Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology

This program began when a handful of visionaries decided to leverage the enormous strengths of Boston College and the vibrant Boston psychological community to train Counseling Psychologists equipped to advocate for social justice through their clinical work, research, teaching, leadership, and outreach. They succeeded.

Today, our APA accredited program achieves its mission and aims/learning outcomes by remaining steadfastly committed to providing outstanding training in the scientist-practitioner model. Our degree candidates have access to a breadth of top-notch practice opportunities in diverse mental health settings, including universities, schools, hospitals, and outpatient community mental health facilities. They are closely mentored by our internationally recognized counseling psychology faculty, who are applying their cutting-edge and purposeful research to address some of the most complex and challenging questions facing our society. Students are exposed to areas of research spanning school, workplace, community, and international concerns, including immigration, trauma resiliency and recovery, domestic violence, the psychology of working, bias-based bullying, culture, race, and gender issues, youth mentoring, and positive youth development.

While we aim to produce outstanding scientist-practitioners, we also emphasize the importance of training in a context that develops well-rounded individuals.  To this end, we provide an intimate setting of safety, diversity, and mutual respect that encourages self-exploration and personal growth, as well as meaningful involvement in our own community and our wider society. Together, we aim to advance knowledge and engage in practice that will build relationships beyond our classrooms, create synergies among diverse disciplines and connect colleagues to create new scholarship and models for change, all with the ultimate goal of enhancing the human condition.

Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student Handbook

Program Facts


Licensure percentage



Students who obtained APA/CPA-accredited internships



Median number of years to complete the program


Financial Assistance

Education should level the playing field – we feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $7.5 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable.

At a Glance

How many courses?

This program consists of 20 courses. 

How long will it take?

A minimum of five years of full-time academic study is needed.
Students entering without a Master's degree in Counseling or a related field often will need longer.

When can I start?

Students can begin the program only in the fall semester.

What are my options?

Students can enroll on a full time basis.

Program Faculty & Expertise

What will I study?


  • Courses: 20
  • Credits: 54
  • Comprehensve Exam
Course Course Title Credit

Seminar: Counseling Psychology in Context: Social Action, Consultation, and Collaboration

Accompanying the First Year Experience (FYE) practicum, exposes students to research and practice at the meso- (community, organizations) and macro (government, policy, social norms) levels, in addition to the more traditional micro (individual) level. Students discuss their personal experiences within their FYE placement and read and discuss a series of articles and chapters central to the developing fields of critical psychology, liberation psychology, or counseling with a social justice orientation.


Seminar: Professional Issues in Counseling Psychology

This is an advanced seminar focusing primarily on ethical and legal issues in counseling psychology. Topics will also include certification and licensing, accreditation, professional identity, the history of counseling psychology, and future developments in professional psychology.


Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior

This course discusses theories of human development and examines empirical research on cognitive and affective processes underlying behavior. In addressing the cognitive bases of behavior, it explores key mental processes (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving) and constructs (e.g., schemas, heuristics) that have been instrumental in understanding everyday functioning. 

Quantitative Research Design in Counseling and Developmental Psychology

In this year-long seminar, students examine quantitative research designs and application employed in the Counseling and Developmental Psychology literatures, including randomized, nonrandomized, cross-sectional, and longitudinal designs.


Advanced Seminar in Psychopathology

A developmental approach to understanding psychological disorders across the life span. The course will examine the emergence of a range of disorders in children, adolescents, and adults (e.g., depression, violent and abusive behavior).


Where do our graduates work?

Lesley University

Psychology Professor

University of Missouri, Kansas City 

Dean of the College of Education

University of Maryland,
Counseling Center


Albert Einstein College of Medicine 


Veterans Adminstration Medical Center


University of Michigan 

Psychology Professor 

Simmons College, Counseling Center


Brookline Community Mental Health Center


American University

Public Health Professor 

Montefiore Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry

Staff Psychologist 

Application Information


Click the boxes below for additional details on each item


All applicants
December 1

Application Form

Apply Now

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required, however, this fee is waived for select applicants.


To be uploaded to your online Application Form

In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Personal Statement

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.

Letters of Recommendation

Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form

Three letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants with significant relevant professional experience may submit additional recommendations from supervisors.


Undergraduate transcripts are required as part of the application process and graduate transcripts are accepted, but not required. Please note the following:

  • Only official transcripts, bearing the official seal of the institution and the signature of the relevant administrator, are acceptable.
  • Copies and unofficial transcripts are not acceptable.
  • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate degree at the time your transcript is sent, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.


Transcripts must be mailed to the following address:

Boston College, Lynch School of Education
Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Services
Campion Hall 135
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Standardized Tests

An unofficial score report may be uploaded to your online Application Form; however, an official score report – sent directly from ETS – must also be submitted by the application deadline.

  • This program requires all applicants to have taken the GRE in a maximum of 5 years prior to application being submitted, regardless of previous academic coursework, previous degrees/credentials earned, and/or professional experience. No exceptions will be made.

  • The GRE is the only exam that is acceptable for this program; the MAT, LSAT, MTEL, GMAT, and other exams may not be substituted for the GRE.

For more information about the GRE exam, including test dates and testing sites, visit

Lynch School of Education GRE Code: 3218

Writing Sample

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

All applicants to this program are required to submit one piece of work that demonstrates graduate-level writing ability. This document may be an academic term paper, a published work in which you are the primary author, a training manual or curriculum that you have created, a clinical case formulation, or another representative sample of your writing. The document should be approximately 15-25 pages.

International Students

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education. Learn about requirements for international students.