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 by remaining steadfastly committed to providing outstanding training in the scientist-practitioner model, which 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. 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. 

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.

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 24 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.


Licensure percentage



Median number of years to complete the program


Program Faculty & Expertise

We are proud to be trailblazers and continued leaders in shaping the dialogue about how professional psychology can enhance its impact to be truly inclusive and transformative for people and communities.
Usha Tummala-Narra, Professor, Counseling, Developmental & Educational Psychology; Program Director, Counseling Psychology

What will I study?


  • Courses: 24
  • Credits: 54
  • Comprehensive Exam

The program is designed to qualify candidates for membership in APA and Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) and to provide the pre-doctoral educational requirements for licensure as a psychologist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and for inclusion in the National Register of Health Care Providers. 

Students will complete doctoral coursework in the broad areas listed below that fulfill the basic professional training standards.

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

Statement on Black Lives Matter

As a community of students, faculty, and staff, we stand against oppression and injustice within all contexts, and embrace this SCP statement on the value of Black lives: We continue to learn together and support each other as we work towards equity and inclusion in our classrooms, our hallways, our clinics, and our research settings.

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

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. 

To be eligible for the doctoral program, it is highly recommended that applicants already hold a master's degree although some students are admitted without one. Please see below for more information on the different admission pathways.  

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 five and seven students are offered acceptance to the program. 

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

An applicants master's degree in counseling or a related field should include a 400-hour supervised counseling practicum. The master's level prerequisite courses for the doctoral program include the classes listed above; 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 all of these prerequisites will complete them prior to or during their doctoral studies in our program at their own expense.

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. The successful direct admit candidate generally has substantive post-undergraduate experience and relevant work experience that conveys commitment to and skills in scholarship and direct services to client populations. This applicant 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.

We 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 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 Information


Click the boxes below for additional details on each item


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.


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.


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 from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in 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

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology program will not require the GRE for admission for Fall 2021. You may submit GRE scores, but applicants are not required to do so.

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

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. 

Requirements for International Students

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