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Washington State University
College of Education

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with Counseling Psychology Specialization

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a specialization in Counseling Psychology

Contact information

The Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology is no longer accepting applications for admission, with closure of the program planned for the future. The program is currently APA Accredited in Inactive status. For general information, e-mail gradstudies@wsu.edu or call 509-335-9195.

Program overview

As of January 1, 2016, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology will no longer be accepting applications for admission, or admitting new students, with closure of the program planned for the future. The Ph.D. program in counseling psychology subscribes to the scientist-practitioner model of doctoral training. That is, while graduates are prepared to function as counseling psychologists in a variety of academic and service delivery settings, the common thread of all training is a balance of applied, theoretical, and scientific components in the practice of professional psychology. The curriculum includes course work in theory, research, and techniques in individual and group counseling; psychological assessment; vocational/career counseling and assessment; professional and ethical issues; life-span development; counselor supervision; counseling diverse populations; statistics, measurement, program evaluation, and research design; psychological foundations in the biological, cognitive/affective, social, and individual bases of behavior; and specialty courses in hypnosis, and multicultural counseling and cross-cultural research. In addition, students receive extensive practica and internship experiences and participate in independent or supervised research throughout their programs.

The program is one of approximately 67 counseling psychology Ph.D. programs nationwide accredited by the American Psychological Association and one of only two APA-accredited programs in the Pacific Northwest. Program graduates are able to obtain licensure as psychologists in Washington as well as most other states.

Program graduates obtain positions as staff psychologists in university counseling centers, faculty in academic departments, psychologists in private or group practice, post-doctoral fellows in clinical or research positions, and professional psychologists in other mental health delivery settings. They have a strong foundation in diversity, and are capable of working in a variety of settings with cultural and individual diversity broadly defined. Approximately 57% of current students are from diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds.

More info

As of January 1, 2016, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology will no longer be accepting applications for admission, or admitting new students, with closure of the program planned for the future.

Program handbook

As of January 1, 2016, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology will no longer be accepting applications for admission, or admitting new students, with closure of the program planned for the future.

For more specific information about the program, see the current Ph.D. handbook on the handbooks and forms page.

Program goals and objectives

As of January 1, 2016, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology will no longer be accepting applications for admission, or admitting new students, with closure of the program planned for the future.

The Counseling Psychology program at Washington State University seeks to train socially responsible scientist-practitioners who demonstrate the highest standards of excellence and ethical behavior in the variety of academic and practice settings in which Counseling Psychologists are employed. Our intent is to train generalists who can function in diverse settings as opposed to narrow specialists. We also seek to train Counseling Psychologists who have a strong foundation in diversity and who are capable of working in a variety of settings with individual and cultural diversity broadly defined. Students may develop expertise in various specialty areas in addition to general skills through the choice of faculty advisor, internship site, elective course work, and dissertation topic area. Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree can expect to spend four years in full-time on-campus course work and an additional year on internship. Students entering the program with a Master’s degree may waive certain courses, depending on their equivalence, thus shortening their length of time in the program. Our five broad goals and objectives along with corresponding competencies include:

Goal 1: Produce Generalist Counseling Psychologists who skillfully apply theory, assessments, diagnosis, and appropriate interventions.

  • Objective 1A.  Gain knowledge about counseling theories and apply to diagnosis/case conceptualization, treatment plans, and interventions.
    • Competency 1A-1: Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the major counseling theories.
    • Competency 1A-2: Demonstrate the ability to appropriately apply and evaluate theory based interventions.
    • Competency 1A-3: Demonstrate the ability to develop a positive therapeutic alliance with clients and to communicate advanced accurate empathy.
    • Competency 1A-4: Demonstrate the ability to develop and articulate the theoretical basis for their approach to counseling.
    • Competency 1A-5: Demonstrate the ability to develop accurate theory based case conceptualizations and treatment plans.
    • Competency 1A-6: Demonstrate knowledge of psychopathology.
    • Competency 1A-7: Demonstrate the ability to formulate an appropriate diagnosis.
    • Competency 1A-8: Demonstrate knowledge of human growth and development across the life span.
    • Competency 1A-9: Demonstrate ability to integrate knowledge of developmental factors into case conceptualization and treatment plans.
    • Competency 1A-10: Demonstrate the ability to assess and evaluate the outcomes and effectiveness of therapeutic and consultation interventions.
  • Objective 1B: Acquire knowledge that enables students to administer, score, and interpret appropriate assessment tools to determine diagnoses as a basis for appropriate interventions.
    • Competency 1B-1: Demonstrate the knowledge required to administer, score and interpret appropriate assessment tools.
    • Competency 1B-2: Select, competently administer, and interpret case- appropriate assessment tools. Appropriately use assessment tools to inform diagnosis and case conceptualization.

