Through the masters in counseling program, you will learn from a supportive faculty and gain practical experience in a diverse, urban setting. 

The Master of Arts in Counseling program prepares students for employment in in a variety of settings, including colleges, community-based mental health facilities, independent practice, the court system, and PK-12 schools.  

Emphasis Areas

Couples and Family 

  • Learn to understand family dynamics and relationship systems 
  • Learn major theories and interventions in couple and family counseling 
  • Be prepared to work therapeutically with diverse couples and families in varied family life cycles 

Mental Health 

  • Understand the mental health needs of diverse clients 
  • Learn major theories and interventions of counseling 
  • Learn skills to provide counseling to a wide range of clients 

School Counseling 

  • Learn to define, manage, deliver, and assess a comprehensive school counseling program 
  • Acquire the knowledge and skills to promote K-12 academic, social-emotional, and career success for all students 
  • Work with K-12 students in diverse school settings across the Kansas City area during practicum and internship experiences 

Program Features

  • Students complete 39 credit hours of core classes and 15-21 credit hours in their emphasis area
  • Students are trained to become competent counseling practitioners who are eligible for licensure or certification in Missouri and Kansas (eligibility for licensure in other states may be available, but has not been determined)
  • Students complete two consecutive semesters of practicum (10 hours/week)
    • Students in the Couples and Family and Mental Health emphasis areas complete this in our in-house clinic, Community Counseling and Assessment Services
    • Students in the School Counseling emphasis complete this in area k-12 schools
  • Students also complete two consecutive semesters of internship (17 hours/week, the vast majority take place during regular business hours)
  • Full-time students typically complete the program in 2 ½ to 3 years 

Read our FAQs (PDF)

Student Resources

Student Handbook

Program Resources

MPCAC Annual Program Data

Division Newsletter

Admissions Info

Questions about the application process can be directed to 816-235-2492 or

To apply, submit all required materials through the electronic portal

Please Note: We do not provide feedback to applicants about their application materials or the interview process. Admission to UMKC does not guarantee admission to the Master of Arts in Counseling Degree Program.

Required Materials

  • Official transcripts from an accredited institution showing the awarding of an undergraduate degree
  • Statement of Purpose: a concise statement (no more than 500 words) concerning your professional goals, professional interests, and experiences
  • Resume or curriculum vita
  • Names and contact information (including email) for three professional references. Identified individuals should be professional references. This excludes friends and family members. References should address your suitability for professional studies in counseling. Raters should have knowledge of your skills in most of the following areas: interpersonal and intellectual functioning, research, counseling, and written and oral communication.

Application Deadlines

  • Couples and Family and Mental Health: March 1 for Fall entry; September 1 for Spring entry. All materials, including letters of reference, must be received by deadline for these emphasis areas.
  • School Counseling: Applications are accepted and reviewed year-round. It is recommended all application materials be submitted at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student wishes to enroll

Admissions Criteria

  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better, or 3.0 (4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester hours
  • No test scores are required
  • International applicants: Success in the counseling profession relies heavily on oral expression and, therefore, the Counseling and Counseling Psychology division faculty require that all non-native English-speaking international applicants demonstrate their proficiency in English, preferably by taking the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (iBT TOEFL). 
    Applicants are expected to demonstrate their oral English proficiency by obtaining a score of at least 23 points (score range 0-30) on the speaking section and at least 20 points (score range 0-30) on the listening section of the iBT TOEFL before their applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Please be aware that the minimum admission score for the iBT TOEFL test set by the UMKC International Student Affairs Office is 79, and that this program requires specific minimum scores on the speaking and listening subtests in addition to the University requirement.  
    While iBT TOEFL scores are strongly preferred, scores on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will also be considered as evidence of English proficiency. Applicants taking the IELTS are expected to demonstrate their oral English proficiency by obtaining a score of at least 7 (score range 0-9) on the speaking subsection of the IELTS and a 6.5 (score range 0-9) on the listening subsection. In addition, applicants are expected to obtain a score of 6.5 on the total IELTS before applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Please note that the minimum admission score for the IELTS test set by the UMKC International Student Affairs Office is 6, and that the division requires specific minimum scores and a higher overall score than the University requirement.  
    NOTE: Both TOEFL and IELTS scores must not be more than two years old.