FDU Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Vision, Mission, and Objectives

It’s our belief that counseling is not just a profession – it’s a calling.

It is a calling that attracts people motivated to use their talents to improve the lives of others.  In order to help all of our students join the counseling profession and answer that calling, we have established the following vision statement, mission statement, and program objectives. These principles are intended to guide everyone involved in the FDU CMHC program.

Vision Statement

The Fairleigh Dickinson University Clinical Mental Health Counseling program (FDU CMHC) will prepare culturally competent counselors who are dedicated to the service of the community through the enhancement of the dignity, potential, and uniqueness of each individual.

Mission Statement

The FDU CMHC program mission is to prepare counselors who integrate developmental, cultural, wellness, and diagnostic knowledge with clinical skills in order to enhance the lives of a diverse clientele. 

Program Objectives

Graduates of the FDU CMHC program will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the core curriculum areas required by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the state of New Jersey Professional Counselor Examiners Committee.
  • Developmentally appropriate counseling skills.
  • Professional dispositions consistent with those necessary for professional counseling.
  • Awareness of inequities that affect clients, along with the ability to advocate for social justice and engage in social justice interventions.
  • A professional counselor identity while working in the continuum of care alongside other behavioral health professionals.


The FDU CMHC program is no longer accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year.  We welcome those interested in joining the program to apply for entrance in the 2022-2023 academic year. Those applications will be reviewed starting in January 2022.

FDU CMHC Program Student Outcomes 2019 – 2020

  • Number of Graduates: 15
  • Completion Rate: 88%
  • Licensure Exam Pass Rate: 100%
  • Job placement rate within 180 days of graduation: 93%

Program Description

The FDU CMHC program, accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP), prepares highly competent counseling professionals to have a positive impact on their communities by serving as mental health counselors, program directors, researchers, and policy makers on the local, state, and national levels. Graduates of the program work in a variety of settings, including community agencies, clinics, schools, hospitals, substance abuse centers, residential treatment centers, child protective services, and private practice.

To prepare you to be an effective, ethical counselor the FDU CMHC program will train you in fundamental clinical skills, such as conducting intake and assessment interviews, developing treatment plans and counseling interventions, and facilitating group therapy. You will explore various theories of human development and counseling theoretical orientations, and you’ll be exposed to the different career paths you might pursue, including career counseling, substance abuse counseling, family and couples counseling, and program planning and evaluation. You will also acquire knowledge of research and assessment techniques and the pragmatic concerns (such as managed care and budget constraints) facing the mental health field today. Unique to our program among other programs in NJ, you will take courses in Psychopharmacology, Counseling for Sexual Issues, and Fundamental of Supervision in Counseling as part of your course of study. You will leave the program prepared to demonstrate a professional counselor identity serving the community alongside other health professionals.

The FDU CMHC Program is a 60-credit degree and requires a minimum of six semesters to complete. The program is based on the practitioner/researcher model valued in the mental health professions. It meets the educational requirements of the Professional Counselors Examiners Committee for licensure as a licensed associate counselor (LAC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of New Jersey, and is Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited program.

Students are expected to attend school full-time, including two summer semesters.  The typical full-time load is four courses per semester, except in the three semesters of practicum and internship, during which students take three courses per semester.

Courses are scheduled in a sequence designed to allow you to develop into a skilled and ethical counselor. Knowledge and skills you acquire in the first three semesters will be put into practice during your three semesters of clinical work.  Students move through the program with other students based on a cohort model. We find that this approach encourages academic comradery and long-term professional and personal connections.

Professional Licensure and Certification

Professional licensure and certification requirements may vary state to state and are subject to change. In addition, separate from educational requirements, state licensure boards may require applicants to complete other requirements. Students should contact the appropriate licensing agency in each home state to obtain the most up-to-date information.

FDU’s Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program meets or exceeds academic requirements for the LAC, LPC, and equivalent licenses in all but 3 states in the US. These 3 states are: California (requires a list of nine courses in addition to those required by CACREP), Florida (requires additional courses on the state’s laws and rule regarding counseling and a 2-hour course on preventing medical errors), and New York (requires a course on identifying and reporting child abuse.) The program prepares students to complete the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examinations (NCMHCE). Please refer to the appropriate state for your work to determine if you should complete the NCE or the NCMHCE for licensure.

Admission requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in their undergraduate major field of study.
  • No GRE scores required.
  • Submission of official undergraduate and graduate transcript(s).
  • Submission of three (3) letters of recommendation.
  • Completion of a Fairleigh Dickinson Graduate School Application form.
  • A written personal statement of professional goals.
  • A personal group interview which will be scheduled after submission of application.

Degree Plan

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit degree.  It meets the educational requirements of the Professional Counselors Examiners Committee for licensure as a licensed associate counselor (LAC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of New Jersey and also meets the educational requirements of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

The CMHC MA offers the option of two additional specializations. Both the school counselor and addiction specializations are 63-credit degrees. To be clear these are specializations, not separate certifications.

If you are interested in pursuing a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University, please contact our Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Dr. Elliotte Harrington at harrington_e@fdu.edu

Clinical Course Sequence

Comprehensive Exam

NOTE: Course Syllabi Available Upon Request, please email j_wilson@fdu.edu

Faculty and Staff


Conklin, Thomas
Assistant Professor
Director, FDU CMHC Program
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: tconklin@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8730

Harrington, Elliotte
Clinical Assistant Professor
CMHC Program Graduate Admissions Coordinator
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: harrington_e@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8553

Saganda, Madonna
FDU CMHC Practicum and Internship Coordinator
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: msagand@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8550

Wagener, Alwin
Assistant Professor
Advisor, Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: awagener@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8549

Course Descriptions