Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) degree provides the necessary knowledge, values and skills required of competent master’s level counseling practitioners working in community setting with clients experiencing mental health and co-occurring substance abuse issues. The program is designed to develop professionally ethical practitioners trained within the Franciscan tradition of Alvernia University to promote social justice, dignity and respect for all human life within the community.

MACC is a CACREP-accredited program for adult students committed to upholding the highest standards in professional mental health and addictions counseling. The MACC program prepares students to address complicated issues of social justice and healthy functioning with an approach that combines theory, technique and hands-on practical experiences. Methods of instruction include lecture, skill demonstrations, role plays, small group interactions and discussions. Most courses are delivered on-site with a few online and blended course offerings.

Alvernia offers two Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling degree tracks based upon a student's previous coursework:

  • The six-year Psych-MACC Bridge Program is designed for students who wish to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology followed by a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling.
  • The Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling degree is designed for students who have earned a baccalaureate degree in another area of study.
Estimated Program Length3-4 years
Credit Hours60
Course Length13 weeks
Transfer Credits AcceptedUp to 6
Cost per Credit$900*

*Tuition discount available. Ask for details!

In This Section
Graduate Programs

Getting Started

Program Requirements

Students with any bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university are eligible for entry into the program. There are three mandatory prerequisite courses: Introduction to Psychology, Psychopathology, and a course in Statistics or Quantitative Methods of Research, which students must complete prior to beginning coursework.  Graduate testing is not required for the MACC application process.

In the event an applicant maintained an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0, an academic plan describing how he or she will maintain the MACC program requirements must be submitted with the initial application. This plan will be reviewed by the MACC Committee along with the other admissions materials.

The Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling program matriculates students during the fall term of each academic year. The program curriculum rotates on a three-year cycle, and classes are designed to build on previous coursework. Coursework begins by enrolling in Introduction to Counseling (MCC 500). Students wishing to begin classes prior to the fall term are permitted to take the interdisciplinary core course Ethics and Moral Leadership (COR 520) during the spring and/or summer terms. Otherwise, students are expected to follow the recommended course sequence or they may encounter delays in future course selection or practicum and internship assignments.

The capstone internship course is required and provides students with the opportunity to practice professional counseling with the support and supervision of on-site supervisors and Alvernia faculty.

Application Instructions

A new cohort starts each fall semester. Along with your completed application accompanied by $50 non-refundable application fee, you’ll need to provide a few supporting materials. Because there’s lead time required for some items, here’s a step-by-step process that seems to work best for candidates:

  • Complete your online application: While you wait for your transcripts to be processed, you can begin your online application, which lets you build, edit and save sections of your application along the way.
  • Interview with the MACC program faculty: After all the required application materials have been received, each applicant will be contacted to arrange for a personal interview.
  • Additional Evidence of potential for success: Items such as academic or professional awards, special certifications, samples of scholarly or creative work, and completion of specialized examinations (not required, but encouraged)
  • Professional resume.
  • Order your official transcript(s): Official transcript(s) indicating that the applicant has earned an appropriate baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Transcripts from all institutions are required. Also, the following three undergraduate courses are required for acceptance: Introduction to Psychology, Statistics or Research, and Psychopathology. The courses must be completed prior to acceptance. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all previous undergraduate and graduate work is required for full acceptance.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Letters are accepted from former professors, employers, or supervisors familiar with the applicant’s professional experiences, or from religious or community leaders.
  • Personal Statement: One-page personal statement that summarizes the value of the program of graduate study for his/her personal and professional growth and development.

Note: Graduate testing is not required for the MACC application process.

Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email

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Clinical Counseling dinner
Why Choose Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers doctoral, master's, and post-baccalaureate programs to advance your career or prepare you for a new one.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meet the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• Alvernia is the ideal choice for graduate students because of a growing number of affiliation agreements with other local institutions and industry partners and dedicated advisors to help through every step of the educational journey.

Program Overview


The Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling is designed to provide the necessary knowledge, values, and skills required of competent master’s level counseling practitioners working in community setting with clients experiencing both mental health and co-occurring substance abuse issues. The program is designed to develop professionally ethical practitioners trained within the Franciscan tradition of Alvernia University to promote social justice, dignity, and respect for all human life within the community.


