Top 25 Most Affordable, Accredited Graduate Degree Programs in Counseling and Psychology in the Midwest

| Staff Writers

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By BCD Staff

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Ranking Methodology:

This list of the most affordable graduate programs in the Midwest, offering a masters and/or a doctorate degree in psychology and/or counseling, was created considering the following points.

  • All graduate schools in the Midwest (from the following states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio) were taken into consideration.
  • Next, programs had to meet rigorous criteria to become accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Note: Evaluating the accreditation status of any graduation program under consideration is important. In general, accredited programs develop their curriculum and practicum experience with state licensing boards. Programs that do this ensure that their graduates will be able to successfully navigate the state licensing process without needing to take additional coursework following graduation.
  • The following accredited degrees are available at the colleges and universities that made the top 25 list:
    • Clinical and Mental Health Counseling (M.A. and M.S.) -accredited by the CACREP
    • School Counseling (M.A. and M.S.) -accredited by the CACREP
    • Marriage and Family Therapy (M.A., M.S., M.Ed., and Ph.D.) -accredited by the COAMFTE
    • Clinical Psychology (Ph.D and Psy.D.) -accredited by the APA
  • Note: Programs offering the following degrees were ranked but did not make the Top 25 list. Several programs are available in the region offering these degrees:
    • Counseling Psychology (Ph.D.) -accredited by the APA
    • School Psychology (Ph.D) -accredited by the APA
  • Over 100 schools in the Midwest met the above listed criteria. Tuition per credit ranged from under $400 per credit to over $2,250 per credit. The cost per credit for out of state tuition was ranked from high to low and the top 25 schools are listed here. Check out the list below to find the school that is the best fit for you.

Top 10 Most Affordable, Accredited Graduate Degree Programs in Counseling and Psychology in the Midwest

Rank School Location
1 Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, IL
2 St. Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN
3 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
4 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
5 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
6 Heidelberg University Tiffin, OH
7 Cincinnati Christian University SCHOOL CLOSED, SCHOOL CLOSED
8 Butler University Indianapolis, IN
9 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
10 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, MO
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  1. Lincoln Christian University
    Location

    Lincoln, IL

    The Counselor Education Program at Northeastern Illinois University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling in four areas of concentration, including the CACREP accredited program in School Counseling. Applicants with a teachers license can complete this program in 48 credit hours, applicants that do not have a teacher license will need to complete 57 credit hours to graduate. Individuals from all professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply, a background in teaching or education is not required.

  2. St. Mary's University of Minnesota
    Location

    Winona, MN

    St. Mary's University of Minnesota offers a 57 credit hour Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, accredited by the COAMFTE. This program is described as being designed for adult learners with flexibility in mind. Students can determine the pace at which they complete the program within the range of 2-5 years, the average being 3.3 years. Uniquely, every required course is offered every semester in order to make the individualized plan possible.

    Claiming the spot of the school offering the most affordable, accredited, graduate degree in Psychology and Counseling in the Midwest is the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lincoln Christian Seminary. The 60 credit program accredited by the CACREP emphasizes training students to be inclusive of a Biblical worldview in their counseling practice.

  3. South Dakota State University
    Location

    Brookings, SD

    South Dakota State University offers a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Resource Development with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credit hours) or a specialization in School Counseling (48 credit hours), both are accredited by the CACREP.

  4. University of South Dakota
    Location

    Vermillion, SD

    University of South Dakota's CACREP accredited Master of Arts programs of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling offer a thesis and non-thesis track. Depending on the program and the track you choose the required number of credit hours ranges from 48-64. The University of South Dakota also offers an APA accredited Clinical Psychology Program. It takes on average 5-6 years to complete a Ph.D. in the Clinical Psychology Program.

  5. University of Nebraska at Kearney
    Location

    Kearney, NE

    The University of Nebraska at Kearney has one of only two programs in Nebraska that is nationally accredited by the CACREP. Students in this program can gain a Master of Education Degree in Clinical Mental Health. A minimum of 60 credit hours of graduate coursework is required for this program.

  6. Heidelberg University
    Location

    Tiffin, OH

    The Master of Arts in Counseling is accredited by the CACREP. The program offers three concentrations; Clinical Counseling Concentration, School Counseling Concentration, and Dual Clinical/ School Counseling Concentration. Credit hours to complete these programs range from 48-60. Most classes are offered on nights and weekends to accommodate working students.

  7. Cincinnati Christian University
    Location

    SCHOOL CLOSED, SCHOOL CLOSED

    Cincinnati Christian University's 60 credit hour Master of Arts in Counseling program is accredited by the CACREP. As a Christian University one of the main principals of the program is to train students to do Christian counseling while also meeting the educational requirements to become licensed as a professional counselor.

  8. Butler University
    Location

    Indianapolis, IN

    Butler University accepts 24 students to its CACREP accredited School Counseling Program annually. The 48 credit hour program is designed to be completed in three years but there is a fast track option, to reduce the length of the program by 1-2 semesters. As many as 10 students from each cohort may be accepted into the fast track option.

  9. Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    Both the Clinical Psychology Program and the School Psychology Program at Central Michigan University are accredited by the APA and lead to a Ph.D. degree. The Clinical Psychology Program requires the completion of 108 credits and the School Psychology Program requires the completion of 106 credits or 70 credit hours for students that already have their M.A. or M.S. in School Psychology.

  10. Southeast Missouri State University
    Location

    Cape Girardeau, MO

    Southeast Missouri State University offers a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in School Counseling. Both programs are accredited by the CACREP. While the School Counseling Program requires the standard 48 credit hours for completion of the degree the Mental Health Counseling Program requires 78 credit hours for graduation, you will find that most other schools offer this degree for 60 credit hours which requires significantly less time and money.

