Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

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Total Semester Credit Hours Required

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the program depends on the individual degree program. For students entering the program with a Bachelor’s degree, the maximum credit hours required are 105-106, dependent on specific course selection. Transfer credit for those students entering the program at the Master’s level is granted upon post-admission review and subject to Graduate School and programmatic guidelines. The applicant should contact the director of the program for details.


Counseling Psychology students will spend a minimum of four semesters in practicum placements. The student will consult with the Practicum Coordinator to arrange for appropriate placement.


A full-year, full-time APA-accredited (preferred) or APPIC-member internship is required for the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology. Starting January 1, 2020, the internship match will be limited to only students from APA-accredited doctoral programs and only APA-accredited internships will be available in the match process. The student will consult with the Training Director to arrange for appropriate application through the National Match Service (NMS) and the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).  Doctoral students in Counseling Psychology are expected to be willing to leave the immediate geographical area for internship. The internship cannot begin until the student has been admitted to candidacy, which requires the successful completion of all required coursework with the exception of dissertation and comprehensive exams. The dissertation proposal must be completed prior to internship application.

Research Tools

The four required research tools courses are:

PSY 5304Advanced Psychological Statistics I4
PSY 5353Research Design3
PSY 6113Measurement and Psychometric Theory3
PSY 6204Advanced Psychological Statistics II4

Special Requirements

A student is required to maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or better on a scale of 4.0 in all courses applied to the doctoral degree. If a grade of C or less is earned in a course, the student will be required to complete a formal remediation process. If a second grade of C or less is earned (in at least six semester credit hours total), the student will be dismissed from the program.

Thesis Equivalency

Students who have not written an empirical master’s thesis during a master’s program will be required to complete an original research project with an individual faculty member within the first 60 hours of doctoral training.

Residency Requirement and Time Limits

Full-time enrollment is required of all doctoral students in Counseling Psychology until they approach candidacy (generally the first three years). Requests for exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the Counseling Psychology Core Faculty. All coursework, internship, and dissertation must be completed within seven years, excluding any official leaves-of-absence.

Professionalism Benchmark

The Professionalism Benchmark occurs in the Fall semester of the student’s second year. The Benchmark serves several purposes, including assessing students for fundamental competencies that are needed to progress past the second year in the program, and to demonstrate readiness for Practicum. Competencies to be assessed include aspects of Professionalism, Reflective Practice/Self-Assessment/Self-Care, Relationships, Individual and Cultural Diversity, Ethical-Legal Standards and Policy, and Research-Evaluation. These competencies are based on the APA Joint Council of Chairs of Training Councils' (CCTC) Benchmark Evaluation System.

The Professionalism Benchmark will consist of two parts: a Written Narrative and an Oral Evaluation. Students will have one chance to remediate problems with any components of the Benchmark or be dismissed from the program, as these competencies are considered absolutely foundational to any additional progress in the program.  The Professionalism Benchmark process is administered each year in mid-October. 

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive Exams consist of a paper integrating professional identity, theory, and a case conceptualization, followed by a presentation of that paper and a recorded demonstration of therapy skills with an actual client or clients. The content, format, administration, and evaluation of the Comprehensive Exam will be the responsibility of the Counseling Psychology Core Faculty. Students who fail any portion of the comprehensive exam process will be provided with remediation plans and subsequent measures for re-evaluation of student progress. A student may be dismissed from the program if remediation is not completed in a satisfactory manner. Upon successful completion of all coursework and comprehensive competency evaluations, the doctoral student is recommended for candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Dissertation and Final Examination

All students are required to complete a dissertation. Dissertations may be quantitative, qualitative, mixed-method, or theoretical in nature.  An oral defense of the dissertation is required. The defense may be repeated once.

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology Program of Study (semester credit hours dependent on individual degree program)

Curriculum Supporting APA Discipline-Specific Knowledge (DSK; "Core Courses")
PSY 5304Advanced Psychological Statistics I4
PSY 5353Research Design3
PSY 6103Cognition and Emotion3
PSY 6113Measurement and Psychometric Theory3
PSY 6133Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSY 6204Advanced Psychological Statistics II4
PSY 6383Cross Cultural Psychology3
PSY 6613Advanced Developmental Psychology3
PSY 6633Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Psychology3
PSY 6774Foundations of Social Psychology and Personality4
Curriculum Supporting APA Profession-Wide Competencies and Program Competencies
PSY 5163Psychology of Women3
PSY 5423Cognitive Assessment3
PSY 5513Advanced Psychopathology (*)3
PSY 5523Clinical Therapeutic Group Processes (*)3
PSY 5541Psychotherapy Skills I: Microskills Lab (*)1
PSY 5653Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling (*)3
PSY 6011Professional Issues in Counseling Psychology I1
PSY 6021Professional Issues in Counseling Psychology II1
PSY 6221Psychotherapy Skills II: Intermediate Lab1
PSY 6243Advanced Theories and Psychotherapies3
PSY 6443Objective Personality Assessment for Adults3
PSY 6553Projective Personality Assessment for Adults3
PSY 6583Neuropsychopharmacology3
PSY 6803Seminar in Vocational Psychology3
PSY 6833Ethics in Psychology3
PSY 6853Supervision and Consultation Psychology3
PSY 6871Internship in Professional Psychology (3 semesters)3
PSY 6923Supervised Practicum (4 semesters)12
PSY 6961Research Team1
PSY 6981College Teaching1
PSY 6983Dissertation (2 semesters)6
PSY 6993Dissertation (2 semesters)6
Electives (Choose 2)6-7
Theory and Practice of Family Psychology
Psychology of Violence, Trauma, and Abuse
Psychology of Human Sexuality
Qualitative Research Methods and Program Evaluation
Supervised Practicum
*Indicates Pre-Practicum Course
Total Semester Credit Hours108-109