Bridge to Counseling Program

No matter how little academic or professional counseling experience you have, you can make a difference as a mental health counselor through our Bridge to Counseling Program. Unique to The Family Institute at Northwestern University, the Bridge Program gives you a strong foundation that eases you into our rigorous curriculum so you can fully grasp graduate-level concepts.

If your undergraduate degree is not in psychology or a related field, you lack paid or volunteer counseling experience, or you are interested in a deeper orientation to the counseling field, you are encouraged to apply to the Bridge Program.

The Counseling@Northwestern admissions committee will make the final decision about which program you should enroll in, should you be admitted.

The Bridge Program features the same 24-course sequence as the Standard Program, with an additional introductory, three-course quarter that orients you to the key theories, concepts, and applied aspects of the field. The program can be completed on an accelerated full-time, traditional, or part-time basis.

California regulations require the equivalent of at least two quarters of coursework in order to begin your Practicum season. Therefore, California residents are only eligible for admission to the traditional and part-time tracks. 

Sample course schedules for each track can be found below:

Bridge Program: Accelerated Track Sample Course Sequence (Seven-Quarter)

Quarter Course Title
Bridge 477-6: Introduction to Clinical Practice
Bridge 478-6: Introduction to Clinical Interviewing
Bridge 479-6: Current Topics in Counseling
1 480-6: Counseling Methods: Skills for Counseling and Psychotherapy
1 416-6: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy
1 483-6: Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling
1 486-6: Supervised Practicum
2 481-6: Counseling Methods: Strategies for Counseling and Psychotherapy
2 426-6: Assessment of Counseling (Adult/Child)
2 412-6: Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
2 487-6: Supervised Practicum
3 482-6: Counseling Methods: Outreach, Prevention & Advocacy
3 Required Human Development Course
3 415-6: Psychopathology in Counseling
3 488-6: Supervised Practicum
4 484-6: Cultural Diversity in Counseling
4 411-6: Individual Systems: Psychodynamic Viewpoints
4 Required Specialization Course
4 489-6: Supervised Internship
5 422-6: Foundations of Family, Marital and Couples Counseling
5 406-6: Research Methods in Counseling
5 452-6: Theory & Technique of Substance Abuse
5 490-6: Supervised Internship
6 427-6: Career Development
6 485-6: Advanced Topics in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
6 Elective
6 491-6: Supervised Internship

Bridge Program: Traditional Track Sample Course Sequence (10-Quarter)

Quarter Course Title
Bridge 477-6: Introduction to Clinical Practice
Bridge 478-6: Introduction to Clinical Interviewing
Bridge 479-6: Current Topics in Counseling
1 416-6: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy
1 484-6: Cultural Diversity in Counseling
2 452-6: Theory & Technique of Substance Abuse
2 426-6: Assessment in Counseling (Adult/Child)
3 483-6: Ethics and Legal Issues
3 411-6: Individual Systems: Psychodynamic Viewpoints
4 480-6: Counseling Methods: Skills for Counseling and Psychotherapy
4 415-6: Psychopathology in Counseling
4 486-6: Supervised Practicum
5 Required Human Development Course
5 481-6: Counseling Methods: Strategies for Counseling and Psychotherapy
5 487-6: Supervised Practicum
6 412-6: Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
6 482-6: Counseling Methods: Outreach, Prevention & Advocacy
6 488-6: Supervised Practicum
7 Required Specialization Course
7 422-6: Foundations of Family, Marital and Couples Counseling
7 489-6: Supervised Internship
8 406-6: Research Methods in Counseling
8 Elective
8 490-6: Supervised Internship
9 427-6: Career Development
9 485-6: Advanced Topics in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
9 491-6: Supervised Internship

Bridge Program: Part-Time Track Sample Course Sequence (13-Quarter)

Quarter Course Title
Bridge 477-6: Introduction to Clinical Practice
Bridge 478-6: Introduction to Clinical Interviewing
Bridge 479-6: Current Topics in Counseling
1 416-6: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy
1 484-6: Cultural Diversity in Counseling
2 426-6: Assessment in Counseling (Adult/Child)
2 452-6: Theory & Technique of Substance Abuse
3 411-6: Individual Systems: Psychodynamic Viewpoints
3 427-6: Career Development
4 Required Human Development Course
4 422-6: Foundations of Family, Marital, and Couples Counseling
5 Required Specialization Course
5 412-6: Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
6 483-6: Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling
6 415-6: Psychopathology in Counseling
7 480-6: Counseling Methods: Skills for Counseling and Psychotherapy
7 486-6: Supervised Practicum
8 481-6: Counseling Methods: Strategies for Counseling and Psychotherapy
8 487-6: Supervised Practicum
9 482-6: Counseling Methods: Outreach, Prevention & Advocacy
9 488-6: Supervised Practicum
10 Elective
10 489-6: Supervised Internship
11 490-6: Supervised Internship
11 406-6: Research Methods in Counseling
12 485-6: Advanced Topics in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
12 491-6: Supervised Internship

See the full list of course descriptions.