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Frequently Asked Questions


If I have questions about the admission process, who do I ask?

The graduate admission office can be reached at 732.571.3452 or

What is required for admission?

Review the admission requirements regarding the MS program.

Does my undergraduate coursework meet the admission requirements?

Admission to all Professional Counseling programs presumes that students possess a minimum of 12 undergraduate credits in psychology, including Personality Theory, Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, and Research Methods. Applicants who do not meet these requirements will be required to register for the necessary undergraduate courses.

Is the GRE required?

No. The GRE is not required for admission.


The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is intended for those students who want to attain the highest-level master’s degree in the field. It was the first 60-credit degree in counseling made available in New Jersey, and is CACREP accredited for a master’s degree in mental health counseling. The degree meets all of the educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license in New Jersey, and similarly it is the best choice for students who may plan to move to another state to obtain their LPC license.


I have taken some graduate college courses (but did not obtain a degree) in counseling, psychology, or education prior to entering Monmouth’s MS. Can these courses be transferred into the MS? Can these courses be applied toward the requirements for my LPC license in New Jersey?

That depends. If the courses are very close in scope and content to our courses, a limited number may be allowed to be transferred toward the MS (up to 12 credits). These courses MUST be free-standing ― that is, courses that were not applied to obtain any graduate degree, and proper paperwork to transfer these credits must be completed (please see your advisor). However, just because some of these courses may be accepted toward the MS, there is no guarantee that the NJ licensing board will allow the applicant to use these courses toward the LPC. Applicants must be especially aware that courses in any discipline other than counseling usually are not permitted to be applied toward the LPC license in NJ.

Can I take more than 9 credits in a semester?

Students may petition to take a credit overload, which requires approval of their advisor and the department chair. To request an overload, students must complete a form available at the department office or at the end of this document. Overloads are approved following these criteria:

  • Student must be full admit into the program, not conditional admit. Advisors will verify this when considering the request.
  • Student must have completed at least 9 credits at Monmouth. Student must attach a transcript to verify meeting this requirement.
  • In the credits completed in our program thus far, student attained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.7 before the request can be granted. Student must attach a transcript to verify meeting this requirement.
  • Students will not be permitted to take more than 9 credits during any semester in which they are enrolled in a field placement course (practicum or internship). This includes the entire summer.
  • In addition to meeting the above criteria, the advisor supports the student’s request and the specific combination of 12 credits that are proposed by the student.

How long does the program take to complete?

The program can be completed in two years, including summers.

How many independent studies can I take?

Monmouth University policy allows up to 6 credits of independent study to be applied toward a graduate program. This generally means two 3-credit experiences. Monmouth University policy also limits students to one independent study during any one semester.

Can an independent study be used in lieu of a course listed in the catalog?

No, it may not. The Monmouth University Graduate Catalog specifically states that “Independent study courses permit a student to pursue a research project or guided readings in a subject area not substantially covered in the curriculum” (emphasis added). This specifically prohibits the use of independent studies to cover the content of courses currently listed in the catalog.

How many credits do I need to have to take the NCE? Are there particular courses I need to take the NCE?

It is recommended that you take the exam during the semester prior to graduation or the semester during which you plan to graduate. The content of the NCE is similar to the CPCE (comprehensive exam), so the best plan is to take the two exams during the same time period. The NCE is offered every April and October. The following courses/content areas are covered on the exam:

Content Areas & Work Behaviors

  • Human Growth and Development: PC 515: Human Development Through the Lifespan
  • Social and Cultural Foundations: PC 529: Multicultural Counseling
  • Helping Relationships: PC 525: Counseling Theory and Techniques
  • Group Work: PC 550: Group Counseling
  • Career and Lifestyle Development: PC 570: Career Counseling
  • Appraisal: PC 506: Testing and Assessment in Counseling
  • Research and Program Evaluation: PC 603: Research Methods in Counseling
  • Professional Orientation & Ethics: PC 505: Mental Health Counseling

How do I apply for the NCE? Do I have to take it at Monmouth University? Why does it cost more to take it here?

