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The 25 Best Doctoral Programs in Counseling Psychology

By: BCD Staff

November 2019

Contemporary life presents complex challenges on personal, social, and school or career levels. These challenges may range from a general feeling of aimlessness to a psychological disorder. In examining these challenges, the field of counseling psychology can help us to better understand and treat these mental ailments.

Best Counseling Degrees' 25 Best Doctoral Programs in Counseling Psychology offer students opportunities to combine advanced scientific research and hands-on, clinical practice in the field. Many of the following programs follow a scientist-practitioner model, meaning they emphasize a balance between scientific research inquiry and clinical practice with real-world clients in real-world settings. 

While some of the programs listed require applicants to hold a master's degree in psychology and counseling experience, others consider applicants with undergraduate degrees in a variety of fields. Programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association, as many of the following are, require one year of a full-time, year-round internship in an approved setting. These internships often require students to relocate to geographical areas across the United States. Doctoral candidates can also expect to complete practicum experiences with clients on their university's campus and/or in a variety of community settings. Most of the programs listed culminate in the completion of an original doctoral research dissertation on a specific issue in the counseling field. 

Because psychologists are typically required to hold a doctoral degree, the following programs are guaranteed to boost aspiring psychologists' career prospects. Graduates of the following doctoral programs will be prepared for a variety of positions in the realm of counseling psychology. For example, they may go on to work directly with clients in community agencies or university counseling centers, or they may teach others in higher education settings. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports psychologists' 2018 median salary as $79,010, which is equivalent to about $38 per hour. The bureau also reports that the field is growing at an impressive 14% rate, which is much faster than the national average, as an increasing number of individuals are beginning to seek guidance for diverse psychological issues.

Methodology

Best Counseling Degrees is proud to provide counseling students with top-ranking resources and information so they can make informed decisions about their future. While several micro-factors are affecting every school's overall score, primary grading factors are accreditation, affordability, mid-career earning potential, how competitive admissions are for incoming students, student feedback, and school reputation. Each ranking utilizes information provided public sources such as:

  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
  • Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP)
  • National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator
  • United States Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook

#25 University of Memphis

Memphis, TN

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of Memphis offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling through its Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Research. The full-time degree program follows a scientist-practitioner model and admits seven or eight students each fall. It emphasizes critical thinking, human welfare, and counseling for diverse populations in urban settings. Students who enter the program with a master's degree typically complete three years of coursework in residency in Memphis, followed by one year of internship and dissertation work. 

Through this program, students engage in four or five practicum semesters. Clinical field training may take place with underserved communities at college counseling centers, health care settings, and prisons around Memphis. Faculty research areas include masculinity, sexuality, and health and wellness. The 78-credit curriculum includes 12 dissertation credits and nine internship credits. Student organizations within the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Research include the Diversity Committee, the Educational Psychology & Research Colloquium, and the Educational Psychology & Research Student Association.

Courses Include:

  • Advocacy, Consultation, & Ethics
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Seminar in Group Counseling & Psychology
  • Theory and Techniques in Family Therapy
  • Vocational Psychology

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $10,697 in-state; $26,707 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 78
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation

#24 Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology and School Psychology

Florida State University's College of Education offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology and School Psychology. Students can concentrate in counseling psychology, school psychology, or a dual concentration. The degree program is designed to prepare students to practice as health service psychologists. Candidates can expect to be mentored by faculty members who specialize in research areas such as addiction, ADHD, career counseling, and vocational psychology. The program requires students to complete a series of clinical practicum training experiences, as well as a culminating doctoral dissertation. Graduates of the program will be eligible for Florida state psychologist licensure. 

The program department includes research teams in Career Development & Technology, Recovery & Rehabilitation, Suicide Prevention, and Technology Intervention and Assessment in Schools. The department also operates the Adult Learning and Evaluation Center, the Center for the Study of Technology in Counseling and Career Development, and the Human Services Center. It also hosts the Harold F. Cottingham Colloquium, which had a 2019 topic of Leadership in Psychology and Counseling. The College of Education houses student organizations such as Applied Sport Psychology, Sport Psychology Organization and Research Team, and Student Affiliates of School Psychology.

