The doctoral program in counseling psychology trains generalists who are able to engage in a variety of 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 counseling, to evaluate, design, and conduct research, and to gain clinical experience working with people of diverse cultural backgrounds and worldviews. The program is intended for full-time students.

Since 1955, the Ph.D.program in Counseling Psychology has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.  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. 

Graduate Admission to the School of Education

Graduate programs in education are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate and graduate degrees 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 in prior degrees. Individual departments may require additional information and may have more stringent admission requirements.

Some departments may offer special provisional admission categories to students who may not qualify under regular admission criteria. Departments that offer provisional admission require a grade-point average of at least 2.5.  Applicants must 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.

Each department in the School of Education sets its own application deadlines.  Prospective graduate students should contact their departments for more information.

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
  • For Counseling Psychology - 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 15 undergraduate credit hours in the behavioral sciences.

    For Educational Psychology and Research - Completed bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, education, or a related area. An applicant who does not have an undergraduate degree in education or psychology should have a minimum of 15 undergraduate credit hours in the behavioral sciences.

    For School Psychology - Completed bachelor’s or master’s degree.  School Psychology does not have a requirement for a specific undergraduate background. 

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


The admission deadline is December 1 to begin course work the following summer or fall.

Admission Criteria

The Counseling Psychology doctoral program at KU admits approximately 6-8 students each fall. Both bachelor's level and master's level applicants are considered for admission. The admissions committee will select approximately 30 candidates to be interviewed.  All faculty members and current students will have opportunities to participate in the interviews. Both group and individual interview activities will be conducted by faculty and current students on the Interview Day. Candidates who are offered admission are required to “accept” or “decline” the offer no later than April 15th. If a candidate on the alternate list receives an admission offer (which is usually close to April 15th), he/she has 7 days to act on the offer. If the offer is made on or after April 15th, the candidate has 3 days to make a definite decision.

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 potential to succeed in the program. The faculty will review and 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 Graduate Studies. 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; Major Field code, 2005.  The GRE should have been taken within five years of the application date, and scores should typically equal or exceed the 50th percentile.
  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:   Due to the high demand for English proficiency in conducting counseling, our program requires each subscale score in the iBTOEFL to be at least 25,  which is higher than the University’s requirement for general admission.  The score requirement for admission to KU, set by KU international Student Services, may be different.

(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) The Applied English Center (AEC) maintains a check-in process for international students and non-native speakers of English. This process serves to confirm each student's level of English proficiency and determine whether English courses will be included as a requirement of the student’s academic program. In order to graduate, students who are required to complete AEC courses must meet KU’s English proficiency standards as demonstrated by their performance in AEC coursework and evaluations.

  • Students who demonstrate English proficiency at the waiver level or who have earned a degree from one of the specified English-speaking countries listed above are not required to check in at the AEC.
  • All other international students and non-native speakers of English who gain admission to campus-based programs are required to check in at the AEC upon arrival on campus.

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.

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Major Courses:

PSYC 961Biological Foundations of Psychopathology3
EPSY 880Ethical and Legal Issues in Psychology and Counseling3
EPSY 740Counseling and Interviewing Skills3
EPSY 742Counseling Theory and Techniques3
EPSY 830Individual and Group Assessment3
EPSY 844Theory of Group Counseling3
EPSY 846Career Development3
EPSY 951Psychodiagnostic Assessment3
EPSY 952Advanced Counseling Theory and Research3
EPSY 954Vocational Psychology3
EPSY 945Clinical Supervision and Consultation3
EPSY 918Seminar in Current Issues in Counseling Psychology1
EPSY 842Counseling Practicum (Elementary, Secondary, Counseling Psychology)6
EPSY 842Counseling Practicum (Elementary, Secondary, Counseling Psychology)6
EPSY 948Advanced Practicum I3
EPSY 948Advanced Practicum I3
EPSY 949Advanced Practicum II3
EPSY 949Advanced Practicum II3
EPSY 996College Teaching Experience in: _____2
EPSY 990Internship in Counseling Psychology1
EPSY 990Internship in Counseling Psychology1
EPSY 990Internship in Counseling Psychology1
Elective 13
Elective 23
EPSY 807Theories and Research in Human Learning3
PSYC 723Advanced Cognitive Psychology3
PSYC 774Advanced Social Psychology I3
PSYC 775Advanced Social Psychology II3
PSYC 805History of Psychology3
EPSY 882History and Systems of Psychology3
EPSY 705Human Development through the Lifespan3
EPSY 806Issues in Human Growth and Development3
EPSY 890Diagnosis and Psychopathology3
PSYC 960Advanced Psychopathology3
PSYC 888Diversity Issues in Clinical Psychology3
EPSY 875Understanding Cultural & Individual Differences in Professional Psychology3
EPSY 896Seminar in: _____ (Neuroscience & Human Development)3
PSYC 956Social Neuroscience3
PSYC 999Dissertation (Minimum Cr. Hrs. are outlined by the dept.)1-12

Research Skills:

EPSY 810Regression and ANOVA: General Linear Models3
EPSY 905Fundamentals of Multivariate Modeling3
EPSY 955Research Methods in Counseling Psychology3
EPSY 822Educational Scales, Questionnaires, and Sampling3
EPSY 901Research Practicum in: _____3

Timing of Comprehensive Exams.

Given the timing of internship placements through the national match process, School Psychology and Counseling Psychology Ph.D. students may be allowed to take comprehensive exams with up to 6 hours of non-required coursework remaining, so long as the remaining courses are not considered part of the research skills requirement or part of the program core that will be the subject of examination. These remaining hours can count towards the required 18 post-comp hours although students are still required to enroll in dissertation hours.