Ph.D.: Counseling Psychology

We are no longer accepting new students in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. Students interested in being a Health Service Psychologist and studying with our counseling psychology faculty are encouraged to apply to the Ph.D. in Psychology - Clinical Psychology Option.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Graduates develop professional identities as health service counseling psychologists and are knowledgeable about the emerging roles and functions, current professional issues, and scope of research and practice in counseling psychology.
  • Graduates adhere to ethical and legal standards throughout all aspects of their professional work in psychology
  • Graduates display a level of professional integrity expected of them in their work as professional psychologists as evidenced through their interpersonal behaviors, decision-making, and ability to effectively engage in a wide variety of professional relationships
  • Graduates engage in self-reflective practices related to life-long learning as health service counseling psychologists
  • Graduates engage in culturally competent counseling and professional practice that reflects social justice values
  • Graduates demonstrate competent skills in research conceptualization, design, data analysis and interpretation, and dissemination of research findings.
  • Graduates are knowledgeable and competent in using interventions (e.g., assessment, diagnosis, treatment, supervision, consultation, outreach, etc.,) that are based in counseling theory and informed by current scientific literature in order to meet the needs of diverse clients.

Student Learning Outcomes

The main goal of our program is to prepare entry level health service psychologists trained in a counseling psychology model to improve the welfare of individuals and communities through scholarship and applied interventions. This main goal is broken down in four specific aims:

Aim 1: Graduates develop a professional identity as a health service counseling psychologist.

Aim 2: Graduates understand the importance and complexity of cultural and individual diversity, including knowledge of their cultural selves. They acquire the competence to apply knowledge of diversity in all areas of science and practice, and will engage in practice activities and research, attending to minority populations and/or other aspects of diversity.

Aim 3: Graduates understand psychology as a scientific discipline. They are able to create, evaluate, and ethically contribute to the empirical knowledge base of psychological practice and theory. They can carrying out original and independent empirical investigations of psychological phenomena.

Aim 4: Graduates are trained to meet the varied needs of their diverse clients using ethical interventions based in counseling theory and informed by science. Graduates are able to establish effective professional and inter-professional/interdisciplinary relationships and effectively use and provide supervision, consultation, and instruction/teaching. 


The PhD program in Counseling Psychology offers broad and general training that emphasizes multicultural and individual diversity within a scientist-practitioner model. Our program model is intended to educate ethical and flexible health service counseling psychologists who can work in a variety of settings and rely on the underlying philosophies and values of counseling psychology and the scientist-practitioner model. The program has been fully accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1985.

Admission Criteria

The program accepts bachelor's-level and master's-level applicants. Approximately six to ten students are admitted to the Counseling Psychology program each year.

Recommended minimum for bachelor's level applicants:

  • The completion of a bachelor's degree with a major in psychology.
  • Official GRE scores obtained within the last five years.
  • An overall undergraduate 3.0 GPA covering all college work taken prior to the bachelor's degree, or 3.25 for the major courses or the last 60 credits of the bachelor's degree.
  • Additional requirements may apply for international students.

Recommended minimum for master's level applicants:

  • The completion of a master's degree in counseling or a closely related area.
  • Official GRE scores obtained within the last five years.
  • Graduate GPA of 3.5 or above.
  • Additional requirements may apply for international students.

Applicants will be evaluated using the following dimensions: academic potential, research potential, research interest, interpersonal characteristics, contribution to program diversity, commitment to multiculturalism, professional goals and interest, understanding of the profession of counseling psychology.

Alternative Criteria: students who do not meet the regular recommended criteria may be admitted under alternative criteria provided there is good reason to believe that the regular criteria do not adequately manifest the student's potential to do quality work in the program. The Counseling Psychology faculty reserves the right to require those who are admitted under the alternative criteria to take some background core courses in psychology before or during the first year of their doctoral training in the areas of general psychology, theories of personality, tests and measurement, abnormal psychology, experimental psychology, and introductory statistics. This decision will be made by the admission committee and the student's assigned advisor, and communicated to the student before he/she starts the program.

The admission committee will consist of three or more faculty members and one or more student members. The student member must be in his or her final year of the academic program (i.e., doing the pre-doctoral internship in the subsequent academic year). Using the above criteria, the admission committee will select approximately thirty applicants to be offered interviews. Campus interview will be recommended, but not required. Phone interviews are offered for those who cannot make the campus interview on our Interview Day. Admission will be offered to a small number of the applicants interviewed. In addition, the committee selects a list of those who were interviewed to serve as alternates. Candidates will be notified of the admissions decisions no later than March 15. Candidates are required to act on the notifications by April 15th. If a first-round candidate does not accept, an alternate for the position will be selected from the list of the remaining candidates. Alternates will have 7 days to act on the notification, but if the offer is made on or after April 15, they will have 3 days to give a definite response. In making decisions, the Counseling Psychology Program at UMKC does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, or physical disability and appearance.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadline: December 1st

Please note that the application materials must be submitted to two separate offices:

University of Missouri – Kansas City
Office of Admissions
120 Administrative Center
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
Phone: (815) 235-1111

1. UMKC Application for Admission* online at
2. Application Fee
3. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
4. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE), including the GRE writing scores, sent directly from ETS, obtained within the last 5 years. After you have taken the GRE, scores take 5-6 weeks to arrive at UMKC.


University of Missouri – Kansas City
ATTN: PhD in Counseling Admissions Committee
215 Education Building
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
Phone: 816)235-2722

1. Cover Sheet for the PhD in Counseling Psychology (attached)

2. Curriculum Vita

  • Personal information (address, phone, email)
  • Educational background
  • Relevant clinical and research experiences
  • Relevant volunteer work
  • Honors or awards
  • Membership / leadership in professional organizations
  • Presentations and publications

3. Three letters of recommendation

  • Raters should be professional references, this excludes family and friends
  • Raters should address your suitability for professional studies in counseling
  • Raters should address your interpersonal and intellectual functioning and skills in research, counseling and written and oral communication
  • Raters should enclose their letters of recommendation along with the provided rating sheet (attached) in an envelope and sign their names across the sealed flap of the envelope

4. Personal statement

  • Submit a concise 500 word max statement concerning your professional goals. Also, address your professional and applied interest and experiences.

*Please note that admission to UMKC does not guarantee admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Counseling Psychology.

Additional Requirement for International Applicants

Success in the counseling profession relies heavily on oral expression and, therefore, the Counseling and Educational Psychology division faculty require that all non-native English speaking international applicants demonstrate their proficiency in English, preferably by taking the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (iBT TOEFL). Applicants are expected to demonstrate their oral English proficiency by obtaining a score of at least 23 points (score range 0-30) on the speaking section and at least 20 points (score range 0-30) on the listening section of the iBT TOEFL before their applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Please be aware that the minimum admission score for the iBT TOEFL test set by the UMKC International Student Affairs Office is 79, and that the Counseling and Educational Psychology division requires specific minimum scores on the speaking and listening subtests in addition to the University requirement.

While iBT TOEFL scores are strongly preferred by the Counseling and Educational Psychology division faculty, scores on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will also be considered as evidence of English proficiency. Applicants taking the IELTS are expected to demonstrate their oral English proficiency by obtaining a score of at least 7 (score range 0-9) on the speaking subsection of the IELTS and a 6.5 (score range 0-9) on the listening subsection. In addition, applicants are expected to obtain a score of 6.5 on the total IELTS before applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Please note that the minimum admission score for the IELTS test set by the UMKC International Student Affairs Office is 6, and that the division requires specific minimum scores and a higher overall score than the University requirement.

NOTE: Both TOEFL and IELTS scores must not be more than two years old.