Counseling Degrees and Programs in North Dakota

If you are interested in starting a counseling career in the Midwest, several North Dakota colleges and universities offer programs in the major counseling categories: mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. One of the first steps to becoming a licensed counselor will be to choose a school and a program as most counseling careers require a degree. As a master’s degree in counseling is required for nearly all types of licensure, most counseling programs in North Dakota are offered at the graduate level. There are, however, some undergraduate programs that may appeal to students who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. There are also online and hybrid degree programs offered by North Dakota schools in most of the major counseling areas. Online programs may appeal to busy students or those who do not live near a college or university campus. These programs often have the same curriculum as on-campus degrees and may be taught by the same faculty.

Quick Facts

  • There are 6 not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities that offer a program in marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling, substance abuse counseling, and/or vocational rehabilitation counseling in North Dakota.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in North Dakota, 1 offers an associate’s degree, 3 offer a bachelor’s degree, 2 offer a certificate, and 4 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • No schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 5 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • No counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 1 school, 2 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of North Dakota Counseling Schools and Programs

Below you will find a table we have compiled that allows you to compare the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in North Dakota that offer at least one counseling program in the five main areas of practice: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MFT), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). The table indicates the schools that offer programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); CACREP-accredited programs are denoted with an asterisk (*). You can use the table to compare schools by program type offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. You can find more information about how to become a licensed counselor in North Dakota on our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Minot State UniversityYes46%$10,153
North Dakota State UniversityYesYes*Yes*58%$15,472
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish CollegeYesN.Av.$8,691
University of JamestownYesYes43%$19,306
University of MaryYesYesYes55%$17,216
University of North DakotaYesYesYesYes55%$15,374

Schools in North Dakota with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Minot State University

At Minot State University (MSU), individuals interested in substance abuse counseling can complete a 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Addiction Studies. This degree teaches students about a range of addictions, such as chemical dependency, alcohol, and compulsive disorders, and how to help clients address, prevent, and recover from addictive behaviors. Students will also learn about the social, cultural, and legal systems that impact addiction in society and the many ways individuals can be impacted by addiction. MSU requires students to complete 38-40 credits of general education, at least 66 credits in Addiction Studies, and the remaining credits are electives. In the senior year of the program, students complete a nine-month supervised work experience in an organization providing related services. Coursework and work experience completed in the BS program can be used towards the requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) credentials in North Dakota. Students majoring in other subjects can complete a 24-credit minor in Addiction Studies, although this may not be sufficient to meet state licensing requirements on its own.

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) is a tribal charter college affiliated with the Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in New Town. The college offers a 65-credit Associate of Arts (AA) in Human Services with a concentration in Addiction Studies. This program is influenced by the college values of spirituality, people, culture, and future, and the curriculum combines modern knowledge of addiction with traditional Native American models of health and well-being. Students are required to take 36 credits of general education in English, humanities, math, and science, as well as 29 credits in the area of concentration. Required addiction studies courses include Alcohol and Drug Helping Skills; Dynamics of Addiction; and Alcohol and Drug Treatment Continuum. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be prepared to work in entry-level addiction treatment settings with Native American populations or continue their studies at the bachelor’s level. Further study leading to a bachelor’s degree is required to meet the state’s educational requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). NHSC offers AA students numerous supports to help them successfully complete the program, such as academic advising assistance, transfer credit for previous college coursework, and financial aid programs, such as grants and scholarships.