Course requirements: 60 credits

Required Interdisciplinary Course (3 credits)

  • COR 520: Ethics and Moral Leadership

Required Courses (57 credits)

  • MCC 500: Introduction to Counseling (3 credits)
  • MCC 510: Human Development Across the Life Span (3 credits)
  • MCC 520: Counseling Theories (3 credits)
  • MCC 530: Multicultural Issues in Counseling (3 credits)
  • MCC 535: Counseling Children and Adolescents (3 credits)
  • MCC 540: Addiction and Society (3 credits)
  • MCC 545: Family Therapy Concepts & Methods (3 credits)
  • MCC 550: Practicum (100 hours) (3 credits)*

*Students spend 100 hours assigned to a placement facility observing and being exposed to activities in a professional counseling venue over the course of a semester. Students are required to obtain the following clearances before interviewing for any field experience: Act 151 (PA Child Abuse Report History), Act 34 (PA State Criminal History Record), and FBI Criminal History Report and fingerprinting. If you have lived in Pennsylvania for fewer than 2 years, you must then complete Act 169 (Older Adults Protective Services Act) clearance. Students must comply with agency and university regulations regarding all clearances and health checks before being permitted to work with clients in a particular agency. Students are responsible for the costs associated with these screenings.

  • MCC 560: Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling (3 credits)
  • MCC 600: Advanced Counseling Theories and Techniques with Individuals (3 credits)
  • MCC 610: Advanced Counseling Theories and Techniques with Groups (3 credits)
  • MCC 620: Research Methods and Program Evaluations (3 credits)
  • MCC 630: Appraisal, Tests and Measurements (3 credits)
  • MCC 640: Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • MCC 645: Crisis and Trauma Counseling (3 credits)
  • MCC 650: Career Counseling (3 credits)
  • MCC 670: Internship I (300 hours) (3 credits)**

**Students practice professional counseling in a venue where professional community counseling takes place under the supervision of a faculty member and licensed professional counselor. Students are required to have a minimum of 300 hours direct client contact, with weekly supervision of 1 hour in an individual, dyadic or triadic format by an on-site licensed supervisor, with an average 1.5 hours per week group supervision performed by a licensed faculty member. The internship experience provides students with the opportunity to: assess and treat clients, follow client progress, keep records, have supervision, attend staff meetings, participate in service training and other professional activities. Students present their work using audio or video for formal professional critique by supervisors and other interns. A formal evaluation for fitness to practice is made upon completion of the internship experience.

  • MCC 675: Current Issues in Clinical Counseling (3 credits)
  • MCC 680: Internship II (300 hours) (3 credits)
Licensed Steps

The MACC program meets the academic and experiential requirements needed to be licensed as a professional counselor in Pennsylvania. Those interested in becoming licensed should contact the Pennsylvania State Licensing Board to determine the exact requirements for post-degree licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state. Students can contact the American Counseling Association or the National Board of Certified Counselors to access licensure requirements for other states.

Students also can sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) at the end of the MACC program. The NCE is one of seven content-based tests approved by the Pennsylvania Licensure Board for professional counselors. Students who complete the program may be eligible to become certified addiction counselors and nationally certified counselors with specialties as certified mental health counselors and master addiction counselors.

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of professional functioning and identity including the history and philosophy of professional counseling, legal, ethical and professional roles, and the importance of the American Counseling Association and all of its subdivisions and affiliations.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of multicultural characteristics and their impact on the theories and competencies of multicultural counseling.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of developmental theories; the factors affecting development including addiction; and the ethically, culturally, and developmentally appropriate strategies for wellness promotion across the lifespan.
  • The student will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and ethical standards that promote healthy client career-life balance, planning, and decision making in a global economy throughout the life span.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of counseling theories, skills related to using the theories, and evidence based strategies to effectively intervene in client concerns.
  • The student will participate in a group experience, demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical foundations of group counseling and group work including the factors that contribute to group effectiveness such as dynamics, therapeutic factors, ethically and culturally relevant strategies, group leaders, and group formation.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge related to the history of integrated assessment techniques, basic statistical concepts relevant to culturally and ethically sensitive testing and evaluation, methods to identify and address critical and time-sensitive clinical issues presented by clients in crisis, and the role of comprehensive assessment in clinical diagnosis.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge regarding the basic concepts of appropriate quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research methods, skills related to the collection and analysis of empirical data, methods for conducting community needs assessments and program evaluations based on evidence-based practices, and knowledge related to ethical principles for conducting research.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills related to clinical mental health counseling.
Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Attending professional conferences offered through the American Counseling Association and the Pennsylvania Counseling Association. These activities offer the opportunity to network with other professionals at the state and national levels.
  • Complete counseling internships among many public and private agencies in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pottsville and the surrounding areas.
Accreditation Statements


  • The Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Vital Statistics
Career Outlook

After earning your Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Counselor
  • Community Health Worker
  • Residential Counselor
  • Career Counselor
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Health Educator
  • Academic Counselor
  • Clinical Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Family Therapist
  • Psychologist

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is projected to grow 22 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2021 was $48,520.

Get To Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Clinical Counseling program contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 610-796-5187 or Or reach out directly to Associate Professor of MACC Nicole Hall at 610-796-8474 or