectory through the program is nearly identical to those with US citizenship.

Is there a part-time track?

We did offer a part-time track in our program years ago, and found that it didn’t work well for students. There is an option for a three-year track, taking fewer classes in years one and two, although the third year would be full-time. It’s unusual for students to take this path, although has been done.

Will I be able to get licensed in any state?

There are two primary degree requirements for licensure: course content and credits, and number of clinical hours. Our program is designed to meet both of these criteria. We require students to complete enough clinical hours that they will meet the number for all of the fifty states. Taking all of our required courses and electives will meet the course requirements for nearly all states. In some cases, students must take a course that we are unable to offer. In that case, we work with students to identify a course in another department throughout Boston University, or elsewhere. In the event that this isn’t possible, students will take a course once returning to the state in which they would like to get licensed. Faculty advisors work closely with students to plan ahead for licensure in other states and map out the two-year curriculum to include required courses when necessary.

What do I need to do to get licensed?

This varies some by state, but the general requirements post-graduation are to take a national exam (scoring at/above the passing mark) and to complete enough clinical hours to match the minimum requirements.

What about living in Boston?

Boston is a cultural mecca! The state of Massachusetts has more academic institutions than any other state in the nation. Thus, there is a lot of active learning, a lot of “transplants” from other states, and creative offerings throughout the city. Boston proper is also very much a walking city, although with plenty of public transportation offerings. We encourage students to take advantage of everything Boston has to offer – music, theater, city tours, and terrific restaurants. Many offerings are free or offer a student discount. Winters can be an eye-opening experience for our southern students, but autumn New England can’t be beat. We believe these opportunities make up for the relative high cost of living. And in fact many students who originally planned to return home after graduation fall in love with Boston and decide to stay.

Do I need to attend an informational session/open house to be accepted into the program? Is an interview mandatory?

Yes. Some applicants choose to attend one of these to inform a decision of whether to apply to our program. Others choose to apply first, then if granted an interview, come for a full-day informational session and interview. The latter tends to be the first choice for applicants who are not local. Interviews are mandatory in order to be accepted into the program. Interviews give you and us an opportunity to meet and determine whether we are a mutual “good fit”.