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Program of Study

Guidance from the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests the time to complete a doctoral degree in Health Service Psychology should take about five years from when a student is formally admitted to the doctoral program. This would not include a separate master’s degree, or a master’s degree awarded during the first one or two years of predoctoral study. In addition, the APA promotes a 7-year upper limit on attaining the degree, once doctoral study has commended. We support these timelines, and strongly endorse this guidance from the APA. Our typical students complete the program in four to five years.  

The faculty makes every effort to assist our students to meet these expectations for completion. There are three years of full-time course work. Following the first year, a minimum of two semesters of practicum experience is required followed by a 12-month, full-time pre-doctoral internship in professional psychology. The doctoral dissertation will likely require nine to 12 months to prepare and complete, typically during and immediately following the internship year.

The overall program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in Counseling Psychology at West Virginia University is shown below. 

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
CPSY 701 Advanced Counseling Psychology Interventions 3
CPSY 709 Advanced Group Counseling/Therapeutic Interventions 3
CPSY 734 Multicultural Psychology 3
CPSY 760 Introduction to Counseling Psychology 3
CPSY 763 Advanced Theories of Counseling Psychology 3
CPSY 764 Intellectual Assessment 4
CPSY 766 Vocational Theory/Assessment 3
CPSY 769 Personality Testing & Interpretation 3
CPSY 770 Doctoral Practicum in Counseling Psychology
Minimum of 9 credit hours/600 clock hours. See handbook for details. Four semesters of practicum are required.
CPSY 772 Internship
Minimum of one full-time academic year. Credit hours are six (6) each for Fall and Spring Semesters.
CPSY 780 Professional & Ethical Issues in Counseling Psychology 3
CPSY 782 Research Methods & Design 4
CPSY 781 Research Practicum in Counseling Psychology 1
CPSY 783 Counseling Psychology Supervision Models 3
CPSY 797 Dissertation Research 18
CPSY 799 Doctoral Colloquium/Pro-Seminar 6
EDP 613 Statistical Methods 1 3
CPSY 614 Measurement/Evaluation in Educational Psychology 3

Total of 89 credit hours in Counseling Psychology Core

Minor Area - Psychological Foundations:

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
CPSY 710 Cognitive-Affective Behavior 3
CPSY 735 Social Psychology 3
CPSY 738 Lifespan Development 3
CPSY 740 Assessment of Psychopathology 3
CPSY 745 History & Systems of Psychology 3
CPSY 764 Physiological Psychology 3

Total of 18 credit hours in the minor area

Total Program Credits: 107

It will take most students six semesters of full-time study to complete the basic course sequence of under which we are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Taking classes during the summer is an option for certain courses (e.g., practicum) and may lighten the academic load, particularly during the third year when many of the basic courses are already completed.

The full course of study and many additional details may be found by referring to the Current Doctoral Student Handbook available on this website.


After satisfactory completion of the first-year sequence of study, students are prepared to begin practicum, the “hands-on” experiential learning component of doctoral training. Practicum is a set of closely and individually supervised clinical activities completed in various environments, ranging from college counseling centers to community mental-health centers to medical settings. Students typically register for two semesters of practicum in both the second and third years for a recommended minimum total of four semesters. Practicum training is also available at some sites during the summers.

Accompanying each practicum is an on-campus class wherein counseling psychology faculty members provide additional supervision, consultation, and training in a group format. In 2913 the advisory bodies for both Counseling and Clinical Psychology endorsed a policy describing internship readiness. The policy states that applicants for the predoctoral psychology internship should have completed 450 hours of direct assessment and interventions activities, and 150 of face to face, individual supervising. Four semesters of practicum are required, and we suggest exceeding these minima if at all possible. Grading is pass/fail based on the campus supervisor’s evaluation of in-class activities and progress reports from on-site supervisors.

Practicum sites and placements are planned and selected in consultation with the faculty and each student’s interests. Current placements include college counseling centers, veterans’ medical centers, hospital clinics, community mental health centers, child/family guidance settings, and private practice, with opportunities for gaining both assessment experience and in providing individual and group interventions. Most practicum sites are in Morgantown, but several are in surrounding communities and will require some travel. Classes are organized such that at least two full days available for practicum work and another half-day is usually available as well, depending on the schedule for a given semester.

Qualifying Exams

Comprehensive doctoral qualifying examinations are administered twice yearly in August and January. Students typically take them following two full years of coursework. The examination consists of four essays done in situations covering a range of topics in counseling psychology, including a critical review of a research article. The exams are conducted over a two-day period. For more information, please see the current Doctoral Student Handbook.


Readiness for internship includes faculty approval, 450 hours of direct service, 150 hours of individual clinical supervision; and evidence of scholarly productivity. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examinations and all coursework except credits for the dissertation project, students are required to apply and compete in the national pre-doctoral psychology internship selection process. This program is jointly administered by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and National Matching Services, Inc. (NMS). Students should expect to relocate for the internship year, and an affidavit of understanding accepting this condition is required for admission.