Courses Include:

  • Behavior Management: Principles and Applications
  • Cognitive and Psychoeducational Assessment
  • Counseling Children & Adolescents
  • Diversity Seminar in Health Service Psychology
  • Theories of Vocational Behavior

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $11,553 in-state; $26,707 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 72
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#23 University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of Kentucky's College of Education offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology. The degree program has an emphasis on training students to become health service psychologists and advocates for social justice in their field. All doctoral candidates must complete a full-time course load of nine to 12 credits per semester while in residence at the UK campus in Lexington, KY. The program includes a full-time, year-long counseling internship, which often requires students to relocate to another city or state. Doctoral students find practicum placements in settings such as hospitals, prisons, and VA Medical Centers. Doctoral candidates are also offered social justice-related opportunities through the Center for Equality and Social Justice and the EDP Ally Development Workshop. 

Graduates of the degree program typically go on to work as counselors in federal facilities, mental health agencies, private practices, or university counseling centers. Alternatively, graduates may pursue careers in teaching at the university level. Post-graduate employment often relates to experience gained in the doctoral internship year. The UK PhD in Counseling Psychology program has a student-faculty ratio of five to one. Faculty research areas include behavioral science, political science, women's studies, and beyond. 

Courses Include:

  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Psychology
  • Motivation and Learning
  • Multicultural Psychology
  • Social Aspects of Behavior
  • Social Justice Community Engagement, Consultation, and Evaluation

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $13,052 in-state; $31,364 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 99
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#22 Texas Woman's University

Denton, TX

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Texas Woman's University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology through its Department of Psychology and Philosophy. Students may enter the program with a master's degree, or with a bachelor's degree for additional credit requirements. The degree program has a distinctly feminist orientation, emphasizing an understanding of psychology as it relates to gender and social justice. It follows a practitioner-scientist model to prepare graduates to examine research and conduct research of their own. The core curriculum studies areas such as multicultural psychology, history and philosophy in relation to psychology, and neuroscience. Counseling students complete at least four semesters in practicum placements, in addition to the full-time, full-year internship. 

Internships take place after successful completion of all coursework and a comprehensive exam but prior to the dissertation semesters. Internships often require relocation, as they are arranged at APA-accredited settings nationwide. Students who have not earned a master's degree will be required to complete an original research thesis within their first two years of doctoral study. In the fall semester of their second year, students must complete a Professionalism Benchmark assessment, which includes a written narrative and oral evaluation. Doctoral students must enroll full-time until they reach candidacy, which typically occurs after three years.

Courses Include:

  • Cognition and Emotion
  • Cross Cultural Psychology
  • Psychology of Gender
  • Psychology of Human Sexuality
  • Research Design

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $7,336 in-state; $14,806 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 105-106
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#21 Indiana State University

Terre Haute, IN

Doctor of Philosophy in Guidance and Psychological Services, specialization in Counselor Education

Indiana State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Guidance and Psychological Services with a specialization in Counselor Education. Designed for students entering with a master's degree in a counseling field, the program prepares graduates to become scholars, leaders, advocates, and practitioners in counselor education. Doctoral students are given opportunities to pursue personal career goals through research, teaching, and practicum experiences. 

Through this program, students can expect to engage in instruction, independent study, research, and supervised fieldwork. Doctoral students typically meet all degree requirements, including the doctoral internship and dissertation, within four years of enrollment. Depending on their master's education and doctoral studies, graduates of the PhD program may be prepared for licensure as mental health counselors or school counselors. Graduates are prepared for careers in community service agency management, government agencies, private practice, and university teaching and research. 

Courses Include:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Group Counseling
  • Inferential Statistics
  • Supervision Theory and Practice
  • Statistical Methods

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $7,616 in-state; $14,762 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 72
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#20 Hampton University

Hampton, VA

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision

Hampton University offers an online degree program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. The accelerated program is designed to enhance the clinical and supervisory skills of licensed counselors. All applicants must submit proof of licensure and credentials, GRE scores within the last five years, and a graduate course in abnormal psychology and ethics. 

The foundational PhD curriculum builds an understanding of counseling, supervision, and teaching, and students can concentrate their studies in community mental health counseling or school counseling. Doctoral students must successfully complete a qualifying exam in order to advance to candidate status. Students can expect to engage in practicum and internship experiences and to complete four stages of dissertation work culminating in the dissertation defense. Courses are delivered in 16-week sessions, and students can earn their PhD in three and a half years. Graduates of the program can apply what they learn in academic, clinical, or research-based contexts.

