Ph.D. in Counseling & Personnel Services (Counseling Psychology)

facebook Welcome to the University of Louisville, College of Education and Human Development's (CEHD) Counseling Psychology doctoral program website. We offer opportunities for students to develop skills broadly while also offering opportunities to specialize within specific clinical and research areas. I want to offer a few of our program highlights, though feel free to read our information contained on this website, and contact Dr. Mark Leach,, Director of Training, if you have additional questions. If you are interested in the M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology please see

Many of our students complete clinical work with the Cardinal Success Program. The NIA Center location was featured on WDRB news for its work in West Louisville. See the video and read the full story...

Why the CEHD Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology?

  • Our APA-accredited program accepts students at both the post-bachelor's and post-master's level.
  • Students can gain clinical experiences in a variety of applied settings in metropolitan Louisville (e.g., counseling centers, community mental health centers, private agencies, VA and other hospitals).
  • Over the past 10 years our internship placement rate is almost 100% and all interns matched with one of their top two preferred placement sites.
  • We have research-active faculty, with interests in areas such as diversity, prevention of depression in adolescents, forgiveness, religion and spirituality, ethics, moral disengagement, international counseling, resilience, adaptation and well-being, and adolescent development, just to name a few. Many students publish articles and present at national conferences prior to graduation.
  • Our stipend is $20,000 per year. Tuition waiver and health insurance included.
  • The department supports the College and University mission in their commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion. In light of this commitment, ECPY has opened two clinics in the West Louisville area that serve historically underserved communities. Graduate and doctoral students have the opportunity to take classes on site and complete practicums and internships.

Philosophy and Training Model

The Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Louisville is designed to train professionals in the science and practice of psychology, while emphasizing counseling psychology approaches to research, practice, consultation, supervision, and training. The program subscribes to a competencies-based model in which practice is grounded in the science of psychology and critical inquiry, and science is often driven by practice. The department has recently opened two clinics in historically underserved parts of Louisville, one at a high school and one as a free-standing clinic. We are very excited about these clinics, as they give students first-hand counseling, research, consultation, and outreach experiences in communities that have significant needs. These clinics are the result of many individuals in the department with strong social justice beliefs, and has the backing of the university as well as local government leaders. We also place students in a variety of counseling agencies, including many types of mental health centers, VA and other hospitals, and counseling centers.

The mission of the Counseling Psychology Program is to prepare students to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary for the entry into the culturally informed professional practice of counseling psychology
  2. create and disseminate scholarly research.
  3. work effectively with diverse clientele common in a metropolitan community.

The program produces:

  • psychologists who are capable of contributing to the empirical and theoretical literature in counseling and psychology;
  • practitioners who are equipped to foster human development and to prevent the emergence of psychological problems as well as to remediate psychopathology; and
  • professionals who are committed to working with diverse populations in metropolitan settings, in accordance with the metropolitan mission of the University of Louisville.

Students' View of Louisville

Louisville is a vibrant community that combines Southern comfort with the active and exciting environment of a large city. There is a match for each individual's taste: dine along Bardstown Road's Restaurant Row with cuisine from all over the world, jump on a trolley to a local art gallery or live bluegrass show, explore one of the largest city park systems in the country, or enjoy the night away at 4th Street Live! Each May, the entire city comes alive for an extravagant two-week festival capped off at the famed Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby!

Students' Experience with Counseling Psychology

"The program prepares students to be highly competent professionals/psychologists. There are plenty of opportunities to gain experience in research, teaching, and as a clinician. Students can choose to be involved in many different research groups and gain clinical experience in a variety of settings (hospital, prison, college, community mental health, etc.). What has been particularly invaluable for me (as a third-year student) is the guidance and support of the faculty, who are truly vested in the best interests of their students." — Lorna B.

"One of my favorite things about the program here, is that research fields and opportunities are very flexible. If you have an idea that you would like investigate, you're not limited by the identified interests of the professors. You will most likely be able to find someone who will help you work it out." — Ben J.

Students' Views on Research & Practice in Counseling Psychology

Has your involvement in research and/or practicum been influential in developing your identity as a future psychologist?

