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Counseling Psychology Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Thanks for your interest in our APA-accredited doctoral program in counseling psychology. We ascribe to a scientist-practitioner training model that emphasizes training in both research and clinical skills, with a commitment to fostering an appreciation of multicultural diversity.

Our program uses a mentoring model in which we try to match incoming students with a particular faculty member with whom they will work closely during their time here. Therefore, the match between students and faculty is very important in our admissions decisions. After you browse some of the information about our department, we encourage you to get in touch directly with individual faculty members to ask specific questions about their current research and to share you own interests.

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about our program and our admissions process.

  • What is counseling psychology?

    “Counseling psychology as a psychological specialty facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Through the integration of theory, research, and practice, and with sensitivity to multicultural issues, this specialty encompasses a broad range of practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to live more highly functioning lives. Counseling psychology is unique in its attention both to normal developmental issues and to problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders.

    As stated on the Society of Counseling Psychology, Division 17 Web page, “Populations served by counseling psychologists include persons of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Examples of those populations would include late adolescents or adults with career/educational concerns and children or adults facing severe personal difficulties. Counseling psychologists also consult with organizations seeking to enhance their effectiveness or the well-being of their members.”

    For more information, visit:

  • What is the admissions deadline?

    Applications are due on December 1. Note that your departmental application and your graduate school application both need to be received by this deadline. The graduate school application can be found at:

  • What are the admission requirements?

    Detailed information about admissions requirements and characteristics of our admitted students may be found at:

  • Do you offer a master’s degree?

    We do not offer a terminal master’s degree, and so only admit students interested in obtaining the PhD. Many students do receive a MA in Psychology along the way to the PhD.

  • Is it possible to enroll part-time or long-distance?

    No. Only students who are able to be in residence here in Lubbock and enroll full-time in our program (at least 9 credits per regular semester) are admitted. This includes enrolling for 6 credit hours over the summer.

  • When are students admitted? How many students are admitted each year?

    We admit students for the Fall semester only, and typically aim for an incoming class of about 7-8 students.

  • I already have a master’s degree. Can I transfer in those credits?

    Students who enter with previous graduate coursework may petition to transfer up to 30 total credit hours, with a maximum of 15 hours in the Counseling Psychology core (e.g., Vocational Counseling, Theories of Counseling) and a maximum of 15 hours in the departmental core (e.g., statistics, Biological Bases of behavior). However, petitions are considered on a case by case basis and final decisions about course substitutions are made by individual instructors of the relevant courses after a student is admitted to our program.

    Another factor to consider is whether or not you have completed an empirical master’s thesis in a psychology-related area. If so, then it is usually fairly straightforward to have that thesis count for our required second-year research project. If not, then you would be required to complete a thesis-equivalent research project before moving on to the dissertation.

  • How long does the program take?

    A student who enters with a BA or BS typically completes the program (including internship) in 5-6 years. When students with a master’s degree have come in with a thesis, they typically finish in 3-4 years; if they come in without a thesis, it usually takes 4-5 years to finish.

  • What assistantships are available?

    We are not able to offer tuition remission, but all admissions offers come with assistantships. Typically, students have been guaranteed a ½-time assistantship their 1st year and ¼-time assistantships for years 2-4. In the past several years, students who have wanted ½-time assistantships through years 1-4 have been able to get them. Though efforts are made to secure funding after a student’s 4th year, (often with success) funding for subsequent years cannot be guaranteed. A half-time assistantship allows students to pay resident tuition for the 9 months of their assistantship appointment, as well as waives most enrollment fees. Assistantships typically take the form of research and teaching assistantships in the first year; in subsequent years, students with assistantships are typically the instructor of record for 1 or more undergraduate courses. Our graduate students teach courses at all levels, not just introductory psychology.

  • What is the admissions process?

    After several initial rounds of reviewing applications, we typically invite 18-25 students to interview in person with us. The interviews last from 8:00am to 4:00pm. We make every effort to notify applicants at least 2 weeks in advance so they may make their travel arrangements. Initial admissions decisions are usually made by mid-February.

  • What if I have other questions?

    For questions specific to the Counseling Psychology doctoral program, please contact Dr. Sheila Garos, Counseling Psychology Program Director, at

    For more general questions about addresses, the on-line application process, status of your application, etc., please contact Ms. Kay Kill, departmental admissions liaison, at