Courses Include:

  • Analysis of Behavioral Data
  • Counseling Leadership and Advocacy
  • Ethics and Legal Aspects of Counseling
  • Grant Writing
  • Research and Program Evaluation

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $11,916
  • Credits Required: 64
  • Accreditation: Council of Accredited Counseling and Related Education Programs

#19 University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of Iowa's College of Education houses a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology program. Applicants can enter with a master's or bachelor's degree. The PhD degree program typically admits eight to 10 students per year. The program uses a scientist-practitioner model to prepare students to practice and promote psychology and psychological research from a scientific perspective. The curriculum includes College of Education research requirements, core psychology coursework, core counseling coursework, and electives. 

All students must enroll in courses full-time and complete a full-year pre-doctoral internship. Further professional training is delivered through a practicum course and a sequence of practicum placements. Some students engage in practicum experiences during the eight-week summer sessions, though this is not a requirement. Students meet the program's research requirements by joining a research team and completing a doctoral dissertation. Each student must also complete a comprehensive exam with written and oral components. The doctoral degree program can be completed in about five to six years, including the internship year. 

Courses Include:

  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Issues and Ethics in Professional Psychology
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychotherapy of Change

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $11,336 in-state; $30,277 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 103
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#18 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology

Regent University's School of Education is home to a Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology program. The degree program follows a cohort learning group model, with courses offered online in eight-week sessions. It features some face-to-face components, including three residencies and collaborative research. The program approaches educational psychology from a Christian perspective, and it prioritizes contemporary research and the innovative use of technology in the learning process. 

The curriculum explores areas such as brain research, cognitive strategies, learning environments, teacher education, and beyond. In their final semester of coursework, each student must pass a candidacy exam before entering the dissertation research phase. The doctoral program begins with an online orientation and culminates in two semesters of dissertation work. All candidates must earn their doctoral degree within seven years of enrollment, though they can typically graduate in four years. Graduates of the program may pursue job titles such as curriculum and instruction specialist, school district administrator, or university faculty member.

Courses Include:

  • Advanced Human Learning & Motivational Development
  • Christian Worldview for Educators
  • Culture, Communities, and Education
  • Educational Statistics
  • Psychological Underpinnings of Learning

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $16,179
  • Credits Required: 66
  • Accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

#17 University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of Utah offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology through its Department of Educational Psychology and College of Education. Students can expect to spend at least five years in the program, including the internship year, unless they enter with a master's degree in counseling. The PhD program covers professional practice, psychological inquiry, and scientific psychology in the counseling field. Foundational coursework explores behavioral science, counseling and psychotherapy, and research and statistics. Students gain counseling practice experience through an introductory practicum, a one-year intensive practicum at the U of U Counseling Center, two years of advanced field practicum, and the year-long internship. 

The program requires each student to present their work at a professional conference and submit a scholarly piece of writing to a peer-reviewed journal. Key coursework includes a pre-dissertation research project, a doctoral qualifying exam, and the culminating doctoral dissertation. Completion of the doctoral program qualifies graduates to apply for psychologist licensure in many states. Some states may require additional coursework or supervised hours in the field for licensure. Graduates of the program are equipped for work in business organizations, correctional facilities, higher education settings, medical settings, or private agencies. 

Courses Include:

  • Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
  • Ethics
  • Lifespan Development
  • Psychometric Theory
  • Social Psychology of Human Diversity

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $8,151 in-state; $25,828 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 107+
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#16 University of South Alabama

Mobile, AL

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology

The University of South Alabama offers a combined Clinical and Counseling Psychology program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree. The degree program is administered by the university's Department of Psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences as well as the Department of Counseling & Instructional Sciences in the College of Education and Professional Studies. Each doctoral student must study on a full-time basis, taking on a course load of three to four courses per semester. It is a traditional, daytime, residential degree program. 

The program aims to offer doctoral assistantship opportunities to all students, and those receiving these assistantships may not hold other employment. It is designed to prepare graduates to promote health and provide psychological care and treatment for individuals, families, and communities. Graduates may work on research in academic settings, community agencies, health organizations, and beyond. The CCP program requires at least five years of study beyond the bachelor's level. The first four years of study are spent in pursuit of a Master of Science in Psychology, which requires each student to complete a master's thesis. The fifth year includes a capstone internship, which generally requires relocation. Individuals may enter the program with a master's degree, but they will typically still take four to five years to earn their PhD.

