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Washington State University
College of Education

Multicultural Counseling and Cross-Cultural Research

We emphasize multicultural counseling and cross-cultural research


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 or call 509-335-9195.

General focus statement

The Counseling Psychology program at Washington State University has a consistent and strong record, and history of commitment, to diversity in all aspects of our programs. This commitment extends to (a) the recruitment and retention of diverse students and faculty, (b) faculty involvement in relevant professional organizations focusing on ethnic minority and cross-cultural issues, (c) infusion of multiculturalism and other forms of diversity into program curriculum and training, and (d) support for student and faculty research on multicultural/cross-cultural issues and other forms of diversity. The most recent APA site visit report described the program’s “attention to individual differences and diversity to be one of the greatest strengths and accomplishments of the program.”

In 2002, the Ph.D. program was awarded the Suinn Minority Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, which is awarded to programs that are exemplary in the recruitment and retention of diverse students and in the program focus on cultural diversity.

Student diversity

Because of this commitment and encouragement, the program has been highly successful in recruiting and retaining high quality students from diverse cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds. For example, in the Ph.D. program, about 65% of current students are ethnic minority individuals from all geographic regions of the country. The diverse perspectives of our students play an important role in infusing multicultural issues into the clinical training and research environments. Each new student is assigned both a student mentor and faculty advisor to assist in making a comfortable and successful transition to the new graduate school environment.

Faculty diversity and professional involvement

Program faculty members are diverse in age, ethnicity, and gender. Several faculty members are active in professional associations, editorial activities, or other professional activities that reveal commitment and interest in promoting multicultural issues in the field of counseling psychology. For example:

  • Dr. Brian McNeill is a member of the National Latino Psychology Association and Society of Indian Psychologists.
  • Dr. Hsin-Ya Liao is currently affiliated with the International Section of the Society of Counseling Psychology, Division 17 of the American Psychological Association, and has been involved in Asian American Psychological Association and Taiwan Psychology Network.

Infusion of diversity in curriculum and training

Multicultural content is found in most courses in the curriculum and diversity is addressed in practica evaluations and comprehensive examinations. Students in all counseling programs are required to take CoPsy 525, Counseling Diverse Populations. Students with an interest in multicultural research also typically take CoPsy 542, Cross-cultural Research in Counseling and Assessment. Some students have the opportunity for graduate assistantships as counselors in the Multicultural Counseling Centers on campus, or as counselors or teachers in the college’s High School Equivalency Program, which serves primarily Latino and Native American students.

Because of their interests and expertise in multicultural issues, many of our doctoral students seek and obtain APA-accredited internships with a significant focus on working with culturally diverse clients.

Multicultural research emphases

Multicultural research is a major program emphasis for both program faculty and students. Indeed, several faculty view multicultural issues or cross-cultural studies to be a primary focus of their research. For example:

  • Dr. Brian McNeill’s research interests include qualitative investigations of Latino healing traditions.
  • Dr. Hsin-Ya Liao’s  research interests include examining vocational interest across cultures, culture and help-seeking, and intergroup relations.

Multicultural topics are the primary research focus of many of the program’s students. For examples of dissertation topics of current students or recent graduates of the program see sample dissertation topics.