Goal 2: Produce Counseling Psychologists who generate and evaluate scientific knowledge relevant to their professional roles.

  • Objective 2A: Obtain knowledge and skills required to critique and evaluate psychological research.
    • Competency 2A-1: Demonstrate knowledge of theory, research methods, and data analysis in critiquing psychological literature.
    • Competency 2A-2: Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of theory, research methods and data analysis in critiquing the psychological literature.
  •  Objective 2B: Obtain knowledge and skills required to conduct psychological research.
    • Competency 2B-1: Demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, conduct, and report all aspects of psychological research including literature review, design, methodology, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Goal 3: Produce Counseling Psychologists who consistently apply accepted ethical and legal standards to their work and who exhibit professional integrity.

  • Objective 3A: Obtain knowledge and skills required to apply legal, ethical and professional standards in all aspects of their professional work.
    • Competency 3A-1: Demonstrate the ability to apply legal, ethical, and professional standards in their clinical work.
    • Competency 3A-2: Demonstrate the ability to apply legal, ethical, and professional standards evaluating, conceptualizing and conducting research.
    • Competency 3A-3: Demonstrate professionalism, integrity, and collegiality.
    • Competency 3A-4: Demonstrate efficacy in building and maintaining professional relationships.

Goal 4: Produce Counseling Psychologists who demonstrate sensitivity to issues of diversity and the ability to integrate into their respective professional roles. Produce Counseling Psychologists who have the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to address issues of multiculturalism and human diversity broadly defined.

  • Objective 4A: Obtain awareness, knowledge, and skills related to human diversity (broadly defined) and multicultural counseling.
    • Competency 4A-1: Demonstrate knowledge of human diversity (broadly defined).
    • Competency 4A-2: Demonstrate the ability to integrate theory and research in human diversity and multicultural counseling in their conceptualizations, assessments, and interventions with culturally diverse clientele.
    • Competency 4A-3: Demonstrate the ability to apply theory and research in human diversity and multicultural counseling in evaluating, designing, and conducting research.

Goal 5: Produce Counseling Psychologists whose core professional identity is counseling psychology and who also have begun to explore and develop specialty areas that complement this identity and facilitate their career development.

  • Objective 5A: Gain knowledge regarding the status of counseling psychology as a profession within the field of psychology including the differences between counseling psychology and other applied psychology specialties and the types of professional activities in which counseling psychologists are typically engaged.
    • Competency 5A-1: Demonstrate knowledge of roles and activities of Counseling Psychologists including the remedial, preventive, educative, and developmental.
    • Competency 5A-2: Understand the ways these professional roles are implemented through a focus on lifespan development and strengths.
  • Objective 5B: Develop a core professional identity as a generalist Counseling Psychologist.
    • Competency 5B-1: Perform career-related activities consistent with professional counseling psychology.
  • Objective 5C: Through specialized coursework, dissertation topics, and other training experiences, identify an area of specialty.
    • Competency 5C-1: Perform career-related activities consistent with area of specialty.

Special program strength

The program encourages applications from students with a variety of clinical and research interests in counseling psychology. We seek to train generalists rather than narrow specialists. At the same time, the program has some areas of particular strength and focus, based on faculty expertise and interest. Current program emphasis is in multicultural counseling and cross-cultural research.

Other program strengths include the following:

  • High quality practicum placements such as Washington State University’s APA-accredited Counseling and Psychological Services, including comprehensive training, intensive supervision, extensive opportunities for assessment training and experience, and coordination with program faculty to meet student needs and goals. Extremely high success rate in placement of students in APA-accredited pre-doctoral internships across the country.
  • For the past seven years, 42 of our students applied for pre-doctoral internships. Of those who applied:
    • 41 (98%) obtained internships
    • 41 (98%) obtained paid internships
    • 0 (  0%) were non-accredited, APPIC member internships
    • 39 (93%) were APA accredited internships
    • 0 (0%) were half-time internships
  • Licensure – Of the 45 program graduates from 2009 to 2019, 43 (96%) that we are aware of have become licensed psychologists to date.
  • Continuous enrollment in supervised research experiences throughout the student’s program.
  • Within the past 7 years, the median time to completion is 6 years with a mean of 6.77 years. The percentage of students completing the program in five years is 24%, in six years is 38%, in seven years is 14%, and more than seven years is 24%.
  • Cited in an issue of the American Psychologist (2006, vol. 61, issue 2, pp. 143-156) as one of 11 exemplary psychology programs nationally for successful efforts to recruit and retain graduate students of color. In 2002, the program was awarded the Suinn Minority Achievement award from APA, which is awarded to programs that are exemplary in the recruitment and retention of diverse students and in the program focus on cultural diversity.
  • Faculty have international reputations in their respective areas of expertise, as reflected in the quality and quantity of publications and conference presentations, service as editors and editorial board members for major psychology journals, service in professional organizations, and success in obtaining grant funding.
  • Quality of student dissertations; APA site visits have noted the high quality of the dissertations completed by students in the program. Students have been successful in having their dissertation research accepted for presentation at national conferences and publication in relevant scientific journals, and are strongly encouraged to do so. See sample dissertation topics of Ph.D. graduates.
  • Library facilities consistent with a major research university, including, for example, over 2 million book volumes and 31,000 periodical subscriptions. The collection is further extended by our participation in a consortium of 27 libraries in Washington and Oregon via Summit with access to over 22 million items.