Courses Include:

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Multicultural Issues in Psychology
  • Psychology of Resilience & Response to Trauma
  • Psychopathology
  • Social & Personality Psychology

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $8,156 in-state; $16,112 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#15 University of Houston

Houston, TX

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of Houston's College of Education offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology. The degree program emphasizes modern tools and community engagement in counseling, health services, and psychological research. Doctoral students are offered research opportunities in the areas of behavioral health, multiculturalism, and social justice. Key program milestones include a candidacy research project, practicum experiences, an internship, a comprehensive exam, and the culminating dissertation. 

Practicum experiences must add up to 12 credit hours, which must be spread over at least two years. The psychology internship amounts to one credit per semester for two semesters. The PhD program has relationships with practicum settings including the Texas Medical Center, which is the world's largest medical center. Counseling doctoral students may add an additional 15-credit emphasis in Health Psychology. Students who choose the Health Psychology minor must complete one of their practicum experiences in a health-related environment. UH students can earn their PhD in Counseling Psychology in five to six years of full-time study.

Courses Include:

  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Human Growth and Development
  • History and Philosophy of Psychological Systems
  • Law and Professional Issues
  • Measurement of Attitudes in Educational Research

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $9,216 in-state; $18,465 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 130
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#14 Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The Texas Tech University Department of Psychological Sciences houses a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology program. The degree program follows a scientist-practitioner model and provides doctoral students with fundamental training in counseling psychology and health service psychology. The degree program also offers specialized research opportunities in the fields of forensics, health psychology, and neuropsychology. Students gain applied training experience in settings such as the Psychology Department Clinic, the TTU Student Counseling Center, and a variety of community sites. 

The program educates students in scientific inquiry for application to the culminating research-based dissertation, and in psychology teaching for application during independent teaching experiences. Additional key coursework includes a written candidacy qualifying exam, a second-year research project, and practicum experiences. Each student must complete a year-long predoctoral internship. Doctoral students must enroll in the program on a full-time basis and register for courses in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Graduates of the program have gone on to work in settings including college academic departments, prisons, university counseling centers, and VA hospitals.

Courses Include:

  • Experimental Design
  • Neuropsychological Assessment
  • Objective Personality Assessment
  • Social Psychology and Emotion
  • Vocational Psychology

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $8,015 in-state; $15,485 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 91
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#13 Utah State University

Logan, UT

Doctor of Philosophy, Combined Clinical/Counseling

Utah State University offers a combined program in Clinical and Counseling Psychology that leads to a Doctor of Philosophy degree. The degree program is designed to train students for a wide scope of professions as health service psychologists within the fields of clinical and counseling psychology. It specializes in evidence-based practice and diversity training. Students can enter the program with a bachelor's or master's degree, but those entering without a master's degree must complete the Master of Science in Psychology coursework and a master's thesis. Each student can expect to complete an APA-accredited internship, which may require relocation, a professional development seminar, and a culminating dissertation. 

A core training experience within the program is the integrated practicum experience with children, adolescents, and adults. The department's faculty members are experts in research areas such as acceptance and commitment therapy, cultural adaptation of therapy, identity development, neuropsychology, and sexual health. Faculty members work in labs such as the Alzheimer's Disease & Cognitive Disorders Lab and the Culture & Mental Health Lab. The department operates the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence, a state-of-the-art facility that combines student-faculty academics with client clinical services. 

Courses Include:

  • Biological Basis of Behavior
  • Cognition and Instruction
  • Professional Ethics and Standards
  • Seminar: Multicultural Perspectives on Social Development
  • Seminar: Neuroscience of Aging and Development

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $6,790 in-state; $21,309 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 92-97
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#12 Andrews University

Berrien Springs, MI

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Andrews University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology through its School of Graduate Studies. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field or a master's degree in counseling or a related field. Students are only admitted to the doctoral program in the fall semester. The degree program follows a scientist-practitioner training model and prepares students for professional psychology work in academic, business, clinical, and private settings. It is also designed to prepare graduates for national professional psychologist licensure.

