This degree is part of the counseling psychology program, housed in the Department of Educational, School & Counseling Psychology.

MU’s Counseling Psychology program strives for excellence in the integration of practice, science and diversity. The program aims to prepare counseling psychologists to work in academic and applied settings (a) to think critically and to apply scientific-based practices, (b) to promote social justice, (c) who are ethical and culturally competent, and (d) who continue to become self-aware and mindful of personal power and privilege.

Our Ph.D. program has been continuously accredited by APA since 1953, and we are consistently rated as one of the top training programs in the country. Counseling Psychology at MU continues to be committed to a strong scientist-practitioner model which fosters student growth through professional identification. We are committed to multicultural and cross-cultural competence, social justice, and maintaining our values of mentoring and apprenticeship.

Degree Requirements

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 adviser. Students who are admitted with a master’s degree typically complete the program in 4-5 years, which includes required coursework, comprehensive exams, dissertation, and predoctoral internship. Students who are admitted with a bachelor’s degree typically complete the program in 5-6 years, which includes required coursework, thesis, comprehensive exams, dissertation, and predoctoral internship.

For a sample plan of study and course listing, go to the course catalog. 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 course work in the program. This prerequisite course work is over and above that required for the master’s degree itself and is not counted on the program of study for the master’s degree.

Counseling Psychology Doctoral Planner

Clinical Training

Within a scientist-practitioner paradigm, our program requires students to engage early in a variety of supervised counseling practice experiences. These are integrated with scientific aspects of the discipline and graduated in depth and complexity to train students to become independently functioning  professional psychologists. Learning occurs through formal coursework and supervised direct client contact. The Counseling Psychology program maintains relationships with many local practicum sites to meet the training interests of our diverse students. Students typically complete practicum at multiple sites during their tenure at MU. This table shows where students have completed practicum in recent years.

Program Faculty

Faculty members who will be accepting new doctoral advisees for the 2024-2025 school year are noted below.

Joshua Parmenter

Assistant ProfessorCounseling Psychology

Patrick Rottinghaus

Associate ProfessorCo-Program Coordinator - Counseling Psychology

Application, Deadlines, and Admission

The application deadline for the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology is December 1. The admissions process is competitive; the program receives 100-150 applications for 5-8 openings each year, and students are only admitted to begin fall term. We admit applicants with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. You are welcome to visit the University of Missouri and attend a campus tour, but faculty members are typically not available to meet with prospective applicants because of the large volume of meeting requests. If you want to learn more about faculty members’ research and scholarly interests, please visit their individual web pages. Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission:

How to Apply

For Fall 2024 applicants, the department has decided to temporarily suspend the requirement of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Submit the following documents using the MU Office of Graduate Studies application by Dec. 1 for the next fall cohort:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV/resume
  • Unofficial 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:Describe (1) your previous experience serving in a helping or counseling role; (2) your 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?; (3) your interests and career objectives; (4) how these interests and career objectives have developed; (5) how these interests match those of specific program faculty; and (6) how being accepted into the Counseling Psychology Program would benefit your career aspirations and implement (or actualize) your beliefs, values, and goals? (1200 word maximum)
  • TOEFL for international students (preferred score of 580 for paper test, 92 iBT, IELTS 7 or higher)
    • Institution code: 6875

Financial Support

Policy and Procedures for Annual Assistantship

The department’s goal is to provide every full-time ESCP doctoral student with a .25 FTE assistantship in year 1.  Historically, however, almost all doctoral students who have requested funding have received .50 FTE from departmental placements or from sources outside the department.  Beginning in the Fall, 2016, only students receiving 0.5 FTE stipends will be eligible for full tuition waiver.  Students receiving less than 0.5 FTE stipends will be eligible for a 50% tuition waiver. Assistantships from non-academic units will still be required to provide an academic focus for the assistantship and students may not cobble together two non-academic 0.25 FTE assistantships to qualify for a full tuition waiver without very strong justification. Students with 0.25 FTE support from their academic unit, may combine that with a 0.25 FTE from an appropriate non-academic unit to qualify for a full tuition waiver provided there is an academic focus and justification for the second assistantship.Fellowships are not considered in the assignment of departmental placements, and are viewed as additional financial compensation for outstanding academic performance. Fellowship recipients will receive a .25 FTE assistantship which can consist of an additional fellowship, teaching, or research assistantship at the most competitive level in the department. .

College of Education Graduate Scholarship Opportunities

The College of Education offers a variety of scholarships for students enrolled as education majors, both as undergraduates and graduates. Scholarships are a great way to financially support your education and are awarded to individuals on the basis of any number of criteria, including: financial need, academic achievement, choice of program area, public service, nationality or ethnicity.Some scholarships are renewable or may be awarded to the same students in succeeding years; however, these awards are based upon continued eligibility with scholarship criteria; grade point average; the contingency of available funds; and a current, completed application that must be submitted each year.  Please note, should a College of Education scholarship recipient change enrollment to another University or another college within MU, the scholarship will be rescinded.

Applicants without a Masters in Psychology or Related Discipline

Each year, the doctoral program accepts a limited number of applicants with only a bachelor’s degree or a masters degree in a field other than psychology. Over the past three years, 14% of our incoming doctoral students had only a Bachelor’s degree. Thus, we encourage such applicants to indicate if they also want to be considered for our Masters Program. Doing so will not impact your chances for being accepted into the PhD Program; your interest in the Masters Program will only be considered should you not receive acceptance to the PhD Program.

Note: Enrolling in our Masters Program will allow you to further develop the necessary clinical and scientific skills to successfully earn a PhD in a scientifically rigorous program such as ours. Moreover, most PhD programs in Counseling Psychology will allow you to transfer credits from our Masters Program in partial fulfillment of earning a PhD.