Successful candidates for admission to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program must demonstrate a readiness to succeed in graduate level training to become a helping professional, an openness to feedback, emotional maturity, and the ability to relate to diverse groups of people. The initial screening is based on a comprehensive and integrated review of all the material that the applicants have submitted.

The application deadline for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program January 15. The specific criteria for admission include the following:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree: Transcripts for all coursework must be submitted with the application and should demonstrate readiness to succeed in graduate level coursework.
  • Resume: Candidates should submit a resume detailing their counseling-related training, work experiences, and scholarship.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Three individuals must complete and submit reference forms. These individuals should be able to discuss your potential for succeeding in an experientially-based counseling graduate program.
  • Completed application form
  • Personal statement: The personal statement should be at least 1,000 words describing yourself. Go beyond the grades, honors, and work record that you have already provided on the application form. Instead, share with us the personal qualities and life experiences that form your character. Tell us about the challenges you have faced, the dreams that you are pursuing, and the discoveries you have made. What would you contribute to our learning community? In what way have you felt called to become a counselor?
  • Personal Interview: Counseling faculty members participate in an interview with selected applicants, usually during the end of January or beginning of February. Students who are selected for an interview will be notified as early in advance as possible.
  • Criminal Background Check: Based on Code of Virginia 23.1-407.1, the James Madison University Clinical Mental Health Counseling program will not deny admission to any applicant solely on the basis of criminal history. However, for any applicant who has been admitted, the programs may inquire about the applicant’s criminal history. The program may then withdraw an offer of admission to anyone whom James Madison University determines has a criminal history that poses a threat to the institution’s community. Therefore, for individuals admitted to the JMU Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program:
    • It is required that a criminal background and sexual offender check be completed. Information regarding how to complete this requirement is provided directly to students after admissions processes are completed.
    • These checks must be completed prior to the student enrolling in classes. Additional checks may be required later in the program, prior to the start of practicum or internship.
    • Please note that state licensure boards may restrict counseling licensure applications for individuals who have certain criminal offenses. More information regarding licensure guidelines is available through each state’s licensure website
  • International candidates for whom English is not their primary language must submit official test scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 550 on the written tests and 220 on the computer-based test. Applicants must have taken these tests within the past two years.

The application must be complete in order for you to be considered for the program.

Application Website:

International Applicants:

Catalog Link:

Application Timeline: The application will open on October 15 and application reviews begin December 1. All application materials should be received by January 15 to be guaranteed consideration.

Program Begins: Fall
Required by The Graduate School
Required Electronically:

  • Application
  • Application fee

Send official transcripts to The Graduate School. The preferred method is an electronic copy sent via eSCRIP‐SAFE. For more information, please check the Graduate School Website

The Graduate School’s physical address is:
Madison Hall
MSC 6702
100 E. Grace Street
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

For information about tuition and financial assistance, please visit the Graduate School’s Tuition and Financial Aid site.

This program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please refer to the JMU Professional Licensure Program Status by Jurisdiction Index to determine if this JMU program meets the educational requirements specified by the associated licensing or certification agency in the state or territory in which you are located while enrolled. You can also determine if the program meets the educational requirements specified by the licensing boards in other states and territories. Requirements vary by state and are subject to change. The information provided is current as of the review date indicated in the table.

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