Each student must choose from four areas of emphasis: Adult, Child/Family, Cultural Diversity, and Health Psychology. Doctoral students complete specialized coursework, a specialized practicum experience, and a doctoral dissertation related to their selected emphasis area. Students can expect to begin research and clinical training in their first year of study. Each student's first doctoral practicum experience takes place at the Andrews Community Counseling Center. Prior to graduation, each doctoral student must complete one year of full-time clinical internship for a total of 2,000 hours. Students who enter the doctoral program with a master's degree may earn their PhD in as few as five years of full-time study. 

Courses Include:

  • Clinician Self-Assessment for the Treatment of Culturally Diverse Populations
  • Design and Analysis of Educational and Psychological Surveys
  • Human Development
  • Psychology of Religious Experience
  • Psychological Decision Making and Interventions

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $27,324
  • Credits Required: 106+
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#11 University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of North Dakota offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology through its Department of Counseling Psychology & Community Services. The on-campus degree program is rooted in the scientist-practitioner training model, and it features an emphasis on multicultural psychology and social justice. Doctoral students can expect to receive specialized training in areas such as behavioral healthcare, child and adolescent psychotherapy, grant writing, and vocational psychology. The program allows students to complete doctoral assistantships in research, supervision, and teaching. 

Students can complete their practicum training at settings such as behavioral healthcare centers, community mental health agencies, university counseling centers, and the Veterans Administration. Students can typically complete the PhD program in four to six years of study. Graduates of the program are prepared to work as licensed psychologists in college and university counseling centers and departments, consultation and policy, hospitals and medical centers, private practice, and beyond. The UND Department of Counseling Psychology & Community Services also houses the Northern Prairie Community Clinic and a Rural Psychology Integrated Care program.

Courses Include:

  • Adult Cognitive and Personality Assessment
  • Career Counseling
  • Couples and Family Counseling
  • Physiology of Behavior and Psychophysiological Measurement
  • Theories of Counseling, Personality and Development

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $9,697 in-state; $23,435 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 98
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#10 University of North Texas

Denton, TX

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of North Texas offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology. The scientist-practitioner degree program builds students' skills in assessment and diagnosis, mental health treatment, psychological interventions, and psychological research. It aims to train health service professional psychologists for culturally competent and ethical practice with individuals and groups. Students are accepted into one of the three following elective clusters: Child and Family, Sport Psychology, or Minority Wellness. Students can expect to start their applied training experience on the UNT campus during their first semester of study.

Following the completion of required on-campus practicum experiences, students must complete at least two semesters of practicum experience at an external site. Also in their first year, students begin work on their second-year thesis research project. Students are also encouraged to get involved in faculty research. Each student must apply for and secure a full-time, full-year internship in the counseling realm. The PhD in Counseling Psychology curriculum culminates in the completion of a research-based doctoral dissertation. Full-time doctoral students typically complete the degree program in five to six years.

Courses Include:

  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Human Development
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Professional Practice
  • Social Psychology
  • Theory and Application of Multicultural Counseling

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $7,338 in-state; $14,808 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 104
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#9 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision

Liberty University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. The degree program is housed in the university's Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies within the School of Behavioral Sciences. The program is delivered primarily online, though it includes supplemental intensive in-person requirements. It is designed to build students' skills in fields such as advocacy, counseling and counselor education, supervision and leadership, and research and scholarship. The curriculum is infused with a biblical worldview that reflects Liberty's evangelical Christian religious affiliation. It also emphasizes ethics and diversity in counselor education and supervision. 

In addition to online coursework, students can expect to complete applied field experiences and internships in the counseling field. Students can also expect to leave the degree program with a professional portfolio documenting their field experiences. Each student must engage in a week-long, on-campus intensive, a three credit practicum, and a nine credit internship. Liberty students typically earn their PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision in four years. Graduates of the program will be prepared to apply their skills to leadership positions in clinical and counseling settings and higher education.

Courses Include:

  • Counseling Leadership & Advocacy
  • Dissemination of Research & Scholarship in Counseling
  • Instruction in Counselor Education
  • Issues in Integration
  • Supervision & Consultation

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $8,333
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: Council of Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs

#8 Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, PA

Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology

Duquesne University offers a Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology. The degree program is housed in the university's Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education in the School of Education. It is designed to follow the local-clinical scientist training model, training students in local context and evidence-based practice. The program also emphasizes emerging trends and tools in school psychology, as well as culturally competent and diverse practice. 

