Department of - Counseling & Clinical Psychology
The Ph.D. Program in Counseling Psychology reflects a scientist-practitioner training model whereby emphasis is placed on preparing professional psychologists who:
(a) are competent in addressing problems associated with the adaptive functioning of human beings,
(b) can successfully apply relevant research literature to client concerns, and
(c) can contribute to the research knowledge base.
Our philosophy is consistent with many of the historical traditions in the field of counseling psychology, including (a) the optimal development and functioning of individuals, groups, and other systems (e.g., institutions, communities); (b) an appreciation of the strengths and uniqueness of individuals; (c) a belief in the unbounded potential of human beings; and (d) a respect for the integrity of all people. Our training philosophy strongly encourages students to adopt approaches to client treatment that consider the various contexts in which clients develop and operate. The program also stresses the critical roles of self-exploration and personal reflection as components of professional development.
Central to our training model is the belief that academic scholarship and research are inseparable from professional practice. Hence, the Counseling Psychology Program recognizes the importance of preparing graduates who manifest the highest standards of excellence in academic or service delivery settings. Throughout the program, we emphasize the integration of scientific psychology and professional practice through attention to didactic and experiential learning, synthesizing skill acquisition with effective use of self, and clarifying personal and professional identities. This integrative perspective implies the following assumptions:
- Learning is an ongoing process and, as a result, students are responsible for being cognizant of issues and trends within the profession;
- Learning occurs in a context that requires active consideration of individual differences and systemic factors; and
- Professional development is often inseparable from personal growth.
Thus, students are continuously exposed to opportunities to examine the connection between scientific knowledge and professional practice. To highlight the importance of this integration, education and training in theory, inquiry, and practice occur concurrently throughout the program.
The academic curriculum of the program provides students with numerous opportunities to develop professional and personal competencies associated with becoming counseling psychologists. In particular, extensive coursework, practical experiences, and other learning opportunities allow students to identify their strengths and assets with regard to their personal and professional development and to take risks to develop new competencies in various professional roles. The academic curriculum also reflects the importance of students (a) developing professional identities as ethical counseling psychologists, (b) being socialized into the profession of counseling psychology, and (c) contributing to counseling psychology as a specialty discipline as well as to the broader field of applied psychology.
The Counseling Psychology Program is also firmly committed to issues pertaining to multicultural diversity and seeks faculty members, staff, and students who reflect such diversity, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious/spiritual orientation, disability status, and national origin. Moreover, issues of human diversity are largely integrated throughout the entire curriculum and, indeed, throughout the entire program in that students are actively exposed to numerous opportunities to develop competence in addressing issues pertaining to cultural and identity group membership with various populations. The program also seeks to create a milieu of growth, collaboration, and collegiality among faculty, staff, and students with regard to respecting and affirming various dimensions of cultural diversity.
Thus the specific goals of the program and their associated competencies prepare students to work in a variety of settings with emphasis on education (e.g. colleges and universities), health (e.g., outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) and related agencies. With the help of a Faculty Advisor, students register for required and elective courses, which in light of their previous preparation, special needs, and career objectives, will prepare them appropriately. Depending on their area of concentration and level of training, graduates have found employment in universities, colleges, medical schools, elementary and secondary schools, adult basic education centers, employment and training centers, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, mental health centers, industry, senior citizens centers, and community and government agencies.
Regardless of the eventual work setting, students in the program are expected by the end of their training to have achieved the following objectives:
1. Be capable of engaging in culturally-relevant and psychologically appropriate psychotherapeutic interventions that
(a) emphasize normal personal and interpersonal functioning,
(b) address dysfunction from a strengths-based perspective,
(c) consider developmental issues across the lifespan, and
(d) consider the role of environmental and contextual issues in individuals’ lives.
2. Be competent in conducting research and effectively applying research to their
3. Possess the requisite foundations in core areas of professional psychology.
4. Be ethical scientist-practitioners.
5. Be socialized into the profession and able to contribute to counseling psychology as a specialty discipline, as well as to the broader field of applied psychology, though research, scholarship, conference presentations, and service.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of persons, groups, and organizations in their environmental contexts, including cultural, social, economic, educational, occupational, and institutional contexts.
7. Demonstrate multicultural competence in research and practice.
8. Be able to work in a variety of professional practice settings.
Counseling Psychology (COUN)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
For a complete listing of degree requirements, please click the "Degrees" tab above
For a complete listing of degree requirements, please continue on to this program's "Degrees" section in this document
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The program of study that follows is described in terms of full-time study. Some of the courses may be taken on a part-time basis. However, full-time study after the first 30 applicable credits is required unless the student can present persuasive evidence that his or her living and working circumstances have not prevented and will not prevent him/her from taking full advantage of the College’s resources. Certain essential subjects and practica are offered only in the morning and early afternoon hours.
The doctorate is granted after successful completion of a minimum of 90 points of planned, sequential study beyond the bachelor’s degree, of which at least 60 points must be taken at Teachers College. The doctoral program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and requires at least five years, including the equivalent of four years of academic study beyond the bachelor’s degree and one calendar year of internship.
Please note that upon admission to the Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology, students will receive a Doctoral Student Handbook for the Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology which will provide updated policy, program features, and requirements (The most recent handbook is available on the program website). The program of study leading to the Doctorate in Counseling Psychology is guided by criteria adopted by the American Psychological Association for accredited programs in professional psychology.
The course of studies includes: scientific and professional ethics and standards; psychological measurement, statistics, and research design and methodology; knowledge and understanding of: (a) history and systems of psychology, (b) the biological basis of behavior, (c) the cognitive-affective bases of behavior, (d) the social bases of behavior (e.g., social psychology), and (e) individual behavior (e.g., personality theory and human development), intervention strategies and methods of inquiry; and preparation to undertake a doctoral dissertation.
In developing the necessary mastery of these areas, the student is expected to be attentive to the historical roots of counseling psychology, i.e., the study of individual differences, the vocational guidance movement and the mental health movement. Similarly, she or he is expected to be prepared for the probable future of counseling psychology in the areas of expertise represented by the faculty, especially the influence of social and cultural systems (home, family, workplace, and environment) on human development and change.
In addition to core requirements, courses in specific and specialized areas of counseling psychology are available. Courses in the department are supplemented by appropriate offerings in other programs and departments at Teachers College and Columbia University.
Please note that satisfactory performance in the program is defined as no incomplete grades and no courses in which the grade earned is lower than B. Academic dishonesty and unethical behavior may be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program (master’s or doctoral). Specific information regarding curriculum requirements are contained in the Doctoral Student Handbook. In addition to coursework, a number of other academic experiences are required.
Candidacy as a doctoral student expires after a certain number of years. Ph.D. candidates must complete all degree requirements within seven years of first entering the program (six years if they have an applicable master’s degree or 30 points of advanced standing prior to doctoral admission).
Counseling Psychology students do not become official candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy until they have passed 1) a College-Wide Psychology Research Methods Exam, and 2) a Program Comprehensive exam which includes both a written exam and the submission of a Research Competence project paper. The written exam covers several areas in Counseling Psychology, including: (1) theoretical concepts; (2) core psychology course work; (3) clinical interventions; (4) assessment in career work and personal/social counseling; (5) professional issues such as ethics, professional trends, and developments in counseling psychology. Cultural issues will be infused into the content questions in the exam. In addition, they must satisfy all other requirements for certification prescribed by the Office of Doctoral Studies. Students who fail to take the certification examination at the appropriate point in their studies are subject to certain penalties. Also there are annual evaluations done annually to facilitate students’ timely completion of the Ph.D. degree (See Doctoral Student Handbook for more information).
Practicum and Externship
Practicum placements are available both on-campus and off-campus. The Dean Hope Center for Educational and Psychological Services (CEPS) is an in-house training clinic located at 657 Thorndike Hall. Students may petition program faculty to complete pract-icum placements off-campus and should contact the Fieldwork Coordinator for further information. A year-long externship placement may be required of students who do not obtain sufficient clinical hours during their practicum rotations.
