Jul 23, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 Previous Edition

Counseling, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Counseling is designed to provide doctoral-level preparation for professionals who seek higher education positions in counselor preparation programs and advanced clinical training and leadership positions in the counseling field. A unique feature of this program is its emphasis on increasing knowledge, awareness, and skills in interacting with socially and culturally diverse populations. Doctoral-level counselors may work as counselor supervisors, direct service providers, counselor educators, program consultants, researchers, program evaluators, and in other roles that require leadership in the areas of counseling, human services, family development, and community organizations. Potential employment settings include institutions of higher education, schools, hospitals, employee assistance programs, substance abuse treatment centers, community mental health agencies, and private practice centers.

The Ph.D. in Counseling requires a minimum of 63 credit hours beyond those earned in an accredited master’s program of at least 48 credit hours. Advanced preparation will be required in the following areas:

  1. Implications of ways in which diversity (e.g., race, gender, age, religion, spirituality, ethnicity, mental/physical ability, nationality, and sexual orientation) influence counseling practice and counselor education.
  2. Theories pertaining to the principles and practice of counseling, career development, group work, and consultation.
  3. Clinical skill development in counseling, group work, and consultation.
  4. Theories and practice of counselor supervision.
  5. Design and implementation of quantitative research and methodology.
  6. Design and implementation of qualitative research and methodology.
  7. Models and methods of assessment and use of data.
  8. Ethical and legal considerations in counselor education and supervision.
  9. Instructional theory and methods relevant to counselor education.

Program Objectives

  1. To acquire, integrate, and apply empirical and theoretical knowledge of the field of counseling.
  2. To develop leadership skills in counselor education, supervision, advanced counseling practice, and research.
  3. To apply advanced skills and competencies in field-based settings.
  4. To conduct research and generate new knowledge in counseling.
  5. To design, adapt, and evaluate curricula in the field of counseling.
  6. To develop depth and breadth in professional growth and continued life-long learning.
  7. To examine the influence of social context and policy variables on human behavior.
  8. To show increased sensitivity and clinical skills that demonstrate awareness of the diversity of race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, mental/physical ability, nationality, and sexual orientation as relevant to counseling professionals.

In addition to a 150-hour clinically based doctoral practicum, doctoral students will participate in internship experiences of at least 600 clock hours that may include counselor education, supervision, and advanced counseling practice.

Students also collaborate with faculty as a part of their Professional Development plan in teaching, supervision, counseling services, research, professional writing, and service to the community, region, and profession.

Prerequisite Requirements

Applicants should possess a CACREP-approved Master’s Degree in counseling with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 (on a scale of 4.0) or higher. Students with master’s degrees requiring less than 60 credit hours or degrees from non-CACREP-approved Master’s programs may need to complete prerequisite courses. All doctoral students accepted into the program must provide documentation of a graduate level substance abuse/addiction course. If one has not been taken, then the doctoral student will have to add a substance abuse/addiction course to the program of study as a prerequisite. Two years of experience as a professional counselor is preferred.

Degree Requirements and Course Scheduling

Admission to Candidacy Requirements

Students are considered candidates for the doctoral degree on successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination and acceptance of the Dissertation Proposal.


Limited Graduate Assistantships are available in the Department of Counseling and various offices on campus. Applications must be submitted to individual departments/offices.


A Doctoral Practicum is taken in the first year of study. The practicum requires 150 hours over the course of a semester at an approved site in the community. The Practicum will involve the acquisition of new skills and learning regardless of the site selected.


Doctoral students are required to complete a total of 600 clock hours (over two semesters) of internship (CSLG 8440  and CSLG 8445 ) that reflect new learning. The internship experience shall include supervised experiences in (a) 300 hours of counselor education and supervision (e.g., teaching) and (b) 300 hours of clinical practice. Students and their doctoral advisors develop collaboratively components of their internship experiences in accordance with relevant CACREP standards.

Elective Courses

There are two required elective courses in the curriculum. These are most commonly taken within the Counseling curriculum but may be taken in other departments as long as the courses are designated at the 8000 level. Courses at the 7000 level can be taken only if they are not cross-listed at the 8000 level.


Students select a program advisor and committee by the end of their first fall semester in the program. The program advisors assist students during the initial stages of the program. The advisor assists the student in forming a program advisory committee and developing a Program of Study and a Professional Development Plan by the end of his or her first semester of studies. The Program of Study must be approved by and filed with the Doctoral Program Coordinator. Advisors also assist students in identifying faculty whose research interests and expertise are congruent with the student’s probable area of inquiry for the dissertation. The assistance of the advisor does not relieve the student of responsibility for completing required work and following departmental and University procedures. Following the comprehensive exam, the students select a dissertation advisor/chair and committee. The program advisors continue to provide academic advisement to the students through their program, regardless of whether they are part of the students’ dissertation committee.

Comprehensive Exam

The main objective of the written portion of the qualifying exam is to ensure that the student is adequately prepared to write a dissertation to complete the Ph.D. degree requirements. Being prepared means the following:

  1. Examinees must have completed all degree core content courses.
  2. Examinees must be able to analyze and synthesize information obtained from coursework and research within a multicultural counseling context.
  3. Examinees must demonstrate advanced knowledge in the core areas of supervision and counseling theory.
  4. Examinees must demonstrate competencies in research methodology and evaluation.

The exam will be a 2-day exam administered on campus.

Dissertation Committee

A Dissertation Committee, comprised of at least five faculty members, will be formally appointed for each student after admission to candidacy. At least three committee members must be on the Counseling Program faculty and one member will be appointed by the Graduate School. A person outside the University may serve as a full member of the Dissertation Committee in situations where knowledge or expertise of a particular nature is desired. With the mutual consent of the student and the faculty member, a faculty member will be designated to serve as the Chair of the Doctoral Committee. Chairs of Doctoral Committees are specifically responsible for seeing that the student progresses in an expeditious manner towards completion of the degree. Chairs will assist students in organizing committee meetings, conducting original research, presenting the proposal, and organizing the dissertation defense. Eligible faculty are all tenured faculty (Professor/Associate Professor), as well as Assistant Professors who have been reappointed for their second term. Each appointed Committee Member will have both voice and vote on all relevant matters pertaining to a doctoral student’s progress towards the degree. At least four committee members must be present for the oral defense of the dissertation. The oral defense is considered satisfactory upon the positive vote of at least four committee members. Prior to and following the appointment of this committee, students are encouraged to work with faculty on dissertation ideas.


Each candidate for the doctoral degree is required to prepare and present a dissertation that shows independent investigation and is acceptable in form and content to the Dissertation Committee. A doctoral dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conceive, design, conduct, and interpret independent, original, and creative research and must make a unique contribution to knowledge in the field of counseling. Under the direct supervision of the Doctoral Committee Chair, students are encouraged to consult regularly with their Dissertation Committee members during the planning, conducting and writing of the dissertation. Following the approval of the dissertation proposal students are required to maintain continuous enrollment (fall and spring semesters) for dissertation study until work is completed. Continuous enrollment begins on the date the Graduate School approves the student’s dissertation topic. Students who exceed the required number of dissertation hours for degree completion will register for GRAD 9999  each semester until degree requirements have been completed.

Financial Aid/Financial Assistance

There is financial aid available in the form of grants and tuition waivers. The exact amount of funds available for any given year varies.

Program Certifications/Accreditation(s)

The program has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).