Master of Science in Education - Mental Health Counseling
Graduate Program | 60 credit hours

  • Council Bluffs
  • Mason City
  • Spencer
  • The master of science in education program is intended to enhance the skills of practicing professionals that they might become effective professional school counselors or mental health counselors. 

    The mental health counseling program is designed to meet the curricular requirements for Iowa professional licensure under section 31.6(2) of the Bureau of Professional Licensure of the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science standards for a content-equivalent program to be evaluated by the Center for Credentialing and Education (see as of April 1, 2014. Licensure in mental health counseling includes options for emphasis in Addictions or Gerontology Counseling and requires a minimum of 60 credit hours in the program. 

    A new cohort begins each August. Submit your application by May 15.


    Mental Health Counseling Year One:

    • GEDU 519 Professional and Ethical Orientation to Counseling
    • GEDU 546 Methods and Procedures in Counseling
    • GEDU 528 Action Research, Data Analysis, and Information Resources
    • GEDU 544 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling
    • GMHC 530 Theories of Counseling
    • GMHC 510 Assessment for Individuals and Families

    Mental Health Counseling Year Two:

    • GEDU 529 Human Development and Learning Through the Lifespan
    • GMHC 535 Ethical Issues and Consultative Practices
    • GEDU 525 Adolescent Growth and Development
    • GEDU 548 Group Counseling
    • GMHC 520 Family Counseling
    • GEDU 549 Career Development and Assessment

    Mental Health Counseling Year Three:

    • GMHC 540 Psychopathology and Psychological Disorders
    • GMHC 550 Diagnostics and Treatment Planning
    • GMHC 570 Advanced Counseling Practices and Crisis Interventions
    • GMHC 580 Supervised Practicum in Mental Health Counseling
    • GMHC 590 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part I
    • GMHC 591 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part II

    Mental Health Counseling Year Four:

    • GMHC 583 Introduction to Perspectives on Aging or GMHC 593 Introduction to Alcohol and Drug Abuse
    • GMHC 598 Capstone Portfolio

    Tuition & Fees

    2015-16 Tuition:
    $493 per credit hour
    2016-17 Tuition:
    $507 per credit hour

    Additional Fees

    • Additional costs include textbooks each term and a graduation fee in the final term of enrollment. 

    How to Apply

    Admissions Requirements

    • Bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree
    • A minimum undergraduate college grade point average (GPA ) of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale)
    • The BVU analytic writing assessment (administered by BVU staff)
    • Three letters of recommendation from specified sources
    • Official paper transcripts, from any institution attended as well as any graduate transcripts, sent directly to:

      Graduate Programs
      Buena Vista University
      610 W. 4th Street
      Storm Lake, IA 50588
    • Access to minimum technology requirements
    • Acceptance by the admissions committee into the program

    Application Process

    1. Complete the online application form, including auto-biographical statements.

    2. Answer three autobiographical questions:

    • Describe significant personal experiences that influenced you to pursue the counseling profession.
    • Describe significant professional experiences that influenced you to pursue the counseling profession.
    • Discuss how you would make a contribution as a professional school counselor to the counseling profession, both within a local school district and the profession at large or as a mental health counselor to the counseling profession both within the local community and the profession at large.

    2. Obtain 3 letters with supportive endorsement or recommendation from:

    Three letters of recommendation from supervisors, colleagues or former university instructors are required to complete your application package. Please print this form and submit to the Graduate Program Office after completion. Letters of recommendation are due prior to the application deadline to be eligible for consideration. Download the letter of recommendation form.

     4. Prepare for and take the BVU analytical writing assessment test, as arranged by the graduate specialist following submission of the application.

    Financial Aid


    Loans are made to students at low interest rates and must be repaid, but generally payments are not due until the student has completed his or her education or ceases at least half-time enrollment.


    After all financial assistance is applied to the student account, students will be expected to pay the balance prior to the first class meeting. Students may pay:

    • by mailing a check covering the tuition for the course (be sure to indicate the course number and title) to:
      Business Office 
      Buena Vista University 
      610 W. Fourth St.
      Storm Lake, IA 50588
    • by phoning the Business Office at 800.383.2821, ext. 2041 to make payments by credit card.
    • in person at the Business Office. Cash, checks and the following credit cards are accepted: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.

    Contact Us

    Buena Vista University
    Graduate Studies Office
    610 W. Fourth Street
    Storm Lake, Iowa 50588
    Toll-Free: 800.383.2821, ext. 2162
    Direct: 712.749.2162
    Fax: 712.749.1470