PhD in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Counseling Psychology

Degree Requirements

Statistics and Research Methodology15
Psychological Foundations 12
(Exclusive of and in addition to the General Psychology Core)
Historical and Research Foundations9
Ethic and Legal Standards3
Human Diversity5
Intervention Procedures18
Clinical 24

Sample Plan of Study

A student’s plan of study will vary depending on her/his program track and career goals and should be completed in consultation with her/his academic advisor.

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Qualifying Process

The Graduate School requires that students pass a qualifying examination as a condition of official admittance to the PhD program. Acceptable performance on the Departmental Qualifying Examination is defined as a achieving a grade of “B” or better in each of the courses comprising the “core” courses for each of four emphasis areas. These courses are:

ESC_PS 7120 Theories and Techniques of Counseling
ESC_PS 8040 Counseling Methods and Practices
ESC_PS 8135 Foundations of Career Psychology

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Comprehensive Examination Process

The Comprehensive Exam is administered once a year in July or August. The Comprehensive Exam is administered as a take-home exam and follows an essay/long answer response format. It is expected that responses will not exceed 10 pages (double-spaced; not including references) in length and will adequately provide both breadth and depth on the topic. Appropriate citations are expected. Attention should also be paid to grammar, APA style, and overall professional writing conventions. Students will have two consecutive weekends to complete the exam. Students schedule an oral exam after successfully passing the written portion of the comprehensive exam.

The Comprehensive Exam is designed as an integrative, culminating assessment of foundational knowledge of (1) counseling theories, assessment and practice, (2) research design, measurement, and statistics, (3) multicultural and professional issues, and (4) career development. Thus, the exam is designed to assess students’ ability to (a) use counseling theories and appropriate assessment strategies to conceptualize clinical cases and to identify appropriate intervention strategies in clinical practice; (b) design research studies, including developing appropriate research questions, addressing issues related to a study’s internal and external validity, applying appropriate methods for the research methodology, and identifying appropriate statistical analyses; (c) understand multicultural, ethical and professional issues related to counseling psychology; and (d) apply appropriate vocational theories and assessment in practice.

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Dissertation Requirements

After working with the academic advisor on developing a dissertation proposal, the student meets with her/his doctoral program committee to obtain approval of the written dissertation proposal. This happens before data collection begins. After the project is completed, the student submits a written dissertation and defends her/his dissertation project to the doctoral program committee.

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Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the PhD in Educational, School & Counseling Psychology program and the minimum requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies.  

Apply online by submitting the following documents using the MU Office of Graduate Studies application form by December 1st for the next Fall cohort.

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum Vita
  • Official academic transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work
    • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution in psychology, education, or a related major.
  • Statement of purpose addressing the following:
    1. Describe interests and experiences working with people from diverse backgrounds (e.g. ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, religious, ability status, sexual orientation). How have these experiences influenced you?  (250 word maximum)
    2. Describe experiences that demonstrate your potential for leadership that you believe distinguish you as a candidate for graduate study. (250 word maximum)
    3. Describe (1) your previous experience serving in a helping or counseling role, (2) your interests and career objectives, (3) how these interests and career objectives have developed, (4) how these interests match those of specific program faculty, and (5) how being accepted into the program of your choice will benefit your career aspirations and help you act upon your beliefs, goals, and philosophy. (1000 word maximum)
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for tests taken on or after August 1, 2014 should have a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 305.
  • TOEFL for international students (preferred score of 580 for paper test, 92 iBT, IELTS 6.5 or higher)

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a field not related to psychology will be required to complete 15 hours of prerequisite courses in the behavioral sciences (including an introductory statistics course) either prior to, or concurrently with, coursework in the program. 

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