Counseling Psychology (PhD)

This is a doctor of philosophy in educational, school and counseling psychology with an emphasis in counseling psychology.

This degree is part of the counseling psychology program, housed in the Department of Educational, School & Counseling Psychology.

The goals of this doctorate program is to:

  • Educate counseling psychologists to think scientifically in both research and applied settings;
    • Objective 1.1:  Acquire a wide range of professional and psychological knowledge.
    • Objective 1.2 Acquire a wide range of applied skills relevant to their practice.
    • Objective 1.3 Acquire a thorough grounding in the scientific method and be able to contribute to the knowledge base in counseling psychology.
  • Educate counseling psychologists who are sensitive to the differing world views of a broad range of individuals so they can apply psychological principles within their clients’ phenomenological and cultural contexts;
    • Objective 2.1 Articulate an integrated conceptualization of multicultural competencies that guides professional activities.
    • Objective 2.2 Demonstrates awareness of their personal values and beliefs related to their own and other cultural groups and how this awareness influences their professional activities, such as practice, research, advocacy/consultation and professional relationships.
  • Educate counseling psychologists who can think and act professionally, ethically and in a socially responsible manner.
    • Objective 3.1 Increase their awareness, knowledge, and skills to respond to ethical and legal issues within the profession.
    • Objective 3.2 Acquire the professional identity of a counseling psychologist as well as the professional knowledge and skills to actively participate in the field of counseling psychology.

Degree Requirements

A student’s plan of study will vary depending on her/his program track and career goals and should be completed in consultation with her/his academic adviser. Students who are admitted with a master’s degree typically complete the program in 4-5 years, which includes required coursework, comprehensive exams, dissertation, and predoctoral internship. Students who are admitted with a bachelor’s degree typically complete the program in 5-6 years, which includes required coursework, thesis, comprehensive exams, dissertation, and predoctoral internship.

For a sample plan of study and course listing, go to the course catalog.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a field not related to psychology will be required to complete 15 hours of prerequisite courses in the behavioral sciences (including an introductory statistics course) either prior to or concurrently with course work in the program. This prerequisite course work is over and above that required for the master’s degree itself and is not counted on the program of study for the master’s degree.

Counseling Psychology Doctoral Planner

Clinical Training

Within a scientist-practitioner paradigm, our program requires students to engage early in a variety of supervised counseling practice experiences. These are integrated with scientific aspects of the discipline and graduated in depth and complexity to train students to become independently functioning  professional psychologists. Learning occurs through formal coursework and supervised direct client contact. The Counseling Psychology program maintains relationships with many local practicum sites to meet the training interests of our diverse students. Students typically complete practicum at multiple sites during their tenure at MU. This table shows where students have completed practicum in recent years.

Program Faculty

Faculty members who will be accepting new doctoral advisees for the 2017-2018 school year are noted below with an asterisk (*). 

Lisa Flores* (Program Training Director)
Kathleen Boggs
Sonia Dhaliwal*
Keith Herman*
Matthew Martens
Brandon Orr*
Patrick Rottinghaus*
Francisco J. Sánchez*
Christopher Slaten*

Application, Deadlines, and Admission

The application deadline for the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology is December 1 and interviews are January 20-21, 2017. The admissions process is competitive; the program receives 100-150 applications for 5-8 openings each year, and students are only admitted to begin fall term. We admit applicants with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. You are welcome to visit the University of Missouri and attend a campus tour, but faculty members are typically not available to meet with prospective applicants because of the large volume of meeting requests. If you want to learn more about faculty members’ research and scholarly interests, please visit their individual web pages.

Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission:

How to Apply

Submit the following documents using the MU Office of Graduate Studies application by Dec. 1 for the next fall cohort:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV/resume
  • Unofficial academic transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work
    • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution in psychology, education or a related major
  • Statement of purpose addressing the following:
    • Personal statement where you describe (1) your previous experience serving in a helping or counseling role, (2) your interests and career objectives, (3) how these interests and career objectives have developed, (4) how these interests match those of specific program faculty, and (5) how being accepted into the program of your choice will benefit your career aspirations and help you act upon your beliefs, goals and philosophy. (1000-word limit)
    • Describe interests and experiences working with people from diverse backgrounds (e.g. ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, religious, ability status, sexual orientation). How have these experiences influenced you? (250-word limit)
    • Describe experiences that demonstrate your potential for leadership that you believe distinguish you as a candidate for graduate study. (250-word limit)
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
    • Tests taken on or after Aug. 1, 2011, should have a combined verbal and quantitative score of 305.
    • Institution code: 6875
  • TOEFL for international students (preferred score of 580 for paper test, 92 iBT, IELTS 6.5 or higher)
    • Institution code: 6875

Financial Support

Policy and Procedures for Annual Assistantship

The department’s goal is to provide every full-time ESCP doctoral student with a .25 FTE assistantship in year 1.  Historically, however, almost all doctoral students who have requested funding have received .50 FTE from departmental placements or from sources outside the department.  Beginning in the Fall, 2016, only students receiving 0.5 FTE stipends will be eligible for full tuition waiver.  Students receiving less than 0.5 FTE stipends will be eligible for a 50% tuition waiver. Assistantships from non-academic units will still be required to provide an academic focus for the assistantship and students may not cobble together two non-academic 0.25 FTE assistantships to qualify for a full tuition waiver without very strong justification. Students with 0.25 FTE support from their academic unit, may combine that with a 0.25 FTE from an appropriate non-academic unit to qualify for a full tuition waiver provided there is an academic focus and justification for the second assistantship.

Fellowships are not considered in the assignment of departmental placements, and are viewed as additional financial compensation for outstanding academic performance. Fellowship recipients are required to receive a minimum of a .50 FTE assistantship in addition to the Fellowship. Faculty nominate applicants for university fellowships during the admissions process.

College of Education Graduate Scholarship Opportunities

The College of Education offers a variety of scholarships for students enrolled as education majors, both as undergraduates and graduates. Scholarships are a great way to financially support your education and are awarded to individuals on the basis of any number of criteria, including: financial need, academic achievement, choice of program area, public service, nationality or ethnicity.

Some scholarships are renewable or may be awarded to the same students in succeeding years; however, these awards are based upon continued eligibility with scholarship criteria; grade point average; the contingency of available funds; and a current, completed application that must be submitted each year.  Please note, should a College of Education scholarship recipient change enrollment to another University or another college within MU, the scholarship will be rescinded.