"Absolutely. In my first year I participated in a research project involving couples' relationship education, where I learned that I enjoy working with couples - before I even started my first practicum! One great thing about this program is that students have the space to develop their professional identity without being pressured to choose one path over another." — Meg M.

"The faculty and my practicum supervisors have established a balanced environment that allows me to find my own therapeutic voice while challenging me to maintain strong and intentional foundations to theory and research." — Jason G.

Faculty-Student Research and Professional Mentorship

The PhD in CPS with Counseling Psychology program attempts to match doctoral students with faculty based on mutual research and professional interests. Please be sure to check out our program faculty's current projects.

APA Accreditation

Inquiries concerning the accreditation status of our APA-accredited PhD CPS with Counseling Psychology can be obtained from the American Psychological Association's Commission on Accreditation (CoA). The CoA can be reached at: American Psychological Association Office of Program Consultation & Accreditation, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, Phone: (202) 336-5979, E-mail:

For information on program accreditation click here.


The Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program accepts students at both the post-bachelor’s and post-master’s levels. The post-bachelor’s students require a minimum of four years of academic study and completion of an internship, while the post-master’s students are required to stay on campus for three years prior to the internship year. Thus, the minimum time to complete the doctorate is four to five years. Students are required to be in full time residence during their programs of study. Full time status is defined as 9 credit hours per semester, though most students take 12 hours for the majority of their training. The Counseling Psychology Program Doctoral Student Handbook lists the courses required to complete the program.

For details about program curriculum, visit the Counseling Psychology Program Doctoral Handbook or the Graduate Catalog.

Additionally, students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty throughout their experience in the doctoral program. Many faculty members have research teams and/or work independently with students on a variety of projects (see program faculty's bios).

The Counseling Psychology specialization is committed to social justice and diversity

The PhD Program in CPS with Counseling Psychology specialization at the University of Louisville adheres to the values and ethics put forward by the American Psychological Association. Students are expected to adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards. Upon entry into the program students are expected to become familiar with the Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct (2002) and the various guidelines published by APA (2003).

Respect for diversity and for values different from one's own is a central value of counseling psychology training programs. The valuing of diversity is also consistent with the profession of psychology as mandated by the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct (2002) and as discussed in the Guidelines and Principles of Programs in Professional Psychology (APA, 2005). More recently there has been a call for counseling psychologists to actively work and advocate for social justice and prevent further oppression in society. Counseling psychologists provide services, teach, and/or engage in research with or pertaining to members of social groups that have often been devalued, viewed as deficient, or otherwise marginalized in the larger society.

Academic training programs, internships that employ counseling psychologists and espouse counseling values, and post-doc training programs (herein "training programs") in counseling psychology exist within multicultural communities that contain people of diverse racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds; national origins; religious, spiritual and political beliefs; physical abilities; ages; genders; gender identities, sexual orientations, and physical appearance. Counseling psychologists believe that training communities are enriched by members' openness to learning about others who are different than them as well as acceptance of others. Internship trainers, professors, practicum supervisors (herein "trainers") and students and interns (herein "trainees") agree to work together to create training environments that are characterized by respect, safety, and trust. Further, trainers and trainees are expected to be respectful and supportive of all individuals, including, but not limited to clients, staff, peers, and research participants.

Trainers recognize that no individual is completely free from all forms of bias and prejudice. Furthermore, it is expected that each training community will evidence a range of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Nonetheless, trainees and trainers in counseling psychology training programs are expected to be committed to the social values of respect for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Further, trainees and trainers are expected to be committed to critical thinking and the process of self-examination so that such prejudices or biases (and the assumptions on which they are based) may be evaluated in the light of available scientific data, standards of the profession, and traditions of cooperation and mutual respect. Thus, trainees and trainers are asked to demonstrate a genuine desire to examine their own attitudes, assumptions, behaviors, and values and to learn to work effectively with "cultural, individual, and role differences including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status" (APA Ethics Code, 2002, Principle E, p. 1063). Stated simply, both trainers and trainees are expected to demonstrate a willingness to examine their personal values, and to acquire and utilize professionally relevant knowledge and skills regardless of their beliefs, attitudes, and values.

