Photo of students during counseling session.

MA in Counseling

Dr. Muninder Kaur Ahluwalia
Coordinator, School Counseling and Student Affairs Higher Education concentrations
Phone Number: 

Dr. W. Matthew Shurts
Coordinator, Addictions and Clinical Mental Health concentrations
Phone Number: 

For general inquiries, please contact: or 973-655-7216

For more info, browse the Counseling Program Handbook


‌The Counseling programs at Montclair State University prepare students to become multiculturally competent counselors in a variety of work settings. Students are prepared to work with diverse populations in elementary and secondary schools, community agencies, student affairs positions in colleges and universities, and substance abuse treatment facilities. The academic preparation follows guidelines established by state licensure and certification boards.

The graduate programs in Counseling offer several advantages:

  • Opportunities for alternative scheduling in the form of face-to-face, hybrid, or Saturday classes to meet the needs of the working student.
  • The opportunity to master counseling skills in a technologically state-of-the-art counseling laboratory, which allows students to record, archive, and review their own counseling practice sessions, which enhances their ability to serve future clients.
  • A diverse group of faculty members actively engaged in scholarly research who hold national leadership positions in professional associations, including the American Counseling Association (ACA).
  • A theory-to-practice model of instruction that allows students to gain practical experience in schools, community agencies, and colleges and universities.
  • An emphasis on the infusion of multicultural counseling and social justice practice in all courses.
  • A vibrant and diverse student body that has the opportunity to engage with faculty members on research and present at professional conferences.

Mission Statement

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling Program at Montclair State University is committed to affirming the diversity of our communities, engaging in multiculturally competent, socially just counseling practices, and liberation of all people experiencing oppression. The mission of the Counseling Program is to prepare our students to become competent professional counselors. The Counseling Program provides opportunities for counseling trainees to develop foundational awareness, knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to serve diverse clients and their varied needs in a range of clinical and educational settings. Specific areas of focus include addictions counseling, clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and student affairs in higher education.

The Counseling Program is committed to acknowledging, confronting, resisting, disarming, and disrupting White supremacy and all forms of oppression and marginalization. We acknowledge that much of the land we occupy, including the grounds of Montclair State University, was originally inhabited by Munsee Lenape People. This acknowledgement demonstrates a commitment to begin the process of dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism and to better serve our communities in culturally responsive ways. Our program is committed to broadening and deepening students’ awareness of and engagement in critical self-reflection, professional development, and actions against discrimination and toward advocacy for underserved populations. We believe that it is important to foster an inclusive learning environment to acknowledge strengths, establish positive collaborative relationships, and promote a safe learning community.

The Counseling Program is committed to preparing future professionals who:

  1. Apply critical thinking and communication skills to their respective disciplines and exhibit both theoretical and practical application in their professional fields within the context of social-political realities for their clients.
  2. Engage in sound ethical decision making and judgment as professional counselors, while prioritizing the key responsibility towards clients to demonstrate competent and ethical performance in practice.
  3. Have strong interpersonal skills to function as responsible counseling professionals and advocates in their specialty field, who seek to promote the best interests and well-being of clients who they serve.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the political, psychological, and social environment and the professional and personal roles each community member embodies to ensure that society fosters a free and just democracy.
  5. Promote personal and professional growth in self and others, which ultimately enriches the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, institutions, and society.

Commitment to Anti-Racism and Resisting other Forms of Oppression

The Counseling Program at Montclair State University is committed to creating an environment that promotes justice for all in our community. We are committed to acknowledging, confronting, resisting, disarming, and disrupting White supremacy and all forms of oppression and marginalization at individual, group, and systemic levels. As a community of faculty, staff, and students in MSU’s counseling program, we pledge to protect the wellness and mental health of those targeted by racism and all forms of oppression. We commit to promoting equity and to changing unjust racial systems and other systems of oppression that target historically and currently marginalized communities. This commitment to confronting racism and other forms of oppression will be evident in all the ways we engage with the course curriculum, the institution, and each other.Personally, and professionally, in alignment with our anti-racism efforts, we will actively speak out against religious oppression (e.g., anti-Semitism, Islamophobia), anti-LGBTQ+ initiatives, xenophobia (e.g., anti-immigrant stances), discrimination based on ability status, and other forms of oppression and marginalization in the classroom, curriculum, the institution, and larger society. Our commitment to these values and actions will be reflected in all the ways we engage with the profession and each other. We encourage you to continuously engage in discussions with your instructors, your advisor, and other faculty members in the program. We are committed to assisting you in becoming multiculturally responsive, social justice advocates in the communities you will serve.

Program Objectives

In the MA in Counseling program, courses and fieldwork experiences are designed to assist graduate students seeking positions in agencies, schools, corporations, and nonprofit organizations in:

  1. Demonstrating the meaning and significance of fundamental counseling concepts, principles, and theories.
  2. Interacting effectively with others (colleagues, parents, clients, students, and administrators).
  3. Analyzing individual behavior within group structures.
  4. Interpreting research and measurement results in light of social and psychological factors.
  5. Interviewing and counseling on an individual basis.
  6. Relating theories and principles of group dynamics, group practices, and facilitative skills to professional practice.
  7. Assessing the professional abilities and limitations, professionally and personally.
  8. Writing professionally and effectively (e.g. research proposals/reports, case studies).
  9. Infusing and integrating diversity into professional practice to meet the needs of a pluralistic society.

Student and Graduate Summary

Approximately 457 students are enrolled in Montclair State University’s three CACREP-accredited counseling programs: Addictions Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Our courses are taught by eleven full-time faculty members and accommodate both part-time and full-time students.

The Addictions Counseling program was first accredited by CACREP in July 2017. Currently, there are 23 students matriculating in this program and 10 who graduated last year. Nearly 95% of students in the Addictions Counseling program graduate within the university’s 6-year timeframe. Nearly 100% of graduates are employed in the field.

There are 192 students currently enrolled in our Clinical Mental Health Counseling program with 47 graduating in the last year. Students in our program tend to enjoy success, with nearly 95% graduating within the university’s 6-year timeframe. These students consistently achieve a high pass rate on licensing examinations and nearly 100% are employed upon graduation in a variety of positions in community mental health, clinical, hospital, treatment, and other settings where counselors are employed.

Our School Counseling program is comprised of 146 currently enrolled students. The program graduated 66 students last year, all of whom are eligible for New Jersey school counselor certification. As with other program areas, most students (nearly 95%) complete the program within the university-allotted timeframe. The job placement rate for school counseling students is approximately 90% upon graduation.

Master of Arts in Counseling available with concentrations in: