This is an archived copy of the 2014-15 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Ph.D. Degree Program

Established in 1955, the doctoral program in counseling psychology trains generalists who are able to engage in variety activities ranging from clinical treatment to academic research. Reflecting a "scientist-practitioner" model, the curriculum prepares clinicians who apply the best and most current theory and research to their practice, and academicians who are grounded in the realities of practice. Although preparing students to be able to assess and treat the full range of disorders that psychologists address, our emphasis as counseling psychologists is upon personal, social, and career development of the whole person, and upon enhancing the environments in which people learn and work. Students learn to critically evaluate major approaches, to evaluate, design, and conduct research, and gain clinical experience working with people of diverse cultural backgrounds and worldviews. The program, which includes a required internship in professional psychology, is intended for full-time students, and generally is completed in five to six years. 

The Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology was first accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association in 1955. If you have questions about our program's accreditation status, please contact:
     American Psychological Association
     750 1st Street, NE
     Washington, DC 20002-4242
     Phone: (202) 336-5979
     Fax: (202) 336-5978

Counseling Psychology Student Admissions, Outcomes and  Other Data:

Training Director: Changming Duan, 625 J.R. Pearson, 785-864-2426,

Graduate Admission to the School of Education

Graduate programs in education are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate degrees, as specified by the admitting departments, whose academic records indicate that they can do successful work at the graduate level. Regular admission requires a grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; provisional admission requires a grade-point average of at least 2.5. Individual departments may require additional information and may have more stringent admission and retention requirements.

Special provisional admission categories are available to students who may not qualify under traditional admission criteria but can provide evidence of ability to work successfully at the graduate level, including experience in and commitment to the profession. Exceptions to established policies must be sought individually by petition to the Graduate Division of the School of Education.

See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for more information.

Ordinarily, complete application materials should be received by July 1 for fall admission, December 1 for spring semester, and May 1 for summer session. Prospective graduate students should contact their departments for admission deadlines.

Graduate Admission

Prerequisites for Regular Admission

Prerequisites include the following:

  • Undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Graduate grade-point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Graduate Record Examination general test scores
  • Completed bachelor’s or master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related area. (An applicant who does not have an undergraduate degree in education or psychology should have a minimum of 14 undergraduate credit hours in the behavioral sciences.)

At the first enrollment, a doctoral student reviews any previous graduate work with an advisor to identify any course work in which the student is deficient. Students holding master’s degrees in other areas should recognize that such course work may require up to a year to complete and, in some instances, must be taken before the actual doctoral course requirements.

See individual programs for specific admission requirements and deadlines.

Submit your graduate application online . Send 1 copy of all original transcripts to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of Psychology and Research in Education
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
1122 W. Campus Road, Room 621
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


The admission deadline is December 15 to begin course work the following fall.

Admission Criteria

The Counseling Psychology program accepts approximately 6-10 students each year. Both bachelor's level and master's lever applicants are considered for admission.

Recommended minimums for bachelor's level applicants

  • Completion of bachelor's degree in psychology or related field
  • GRE verbal, quantitative, and writing scores at 50th percentile, obtained within the past 5 years
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or GPA of 3.25 for the major courses or the last 60 credits of the bachelor's degree
  • Prior undergraduate course work in psychological research methods, measurement, and statistics (recommended).

Recommended minimums for master's level applicants

  • Completion of master's degree in counseling or closely related field
  • GRE verbal, quantitative, and writing scores at 50th percentile, obtained within the past 5 years
  • Graduate GPA of 3.5 or above.

Alternative Criteria

Applicants may be admitted under alternative criteria provided there is evidence that regular criteria do not adequately reflect the student's potention to succeed in the program. The faculty will review an make decisions on such applications on a case-by-case basis. The faculty reserves the right to require those who are admitted under the alternative criteria to take some background core courses before or during the first year of their doctoral training in the areas of general psychology, experimental psychology, and introductory statistics. This decision will be made by the admission committee and the student's assigned advisor, and communicated to the student before he or she accepts admission to the program.

Required Admission Materials

  1. Graduate application and application fee. See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
  2. 1 copy of official transcripts of all previous college work, sent directly to the Graduate Application Processing Center . The original transcript is forwarded to the School of Education to complete licensing and/or certification paperwork.
  3. GRE (general test) scores: Institution code, R6871; Department code, 2005.
  4. Letter of intent.
  5. Résumé.
  6. 3 letters of recommendation from people who can assess the applicant’s prospects for completing the program.  If the applicant has completed a practicum in counseling or a related area, 1 recommendation should be completed by the practicum supervisor

Additional Requirement for Students whose First Language is not English

Students’ oral expression and communication skills play an important role in their success in counseling psychology training programs. Therefore, the counseling psychology program faculty requires that all non-native English speaking applicants (international or domestic applicants) demonstrate their English proficiency by following the guidelines listed below before their applications are reviewed by the admissions committee.

(1)  Following are the acceptable means of verifying English proficiency for purposes of admitting international students to the CPSY MS or Ph.D. program.  These guidelines also apply to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are not native speakers of English.

Specifically, see KU’s policy on English Proficiency Requirements for International Students:

For Admission to the University

For an English proficiency chart

For Board of Regents Policy on English proficiency requirements for GTAs

Please note: The score requirement for admission to KU, set by KU international Student Affairs Office, may be different. Due to the high demand for English proficiency in conducting counseling, our program requires iBTOEFL – all part scores at least 25, which is higher than the University’s requirement for general admission

(2)  Skype interviews or interviews through other on-line media will be required if the applicant is unable to appear for an in-person interview in the admission process

(3)  All international students who are not native speakers of English must visit the Applied English Center upon  arrival at KU for verification of their English language proficiency. A minimum score of 50 on the TSE or SPEAK tests ). Until all the AEC tests are satisfactorily passed (per AEC standards), the student is not allowed to take degree related courses or be employed as a GRA.


Review of Graduate Status

At the beginning of each fall semester, the department formally evaluates the progress and status of all students in the program.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Work Requirements

In addition to any background competency deficiencies, each student must complete the following course work. This constitutes the minimal substantive requirement of the program.

Psychological Foundations

Students must take at least 1 course in each of 5 general core psychology areas:

  1. biological aspects of behavior,
  2. cognitive and affective aspects of behavior,
  3. social bases of behavior,
  4. individual aspects of behavior, and
  5. history and systems of psychology.

Professional Core

Students complete a sequence of course work in counseling theories and practices, and in assessment. This course work includes interviewing skill and interventions techniques, group counseling, career development and vocational psychology, multicultural counseling, legal and ethical issues in professional psychology, supervision and consultation, supervised practica (field experiences), measurement, assessment, and psychodiagnostics.

Human Development

A graduate course in life span developmental psychology is required. See offerings in PRE, Psychology, or Applied Behavioral Science.

Research Core

Students complete course work in research design and statistical analysis, including a research practicum.

Elective Area

Students complete 9 credit hours of elective course work from PRE or any related field or department. These are to be regularly scheduled courses (and may include seminars); the requirement cannot be fulfilled using field experiences, college teaching experiences, independent study, etc.

College Teaching Experience

PRE 996 College Teaching Experience in: (Supervision) (minimum of 2 credit hours)

Internship in Counseling Psychology

PRE 990 Internship in Counseling Psychology (1 credit hour for 3 consecutive terms)


PRE 999 Doctoral Dissertation (minimum of 18 credit hours)

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Comprehensive Examination

After completing course work, the student must pass a written comprehensive examination based on the curricular requirements of the counseling psychology program. After satisfactory completion of the written examination, the student must pass a comprehensive oral examination. The program defines the nature of this examination.