Counseling Psychology Doctoral Degree | Department of Psychology

Counseling Psychology Doctoral Degree


The main goal of our Counseling Psychology Program is to train health service professional psychologists within a scientist practitioner model that attends to individual and cultural diversity and the importance of social contexts. The specific aims of our CP program are for students to:

Aim 1: develop a professional identity as a culturally-competent health service counseling psychologist.

Aim 2: demonstrate clinical competencies for ethical interventions and evidence based psychological practice.

Aim 3: understand that scientific knowledge and methods form the foundation of psychological practice through engagement in original and empirical investigations of psychological phenomena.

Aim 4: be competent in the complexity of individual and cultural diversity, which includes being cognizant of their own cultural heritage, understanding diversity's relevance in clinical practice, and to understand how social, cultural, and historical factors affect psychological well-being.

Aim 5: develop knowledge in the foundational areas of general psychology and in counseling psychology theory, research, and practice.

Program Faculty

Click here to see the descriptions of all Counseling Psychology faculty on one page

Values, Principles, and Emphases

The Counseling Psychology Program faculty is committed to the core values, perspectives, and emphases that maintain our uniqueness as a specialty. Please see more information regarding the core values, perspectives, and emphases of Counseling Psychology as a specialty at APA Division 17 Society of Counseling Psychology webpage. We hold a positive developmental perspective that views human problems as occurring within a complex interaction of an individual's native endowments, contextual factors (e.g., culture, environment, relationships), and developmental changes the person experiences across their life. From birth to death, the process of living involves change and, at times, crises. The psychological well being of individuals largely depends upon the degree to which they are successfully adapting to inevitable change and the challenges of the developmental tasks relevant to their unique and common human experiences.

Counseling Psychology has also been unique in applied psychology because of its greater interest in the preventive aspects of mental health and the greater concern of the Counseling Psychologist with the nonpathological aspects of a client's condition (e.g., Counseling Psychology's emphasis on the client's strengths and the procedures that might be used to help the client recognize and optimize them; its attention to basic interpersonal processes). The faculty of the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of North Texas has maintained these emphases while recognizing that Counseling Psychologists today must also be able to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals who have more severe problems in functioning and/or meet criteria for a variety of psychiatric diagnoses. When working with these individuals, however, we assess how individual and cultural diversity, strengths, and developmental issues may affect their presentation, counseling process, etc. In particular, the CPP faculty recognizes and values the role that all forms of diversity have in shaping our clients and ourselves, our subjective experiences, perceptions, values, and the contexts in which we are embedded. The faculty believes that the foundational knowledge and basic skills required for operationalizing this philosophy are fundamental to our program.

The scope of developmental life issues that engage the interest and practice of counseling psychologists leads them to develop research interests of a very broad nature. In addition to developmental studies and studies of a social-psychological nature, counseling psychologists engage in process research, prevention and resilience research, studies of the profession and training, measurement issues, career development, marriage and family, education, health, performance enhancement, and the psychology of spirituality. We are fortunate at UNT to have such broad research interests well represented across the research programs of our faculty. The CPP faculty believes that a strong foundation based on empirically derived knowledge is essential to expand the discipline of psychology, promote valid techniques in applied settings, and foster students' ability to think critically as they apply the perspectives of counseling psychology.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Psychology Department doctoral program requirements, doctoral applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies.

Admission to the counseling psychology program is not determined by any single criterion or quantitative measure of achievement. Motivation, aptitude, self-awareness and interpersonal poise are highly valued, as are skills in communication, research methods and professional/scientific writing.

Applicants must submit a resume and a statement of goals. The statement of goals is an essay in which applicants describe their interest in seeking a doctoral degree in counseling psychology. In the statement, applicants can include descriptions of the ways they can enrich diversity of the program, department, college, and UNT; foreign language fluencies they may possess; unique life experiences they have had in/with other cultures; past experiences working with diverse populations; commitment to working with diverse populations; career plans that might involve working with diverse populations; reasons for applying to a counseling program and to UNT; academic goals; research interests; applied practice goals; etc. The overall purpose of the self-statement is to give the applicant an opportunity to convey to the admissions committee a fuller picture of the applicant's own self beyond the impression that can be formed from review of past academic records, test scores, and reference letters.

