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Counseling Psychology Program


The Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology offers training in the professional practice of psychology – specifically, counseling psychology. The primary objective of the program is to prepare counseling psychologists for professional positions. Our program is firmly committed to a model of balanced professional training. Based on the scientist-practitioner model of training, the doctoral program strives to provide students with skills in the following acquired through study of the following areas:

Department Core Area Requirements

  • Statistics Requirement
  • Research Requirement
  • Breadth Area Requirements
    • Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
    • Biological Bases of Behavior
    • Social Bases of Behavior
    • Teaching of Psychology

Counseling Area Requirements

  • Applied Area Requirements
  • Assessment Requirements
  • Developmental Area Requirements
  • Electives
  • Practicum Requirements
  • Internship Requirements

In addition to the departmental application, there is a separate graduate school application that must be completed.This application must also be received by the departmental application deadline. For more information, visit the graduate school's Admisions page

Applicant Information

The Counseling Psychology doctoral degree program has no terminal master's degree program; thus--only applicants interested in obtaining a Ph.D. are selected for admission. Incoming students with a master's degree (typically in a related field) may be able to waive a limited number of courses that they have completed elsewhere so long as the depth and breadth of a previous course is equivalent to the course presently in our graduate curriculum. Course waivers are evaluated on an individual basis.

An undergraduate psychology major is not required for entry into the program; however applicants must have completed at least 18 credit hours of psychology courses to be considered for admission. At least one statistics course is also required that can count toward the 18 credit minimum in psychology.

Students are admitted to our program based on a mentorship model. This means that typically, students apply to work directly with specific faculty members based upon common research interests. Thus, “fit” is an important consideration in our evaluation of applicants and much time and attention is devoted to the process of admitting doctoral students to our program. A subset of applicants are invited for in-person interviews during which time applicants have a chance to meet faculty and current doctoral students, get a “feel” for the climate of the department and of our program, tour the department and the campus, and get a glimpse of West Texas life.

In addition to the interview, each applicant is reviewed on his or her own merit. As part of the admissions application procedures, applicants must submit the following:

  • GRE results (psychology subject test not required)
  • GPA (overall, last 60 hours, & psychology only)
  • TOEFL score (if applicable)
  • Educational history
  • At least three recommendation letters with an accompanying departmental rating sheet
  • Personal statement that addresses questions listed on our application
  • Record of applied and research-related experience in psychology
  • Record of psychology-related presentations or publications
  • Record of any honors and scholarships received
  • Record of foreign language proficiency

Successful applicants also typically have:

  • Strong letters of recommendation
  • Clearly articulated and relevant self-statements
  • Research experience
  • Values and interests that fit well with the goals of the Counseling Psychology program, including experience with, and an interest in, cultural and individual diversity
  • Evidence of leadership and interpersonal skills

Review Student Admission, Outcome, and Other Data for information about student demographics, as well as mean and median GRE and GPA scores and other relevant admission and graduation data for the past 7 years.

In summary, we strive to select students whose interests are congruent with our program's philosophy, goals and objectives, and faculty specializations. For instance, students interested in working primarily with children or young adolescents are not typically considered for admission as our training focus is with, late adolescent and adult clients. That said, we want students who are well-rounded, have diverse interests, and demonstrate potential to become qualified and competent counseling psychologists.

Financial Support

Students receive financial support primarily in terms of teaching assistantships and other psychology-related positions as appropriate for psychologists-in-training. Fortunately thus far, we have been able to increase our TA budget gradually over the years so that our TA salaries remain competitive nationally. In recent semesters, all students in the second to the fourth year of study who wanted half-time support received it. Funding during the fifth year of study and beyond has often been available but is not guaranteed. For the past few years, we have been able to offer entering graduate students at least a quarter-time assistantship guaranteed for multiple years (conditional upon satisfactory performance). A scholarship of $1000, which all first-year students receive and most other students receive, waives non-resident tuition, and most students in our program have been able to obtain these scholarships during their first four years in the program. University employee benefits, including high-quality health insurance, are also available to those students with half-time assistantships.

During the past few years, the Graduate School has increased the number of competitive fellowships that are available to entering graduate students. Many of our applicants have qualified for these awards. For more information, visit the graduate school's Fellowships & Scholarships page.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

Students must have 18 credits of graduate work before they can teach courses for assistantships. Therefore, during their first year in the program, most students assist faculty with their teaching duties. Chances to assist with faculty teaching responsibilities are also available for students beyond their first year. During their second year in the program, most graduate students begin teaching sections of the Introduction to Psychology course (PSY 1300). Qualified graduate students are selected to teach upper-level departmental undergraduate courses. Teaching upper-level courses, such as Personality (PSY 3306), Developmental Psychology (PSY 4301), Abnormal Psychology (PSY 4301), or Drugs, Alcohol, and Behavior (PSY 4325), can further enrich and augment the training that graduate students in our program receive.

The department includes several other employment opportunities for graduate students. Several counseling doctoral students have been employed to assist the department's Undergraduate Advisor in the task of advising our large group of undergraduate majors. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn some aspects of vocational counseling, although not in the context of a therapy relationship. Students who have some practicum experience are eligible to apply for Co-Director positions within the department's Psychology Clinic. Typically, four to six counseling and clinical doctoral students are employed as Co-Directors and are responsible for assisting with the administration and daily operations of the clinic. Various other paid positions in the department include coordinating the student-taught PSY 1300 General Psychology sections and working as a research assistant for various faculty.

Even though many students receive teaching assistantships through their fourth year in the program, many others choose to pursue psychology-related employment in other settings after they gain initial practicum experience. Students are employed at a variety of settings that include the Department of Probation, the VA Medical Center, and the Athletic Department, provide assessment, program evaluation, and therapy services. Other students have been employed by the Health Sciences Center and the TTUHSC Cancer Center. Students also have been employed with various local psychologists in rehabilitation, hospital, and school settings. The amount of program-related teaching and training experiences in which students can be employed is a major strength of our training program.