Students receive applied training at a practicum site during their year-long applied project experience. The program of study includes a psychotherapy consultation practicum, an integrated practicum, two advanced doctoral practicum experiences with accompanying seminars, and a full-time doctoral internship in a school setting with an accompanying seminar. Doctoral candidates can also expect to propose and complete an applied project in school psychology. The degree program qualifies students for independent practice licensure. Graduates of the program are prepared to work in clinics, hospitals, schools, and youth agencies. 

Courses Include:

  • Academic Interventions
  • Child Neuropsychology
  • Child Violence in the Schools
  • Helping English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes
  • Psychology of Learning

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $23,112
  • Credits Required: 91
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#7 Radford University

Radford, VA

Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology

Radford University offers a Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology through its College of Humanities & Behavioral Sciences. Each applicant must hold a master's degree in a human services field and experience providing face-to-face counseling services. The degree program features four major emphasis areas: cultural diversity, evidence-based practice, rural practice, and social justice. Following a scientist-practitioner model, the program emphasizes applying research training to clinical practice. It is designed for individuals seeking psychologist careers that involve clinical supervision, psychological assessment, and therapy. 

Each student can expect to complete 2,000 clock hours of approved internship in the counseling field. Students must complete three years of full-time study on the Radford campus, in addition to the internship year. Recent students have completed their internships in settings such as the Eastern Kansas Healthcare System, the North Carolina State University Counseling Center, and the University of Virginia Student Health department. Recent students have also published research in areas such as misogyny in America, trauma among college students, and sexual wellness among aging populations. 

Courses Include:

  • Biological Foundations
  • Couples and Family Systems Therapy
  • Health Psychology
  • Human Growth and Lifespan Development
  • Psychopharmacological Medications

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $12,203 in-state; $21,176 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 98
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#6 Endicott College

Boston, MA

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Behavior Analysis

Endicott College offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Behavior Analysis through its Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Each applicant must have a master's degree in applied behavior analysis, and are also encouraged to be licensed behavior analysts or Behavior Analysis Certification Board certificants. The research-based degree program prepares graduates to teach in universities or become scientist-practitioners in the fields of business, developmental disabilities, education, and public policy. 

Doctoral students can complete the program in a classroom-based format in Boston, or in a fully online format with live courses from anywhere in the world. The program includes a clinical immersion and two research immersion practicum experiences. Additional key PhD coursework includes a college teaching practicum, a research project and demonstration, the qualifying exam, and the culminating doctoral dissertation. Endicott's Institute for Behavioral Studies is a significant setting for research in behavioral challenges such as autism. 

Courses Include:

  • Behaviorism and Philosophy of Science
  • Conditioning and Learning
  • Research in Social Skills Training
  • Technology of Teaching Seminar
  • Verbal Behavior and the Science of Human Behavior

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $12,191
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: N/A

#5 Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in order to be admitted, but it does not need to be in psychology. The PhD degree program is housed in the Psychology Department within the VCU College of Humanities & Sciences. It follows a scientist-practitioner training model and features an interdisciplinary, generalist approach to psychology, in addition to an emphasis in health psychology and diversity. Sub-specializations include College Populations, Disease Prevention, Multiculturalism, or Sport Psychology. 

Graduates of the program are prepared for work in academia, clinical or health settings, or community agencies. The VCU campus is home to the Center for Psychological Services and Development, a community service agency that provides clinical training opportunities for graduate students. Students will have a variety of opportunities for practicum placements both on- and off-campus. Departmental laboratory facilities serve as environments for research in areas such as behavioral assessment and medicine, group dynamics, pharmacology, psychotherapy, and social influence and perception. Beyond practicum experiences and three consecutive semesters of internship work, all doctoral candidates must complete a research dissertation, as well as a Master of Science thesis if entering without a master's degree.

Courses Include:

  • Contemporary Issues, Supervision and Leadership in Counseling Psychology
  • Counseling Theories and Personality
  • Ethical Principles of Psychology
  • Individual Tests of Intelligence
  • Personal Awareness in Multicultural Counseling

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $14,496 in-state; $27,971 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 87.5
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#4 University of Northern Colorado

Greeley, CO

Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology

The University of North Carolina offers a Doctor of Psychology degree in Counseling Psychology. Offered since 1984, the degree program is housed in the Applied Psychology and Counseling Education department of the university's College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. The program involves a minimum of three years of coursework and clinical training, an additional year of pre-doctoral internship, and a culminating dissertation in counseling psychology. 

