Psychology Graduate School Rankings

January 4, 2018

School of Psychology, Family

If you are seeking a career in professional practice in psychology, then a graduate program in counseling psychology can get you there. There are dozens of APA accredited Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs across the U.S. providing the education and experience needed to become licensed. Many of the counseling psychology programs offer a wide range of psychology course work along with a multidisciplinary approach to professional practice. For those with a Masters in Counseling Psychology, see additional admissions requirements below for PhD programs.

The Difference between PsyD vs PhD

A PhD in Psychology indicates that the professional in question perhaps has an inclination to perform more of the research and teaching aspects of the field. On the other hand, the Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) is one of the two highest degrees available in the field of psychology. Until the 1960s, the only doctoral option was that of the PhD. While prestigious, popular opinion indicated that PhD graduates were not entirely ready for clinical practice, and thus the PsyD degree was developed in order train psychologists as clinical practitioners.

Admission Requirements

There is some variety between the application processes for various doctoral programs but the processes are generally consistent throughout the U.S. While there is some degree of variance in the application processes between various schools, the guidelines are mostly consistent throughout North America.


Doctorate programs will require prerequisite courses along with school transcripts in order to verify that courses were taken to meet the admissions criteria. Students may also have to complete all required hours for placements and internships prior to consideration by the admissions panel.

GRE Standard Test/Results

For many doctorate programs, the application package requires submission of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Check with the admissions office of the program you are interested in to see if they require or recommend taking the GRE.

Online Application Form and Fee

Most schools have a secure online method by which to submit student application, admission fee, and tuition funds. Students should follow the directions in order to confirm that data has been received successfully by the school.

Current Resume or CV

A current CV or resume informs the doctorate admissions committee of the interests of the candidate as well as any contributions they have made to the field.

Official Transcripts

Doctorate admissions committees require a minimum of one set of official transcripts from every post-secondary and graduate institution that the candidate has attended. Some programs require an additional original copy for reference purposes.

Letters of Recommendation from Faculty or Professional Contacts

A key part of a candidate’s admissions package is the two or three letters of recommendation that the doctorate committee requires. At the doctorate level, strong letters of recommendation are key to having a noteworthy application package.

Personal Statement

On par with the letters of recommendation, candidates are given an opportunity to display their skills, experience, and personality by providing a thoughtful personal statement of intention to the committee. Criteria for the statement will vary; please ensure that the guidelines are adhered to strictly.


At the doctoral level, virtually all viable candidates are interviewed prior to acceptance. Committees are looking for diversity and originality of ideas; candidates that are candid, pleasant, and able to articulate noteworthy answers to the questions will stay front-of-mind.

Counseling Psychology PhD Program Details

The information below is to provide a general overview of what most PhD programs in Counseling Psychology entail, including typical coursework, research, and internships.


Please note that there is some degree of variation concerning the depth and breadth of the courses that a particular program may offer based on the strengths and interests of its faculty members. Professional organizations like the APA are clear however, that coursework should be developed in such a way that it fosters students self-knowledge, hones their ethical sense, and clearly articulates and forms valuable learning outcomes.

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