Student admissions, outcomes, and other data

 

Time to completion for all students entering the program

Outcome Year in which Degrees were Conferred
2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 Total
Total number of students with doctoral degree conferred on transcript 4 4 8 4 9 1 4 34
Mean number of years to complete the program 6.5 6 6.95 6.75 6.72 6 5.75 6.53
Median number of years to complete the program 6.5 6 6 5 6 6 6 6
Time to Degree Ranges N % N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students in less than 5 years 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0 0
Students in 5 years 0 0 1 25 2 25 3 75 2 22 0 0 1 25  9 26
Students in 6 years 2 50 2 50 3 37 0 0 4 45 1 100 3 75  15 44
Students in 7 years 2 50 1 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  3 9
Students in more than 7 years 0 0 0 0 3 37 1 25 3 33 0 0 0 0 7 21

 

Program Costs

Descriptions 2020-2021 Year
Tuition for full-time students (in-state) $12,388
Tuition for full-time students (out-of-state) $26,436
Tuition per credit hour for part-time students (if applicable) In-State $617 Out of State $1,322
University/institution fees or costs $1,124
Additional estimated fees or costs to students (e.g. books, travel, etc.) $16,524

 

Internship Placement – Table 1

Outcome Year Applied for Internship
2013-2014 2014-2015
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
N %   N %   N %   N %   N %   N % N %
Students who obtained APA/CPA-accredited internships 6 86 5 100 8 100 6 86 3 100 4 100 2 67
Students who obtained APPIC member internships that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0 1 33
Students who obtained other membership organization internships (e.g. CAPIC) that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0 0 0
Students who obtained internships conforming to CDSPP guidelines that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0 0 0
Students who obtained other internships that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 14 0 0 0  0 0 0
Students who obtained internships 6 86 5 100 8 100 7 100 3 100 4 100 3 100
Students who sought or applied for internships including those who withdrew from the application process 7 5 8 7 3 4 3

 

Internship Placement – Table 2

Outcome Year Applied for Internship
2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students who sought or applied for internships including those who withdrew from the application process 7   5 8   7 3   4   3
Students who obtained paid internships 6 86 5 100 8 100 7 100 3 100 4 100 3 100
Students who obtained half-time internships* (if applicable) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

Attrition*

Variable Year of First Enrollment
2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students for whom this is the year of first enrollment (i.e. new students) 5 7 6 8 6 5 7
Students whose doctoral degrees were conferred on their transcripts 4 80 3 43 4 67 7 87 3 50 3 60 1 14
Students still enrolled in program 0 0 1 14 0 0 0 0 3 50 1 20 1 14
Students no longer enrolled for any reason other than conferral of doctoral degree 1 20 3 43 2 33 1 13 0 0 1 20 5 72

*As of January 1, 2016, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology is no longer admitting new students.

 

Licensure

Outcome 2010-2020
The Total Number of program graduates (doctoral degree conferred on transcript) between 2 and 10 years ago 50
The number of these graduate (between 2 and 10 years ago) who became licensed psychologists in the past 10 years 46
Licensure percentage 92

Application information

As of January 1, 2016, the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology will no longer be accepting applications for admission, or admitting new students, with closure of the program planned for the future.

