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


‌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 mission of the Counseling Program is to provide graduate education fostering professional behavior in counselors.  Clients of all ages need assistance in developing skills in critical thinking, decision-making and human relations. Qualified and trained professionals in counseling must possess a variety of skills, competencies and insights in order to help students, clients and colleagues function successfully and establish positive collaborative relationships.

Specifically, the Counseling Program focuses on providing opportunities for professionals to develop skills and competencies in a variety of settings and areas to include school counseling, individual/group clinical mental health counseling, student services in higher education and addictions counseling.

The Counseling Program is committed to preparing professionals who:

  1. Apply critical thinking approaches and skills to their respective disciplines and exhibit both theoretical and practical application of these approaches and skills in their professional fields.
  2. Use critical thinking to make sound, responsible judgments and decisions in working with clients, students and other professionals in their respective fields.
  3. Act with sound ethical principles when carrying out the role of counselor in each of the three areas, keeping in mind the key responsibility this professional has toward student and client.
  4. Function as a responsible professional in his or her specialty field, seeking to promote the best interests of the clients and students whom they serve.
  5. Display an understanding of the political and social environment and the professional and personal roles each citizen must play in order to ensure that society remains a free and open democracy.
  6. Commit to a professional life that will enhance the lives of others.
  7. Engage in self-renewal and encourage others in the profession to seek careers devoted to the advancement of the principles and standards of their respective fields of interest.

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 467 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 35 students matriculating in this program and eight who graduated last year. Nearly 95% of students in the Addictions Counseling program graduate within the university’s 7-year timeframe. Nearly 100% of graduates are employed in the field.

There are 199 students currently enrolled in our Clinical Mental Health Counseling program with 24 graduating in the last year. Students in our program tend to enjoy success, with nearly 95% graduating within the university’s 7-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 233 currently enrolled students. The program graduated 49 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: