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Counseling Psychology
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Counseling Psychology
In the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Department

frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions

Below, we provide a list of some of the questions that we receive most frequently from prospective students. The first group of questions pertains generally to the Counseling Psychology Program at Teachers College. Scroll down for a list of questions about the Ed.M. program specifically, followed by questions about the Ph.D. program.

General

What is the relationship between the Ed.M. and the Ph.D. programs?

The programs have completely separate admissions processes. They also have different training goals: the Ed.M. curriculum primarily prepares counseling practitioners, while the Ph.D. program is based on a scientist-practitioner model.

Will having an Ed.M. degree from TC facilitate my entry into TC's Ph.D. program?

The doctoral admissions process is the same for all applicants, whether a student applies directly from undergraduate school, or brings a masters degree from TC or elsewhere.

Can I apply for spring or summer admission?

The programs only admit new students in the fall semester.

Is this a part-time or full-time program? Will I be able to work full time and also complete the program?

We consider the programs to be full-time, and you should not expect to be able to work full-time and complete it.  Many students work part-time while attending the program, but this sometimes means that additional time is required for completion of the program.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in psychology or counseling?

We prefer that your undergraduate degree be in psychology or counseling, but we also admit strong applicants in related fields who have some undergraduate psychology coursework.

What is the theoretical orientation of the faculty?

There is no one theoretical orientation that characterizes our faculty, but what we do all have in common is an emphasis on social justice, feminist, multicultural and/or other racial-cultural issues within the way we work.

The Ed.M. Program in Psychological Counseling

What qualities do you look for in applicants?

We value the opportunity to work with students whose professional interests and commitments are consonant with social justice goals of our training program. As we make admissions decisions, we consider a student's portfolio of applications materials as a whole: academic records, personal statements, answers to the supplemental questions, and letters of recommendation are all important. Additionally, volunteer and/or experience working in the helping sector strengthen an application.  A noteworthy strength in one of these areas can help compensate for another aspect of the application that is not as strong.

Can I transfer credits in from a different counseling graduate program?

We evaluate all potential transfer credits on an individual basis, and accept as many as 12 credits for the Ed.M program from another institution. Such transfers must, however, be completed during your first semester at TC. Note that transferring courses in can affect your ability to receive the Master of Arts en passant: all required MA courses must be taken here at TC to receive that degree (see the handbook for more details).

Where do students complete their fieldwork education?

The fieldwork experience is designed to provide students an opportunity to practice and expand counseling skills in a setting that is congruent with the student’s specialization: mental health or school counseling. Under the direct supervision of an experienced counseling clinician, student’s will complete fieldwork during the second year in the program. This supervised experience takes place in various types of social service agencies, rehabilitation clinics, mental health agencies, career counseling centers, business establishments, educational institutions, non profit agencies, community consultation programs, treatment centers and facilities serving senior adults. We have a fieldwork coordinator who will assist you in finding the best placement for you.

Can I train in an area of specialization?

Our program features two tracks: mental health counseling and school counseling. Within those tracks, students can select course and fieldwork placements that allow them to pursue further experience in particular areas, but we do not have formal specializations.

How long do most students take to complete the program?

The program consists of 60 credits, and most students require two years to complete the program, assuming that they take summer classes in between years one and two.

How do I get an advisor?

The program will assign an advisor for you when you enroll in the program.

What classes should I take in the first year?

The program handbook describes the curriculum for the program. As you read over it, you will notice that many courses are pre-requisites for later coursework. It's important, therefore, to begin by completing as many pre-requisite courses as possible, given the constraints of your schedule. Among the courses that you should attempt to take during your first year include Theories, Foundations, Ethics, Career Counseling, your developmental psychology class, and one of your sociocultural classes (either Racism or Multicultural Counseling).

Are graduate assistantships available?

As a rule, we can't provide assistantships for masters-level students, although occasionally we are able to offer a teaching assistantship to an advanced Ed.M. candidate.

What are possible career options for Ed.M. students after graduate school?

Our Ed.M. grads have found employment the same variety of sites as the ones in which they do field placements, and are now working in sites such as schools, hospitals, and clinics.

What are the requirements for NYS licensure as a Mental Health Counselor?

Graduate programs do not confer licensures or certifications -- individual state governments do that. For that reason, it's always best to get the most up-to-date information possible directly from the New York State Office of the Professions (or from the state where you are interested in being licensed). The New York State website is:
http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/mhclic.htm

What are the requirements for NYS certification as a School Counselor?

Similarly, information about school counseling certification can be found at:
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/home.html

The Ph.D. Program in Counseling Psychology

Are students admitted to work with a specific faculty member or do they choose a member after being accepted to the progam?

Since September 2013 the counseling psychology program operates under a mentorship model. Applicants are advised to name a preferred professor(s) in their application. Your application will be directed towards the faculty member you named in your application. Those applicants who do not name a specific preferred adviser will have their material reviewed by that faculty member whose work is seen as most compatible with the interests and experience of the applicant. However, the final group of applicants is discussed among all faculty members during the final admissions meeting. Applicants chosen to attend the interview day (usually in early February) will interview with the faculty and with current graduate students.

How can I find out about a particular faculty members' research interests?

All of us have a list of research interests and selected publications on our TC website pages. You can find them by entering our names into the search box in the upper left portion of the TC home page at http://www.tc.edu/. You can also find our publications by entering our names along with other content-related keywords into search engines like Google Scholar.

Can I work with more than one faculty member?

Although students have one primary faculty advisor, many students collaborate on specific projects with other faculty members as well.

Will you accept transfer credits from my masters program?

We evaluate all potential transfer credits on an individual basis, and accept as many as 30 transfer credits for graduate-level coursework for the Ph.D. program. Please see the handbook for further details.

What qualities do you look for in PhD applicants?

We value the opportunity to work with students whose professional interests and commitments are consonant with the social justice/multicultural goals of our training program. We consider a student's academic record, GRE scores, personal statement, and letters of recommendation to be important. We also welcome evidence of research experience, interest, and/or aptitude. A significant strength in one area can help compensate for another aspect of the application that is not as strong.

How long do most students take to complete the Phd program?

For recent data on how long students take to complete the program, please refer to our "Program Data" document.  You can find and download this pdf on the Counseling Psychology doctoral program homepage.

 

Are graduate assistantships available fir doctoral students?

We provide opportunities for doctoral students to work as teaching assistants (TAs) in many of our courses. These teaching assistantships provide a limited amount of funding in the form of scholarship points and stipends, and do not cover all program expenses.

Where do students complete their clinical practica?

Students do fieldwork at a wide variety of sites, including hospitals, clinics, schools, college and university counseling centers, and community-based organizations.

As a doctoral student can I train in an area of specialization?

Students can select course and clinical placements that allow them to pursue further experience in particular areas, but we do not have formal specializations.

Where do students complete their predoctoral internships?

Most of our students complete internships in counseling centers, hospitals, and clinics.

What are the requirements for state licensure as a psychologist?

Graduate programs do not confer licensures or certifications -- individual state governments do that. For that reason, it's always best to get the most up-to-date information possible directly from the New York State Office of the Professions (or from the state where you are interested in being licensed). The New York State website is:
http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/psych/psychlic.htm

What kinds of things do students do after they graduate?

To provide examples of the kinds of career directions that our graduates follow, the TC Office of Career Services has generously provided us with the results of their most recent post-graduations surveys. Links to these reports are listed below, along with the page at which information about the Counseling Program begins.

2007 Graduate Survey Report (scroll to page 23)

2008 Graduate Survey Report (scroll to page 24)

2009 Graduate Survey Report (scroll to page 25)