Graduate Mental Health Counseling Admission Requirements

The Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling (MSMHC) program has a two-pronged admission process. Students initially apply for admission to the degree program. Those admitted to the program must later apply for admission to the Professional Sequence for the Mental Health Counseling Program.

All materials required to support the student application process for the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling (MSMHC) degree program should be uploaded to the MSMHC student application file. 

Admission Requirements for Degree-Seeking Applicants

The following are the admission requirements for applicants for the MS in Mental Health Counseling (MSMHC) program:

  • Must have earned a bachelor's degree in a human service or social science discipline and have completed prerequisite coursework in general psychology and research methods/statistics. Applicants who are seeking admission but have not completed the prerequisite coursework must develop and submit a plan for completing the prerequisites. The plan submitted to the Admissions Committee should include provisions for demonstrating competencies in prerequisites through either completing coursework at Viterbo University or another accredited college or passing the appropriate CLEP examination. Students with deficits in coursework/ demonstrated competencies may be conditionally admitted prior to fulfilling these requirements.


  • An undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 point possible scale are eligible for admission. Applicants with a lower GPA must submit a letter with their application materials outlining special circumstances to explain why they believe their undergraduate GPA does not reflect their potential and readiness for graduate studies. These applicants will be considered for admission on an individual basis for provisional acceptance into the program. 


  • Submit an essay, personal statement, outlining academic interests, career goals, reasons for pursing graduate studies, and relevant life and professional experience.  The essay should be typed, double-spaces document written in APA format answering questions clearly and concisely in approximately two pages (approximately 500 words).


  • Take the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Information about taking the MAT exam in La Crosse is available from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at 608-785-8073. There is a fee for the exam. Information about testing sites in other locations is available on the Pearson Education website: MAT Testing Centers. Advance arrangements are necessary at all sites. Applicants will need to designate the code for Viterbo University which is #1831. This code may not be listed specifically in the existing publications from MAT.  Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores may be submitted in lieu of MAT scores, using Viterbo's code #1878.


  • Complete the program’s background check. While the findings from this background check may not preclude program enrollment, problematic findings are likely to restrict practicum and internship placements and complicate the successful completion of the program. In addition, such issues may preclude state licensure.


  • Submit three letters of recommendation  supporting their candidacy for the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling degree submitted by individuals familiar with the applicant’s educational and vocational performance and potential. The letters of recommendation are submitted to the program director: Debra Murray, Viterbo University, 900 Viterbo Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601.  (Use this LOR Form link  to send to your recommenders)


  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions must be submitted directly  from the school to Viterbo University .  Transcripts can be sent electronically to or mailed to Enrollment Operations, Viterbo University, 900 Viterbro Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601. 


Applicants must submit all required materials (i.e., application, personal statement, transcripts, test scores, background check information, and recommendations). Completed applications are accepted each year depending on space availability and reviewed by the Admission Committee.

  • Qualified applicants will then be scheduled for a personal interview with program staff and complete experiential activities.

Admission Requirements for Non-Degree Seeking Applicants

On a space available basis the program will occasionally allow students to enroll to take up to six hours (two courses) as a non-degree, Student-At-Large.  Candidates interested in this path should contact the Director of Graduate Admissions at or call 608.796.3011 to explore this option.  Approval to apply is granted by the program based upon space availability.

Once approved to proceed with the application processes candidates must submit the following items:

  • Submit an application for admission to the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling Program as a non-degree, no-program student.
  • Submit official transcripts from the degree-granting institutions (must be sent directly to Viterbo University from the College/University to or Graduate Admissions, Viterbo University, 900 Viterbo Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601.
  • Read and sign the Viterbo University Educational Loan Agreement and Disclosure Statement providing you Viterbo's  institutional Business Office policies, fees, and refund schedule and electronic form and signature information.