Students receive practical training through two practicum courses in counseling individuals, one practicum in counseling groups, and one practicum in couples and family counseling. Each practicum course is supervised and completed at the university's on-campus psychological training and service clinic. Each student can expect to conduct research and engage in evidence-based practice in the counseling field. Students who complete the degree program are prepared to become licensed, doctoral-level health service psychologists. 

Courses Include:

  • Career Theory, Counseling and Assessment
  • Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
  • Life Span Developmental Psychology
  • Psychometrics in Counseling Psychology
  • Social Cognitive Neuroscience

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $12,444 in-state; $21,519 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 126
  • Accreditation: American Psychology Association

#3 University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Counseling)

The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology (Counseling). Applicant's can have an undergraduate degree in any field, and those with a master's degree may petition to have their coursework reviewed to waive certain doctoral requirements. The degree program focuses on areas of psychological health and development, including career issues, disease prevention, and diversity. The program specializes in evidence-based, adult-focused interventions; scientific methodology in research and practice; and mentorship, supervision, and teaching in counseling psychology. 

During their first two years of study, doctoral students can expect to learn alongside students in the university's Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program. Southern Miss PhD students receive evidence-based clinical training in the university's Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic as well as local community settings. Students can join research teams that involve real-world investigation and opportunities for scholarly publication and presentation of research. Students may also choose to join the Counseling Psychology Student Government. The degree program typically involves five to six years of full-time, intensive training and coursework. Graduates of the program are prepared to become licensed psychologists in settings such as academia, healthcare, private practice, university counseling centers, and the Veterans Administration. 

Courses Include:

  • Cultural Bases of Behavior
  • History of Modern Psychology
  • Objective Personality Assessment
  • Perception
  • The Psychology of Cognition and Emotion

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $8,624 in-state; $10,624 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association

#2 Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling

Oregon State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling through its College of Education. Applicants must hold a master's degree in counseling or a related field in order to qualify, and experience working in education or counseling is preferred. Students enter the program in the summer term as members of a collaborative peer cohort group. The PhD in Counseling program is delivered in a hybrid format by the university's Ecampus. Students must attend face-to-face classes twice per quarter on Fridays and Saturdays in downtown Portland, OR. 

Core course content areas include assessment, counselor education, diversity and social justice, and group counseling. Each student must complete three practicum experiences and an internship during their program. Students can complete coursework and residency requirements in two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study, and all degree requirements can be met in three to five years. The program is not intended to prepare graduates for professional licensure outside of Oregon. Instead, it is ideal for experienced counselors who aim to engage in research and teaching in counselor preparation, higher education, or supervisory counseling agency positions.

Courses Include:

  • Advanced Diversity and Social Justice in Counselor Education
  • Counselor Supervision
  • Publication Methods in Counselor Education
  • Research Analysis and Interpretation in Education
  • University Teaching

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $14,331 in-state; $25,563 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 150
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

#1 University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

The University of Kansas is home to Best Counseling Degrees' top doctoral program in Counseling Psychology. The university's Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology program is housed in the KU Department of Educational Psychology. Offered since 1955, the degree program follows a generalist, scientific-practitioner training model to prepare students for academic and clinical work in the counseling realm. Each applicant should have either a bachelor's or master's degree in counseling, psychology, education, or a related field, or at least 15 credits of undergraduate coursework in the behavioral sciences. 

The PhD program admits six to eight students each fall. It places particular emphasis on holistic personal, social, and career development, and on optimal learning and work environments. Each student must complete at least two consecutive terms of study in residency at the university. Students can also expect to engage in a practicum sequence that takes place in a variety of settings. The program of study culminates in oral and written comprehensive exams and a doctoral dissertation. The degree program is designed to be completed in five or six years of full-time study. The university's Department of Educational Psychology houses the Center for Psychoeducational Services, a student-staffed clinical training site.

Courses Include:

  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • Issues in Human Growth and Development
  • Neuroscience and Human Development
  • Regression Analysis
  • Understanding Cultural & Individual Differences in Professional Psychology

Unique Features: 

  • Cost: $11,027 in-state; $24,404 out-of-state
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association