Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology


The mission of the TWU Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology is to prepare highly competent, diversity-sensitive professional psychologists. It is the only explicitly feminist-multicultural program in the U.S.

The Ph.D. program in counseling psychology provides systematic training within a Practitioner-Scientist model to prepare students for the practice of psychology in a wide range of professional mental health settings. The model provides clear training in both practice and science, emphasizes practice informed by science, and prepares students to be both producers and consumers of research.

Given the Practitioner-Scientist model, advanced training in psychotherapy and psychological assessment are central foci. Students are expected to develop sophisticated theoretical understandings through exposure to multiple perspectives and to develop substantive therapeutic skills. Training in assessment builds a foundation for mastering cognitive, vocational, and objective psychological measures. Academic program coursework, as well as practicum training, are designed to support these strengths.

The doctoral program in counseling psychology is rooted in the following aims. Most program activities and evaluations are linked to these fundamental items.

  • Aim #1: To prepare competent practitioners of professional psychology.
  • Aim #2: To prepare diversity-sensitive professional psychologists.
  • Aim #3: To prepare professional psychologists who are competent consumers and/or producers of research.
  • Aim #4: To prepare professional psychologists who understand and embrace the identity of a Counseling Psychologist.

Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Conduct the practice of professional psychology in a competent, ethically sound, and self-reflective manner. 
  2. Apply diversity-sensitive theories, methods, and techniques to their work as professional psychologists.
  3. Use and produce research as a basis for professional psychological practice.


All students must meet the University requirements as outlined in the Admission to the TWU Graduate School section of the catalog.

This academic program may have additional admission criteria that must also be completed as outlined on the program's website.

Degree Requirements

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.  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.

Curriculum Supporting APA Discipline-Specific Knowledge (DSK; "Core Courses")
PSY 5304Advanced Psychological Statistics I4
PSY 5353Research Design3
PSY 6104Cognition and Emotion4
PSY 6113Measurement and Psychometric Theory3
PSY 6133Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSY 6204Advanced Psychological Statistics II4
PSY 6383Multicultural Psychology3
PSY 6613Advanced Developmental Psychology3
PSY 6633Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Psychology3
PSY 6743Seminar in Social Psychology3
Curriculum Supporting APA Profession-Wide Competencies and Program Competencies
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 6123Academic and Professional Writing3
PSY 6333Psychology of Gender3
PSY 6443Objective 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 6991Supervised Field Work1
PSY 6993Dissertation (2 semesters)6
Electives (Choose 2)6
Family Psychology: Theory and Practice
Psychology of Violence, Trauma, and Abuse
Psychology of Human Sexuality
Qualitative Research Methods and Program Evaluation
Supervised Practicum
*Indicates Pre-Practicum Course
Total SCHs105


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.

Master’s Degree in Route to the Ph.D.

Doctoral students who enter the Ph.D. program without a prior master's degree may  be awarded a master's degree in route to the doctoral degree. Students should contact the program director for additional information.


A full-year, full-time APA-accredited 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.  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 the Comprehensive Exam and all required coursework with the exception of dissertation. 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.

Research Proficiency

Students who have not written an empirical master’s thesis during a master’s program will be required to complete an original research project within the first two years of doctoral training.  Several formats for the project have been supported and are discussed with students in their first semester of enrollment; contact the Doctoral Training Director for more information.

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 are based on 5 of the 9 APA Standards of Accreditation (SoA) Profession-Wide Competencies (PWC) and include research; legal and ethical standards; individual and cultural differences; professional values, attitudes, and behaviors; and communication and interpersonal skills. Students should consult the program director and their program Doctoral Student Handbook for additional information.

Comprehensive Examinations

The Clinical Comprehensive Exam serves as the Comprehensive Examination for the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology. A Comprehensive Examination is required by the Graduate School. 

The Clinical Comprehensive Exam is an integrated narrative and psychotherapy demonstration in which students synthesize their worldview, professional identity, theory, research, and practice. The Clinical Jury assesses 8 of the APA SoA Profession-Wide Competencies (PWCs):

  1. Research
  2. Ethical and Legal Standards
  3. Individual and Cultural Differences
  4. Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Intervention
  8. Consultation and Inter-professional/interdisciplinary skills

At least a quorum of the Core Faculty in Counseling Psychology will read the Clinical Comprehensive Exam narrative and participate in the students’ Oral exam. Faculty members initially evaluate the narrative independently and then discuss their evaluation to consensus following the Oral exam. Oral exam scores are determined by consensus. At the conclusion of the faculty’s evaluation, students receive the results of their Clinical Comprehensive Exam, including feedback on each component as well as any information about corrections and/or remediation. If all or part of the exam is failed, a remediation plan will be developed. If the remediation is failed, the student shall be dismissed from the program.

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.