Counseling Psychology

The Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at The University of Memphis is a full-time program designed to train psychologists who promote human development in the areas of mental health, emotional and social learning, career development, and decision-making in a rapidly changing environment. Students entering with a master's degree typically complete three years of coursework and a fourth year of predoctoral internship. The majority of the students complete their dissertations prior to or during the internship and graduate at the end of their fourth year. The program is administered through the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research, College of Education. The program was accredited by the American Psychological Association* effective October, 1989*.


Program Highlights:

  • As a first-year doctoral student, Adam Fishel was awarded the 2015 Student Award for Distinguished Contributions in Positive Psychology
  • Dr. Laura Marks was awarded the 2016 Society for Counseling Psychology Prevention Section Research Award
  • Dr. Lindsey Swanson Schriefer (2016 graduate) was a Division 47 (Society for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) poster award finalist at APA, Denver, CO. The poster was based on her dissertation, "Understanding coach/team relationships' influence on sport motivation in collegiate student-athletes."


Training is organized around the scientist-practitioner model of critical thinking and program faculty strive for an equivalent emphasis on developing both clinical understanding and skills and facility with research.  The program emphasizes responsibility and commitment to human welfare. Didactic and experiential activities and coursework are designed to anchor students firmly within the discipline of psychology. The department has a strong commitment to training professionals to work with diverse populations in urban settings.

Program Goals and Objectives

In accordance with the missions of the University, College, and Department, the Counseling Psychology program prepares professional psychologists who, upon graduation, are expected to become licensed and assume leadership roles in their communities. Students are expected to acquire: (1) a knowledge and skills base in psychology, research, counseling, psychological evaluation, and ethical, legal, and professional standards; (2) an identity as a counseling psychologist; and (3) the cultural competence needed for working in a diverse environment. The program is individualized to meet the students' goals. Graduates are prepared for positions in various settings including university counseling centers, community mental health centers, medical centers, independent practice, academia, and business. More detailed information on program goals, objectives, and competencies can be found here.

Faculty Research Teams

As with all doctoral programs, the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology places a strong value on engaging in the research process. Faculty supervise research teams that provide students with opportunities to gain experience with the research process, present at conferences, and publish. Current teams are studying GLBT issues, international issues, health disparities, career development, multicultural and early family career issues, wellness, animal-assisted therapy, and masculinity.

Student Information

The program admits 7-8 students each year. Applicants are admitted once each year and are expected to begin coursework in the Fall semester; applicants for Spring admission are not considered.  Students entering with a master's degree are expected to spend a minimum of three years in residence in Memphis and then complete a predoctoral internship in their fourth year. Students complete 78 hours of coursework in the substantive areas of psychology and counseling psychology, 12 hours of dissertation credit, and 9 hours of internship credit.

Clinical Training Opportunities

The Memphis urban area provides a wide variety of field training sites including mental health centers, hospitals/medical settings, college counseling centers, prisons, rehabilitation agencies, and independent practices. Students typically enroll in their first practicum placement in the summer of their first year. Most students enroll in four or five practica semesters during the program

Student Financial Aid

Support is available through Graduate Assistantships in research, teaching, or administrative work. The Department Chair, Dr. Steven West, makes assistantship assignments. Selected community training sites appropriate for professional counseling psychologists offer paid external placements that provide experience, training, and monetary stipends through University-funded grants for some students. A limited number of scholarships are available through the Graduate School. Details are available in the Graduate Catalog. Eligible students may also apply for available grants and loans.