Academic Catalog

Counseling Psychology (Ph.D.)

The Wayne State University Counseling Psychology (WSU-CP) Ph.D. prepares the scholar-practitioner to advance the practice of psychology and improve mental health recovery and wellness through research and reflective practice. The WSU-CP doctoral program was formally established in 2018.

The WSU-CP doctoral program resides within the Theoretical and Behavioral Foundations division of the College of Education. The training prepares practitioners to make professional judgments that take into consideration best practices derived from research and theory, social, political, and policy contexts, ethical principles, and multicultural awareness. Courses emphasize the broad applications of normal and abnormal development, multicultural and ecological approaches such as family and community. Students may also elect to take courses in couples, family therapy, and/or trauma to augment their clinical training. Training offers a balance of both urban and metropolitan experiences for all students to ensure familiarity with a range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

The curriculum and practical experiences are designed to ensure professional competency and knowledge integration as it relates to scholarship, clinical practice, and advocacy. Program graduates will be prepared for employment within a variety of settings including academic departments, university counseling centers or clinics, community mental health agencies, hospitals, the non-profit sector, and/or independent practice. The program prepares students to meet the licensing requirements as a psychologist in the State of Michigan.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. Applications are accepted after September 1 with a deadline of January 15. Applicants must complete a Counseling Psychology program application form, three letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae/resume, personal statement, transcripts, and online application required by the Graduate School. Applicants will not be considered for admission until all documents have been received and evaluated by the admissions committee. Admissions decisions are generally made by March 15 and applicants have until April 15 to notify of acceptance.

The program considers both direct admission from the baccalaureate degree and those with advanced degrees in psychology or a strongly related field. (If you are applying as a Canadian citizen and may be practicing in Canada, you are required to have a bachelor's degree in psychology to be considered for admission, based on Canadian psychology licensing requirements.) The work of students who had advanced degrees upon entering this program will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the directors to meet the required clinical experience and training.

Application policies and procedures are available on the Counseling Psychology program website. The General Record Exam is not required, but highly recommended. The admission committee uses a holistic review process that does not rely solely on standardized tests. Assessment of the applicant’s transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing sample, personal statement and research interests aligned with faculty, and availability of faculty mentorship are used to make admission decisions. Strong applicants will demonstrate academic promise in scholarship and practice, discipline and commitment to ethics and human rights, tolerance for professional and skill development, as well as an interest in social justice and multiculturalism. Review of applicants is based on combined holistic assessment including: (1) academic excellence; (2) writing skill; (3) alignment of academic, employment, and/or service-related experiences, and faculty research interests; (4) quality of recommendation and references. The number of applicants recommended for admission each year varies and is determined primarily by the availability of faculty advisors for incoming students.

Curriculum Overview

WSU-CP doctoral students will participate in coursework and training activities that to develop knowledge, skills, and professional competencies in core areas related to the discipline of psychology:

  1. Research Methods and Statistics
  2. Biological Bases of Behavior
  3. Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
  4. Social Bases of Behavior
  5. Individual Behavior and Human Development
  6. History and Systems of Psychology
  7. Professional Issues and Ethics in Counseling Psychology
  8. Theory and Practice in Psychotherapy
  9. Supervision, Outreach and Consultation
  10. Intellectual and Personality Assessment
  11. Social Justice and Multiculturalism
  12. Professional Values and Behaviors

Program Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy requires a minimum of 90 credits of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree, thirty of which must be earned as dissertation credits. All coursework must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Education. In addition to coursework and clinical training (practicum), students must complete written and oral qualifying exams, dissertation, and a 2000-hour doctoral internship during the final years of study. 

The WSU-CP includes the following coursework:

Elective in Systems
Students matriculating in the program, either directly from their baccalaureate or advanced degrees, select one or more of the following electives in systems:
Couples Therapy
Systemic Theories and Family Therapy
Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents
Required Courses
Diversity, Multicultural Competence, and Social Justice Advocacy for Human Service Professionals
Seminar and Internship Supervising Counselors
Psychopathology and Diagnosis *
Foundations of Social Psychology
Introduction to Behavioral Psychology *
Foundations in Cognitive, Behavioral, and Affective Therapeuatic Methods
Professional Ethics and Standards for Psychologists *
Pre-practicum in Clinical Procedures (depends on entry point/terminal masters only)
Practicum in Clinical Procedures I (Two consecutive semesters)
Doctoral Seminar in Counseling Psychology *
Advanced Practicum in Clinical Procedures *
Internship in Clinical Procedures (Doctoral internship; 1cr. per semester, and min. 3 total credits )
Biological Basis of Behavior
Cognitive Development
Social Cognition
The elective in systems and required courses should total a minimum of 45 credits.45
College Required Courses
Select one of the following:
Research and Experimental Design
Interdisciplinary Research Methods in Social, Cognitive and Developmental Psychology
Select one of the following statistics sequences:
Variance and Covariance Analysis
and Multivariate Analysis
Quantitative Methods in Psychology I
and Multivariate Analysis in Psychology
Social Statistics
and Advanced Social Statistics
Select any of the following with advisor/director approval:
Qualitative Research I: Introduction
Qualitative Methods for Diversity and Inclusion
Qualitative Research II: Design and Data Collection
Structural Equation Modeling
The college required courses in statistics and methods and research should total a minimum of 15 credits.15
Dissertation Courses
ED 9991Doctoral Candidate Status I: Dissertation Research and Direction7.5
ED 9992Doctoral Candidate Status II: Dissertation Research and Direction7.5
ED 9993Doctoral Candidate Status III: Dissertation Research and Direction7.5
ED 9994Doctoral Candidate Status IV: Dissertation Research and Direction7.5
Total Credits90

Students matriculating in the program, either directly from their baccalaureate or advanced degrees, must complete this course.

Plan of Work

The Plan of Work reflects a systematic and organized series of courses, seminars, field experiences, etc., designed to assist students in organization and planning the course of their matriculation through the doctoral program.

Following formal acceptance into the program, students are provided a preliminary Plan of Work for their first academic year and assigned a research advisor. The Plan of Work must be approved by the program director and the major advisor along with the College of Education graduate director in the semester the student is completing the first 18 credits.

he Plan of Work must conform to the Policy and Procedures stated in this document. Plans of Work can be revised due to changes in course scheduling changes, or personal goals. However, students must discuss any potential changes with their major advisor and obtain permission from the program directors before a substitution is made. A change in the Plan of Work can be found on the College of Education website under the Students Tab.


The program requires a minimum of three full-time academic years of graduate study (or the equivalent) plus internship prior to receiving the doctoral degree; at least two of the three academic training years (or the equivalent) must be at the program from which the doctoral degree is granted; and at least one year must be in full-time residence at the program.


The qualifying examination is a two-part exam in the College of Education. Part I is a written examination covering the student’s major area the discipline of Counseling Psychology. Part II is an oral examination demonstrating profession – wide competencies in clinical assessment and treatment. Qualifying exams are typically taken following the completion of the majority of coursework.

Training, Teaching, and Research

Doctoral students are encourage to participate in a research or training assignment each academic year they are in residence. This is required of all full-time students, irrespective of whether the training assignment includes a stipend. The student’s area committee is responsible for seeing that this requirement is met each year. The training assignment involves appropriate teaching, research (other than dissertation research) or professional activities.

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