A counseling psychology degree is an academic program that focuses on the study of human behavior, mental health, and therapeutic interventions. It provides students with the knowledge, skills, and practical training necessary to work as professional counselors in a variety of settings. Here are the key details about a counseling psychology degree:

  • Degree Levels: Counseling psychology degrees are typically offered at the master’s and doctoral levels. A Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling Psychology is a common degree option, while a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Counseling Psychology is a more advanced and research-focused option.
  • Core Coursework: Counseling psychology programs cover a range of theoretical and practical topics to prepare students for their professional roles. Core coursework may include subjects such as counseling theories, psychological assessment, human development, multicultural counseling, counseling techniques, ethics and professional standards, group counseling, and research methods.
  • Specialization Options: Counseling psychology programs often allow students to specialize in specific areas based on their interests and career goals. Some common specializations include mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, career counseling, substance abuse counseling, and school counseling. Specializations may require additional coursework, clinical experience, or supervised practicum placements.
  • Clinical Training: Clinical training is a crucial component of a counseling psychology degree. Students gain hands-on experience by participating in supervised practicum or internship placements. These clinical experiences provide opportunities to apply counseling skills, conduct assessments, develop treatment plans, and work with diverse populations under the guidance of experienced professionals.
  • Research and Capstone Projects: Doctoral-level counseling psychology programs typically involve research components. Students may be required to complete a research thesis or dissertation, conducting original research in an area of interest within counseling psychology. This research contributes to the knowledge and advancement of the field.
  • Licensure Preparation: Counseling psychology programs often align with the requirements for licensure as a professional counselor. They provide the foundational knowledge and training necessary to meet state licensure criteria. Students are typically guided through the licensure process and prepared for the required examinations, such as the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
  • Professional Development: Counseling psychology programs emphasize the development of professional skills and ethical practices. Students engage in self-reflection, personal growth, and participate in supervision or case conferences to enhance their competence as future counselors. Programs may also offer opportunities for students to join professional organizations, attend conferences, and engage in ongoing continuing education to stay updated with current trends and research in the field.

There are several universities and colleges in the United States that offer excellent counseling psychology programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. Here are some institutions known for their reputable counseling psychology degrees:

  • Stanford University - Department of Psychology: Stanford University offers a Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology that focuses on research, teaching, and clinical training. The program emphasizes multiculturalism, diversity, and social justice in counseling psychology.
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Education: UCLA offers a Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology that emphasizes multicultural competence and social justice advocacy. The program integrates research, practice, and training to prepare students for careers in academia, research, and practice.
  • University of Maryland, College Park - Counseling Psychology Program: The University of Maryland offers a doctoral program in Counseling Psychology that focuses on preparing students to be skilled counseling practitioners, researchers, and leaders in the field. The program emphasizes multiculturalism, social justice, and prevention-oriented approaches.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Counseling Psychology: The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology that provides comprehensive training in research, practice, and teaching. The program emphasizes social justice, diversity, and multicultural competency.
  • University of Georgia - Department of Counseling and Human Development Services: The University of Georgia offers a Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology that emphasizes the integration of science and practice. The program focuses on multicultural counseling, social justice, and research-based interventions.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology: UCSB offers a Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology that focuses on the integration of research, theory, and practice. The program emphasizes social justice, diversity, and the ecological context of counseling.
  • University of Texas at Austin - Department of Educational Psychology: The University of Texas at Austin offers a Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology that prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and practice. The program emphasizes multicultural counseling, social justice, and evidence-based interventions.


See which schools are the most and least expensive.

Read about Tuition