GPA and GRE statistics for students admitted in the past seven years:

GPA GRE
Undergrad Grad Verbal Quant
Mean 3.69 3.73 157 151
Median 3.75 3.80 155 147

Previous institutions/degrees of recent students

Year Institution Degree/Specialization
2015 Cohort-7
Assumption College M.A. Counseling
California State University, Fullerton M.S. Counseling
University of Kentucky M.S. Counseling Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Madison B.S. Psychology
Washington State University M.A. Counseling
Washington State University M.A. Counseling
Western Washington University M.S. Mental Health Counseling
2014 Cohort-5
Western Oregon University B.S. Psychology
University of Maryland B.S. Psychology
Central Washington University M.S. Experimental Psychology
Gonzaga University M.A. Community Counseling
Washington State University M.A. Counseling
2013 Cohort-6
Oregon State University M.S. Counseling
University of Capetown BSocSc Psychology
University of Houston B.S. Psychology
Gonzaga University M.A. Community Counseling
Gonzaga University M.A. Marriage and Family Counseling
University of Washington B.A. Psychology

Program faculty (**Counseling Psychology PhD core faculty)

  • ** Brian McNeill, Professor of Counseling Psychology
  • ** Hsin-Ya Liao, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology
  • Phyllis Erdman, Professor of Counseling Psychology; Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Education; Chair, Department of Kinesiology & Educational Psychology
  • Olusola Adesope, Professor of Educational Psychology
  • Chad Gotch, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology
  • Zoe Higheagle Strong, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology
  • Shenghai Dai, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology

Program students

The total number of doctoral students in the program is generally about 40 (due to program closure, there are currently about 20 students). Each cohort of students is generally capped at a ratio of 1 new student per full-time faculty member. This small student-faculty ratio facilitates faculty-student interaction and increases the quality of clinical and research training. About 57% of current doctoral students are from various visible racial/ ethnic minorities.

The program draws students from across the country. Within the past 10 years, about 42% have come from major Washington universities; 19 % from California universities; 16% from other Western States (e.g., Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico); 7% from the Midwestern states (e.g., Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa); 11 % from other states (e.g., Florida, Texas, Maryland, Kentucky, Massachusetts, West Virginia); and 5% from foreign countries (e.g., South Africa, Korea, Jamaica).

Examples of recent internship placements

  • Montana State University Counseling Center at Bozeman, MT
  • Faulk Center for Counseling at Boca Raton, FL
  • Central Washington University, Counseling Services
  • Southeast Human Service Center at Fargo, ND
  • Southern Utah University, Counseling & Psychological Services
  • Boise VA Medical Center
  • University of California – Berkeley, Counseling Center
  • Wright Patteson USAF Medical Center
  • University of South Florida, Counseling Center
  • University of California- Irvine, Counseling Center
  • Bowling Green State University, Counseling Center
  • Duke University, Counseling & Psychological Services
  • University of Notre Dame, University Counseling Center
  • Marin County Health and Human Services
  • University of California – Davis, Student Health and Counseling Services
  • University of Houston – Clear Lake, Counseling Services
  • University of California – Santa Cruz, Counseling & Psychological Services
  • Washington State University, Counseling Services

Sample positions held by recent graduates

  • Postdoc at Norwest ADHD Treatment Center, Portland, OR
  • Pacific Coast Psychiatric Associates, CA
  • PTSD Specialist Psychologist, Grand Island VA Medical Center, NE
  • Licensed Psychologist at Interconnections Healing Center, Seattle, WA
  • Military Psychologist at US Air Force
  • Psychologist at University of Delaware, Center for Counseling & Student Development, DE
  • Psychologist at Palouse River Counseling, WA
  • Academic Dean at Duke University
  • Clinical Psychologist, California Correctional Health Care Services, CA
  • Licensed Psychologist, Nimiipuu Health, Lewiston, ID
  • Clinical Associate, Seattle Psychology, WA
  • Staff Psychologist, Santa Clara University, CA
  • Psychologist, Duke University, Counseling and Psychological Services, NC
  • Staff Psychologist, University of Iowa, Student Counseling Services, IA
  • Youth and Family Mental Heatlh Therapist, Muckleshoot Behavioral Health Program, WA
  • Staff Psychologist, University of California – Berkeley, Counseling Center, CA
  • Staff Psychologist, Iowa State University, Counseling Center, IA
  • Licensed Psychologist, Washignton State University, Counseling and Psychological Services, WA
  • Staff Psychologist, Appalachian State University, Counseling and Psychological Services, NC
  • Licensed Associate Counselor, Desert Vista Neuropsychological Specialists, PLLC, AZ
  • Psychologist, Kaiser Permanente, San Jose, CA
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Indiana University—Northwest, IN
  • Licensed Psychologist, St. Luke’s Clinic, Behavioral Health Services, ID

Program newsletters

Summer 2015 Counseling Psychology Newsletter

Fall 2012 Counseling Psychology Newsletter

Fall 2010 Counseling Psychology Newsletter

APA contact information

The doctoral program in counseling psychology has been continually accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1990. For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation

750 First St, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202.336.5979
Email: apaaccred@apa.org

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