Degree Requirements

Ph.D. Degree Program

Training Director: James Lichtenberg, 214C J.R. Pearson, 785-864-9656,


The admission deadline is December 15 to begin course work the following fall.

Admission Criteria

The Counseling Psychology program accepts approximately 6-10 students each year. Both bachelor's level and master's lever applicants are considered for admission.

Recommended minimums for bachelor's level applicants

  • Completion of bachelor's degree in psychology or related field
  • GRE verbal, quantitative, and writing scores at 50th percentile, obtained within the past 5 years
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or GPA of 3.25 for the major courses or the last 60 credits of the bachelor's degree
  • Prior undergraduate course work in psychological research methods, measurement, and statistics (recommended).

Recommended minimums for master's level applicants

  • Completion of master's degree in counseling or closely related field
  • GRE verbal, quantitative, and writing scores at 50th percentile, obtained within the past 5 years
  • Graduate GPA of 3.5 or above.

Alternative Criteria

Applicants may be admitted under alternative criteria provided there is evidence that regular criteria do not adequately reflect the student's potention to succeed in the program. The faculty will review an make decisions on such applications on a case-by-case basis. The faculty reserves the right to require those who are admitted under the alternative criteria to take some background core courses before or during the first year of their doctoral training in the areas of general psychology, experimental psychology, and introductory statistics. This decision will be made by the admission committee and the student's assigned advisor, and communicated to the student before he or she accepts admission to the program.

Required Admission Materials

  1. Graduate application and application fee. See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
  2. PRE departmental application.
  3. 1 copy of official transcripts of all previous college work, sent directly to the Graduate Application Processing Center. The original transcript is forwarded to the School of Education to complete licensing and/or certification paperwork.
  4. GRE (general test) scores: Institution code, R6871; Department code, 2005.
  5. Letter of intent.
  6. Résumé.
  7. 3 letters of recommendation from people who can assess the applicant’s prospects for completing the program.

Additional Admission Materials

If the applicant has completed a practicum in counseling or a related area, 1 recommendation should be completed by the practicum supervisor. A practicum form is included in the PRE departmental application.

Review of Graduate Status

At the beginning of each fall semester, the department formally evaluates the progress and status of all students in the program.


Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Work Requirements

In addition to any background competency deficiencies, each student must complete the following course work. This constitutes the minimal substantive requirement of the program.

Psychological Foundations

Students must take at least 1 course in each of 5 general core psychology areas: 1) biological aspects of behavior, 2) cognitive and affective aspects of behavior, 3) social bases of behavior, 4) individual aspects of behavior, and 5) history and systems of psychology. Course equivalencies that have been met during the student’s master’s program, if the work is current, can be waived as required doctoral course work.

Professional Core

Students complete a sequence of course work in counseling theories and practices, and in assessment. This course work includes interviewing skill and interventions techniques, group counseling, career development and vocational psychology, multicultural counseling, legal and ethical issues in professional psychology, supervision and consultation, supervised practica (field experiences), measurement, assessment, and psychodiagnostics.

Human Development

A graduate course in life span developmental psychology is required. See offerings in PRE, Psychology, or Applied Behavioral Science.

Research Core

Students complete course work in research design and statistical analysis, including a research practicum.

Elective Area

Students complete 9 credit hours of elective course work from PRE or any related field or department. These are to be regularly scheduled courses (and may include seminars); the requirement cannot be fulfilled using field experiences, college teaching experiences, independent study, etc.

College Teaching Experience

PRE 996 College Teaching Experience in: (Supervision) (minimum of 2 credit hours)

Internship in Counseling Psychology

PRE 990 Internship in Counseling Psychology (1 credit hour for 3 consecutive terms)


PRE 999 Doctoral Dissertation (minimum of 18 credit hours)

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Comprehensive Examination

After completing course work, the student must pass a written comprehensive examination based on the curricular requirements of the counseling psychology program. After satisfactory completion of the written examination, the student must pass a comprehensive oral examination. The program defines the nature of this examination.


The primary criteria for internship placement are appropriate professional opportunities, adequate supervision by a qualified counseling psychologist, student financial support by the agency offering the internship, and accreditation of the internship site by the American Psychological Association. A student is not permitted to begin the internship until the comprehensive examination has been completed and the internship setting has the endorsement of the program. The internship is completed in one year.


Upon passing the written and oral portions of the comprehensive examination, the candidate, in consultation with his or her advisor, assembles a dissertation committee of 3 members. For information on post-comprehensive enrollment and general information about doctoral programs, consult the pertinent sections of the online catalog.

Student Admission, Outcomes, and Other Data

Contact Info

Department of Psychology and Research in Education

J.R. Pearson Hall
1122 West Campus Road, Room 621
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101
Steven W. Lee, Chair
, Graduate Admissions Coordinator
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