Pre-professional studies at Mount St. Joseph University are courses of study prepared by expert faculty members that supplement your existing major and better prepare you for a career as a health professional.

Behavioral and mental health counseling is a category that encompasses a wide variety of career options. Practitioners in this area may have doctoral or master’s degrees in psychology, mental health counseling, social work, or rehabilitation counseling, depending on the state and federal requirements where they practice. All programs support students in understanding human behavior and brain function. Speaking in general terms, professionals in this category assist clients in dealing with all of life’s stressors including self-confidence, grief, relationship issues, family problems, addiction/substance abuse, coping with a life altering diagnosis, managing mental health conditions or behavioral issues, and more. They may work in private settings, hospitals, non-profit organizations, forensics (law/legal field), schools, higher education, government agencies, aging services, clinics, etc.

Pre-Behavioral and Mental Health Tracks

  Mental Health Counselor

Master’s level mental health counselors help individuals, families, and organizations to optimize healthy functioning and prevent or remediate mental, emotional, or behavioral problems. They are trained in the application of principles of normal and abnormal human development, to help consumers make the most of life, heighten joy in living, identify and deal with mental and emotional problems (or disorders), and resolve conflicts in relationships at home, in school, at work, and in the community.


Typical Undergrad Tracks Any major; behavioral science majors recommended
Education Required for Practice Master’s degree from a clinical mental health counseling program, clinical rehabilitation counseling program, or addiction counseling program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs “CACREP.”
Credit Hours 60 Credit Hours
Licensure Options OH: Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (after supervision)
KY: Licensed Professional Counselor Associate, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (after supervision)
IN: Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (after supervision)
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Doctoral level psychologists provide counseling, psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation services to individuals, families, groups, and organizations. They study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat individuals with mental and emotional problems. Psychologists use tests and assessments that can help diagnose a condition or tell more about the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. These tests may evaluate intellectual skills, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, vocational aptitude and preference, personality characteristics, and neuropsychological functioning. Master's level practitioners also provide counseling, psychotherapy and consultation services, but are not typically trained in assessment.


Typical Undergrad Tracks Most graduate psychology programs prefer or require significant undergraduate coursework in psychology, often the equivalent of a major or minor. In addition, many graduate programs prefer students with substantial research experience, beyond laboratory classwork. Having completed an undergraduate honors thesis or served as a research assistant in a research lab usually meets this requirement. Doctoral programs are more competitive than master's programs, expecting higher average GPAs and more research experience.
Education Required for Practice

Counseling Psychologist: a doctoral degree (usually PhD, but also PsyD or EdD) from an APA-accredited program and additional supervised training experiences (internship)

Clinical Psychologist: a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) from an APA-accredited program and additional supervised training experiences (internship and/or postdoctoral residency).

Psychological Associate (Kentucky): master's degree in Psychology and additional supervised training experience.

Credit Hours

Master's: 30-40 credit hours

Doctoral: ranges from 60-120 credit hours, depending on the institution and depending upon if the student has already earned a master's degree in Psychology

Licensure Options OH: Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Counseling Psychologist 
KY: Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Counseling Psychologist, Psychological Associate, Psychological Practitioner
IN: Licensed Clinical Psychologist,* Licensed Counseling Psychologist*
*must obtain an endorsement as a Health Service Provider in Psychology after licensure in order to practice independently in Indiana
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  Social Worker

The practice of social work is the application of specialized knowledge of human development and behavior and social, economic, and cultural systems in directly assisting individuals, families, and groups in a clinical setting to improve or restore their capacity for social functioning, including counseling, the use of psychosocial interventions, and the use of social psychotherapy, which includes the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.


Typical Undergrad Tracks Standard MSW program are generally
open to all majors. It is very common for
individuals who have an ungraduated
degree in behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, criminal justice, etc.), education, and nursing to obtain their MSW. To attend an Advanced Standing MSW program, student must have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. By taking this route, students can save time and money by cutting the number of hours to gain an MSW in half.
Education Required for Practice Unlike other behavioral health
professions, students who complete theirs Bachelors in Social Work, BSW, from a Council on Social Work Education, CSWE, accredited program are eligible to apply for licensure. However, to obtain the highest recognized credential by many licensing boards and to promote optimal career growth in the clinical sector, students would need to obtain a Masters in Social Work, MSW, from a CSWE accredited program.
Credit Hours Advanced Standing MSW: 30-40 credit hours
These programs are specifically for
students who have a bachelor's degree in Social Work from a CSWE accredited
Standard MSW: ~60 credit hours
These programs a geared toward
individuals who have a bachelor's degree
in another field outside of Social Work or
for student who have BSW who do not
meet the GPA requirement for an
advanced standing program
Licensure Options OH: Licensed Social Worker, LSW
(BSW/MSW); Licensed Independent Social Worker, LISW (MSW) 
KY: Licensed Social Worker, LSW (BSW);
Certified Social Worker, CSW (MSW);
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW
IN:  Licensed Bachelor Social Worker,
LBSW (BSW); Licensed Social Worker,
LSW (MSW); Licensed Clinical Social
Worker, LCSW (MSW)
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Pre-Behavioral and Mental Health at MSJ

  Career Potential and Common Employment Settings
-Social service agencies and community mental health centers
-Private clinics or practice
-Hospitals and physician offices
-Correctional facilities
-Government agencies and veterans services
-Schools, colleges, and universities
-Rehabilitation agencies and skilled living facilities
  Common Minors

-Business Administration
-Forensic Science
-Psychology (if you are not a Psychology major)
-Socio-Psychology (if you are not a Psychology major)
-Social Work (if you are not a Social Work major)
-Sport Management
-Victim Studies

*Students can complete requirements to apply for a Chemical Dependency Certification (CDCA) after taking 2 courses (SWK 313 & SWK 3124) in the Addictions minor curriculum.

  Additional Trainings to Consider

(pertinent to mental health, offered on campus)

-Step Up! (bystander intervention)
-Green Zone (military)
-QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer Gatekeeper (suicide prevention)
-Peer Health Educator (NASPA certified)
-Safe Zone (LGBTQ+)

News and Updates

Stay up to date with the most recent program news and events; visit the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Department of Social Work pages.

Schedule a visit today to learn about all the Mount has to offer.

Affording college might seem intimidating, but our financial aid department can help set your mind at ease. Use the Scholarship Wizard and Net Price Calculator to review your options.

Additional Resources

  Faculty and Staff

Roxana Holland


Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor


Tracy McDonough

Ph. D. 

Behavioral Sciences Chairperson

  Undergraduate Tuition