Trainers will engage trainees in a manner inclusive and respectful of their multiple cultural identities. Trainers will examine their own biases and prejudices in the course of their interactions with trainees so as to model and facilitate this process for their trainees. Trainers will provide equal access, opportunity, and encouragement for trainees inclusive of their multiple cultural identities. Where appropriate, trainers will also model the processes of personal introspection in which they desire trainees to engage. As such, trainers will engage in and model appropriate self-disclosure and introspection with their trainees. This can include discussions about personal life experiences, attitudes, beliefs, opinions, feelings, and personal histories. Assuming no one is free from biases and prejudices, trainers will remain open to appropriate challenges from trainees to their held biases and prejudices. Trainers are committed to lifelong learning relative to multicultural competence. Counseling psychology training programs believe providing experiences that call for trainees to self-disclose and personally introspect about personal life experiences is an essential component of the training program. Specifically, while in the program trainees will be expected to engage in self-reflection and introspection on their attitudes, beliefs, opinions, feelings and personal history. Trainees will be expected to examine and attempt to resolve any of the above to eliminate potential negative impact on their ability to perform the functions of a psychologist, including but not limited to providing effective services to individuals from cultures and with beliefs different from their own and in accordance with APA guidelines and principles.

Self-Disclosure & Training

Self-Disclosure is part of the training process for counseling psychologists. We encourage students to explore aspects of their identity as it relates to the professional practice of psychology. We adhere to the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002), regarding self-disclosure, which states:

7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information

Psychologists do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.

Note Because of the nature of the program and its relevance to counseling psychology we often require self-disclosure and introspection of our students while in the program.

Members of the training community are committed to educating each other on the existence and effects of racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, religious intolerance, and other forms of invidious prejudice. Evidence of bias, stereotyped thinking, and prejudicial beliefs and attitudes will not go unchallenged, even when such behavior is rationalized as being a function of ignorance, joking, cultural differences, or substance abuse. When these actions result in physical or psychological abuse, harassment, intimidation, substandard psychological services or research, or violence against persons or property, members of the training community will intervene appropriately.

In summary, all members of counseling psychology training communities are committed to a training process that facilitates the development of professionally relevant knowledge and skills focused on working effectively with all individuals inclusive of demographics, beliefs, attitudes, and values. Members agree to engage in a mutually supportive process that examines the effects of one's beliefs, attitudes, and values on one's work with all clients. Such training processes are consistent with counseling psychology's core values, respect for diversity and for values similar and different from one's own.

This document was endorsed by the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies (ACCTA), the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP), and the Society for Counseling Psychology (SCP) in August of 2006.

In addition, students should be familiar with the Specialty Guidelines for the Delivery of Services endorsed by APA: (see Downloaded August 1, 2010.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit an online application for admission to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

Students may enter with a baccalaureate or a master's degree.

  • Official transcripts as verification of all previous coursework and degree(s).
  • GRE scores are not required this year and will not be viewed if sent.
  • Undergraduate grade point average greater than 3.0 or a graduate grade point average greater than 3.5.
  • Students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by successfully completing one of the following: Note: International students who have earned a degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. are not required to complete the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo.
  • Three letters of recommendation on institutional letterhead from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential, along with the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies recommendation form.
  • An updated Curriculum Vitae or resume.
  • Professional goals appropriate to pursuing a Ph.D. in CPS with a Counseling Psychology specialization from the University of Louisville. Applicants should submit a personal statement of approximately 1,500 words outlining their professional goals and how their research and professional interests might align with those of faculty in the department.

This program is open to all eligible students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

An applicant who does not meet one of the above criteria and wishes to be considered for admission should include, in his/her application package, a written rationale for why the doctoral admissions committee should consider the application.

Applicants ranked highest by the doctoral admissions committee based on their application package will be interviewed on campus or by telephone.

Visit the Doctoral Student Handbook to learn more about the admission process. If you have questions about the program, e-mail

Application Deadlines

Fall Term Admission: December 1


Dr. Mark Leach, Director of Training
Department of Counseling and Human Development
College of Education & Human Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Program Faculty

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities.

We have been successful in funding our full-time doctoral students for the majority of their time in the doctoral program. However, we cannot guarantee graduate assistantships or fellowships for all students. The faculty are committed to work hard to secure funding.