  11. Grace College
    Location

    Winona Lake, IN

    Grace College offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling accredited by the CACREP for 62 credit hours. A central feature of Grace College is that it is theologically driven with the goal of supporting students in integrating a Biblical worldview in their education and to carry this over into their professional work. Another unique feature of this program is that it is residential. Additionally, there is an online program option.

  12. St. Cloud State University
    Location

    Saint Cloud, MN

    St. Cloud University offers rolling admission for its graduate departments. Three accredited Master of Science degrees are offered; Marriage and Family Therapy (52-58 credits, accredited by the COAMFTE), Clinical Mental Health Counseling (61 credits, accredited by the CACREP), and School Counseling (52-58 credits, accredited by the CACREP.

  13. Governors State University
    Location

    University Park, IL

    Complete a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credit hours) or School Counseling (57 credit hours) at Governors State University. Both programs are accredited by the CACREP.

  14. Xavier University
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Xavier University offers CACREP accredited programs in Clinical Mental Health (60 credits) and School Counseling (48 credits) both are Master of Arts degrees. Students may begin the program in the summer, fall or spring term. The Chair of the Department hosts a counseling informational session in the fall for all those interested in learning more about the counseling profession, registration is required.

  15. Forest Institute
    Location

    SCHOOL CLOSED, SCHOOL CLOSED

    The Forest Institute offers a two year, 56 credit hour, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Program, accredited by the COAMFTE. As with other COAMFTE accredited programs students are required to complete 500 client contact hours, including 250 relational hours plus 100 hours of supervision for their practicum experience. Practicum will begin in the third semester and continue through graduation. This program emphasizes the value of diversity.

  16. Friends University
    Location

    Wichita, KS

    Friends University provides a Christian-based liberal arts education. The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (60 credit hours) is offered at either of two University Locations in Kansas; the main campus in Wichita as well as at Greater Kansas City Area in Lenexa. This program is accredited by the COAMFTE.

  17. Youngstown State University
    Location

    Youngstown, OH

    The CACREP accredited masters degree in counseling has options in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (63 credit hours) and School Counseling (54 credit hours). Youngstown State University is located just an hour from Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

  18. University of Dayton
    Location

    Dayton, OH

    Earn a Master of Science in Education from University of Dayton. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits) and the School Counseling (48 credits) Programs are accredited by the CACREP. Program highlights are described by the University of Dayton as low student to faculty ratio and quality practicum and internship experiences. Currently there is no application fee for domestic students.

  19. Valparaiso University
    Location

    Valparaiso, IN

    The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits) at Valparaiso University is accredited by the CACREP. Valparaiso University reports that the pass rate for graduates taking the National Counselors Examination in 2012 was 100 percent and that 100 percent of graduates who sought employment are employed or pursuing additional graduate education.

  20. Purdue University Calumet
    Location

    Gary, IN

    Purdue University Calumet offers a Master of Science through the College of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both programs are accredited by the CACREP. The Department of Behavioral Sciences offers the COAMFTE accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Note that because the programs are offered through different departments they have different application processes and deadlines.

  21. Indiana University-South Bend
    Location

    South Bend, IN

    Indiana University-South Bend offers a Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health and in School Counseling. Both programs are accredited by the CACREP. The Clinical Mental Health Program follows a cohort model and students can complete the 60 credit hour full time program in a minimum of three years. The School Counseling program, also designed to be completed as a cohort, requires 48 hours for completion and is a three year program.

  22. Walsh University
    Location

    North Canton, OH

    Walsh University is a Catholic University offering CACREP accredited Master of Arts degrees in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling specializations. A unique feature of this program is that it includes several courses that are available in an accelerated 8 week format to give students the opportunity to complete their degree at an increased pace. Additionally graduate students enrolled in the Counseling and Human Development programs are eligible to apply for a premier tuition discount of 25%. Eligibility is based on a combination of factors. Walsh University is a Catholic University offering CACREP accredited Master of Arts degrees in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling specializations. A unique feature of this program is that it includes several courses that are available in an accelerated 8 week format to give students the opportunity to complete their degree at an increased pace. Additionally graduate students enrolled in the Counseling and Human Development programs are eligible to apply for a premier tuition discount of 25%. Eligibility is based on a combination of factors.

  23. Western Illinois University
    Location

    Macomb, IL

    Western Illinois University offers a Master of Science in Education in Counseling for the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling Specializations. Residents of IA, IN, MO and WI are eligible for IL in-state tuition of $317.31 which is half the cost of out-of-state tuition. At that rate this school would be the most affordable on this list even for some students that aren't residents of Illinois.

  24. Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Location

    Steubenville, OH

    The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 54 credit hour program accredited by the CACREP. Franciscan University of Steubenville is a Catholic school and is designated in the top 10 percent for graduation and retention rates by U.S. News and World Report.

  25. DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    DePaul University's Clinical Psychology Program is accredited by the APA and has received APA awards focused on overall excellence in training as well as diversity. The timeline of study for the Ph.D. is five to six years to complete the 106 required credits. DePaul University is one of only three Clinical Psychology Programs that made this list of the top 25 most affordable graduate programs in counseling and psychology in the Midwest.

When figuring out the final cost for earning a Master’s in Counseling or Psychology, don’t forget about “hidden” costs, and also savings opportunities.  Read more about this here:  6 Tips for Evaluating the Overall Cost of Your Graduate Degree.

For other articles in this series see Top 25 Most Affordable, Accredited, Graduate Degree Programs in Psychology and Counseling in the West 2014Top 25 Most Affordable, Accredited Graduate Degrees in Psychology and Counseling in the South 2014 and Top 25 Most Affordable, Accredited Graduate Degrees in Psychology and Counseling in the Northeast 2014.

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