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Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychology, as a psychological specialty, facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the lifespan with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Through the integration of theory, research, and practice and with a 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 to both normal developmental issues and to problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders.

Populations served by counseling psychologists include people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Examples 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. Counseling psychologists adhere to the  standards and ethics established by the APA.

The doctoral program is approved and designated by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.

The doctoral program is fully accredited by the  American Psychological Association to provide doctoral level training in counseling psychology. The next accreditation site visit will occur in 2021. For more information, please contact:

American Psychological Association

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
Fax: 202-336-5978
Email:  apaaccred@apa.org

Licensure in Counseling Psychology

If you wish to pursue licensure as a counseling psychologist, it is important to know that most states require a degree from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association ( APA), such as our program here at WVU. Please check with the licensing body in any state(s) where you intend to practice. Also, visit the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards ( ASPPB) website for more information.

Program Aims

The aim of the doctoral program at West Virginia University is to provide trainees the means to become competent Health Service Psychologists who, upon graduation, are ready for entry-level clinical and academic practice in the area of Counseling Psychology.  

Who We Are

Our program has a strong sense of community and we strive to offer training within a supportive, growth-oriented model.  We also highly value our multicultural focus and social justice orientation.  Read the core values of Counseling Psychology reflected in this philosophy on the website of APA Division 17, The Society of Counseling Psychology.

To this end, the program requires trainees to obtain graduate-level understanding in discipline-specific foundations of psychological science to include history and systems of psychology, affective, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social bases of behavior. In addition, the program requires trainees to demonstrate competency in research design and quantitative methods as well as graduate-level knowledge that entails integration of multiple basic discipline-specific content areas (i.e., integration of at least two of: affective, biological, cognitive, social, or developmental aspects of behavior).

Research Training

In order to achieve readiness for practice at the entry level, the program requires trainees to become competent producers, consumers, and communicators of psychological research. The program expects trainees, upon successful completion of the program, to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competence sufficient to produce new knowledge, to critically evaluate and use existing knowledge to solve problems, and to disseminate research. 

Students in our program conduct their own research, collaborate on faculty research, and complete a scholarly dissertation.  Research and empirical knowledge are fundamental elements of our training program.

Clinical Training

Trainees are further required to demonstrate profession-wide competencies in ethical and legal standards, individual and cultural diversity, professional values, attitudes, and behaviors, communication and interpersonal skills, assessment, intervention, multicultural competent, consultation, and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills. 

To this end, our program offers a wide range of top practicum placements including university counseling centers, VA placements, community mental health centers, and inpatient units.  We have an excellent match rate for students obtaining APA/CPA-accredited internships.  We also have a strong record of our graduates obtaining licensure across the U.S.  Outstanding clinical training is a central feature of our doctoral program.

Diversity

The Counseling Psychology program at West Virginia University is committed to fostering an educational experience and training environment that promotes diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice as fundamental ethical, societal, and scientific values. This commitment is at the center of the professional and personal values of the faculty, staff, and students in our program.

Our commitment to inclusion, equity, and social justice is reflected in the aspirational goals of the program including:

  • Create and sustain a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive departmental climate.
  • Increasing recruitment and retention of students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, broadly defined.
  • Increasing recruitment and retention of faculty from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, broadly defined.
  • Ensure that curricular requirements reflect the Department's commitment to diversity and social justice.
  • Preparation of graduate students to become researchers, teachers, and clinicians in a diverse world.

Admission Requirements

The Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program will not be accepting applications for Fall 2020.

Admission to the doctoral program is competitive. The program typically receives two to three times more applicants than students admitted. 

Applicants must have a Master’s degree in a field closely related to counseling psychology prior to enrollment. Examples include counseling psychology, clinical psychology, counseling, or rehabilitation counseling. Degrees from other training programs may be considered, but the faculty reserve the right to determine whether a specific degree meets the prerequisite.