Master of Science

The Counselor Education Department at NNU offers a Master of Science degree in Counseling in three areas: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling.

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  • Christy Gilliam
  • (208) 467-8853
  • Choose between three counseling degree tracks
  • Work closely with faculty mentors
  • CACREP accredited program with a long-standing reputation for excellence


The Counselor Education Department at NNU offers a Master of Science degree in Counseling with three possible majors: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling. This program requires students to complete 60 credits hours of coursework over eight semesters (an average of 33 months), log 1,000 hours of practicum/internship experience, pass the national comprehensive exam (CPCE), sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE), and engage in personal growth experiences such as individual and group counseling (as clients). Program graduates typically complete all requirements for licensure while enrolled in the program—including the national exam—and apply for licensure as a counselor after graduation. Upon graduation, students are prepared with the professional competencies necessary for entry-level counseling and therapeutic direct service delivery as well as with a base to pursue doctoral-level study.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling programs are delivered in a traditional method on-site at NNU with some options for blended courses. The Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling programs are also available in Twin Falls, Idaho taught on the College of Southern Idaho campus. New cohorts begin every three years. For more information please contact Christy Gillam at

NNU is a religiously affiliated institution with a Wesleyan foundation. Spiritual wellness, an atmosphere of gratitude, commitment to community, service to others, a relational focus between faculty and with students, and good mental health practices are modeled by faculty for students. Students of any background/tradition are welcome.

Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)

The Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program provides theory, skill-building, and supervised field experience to work as a professional counselor in a variety of clinical settings. The development of the research knowledge, theory, and skills necessary to provide ethical and professional counseling services to community members is enhanced by a rich selection of elective specialty courses that build upon the basic counseling skills, utilizing more advanced interventions. Clinical Mental Health Counseling students are also introduced to the intricacies of the funding of mental health agencies, inter-agency consultation, and the problems faced by those who need mental health assistance but have a limited ability to pay for the services. The development of sensitivity, compassion, and skills in dealing with diverse populations is expected of CMHC students as well as the integration of relevant technology.  Upon graduation, CMHC students are prepared to make an application for the Licensed Professional Counselor credential in the State of Idaho.

Master of Science in Counseling: Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (MCFC)

The Masters in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program provides knowledge, skill-building, and supervised field experience to work as a marriage, couple, and family counselor in a variety of clinical settings. The focus of the MCFC program is to prepare students with a strong understanding of marriage, couple, and family counseling theory and therapy. Beyond the counseling core courses, students enroll in specialty courses in marriage, couple, and family counseling with a focus on systems theory and research, human sexuality, and couple and family counseling interventions. Upon graduation, MCFC students are prepared to make an application for both the Licensed Professional Counselor credential and the Associate Marriage and Family Therapy credential in the State of Idaho.  

Master of Science in Counseling: School Counseling (SC)

In the state of Idaho, school counselors do not need to be certified teachers. Thus, students from many different undergraduate majors elect to apply for school counseling admittance. The focus of the program is to prepare students to serve the schools in rural communities. Beyond the counseling core courses, the coursework specific to the SC track focuses on the components of the National Model, youth and child counseling skills, and helping youth with special learning problems. Upon graduation, SC students are prepared to make an application for the Licensed Professional Counselor credential in the State of Idaho for the K-12 school counseling credential. They are also qualified for the Department of Education Pupil Personnel Services Certification.

Families ETC

Select students from the CMHC, MCFC, and SC tracks have the opportunity to intern at Families ETC, the private non-profit counseling center associated with the department, which provides couples, individual, play therapy, and youth assessment services. Students will be supervised by faculty who have expertise in trauma work. Those students who are specializing in play therapy have the opportunity to work under the supervision of a registered play therapist. Families ETC  or call 208-467-8837

Emphasis Areas

In addition to the required core courses, students have the opportunity to enroll in an emphasis area, similar to an undergraduate minor, in one of the following: 1) Play Therapy; 2) Trauma, Crisis, and Grief; 3) Acceptance and Mindfulness Informed Therapies; 4) Addictions; or 5) Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy. An additional emphasis area, Primary Care Behavioral Health, is currently under development. 

Play Therapy Pre-Certification

It's through play that children are best able to form therapeutic alliances, express themselves, relate to others, learn new knowledge and skills, boost their egos, master stress and develop their sense of self. In order to promote the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists, the Counselor Education Department at Northwest Nazarene University is increasing the availability of play therapy instruction, application and research in this specialized area.
The goal of this post-graduate play therapy pre-certification program is to present a state-of-the-art academic rigor that will survey the latest advances and developments in the field, including the three main pillars of therapy: theory, research, and practice. An experiential component throughout the emphasis will focus on basic play therapy skill development within the context of ethical and diversity-sensitive practice and supervised clinical applications will be gained through a structured lab component.

Accreditation & Regulations

Notice Out-of-State Students

Since this is a program that leads to professional licensure, prospective students should review important information about NNU’s participation in the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and Professional Licensure about this program. Individual states often have different expectations for professional licensure; so it is in a prospective student’s best interest to investigate whether NNU’s degree program will help them achieve licensure in their home state.

Degree Details

Master of Science

Offered On Nampa Campus and at College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls

$565 per credit - See All Tuition & Fee Info

Related Career Paths
Career Avg. Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $50,630
Community and Social Service Occupations $41,840
Rehabilitation Counselors $38,040
Social and Community Service Managers $44,180
Metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area occupational employment and wage estimates for the Boise area are sourced from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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