Clinical and Counseling Psychology
Bulletin Page Content
The University of South Alabama offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology (CCP). This program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences in the College of Education and Professional Studies. The program combines an asset-strength model from Counseling Psychology with a health psychology/wellness model from Clinical Psychology. The Clinical and Counseling Psychology program prepares professionals to provide the most effective and culturally sensitive types of psychological care for individuals and communities. Further, the program is based on a scientist-practitioner model of training, meaning that graduates will develop competence in clinical practice, scientific research, and ability to integrate these two domains. Graduates of the program will have a set of competencies which will also enable them to work successfully with a variety of other health care professionals for the purposes of health promotion and to prevent and remediate mental health conditions in the world. Graduates might be employed in a variety of settings, including counseling centers in colleges and universities, medical centers, Veterans Administration hospitals, schools, private practices, health and wellness facilities, state and federal agencies, family counseling services, academic departments in higher education institutions, and professional associations. Such responsibilities would include direct service to individuals and the management of psychological services for individuals and groups using evidence-based interventions as well as research, advocacy, teaching, supervision and/or training other health professionals.
Program Admission Requirements
Routes to Admission:
Applicants can apply at one of two stages of their education.
Admission having only previously completed with a Bachelor's Degree: Students admitted at this stage must complete the requirements of the master's degree in psychology (Clinical & Counseling Psychology Concentration) along the way to earning their Ph.D. (see required coursework). Such students are automatically granted admission to the Ph.D. program of study once their M.S. coursework and degree requirements are completed. Students who fail to complete the requirements of the master's degree in psychology within 2 years may be prohibited from entering the doctoral program.
- Admission having already earned with a Master's Degree: Students who have completed a master’s degree (Master of Science/Arts/Education) at another institution will enter the doctoral training program upon admission. Students are still held to course and program requirements of the Masters’ Degree in Psychology (Clinical & Counseling Psychology Concentration). Such students may submit requests to have these requirements waived based on prior graduate level coursework and other program requirements (e.g., master’s thesis). The core faculty of the CCP program evaluate prior graduate coursework and may waive some of the foundational course requirements if they are equivalent to USA’s version of the same course. Students who enter the CCP with a master's degree will invariably have a number of courses that need to be remediated, particularly students with master's degrees in fields other than psychology.
Students are admitted to start the program in the fall semester only. No spring or summer admissions are permitted. Participation in the program is full-time and, with the exception of an assistantship, students are discouraged from engaging in any outside employment. Applications to the CCP program should be completed by December 15th for admission for the following fall semester. In addition to the Graduate School application form and required supporting documentation, the Clinical and Counseling Psychology program requires submission of a program application form, a statement of purpose, curriculum vitae (CV), and three letters of academic recommendation. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria for admission:
In addition to meeting graduate school requirements for regular admission, applicants to the Clinical and Counseling Psychology program must meet the following criteria:
Although there is no minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination a summed score of 305 or greater on the verbal and quantitative subtests, and a score of 4 or higher on the Writing subtest is preferred.
Completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology, counseling or a similar program from an accredited institution. Applicants must have completed at least 21 semester hours of prior psychology courses (usually at the undergraduate level) including a statistics course, and a course in research design and methods.
- The program's model of admission heavily values the degree of match between the student's clinical and research interests and that of their faculty mentor. Students are assigned a mentor at the time they are offered admission, and usually this individual is their primary advisor, mentor as well as thesis and dissertation chair. Thus, students will ideally articulate their clinical and research interests as well as identify the faculty member(s) with whom these best fit in their applications materials.
Required Psychological Foundations
Students must complete graduate coursework and demonstrate competency in the following foundation areas. These courses will be completed in the student's master's degree program for those admitted with a Bachelor’s Degree. Although students entering with a Master’s Degree may request waivers for these competency area courses such students will invariably have a number of courses that need to be remediated, particularly students with master’s degrees in fields other than psychology. For the courses in the Master’s Degree in Psychology (Clinical & Counseling Psychology Concentration) that correspond to the domains listed below see the bulletin page for this program of study:
Students entering the doctoral program after completing a bachelor’s degree will take these M.S. courses and earn the M.S. degree before transferring to the Ph.D. program of study.
- Biological, Cognitive, & Affective Bases of Behavior
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Applied Psychology & Diagnostic Interviewing
- Evidence Based Psychological Practice
- Lifespan Development
- Personality & Affective Assessment
- Cognitive Assessment
- Social & Personal Psychology
- Clinical Practicum in Psychotherapy & Assessment
Applicants should submit the following materials electronically by December 15th to the below link:
- Official GRE scores
- Official copies of all undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts
- Statement of purpose
- Three letters of academic recommendation
- Clinical and Counseling Psychology program application form
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
An interview either in-person or via video-conference/telephone must be completed with faculty designated by the Director of Clinical Training prior to a potential admissions offer being made.
Graduate assistantships are available annually on a competitive basis. Applicants interested in receiving an assistantship will complete the graduate assistantship application form upon being admitted into the program.
Students must pass a comprehensive examination following successful completion of six semesters of clinical practica coursework. Passing the exam is one of the required components for admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The content of the comprehensive examination will be determined by the comprehensive examination committee and may consist of a written as well as an oral component.
Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree requires completion of the following:
- successful completion of required academic work, except the capstone internship
- successful completion of the comprehensive examination
- approval of a dissertation research project
The doctoral candidate is, therefore, a student who has fulfilled all requirements for the Ph.D. degree with the exception of completing the dissertation research and the required internship.
Dissertation hours and defense
Nine credit hours of dissertation research may be applied to and are required for completion of the doctoral program of studies in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. However, a student must be continually enrolled in CCP 799 (Dissertation Research) until the final defense of the dissertation is completed and the dissertation document has been approved by the Graduate School. The final defense is scheduled following the completion of and preparation of the final written report of the dissertation research. Revisions of the dissertation may be required for final approval by the student's advisory committee or as a condition of the Graduate School's evaluation of the written report.
After being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, the student has a maximum of three years to complete the dissertation.
Prior to beginning their capstone internship, students must have completed a minimum
of 3 years of graduate study in the clinical and counseling psychology program. Years
spent in the M.S. portion of the program can count towards this requirement, but at
least 1 of these 3 years must occur in the Ph.D. portion of the program.