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

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.

We aspire to cultivate the highest level of competence in our students to conduct rigorous and cutting-edge research, to refine their clinical skills based in multiple theoretical orientations, and to ensure that all students have opportunities to advocate for social justice through their research, clinical work, teaching, and outreach. Our aim is to produce the next generation of counseling psychologists who are poised to make critical advances in our field that expand beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries and clinical settings.

Our scientist-practitioner training model emphasizes a developmental contextual perspective with attention to the intersectionality of multiple forms of diversity, and a firm commitment to social justice and community-based practice.

Students emerge from our program with training experiences that make them highly competitive to attain positions in academia, mental health organizations, and other related occupations across community contexts.

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.


92%

Licensure percentage

2009-2019

6

Median number of years to complete the program

2009-2019

A Letter From The Program Director


Welcome!

As Director of Training in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Program at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and on behalf of our faculty and students, I thank you for your interest in our training program. The current Boston College program began when a handful of visionaries decided to leverage the enormous strengths of Boston College and the impressive Boston psychological community to train Counseling Psychologists equipped to advocate for social justice through their clinical work, research, teaching, leadership, and outreach. They succeeded in developing one of the most vibrant doctoral programs in the country.  The social justice agenda has taken root in many doctoral programs in the U.S., which we believe is a welcome development in our profession.  In this context, we are very proud of our role as a trailblazer of this movement and a continued leader in shaping the dialogue about how professional psychology can enhance its impact to be truly inclusive and transformative for people and communities.

Our Boston College program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and has a deep commitment to training students using the scientist-practitioner model. Our degree candidates have access to a wide breadth of top-notch practice opportunities in diverse mental health settings, including universities, schools, hospitals, and outpatient community mental health facilities.  Students 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. Graduates of our program are working in a wide array of contexts including academia, community mental health centers, Veterans Administration centers, major teaching hospitals, research centers, university counseling centers, and various clinical practice settings.  

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.  

We hope you will consider joining us on this fulfilling journey.

All the best,

David L. Blustein, Ph.D.

Professor, Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology

Director of Doctoral Training, Counseling Psychology

Program Faculty & Expertise


What will I study?


Curriculum


  • Courses: 20
  • Credits: 54
  • Comprehensive Exam

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

Psychologist

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Instructor

Veterans Adminstration Medical Center

Psychologist

University of Michigan

Psychology Professor

Simmons College, Counseling Center

Psychologist

Brookline Community Mental Health Center

Psychologist

American University

Public Health Professor

Montefiore Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry

Staff Psychologist

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.

Application Details


There are two options for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology program: Master's and Direct Admit. Doctoral applicants may hold a master's degree in counseling or a related field; however, this is not required for admission into our program. Students with bachelor's degrees may apply directly to the program. We should note that current needs in the doctoral program tend to favor students with a master's degree. However, applicants to the doctoral program who the faculty believe may be better served by the master's program will have their application considered for admission into the master's program at the time of review.

Please note that all Application materials must be received on or before December 1. Doctoral applications are reviewed by faculty in January, and a small number of applicants are selected to attend a one-day interview in mid February. A final cohort of between six and eight students are offered acceptance to the program. Please review the full list of Application Requirements below.

The Counseling Psychology doctoral program welcomes and embraces diversity through its choice of faculty, students, research interests, and commitment to the community. The doctoral program is also interested in applicants who are dedicated to the mission of our program, in particular its social justice commitment.

In making decisions about applicants, the faculty considers the following attributes:

  • Grades (graduate and undergraduate)
  • Research experience
  • Experience in clinical work or counseling-types of roles
  • GRE scores (verbal, quantitative; the Psychology test is not required)
  • Personal statement
  • Resume or CV
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample

Successful applicants typically demonstrate evidence of their preparation for doctoral study, commitment to the scientist-practitioner training model, and commitment to the social justice mission of the program via their academic work, curricular and extra-curricular activities, and research experience. Students who are hoping to obtain admission without a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology generally have substantive post-undergraduate experience and relevant work experience that conveys commitment to and skills in scholarship and direct services to client populations.

Ideally, successful applicants to the doctoral program should have completed as undergraduates or as graduate students the following courses:

  • Principles and Techniques of Counseling
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychological Testing
  • Group Counseling or Family Therapy

In order to be considered, an applicant must have a master's degree in counseling or a related field that includes a 400-hour supervised counseling practicum. The master's level prerequisite courses for the doctoral program include the classes listed below; however, students without these specific prerequisites should still apply as some of our admitted students have not completed all of these master's level courses.

Students who have not completed these prerequisites need to complete prior to or during their doctoral studies in our program at their own expense.

The successful direct admit candidate presents with outstanding credentials and clear evidence of preparation for doctoral study, a commitment to the scientist-practitioner model, and a focus on social justice. Successful direct admit applicants also convey a level of maturity and commitment to excellence that is hard to quantify. Our advice for talented students without a master's degree is that it is worthwhile to apply for a doctoral degree if that is your clear, long-term goal. We often offer the option of enrolling in our master's degree to those qualified applicants who are not admitted to the doctoral program. It is important to note, however, that all of our master's students if interested in our doctoral program when completing their master's at Boston College need to re-apply for the doctoral program. There is no guaranteed admission to the doctoral program from the master's program although approximately half of our doctoral admits usually come from our master's students.

Prerequisite Undergraduate Courses:

  • Introductory Psychology
  • Developmental or Life-Span Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Personality Theory

Application Requirements

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Click the boxes below for additional details on each item

Deadlines

All applicants
December 1

Apply Now

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

Resume

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.

Transcripts

All official undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be sent to our office before the application deadline. Please note the following:

  • Only official sealed (unopened) transcripts are acceptable. An official postsecondary transcript must be printed on official institutional paper and include at least one of the following: an institutional watermark, the registrar’s signature, or the registrar's seal.

  • Copies and unofficial transcripts sent directly from applicants are not acceptable, the transcript must come directly from the institution.

  • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate and/or graduate degree, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.

Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to gsoe@bc.edu from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in gsoe@bc.edu to ensure it is received by our office. 

If your degree was obtained from an institution outside of the U.S. you are required to submit a course-by-course evaluation completed by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) approved evaluator. A complete list of NACES-approved evaluators is found on the Directory of NACES Members.

Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:

Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
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 https://www.ets.org/gre.

Lynch School of Education and Human Development 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 and Human Development. Learn about requirements for international students.

Contact Us

  gsoe@bc.edu
  617-552-4214