Traditional Graduate Programs

North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University (NDSU) offers a Master of Science (MS) and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling, which are both accredited by CACREP. Each version of the degree requires core counseling coursework (with courses such as Counseling Across the Lifespan; Assessment Techniques; and Professional Orientation and Ethics); advanced coursework in the area of specialization; as well as 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship. The MS degree requires students to complete a master’s research thesis, while the M.Ed. degree requires 300 additional hours of supervised internship. The 60-credit Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree introduces students to the theories and models of mental health assessment, diagnosis, and counseling. It meets North Dakota’s coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credentials. In the 48-credit School Counseling degree, students learn how to provide age-appropriate counseling in K-12 settings and will meet state requirements to become a school counselor upon completion of the program. New students begin the School Counseling program in the summer term, while students can begin the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in the summer or the fall term. NDSU also offers a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. This advanced degree prepares students for leadership, research, and teaching careers in counseling.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) offers both on-campus and online counseling degree programs. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling is available at the Grand Forks campus and is offered with the following tracks: Addiction Counseling; Community Mental Health Counseling; Child Adolescent Counseling; and Rehabilitation Counseling. This 60-credit degree includes a 40-42 credit core counseling curriculum with required courses such as Life-Span Development in Counseling; Diagnostic and Prevention Strategies in Counseling; and Group Theory and Process. Students take the remaining coursework in their area of specialization and must complete either a research thesis or an independent study project. The program takes at least two years to complete full-time and new students are admitted in the fall and summer terms. The MA and a Graduate Certificate in School Counseling are also both available online. The online version of the degree takes two and a half years to complete, while the certificate takes three to five terms. Both programs require two four-day on-campus residencies during each summer term. The certificate program is open to students with a master’s degree in either counseling or education. Online coursework is delivered through synchronous methods than require students to attend online classes in real-time. Graduates of the School Counseling track will meet state requirements to become a school counselor or a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Students interested in other MA tracks should confirm whether the track will meet the licensure requirements for their desired area of practice prior to enrolment. Finally, UND also offers a 120-credit, on-campus Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation and Human Services with optional coursework in addiction studies. Graduates will be eligible for entry-level careers in rehabilitation counseling and may apply addiction studies coursework towards state requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) credentials.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of Jamestown

The University of Jamestown offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Counseling that is designed for working professionals who prefer the flexibility of an online program. The program has a cohort structure in which students progress through the curriculum as a group in a set sequence. Online coursework is offered asynchronously so students can complete assignments when it is most convenient for them. The degree requires 60 credits, including required courses such as Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning; Counseling Children and Adolescents; and Crisis Counseling. New students are admitted in the fall and winter terms and the degree takes two years to complete full-time. All coursework is completed online; however, students must attend a one-week residency during each summer of the program. The program meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in North Dakota. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology with a concentration in Addiction Counseling is also offered on campus. Students in the BA complete additional coursework in the humanities, while BS students must take additional coursework in math and science. Both degrees require 124 credits and provide the option to complete 960 hours of supervised work experience. Students can apply the coursework and work experience towards the state requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) in North Dakota.

University of Mary

The University of Mary is a Catholic institution located in North Dakota’s state capital of Bismarck. The school offers several degrees and certificates in counseling on campus as well as online. The 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Counseling is available with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Addiction Counseling. The MS degree has a shared counseling core curriculum and can be completed in as little as 20 months of full-time study with most courses completed online. Students must also participate in a weekly on-campus meeting or attend online via video conferencing. Those in the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling complete additional advanced coursework in clinical mental health diagnosis and treatment and will meet state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). In the MS in School Counseling, students learn how to develop and implement school guidance programs and will meet state requirements in North Dakota to become a school counselor. The MS in Addiction Counseling offers additional courses in substance abuse prevention and intervention. Students in this specialization must also attend a one-week summer residency. Graduates will meet the state coursework requirements for the Licensed Master Addiction Counselor (LMAC) credential. Online certificates are also available in these areas to help individuals meet state licensure requirements or develop competency in a second area of counseling practice. The Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires at least 17 credits, while the School Counseling Certificate requires 15 credits and the Addiction Counseling Certificate requires 14 credits. An on-campus minor in Addiction Counseling is also offered for students enrolled in other undergraduate programs. The coursework in the minor may be applied towards the requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) in North Dakota, but may not meet these requirements on their own.

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. Kiplinger’s Best College Values, 2019: https://www.kiplinger.com/fronts/special-report/college-rankings/index.html
4. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
5. US News & World Report Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/rehabilitation-counseling-rankings