The counseling psychology program regards admission as a serious commitment on the part of both the applicant and the faculty. The counseling admission committee's goal is to make an optimal match between the applicants' qualifications and goals and the training program's resources and objectives

Applications are submitted on-line and two applications are necessary: one is to the graduate college and the other is to the department. You will also need to have three letters of recommendation submitted on your behalf. Please visit our admissions portal for more information:

PhD Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. degree in counseling psychology requires a minimum of 113 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a one-year supervised internship. Students who are able to devote themselves full time to their studies may complete the program in five years. Most students take about six years.

General Core Studies

Doctoral students are required to demonstrate competency (grade of B or better) in 20 hours of core psychology course work:

PSYC 5060 History and Systems
PSYC 5090 Social Psychology
PSYC 5640 Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
PSYC 5700 Quantitative Methods I
PSYC 5710 Quantitative Methods II
PSYC 5790 Physiological Psychology

Counseling Concentration

The counseling concentration core consists of 40 semester hours of course work in the following areas: psychotherapy, assessment, vocational and career counseling, group work, psychopathology, supervision, multicultural counseling, human development, and ethics. The goal is to train psychologists in traditional hallmarks of counseling psychology. An emphasis is placed on developmental and intervention issues as they relate to normal and atypical or disordered behavior.

Counseling Practicum

The applied training experience in Counseling Psychology begins on campus in the first semester. The bulk of applied training occurs at the Psychology Clinic and the University Counseling and Testing Services. The Psychology Clinic practicum team is composed of first, second, and third year students and the supervising psychologist. In the second and third year of the required practicum sequence, students divide their training between the Psychology Clinic and the University Counseling and Testing Services. After successfully completing the required on-campus practica, students may elect to do an external practicum at a site of their choosing.

Elective Cluster

Doctoral counseling psychology students are admitted to one of the following 3 elective clusters: child and family, sport psychology, and minority wellness. It is critical to note that although clusters provide students more training opportunities to develop knowledge and competencies in particular areas, they only affect a small portion of the doctoral curriculum. All students in the program are trained by the program's faculty to be a counseling psychologist.


During their first year, doctoral students formulate a thesis research project to complete during their second year. Students are also encouraged to involve themselves in faculty members' research. Second- and third-year counseling psychology students take on increasing responsibility in research projects that will culminate in the student's completion of a dissertation.


A full-time, calendar-year internship is required. Internships are independent of academic training programs. Students bear the responsibility for applying for and gaining acceptance to internships. View the sites where UNT Counseling Psychology students have obtained internships in recent years.

Evaluation of Knowledge and Skills

Throughout training, the counseling program faculty members assess each student's progress. Evaluation focuses on development of general knowledge in the field of psychology and the specialty area of counseling psychology, competence in the delivery of applied services, skill in scientific investigation, and appropriate interpersonal and ethical functioning. Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory and continuous progress in these regards may be terminated from the counseling psychology program.

Financial assistance

The Department of Psychology and the Counseling Psychology Program strive to support our doctoral students. Generally speaking, we are able to provide a financial support package to all of our students for at least four years. Additionally, competitive scholarships and fellowships are available in the department and from the graduate school on campus.


The Psychology Clinic is used for practicum training. The clinic includes psychotherapy and assessment rooms and rooms with one-way mirrors for live observation of individual and group sessions. The counseling psychology program also uses training resources at the University Counseling and Testing Services. Both practicum sites are equipped with state-of-the-art digital video equipment to facilitate supervision and training.

Student Body and Program Statistics

The rate of attrition from the counseling psychology Ph.D. program has been very low in recent years. At this time the program has a larger percentage of women than men. Our students are diverse in age, geographical locations of home and undergraduate/master training programs, cultural & ethnic backgrounds, and interests. Most facilities on campus, including the Department of Psychology, are accessible to students with disabilities. The Ph.D. program usually admits 8 students annually and has about 50 students at any given time. The internship placement rate in the counseling psychology program has been 100% in recent years.

The Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at the University of North Texas provides student, education and training outcome data, and financial information in response to directives from the APA Office of Accreditation. The information provided includes data concerning applicants, admitted students, internship acceptance rates, time to program completion, licensure, student attrition rates, and financial costs.

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