For doctoral students only. Supervised experience in approved and appropriate agencies, institutions, and establishments. Students are required to petition faculty for internship training and must be approved to apply for internship. Students must have completed all coursework during the academic year in which they are applying for internship. Students must have passed all certification and comprehensive examinations as well as have an approved dissertation proposal.
For most doctoral students, the completion of course requirements presents few problems. Successful completion of a dissertation is usually less easily managed. Unless carefully planned in advance, it can prove a difficult hurdle. Accordingly, the program has several built-in features designed to facilitate the formulation and successful execution of an acceptable dissertation proposal and assistance in completing the dissertation. These include the completion of a research competence project, the Dissertation Seminar course, and a Review of Research course.
An undergraduate major in psychology or one of the other social or behavioral sciences is desirable but not essential. It is expected that the personal statement which accompanies the student’s application will show a realistic assessment of the student’s professional interests and goals, as well as how she/he fits with the doctoral program’s training objectives.
Applicants for the doctoral program are considered for fall admission only. For doctoral applicants, all admissions materials must be received by the final application deadline as advertised by the College. See the Admissions section of this bulletin for more information.
Doctoral Program Applications:
Doctoral applicants must submit all credentials, along with their scores on the Graduate Record Examination General (Aptitude) Test by the application deadline. Doctoral applicants also are required to submit a copy of a recently completed paper on a topic of interest to them. This may be, but does not have to be, a paper submitted to satisfy course requirements. Admissions decisions are made once a year. All admissions materials must be received by the final deadline. See the Admissions section of this bulletin for more information.
Although admission to the Ph.D. program requires final acceptance by the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as well as Teachers College, the administrative details for this process are managed via the Teachers College Admission Office. Applicants should not submit an application to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires that applicants have a baccalaureate degree with 90 points of liberal arts credit.
Preference is given to candidates with excellent verbal and quantitative skills whose transcripts, references, performance in an admissions interview, and previous work experience suggest that they have the potential to make a significant contribution to theory, research, practice, or policy-making.
Experience has shown that the doctoral program may not be the most appropriate program of study for students who wish to become psychotherapists. Applicants who are so motivated are advised to seek admission to the Ed.M. program in Psychological Counseling or to a different doctoral program in professional psychology.
For up to date information about course offerings including faculty information, please visit the online course schedule.
Emphasis on the factors that influence the familial and intrapsychic issues of women. The integration of theories provides a framework for understanding the implications of women's development for counseling and psychotherapy.
This course will focus on gaining knowledge of the diverse demographic make-up of Latinos, including multiple races, ethnicities, cultures, values, beliefs, traditions, social classes, and reasons for immigration. Students will learn the psychosocial issues impacting Latinos in the US and culturally linked factors known to influence the therapeutic treatment process, including immigration, racism, poverty, and acculturation. The course will also cover the recent counseling research on culturally relevant psychological assessment instruments and empirically supported treatments for Latinos.
General concepts of career development and methods of assessment in career counseling. This course also highlights various issues related to the career development of diverse client populations in light of contemporary socio-political phenomena.
Limited enrollment. Required: Written application by April 15 and permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: CCPJ 4064, CCPJ 4560, CCPJ 5062, CCPJ 5371 and Child Abuse Reporting/ Violence Prevention Workshop. Limited to second-year students (30 or more points) admitted to the Ed.M. program in Psychological Counseling. Supervised practice in vocational appraisal and short-term educational and personal/career counseling. Students work with clients of the Dean Hope Center. Class meets in Dean Hope Center.
Permission required. Limited Enrollment. Continuing laboratory experience for helping professionals in further development of basic counseling skills with emphasis on increasing one's self-awareness and self-reflective ability. Practice and experience in attending, influencing and helping skills through in-class discussions, experiential activities, weekly journals, and counseling/clinical integration. Exploring assets and defenses that may facilitate or hinder therapeutic transactions.