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Master of Science in Clinical Behavioral Health with a concentration in Addiction Counseling

If you have questions or need information that is not addressed on this page, we would love to hear from you.  You can reach us by phone at 303.615.0700, or by email at

Fall 2021 application window opens September 14, 2020

Preferred deadline: January 15, 2021

Final Deadline: April 16, 2021

Courses are currently $525 per credit, and the program is 60 (LAC) -66 (LAC + LPC) credits total.  Total program cost $31,500 or $34,650.  Prices may change over time.

We strongly encourage students to participate in academic advising in order to register for BHAM 5001, Advanced Ethical Practice (your advisor must lift the hold in order for you to register for this course).  Contact Jessica Diangikes at to arrange an advising meeting.

Many professional organizations offer scholarships.  Colorado has a loan forgiveness program for LAC candidates  There are also loan forgiveness programs for students who work in non-profit agencies via the federal government.  Information about the federal loan forgiveness program can be found here:  Students are encouraged to connect with financial aid to explore scholarship options

This program is currently undergoing accreditation through NASAC (National Addictions Studies Accreditation Commission) and is CACREP  aligned (the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs).  Additionally, MSU Denver is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, or HLC.

The program consists of traditional, hybrid and online courses.  Live classes will have day, evening and weekend options.

Graduate students typically take 6 - 12 credits per semester including summer sessions.  Consequently, students should expect to complete the program in 3-5 years.

This program is unique in that students will earn licenses in both substance abuse and mental health. Additionally, while most licenses are earned two years post masters, students may apply for their Licensed Addictions Counselor (LAC) immediately upon graduation (assuming you have accrued the 5,000 clinical work hours).  This dual licensure option gives you the opportunity to work as a LAC while accruing post masters hours towards your LPC.

Be sure to have one of your letters address issues including writing skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills, and other areas of academic concern.

Practicum and Internship hours can be applied toward your LAC if you have the correct supervision (CAC III or LAC).  However, all LPC hours must be accrued post-graduation.  LAC hours are accrued over a period of at least 18 months, and LPC hours are accrued over a period of at least 24 months. If you still need additional clinical hours for your LAC after graduation, you may apply those work hours towards both your LAC and LPC if your supervisor is appropriately licensed for both LAC and LPC supervision.

Practicum hours will be completed on campus under the supervision of course faculty so it will not be possible to use your place of employment for practicum.  Students may be eligible to use their employment for their internship providing they are engaging in new learning and can demonstrate fulfillment of program objectives and competencies.

While there are no guarantees, the expected salary range for (an LAC/LPC) is $50,000 – 70,000 according to

Currently there is no requirement for you to be in personal therapy.  Due to the nature of the program and work, however, students are strongly encouraged to ensure their own emotional needs have been sufficiently addressed.

Graduate students can still be licensure eligible with a felony conviction depending on the charge and how recently it occurred.  As different sites have different requirements, however, there is no guarantee of an internship placement. We encourage students to explore having their records sealed, if possible.

Unfortunately due to licensing and accrediting requirements, students must complete all of the coursework and clinical hours while enrolled in the program.

Good question- we’ll get back to you on that one!

Choosing a graduate program is a significant and personal decision.  We encourage you to come in and meet with a faculty member for advising, look at the Clinical Behavioral Health course list, and reflect on your career goals as you decide the best academic home for your graduate pursuits.

A masters degree is the minimal required degree to be eligible for licensure in Colorado.  Employers look for a masters degree when promoting and/or hiring, especially for supervisory roles.  A masters is also the minimum required degree for 3rd party reimbursement.

Licensure allows clinicians to diagnose, treat, bill insurance companies, provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) services, and provide clinical and administrative supervision to a wider range of people, including interns and licensee candidates. Having dual licensure in both addictions counseling and mental health expands your areas of expertise.

Multiple settings ranging from hospitals, acute care facilities, outpatient treatment, residential, detox and private practice.


Unfortunately, we are not able to respond to requests for information regarding the reasons for an applicant's denial.  In general, if a student applied with a low Grade Point Average (GPA), they can take 9 credits at a different university and reapply, assuming they have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If a student had a 3.0 GPA and was not accepted, they can re-apply at a later date with a different essay and letters of reference.


If a student is accepted into our program and they do not have an undergraduate degree in a related field (or 2 years of clinical experience), it is strongly recommended that they take a 3 credit summer bridge class to prepare them for the program. HSP 31AD, Foundations of Addiction and Mental health Counseling, is a 3 credit, undergraduate level course available over the summer. Do not wait to apply- students can be accepted with conditions, and fully accepted once conditions have been met.

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