Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
A Master's degree for the next generation of psychotherapists
The Master's in Counseling Psychology (MCP) degree program at CIIS was designed for students who value a modern, holistic, and culturally sensitive approach to the practice of psychotherapy.
Our integral approach to psychological healing incorporates the mind, body, and spirit, as well as the self in relationship to others and the sociocultural context in which we serve.
Evidence-based didactic learning and exposure to contemporary psychological theories, coupled with rigorous experiential clinical training in class and external practicum placements, lead our students to be among the most prepared to sit for the California BBS MFT and LPCC licensing exams.
The three-year program meets and exceeds national norms for training in counseling and fulfills the educational requirements of California's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and the national Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). CIIS graduates boast a 92% pass rate on the MFT licensure exam and have held the #1 position in California for pass rates over the last six exam cycles.
The degree reflects the CIIS mission and our deep commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice and is founded on the premise that excellence in clinical skills is a top priority. The integral pedagogy of both classroom and clinical training are designed to ensure that students have the knowledge and skills they need to provide effective and compassionate care.
The department includes broad training in psychological theory and methods, while at the same time providing additional coursework in specific ways to deepen and expand psychotherapeutic practice. Five concentration programs are offered:
Students apply for admission specifically to one of the above concentrations. This degree, and all its concentrations, prepare students for both the California Marriage and Family Therapy license and the California Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor license. Students select their track at the end of their first semester and plan accordingly. This program is also designed to qualify students for both licenses simultaneously and enables graduates to work with couples, families, and children.
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Track – 60 units
This degree is designed to fulfill the educational requirements of California’s MFT license, one of the most exacting state licenses for counseling therapists in the country. The MFT Track emphasizes relationships and family therapy and is designed for students who are committed to the practice of individual, couples, family, adolescent, and child psychotherapy. LMFT’s are trained to focus on the diagnosis and treatment of issues relating to marriage and family dynamics in particular.
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Track – 64-72 units
Each concentration also prepares students for registration and licensure as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) and requires 64 to 72 units, depending upon the concentration. LPCC’s are trained to focus on counseling within a broader scope of mental health issues. It emphasizes clinical mental health practice including the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, the recovery model of mental health, prevention, and early intervention. LPCC’s must undergo additional coursework and additional practicum hours prior to graduation on topics such as: career counseling, treatment of addiction, psychopharmacology and psychological assessment. All LPCC courses are offered online so as to accommodate all students, some of whom are distance students. Students who complete the LPCC track, will be eligible for both the MFT and LPCC license in California.
Each concentration determines which of the common core courses its students will take. Please consult the concentration pages to see the current curriculum plan. The concentration coursework continues the focus on current psychotherapy practice and also integrates perspectives, methods, and techniques unique to each concentration’s field and may also include electives and lab requirements.
One year of approved clinical fieldwork experience (practicum), or the equivalent of six semester units, are required as a part of each student's degree program. More than 200 clinical agencies and schools in the Bay Area and beyond are currently approved for students in the MCP program. The Office of Field Placement maintains a database of practicum sites and offers workshops to help students move through the process.
Students wanting to complete both the MFT and LPCC track do not need to earn double hours. 280 face-to-face hours satisfies both track requirements.
CIIS’s MCP program has five counseling centers located in San Francisco that serve as potential practicum sites for students entering practicum. Each clinic is staffed by graduate students and post-graduate interns. As a practicum site, students gain experience and training under the guidance of licensed professional.
*NOTE: The coursework and curricula in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program and the five concentrations have been designed to meet the requirements of the BBS for registration and licensure (CA B&P code 4980) in the state of California. CIIS cannot guarantee that this program meets the professional licensure requirements in any other state. Students should consult the licensing boards of the appropriate states for information about licensure outside of California.