In order to apply for the exam, you must complete a paper application and include a money order (NBCC does not accept other forms of payment). The applications can be found in the Department of Professional Counseling’s main office. Notices will be sent out twice a year when the applications are available. You do not have to take the exam at Monmouth University. Completing the exam while still a student is beneficial for a couple of reasons:

Because you are in a CACREP-accredited program, you will obtain a credential (NCC National Certified Counselor) upon completing and passing the exam. Applicants from non-CACREP programs must complete other requirements (which take several years) to obtain the credential. By choosing this route, the exam can be used for two purposes: to obtain the NCC credential and to be used as the licensure exam for the LPC license.

Because the material found on the NCE and CPCE is similar, you can prepare for both exams at the same time. It costs more to take the exam at Monmouth because you are applying for certification (the fee for the NCC credential is included). If you take the exam at a later date through the licensure board, you will be using the exam only to meet licensure requirements.


After completing my studies, how do I become a licensed counselor?

After completing the MS, students may apply to the state to seek licensure. The LAC (Licensed Associate Counselor) in New Jersey requires the passing of an examination and the required course work. After obtaining the LAC, you may apply for the LPC. The LPC requires supervised professional experience. Consult the state’s Web site for more specific information:

I am completing the practicum/internship, and I wonder whether any of these hours will count toward the experiential requirement (4500 hours) of the New Jersey LPC license.

Hours accumulated during any field assignment can count toward the experiential requirement as long as you do not list the associated 595 or 680 courses in the 45 credits distributed in the nine categories for the license’s educational requirements.

I have a prior master’s degree in psychology. Based on that degree, am I potentially eligible for an LPC license in New Jersey?

No. As of 2006, NJ requires that all applicants for the LPC must possess a master’s degree with the specific words “counselor” or “counseling” in the title of the degree awarded and the institution offering the degree shall state in the catalog or in another format acceptable to the Committee that the purpose of the graduate degree is to prepare students for the professional practice of counseling.


When I graduate with a Master of Science (MS) degree, where would I work?

Graduates will be prepared for employment in drug and alcohol counseling centers, rehabilitation clinics, human resource agencies, and various other mental health and health care settings where mental health counseling is needed. Also, students are academically prepared for licensing as a private practitioner in New Jersey.

What’s the difference between a psychologist and a counselor? Can both professionals perform the same tasks?

These are sister professions, both based on psychological principles, but requiring different degrees for independent practice. With the exception of school psychologists, who can practice (only within school settings) with a master’s degree, psychologists must generally obtain a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree (and a psychology license) to practice, while mental health counselors are eligible for licensure in NJ after completing a master’s degree (60 credits of graduate study are required). After licensure, psychologists generally perform a wide range of duties, including counseling/psychotherapy, psychological testing, and forensic work (like child custody evaluations), and some states allow psychologists who complete additional medical training to prescribe medications.

Conversely, professional counselors are authorized to perform counseling/psychotherapy and limited-scope assessments (for example, as part of career counseling). There does seem to be a trend with counseling that focuses more on a strength-based wellness approach vs. the disorder focus. In addition, there are many psychological instruments that are only available to psychologists (such as intelligence tests, the MMPI, etc.).

What’s the difference between social workers and mental health counselors?

To engage in independent practice, both professions require a master’s degree with a similar amount of total credits. While licensees of both professions generally perform counseling/psychotherapy, social work practice is primarily based on the principles of social work, while mental health counseling is primarily based on psychological principles. The training of counselors also involves more focus on counseling theories and techniques and specific therapy approaches, whereas social workers focus on support systems available for people in need.

Can I go on to earn a PhD in counseling?

Yes. There are many different PhD program in Counselor Education and Supervision on the national level that students may apply to upon graduation. Locally, Montclair University is a great option. Students are strongly encouraged to work with their advisor in searching and selecting a PhD program.

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