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Oklahoma State University

Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student Information

Qualifying Examination
The student takes the Qualifying Examination after most of the course work has been completed. This must be passed before the student can apply for internship and before final approval of dissertation.  The written examination consists of two 4-hour exams covering selected aspects of theory and research.  The oral examination consists of a 1 hour exam covering practice and specialty.  The chairperson of the student’s advisory committee reports the results of the Qualifying Examination to the department head for referral to the Graduate College.

Doctoral Dissertation
The purpose of the dissertation is to provide an opportunity for students to integrate and apply a wide range of research skills in a special area of interest directly related to counseling psychology.  Although initial groundwork for the dissertation can be laid early in the student’s program, the formal work usually occurs during the year before internship.  The student must demonstrate initiative, creative intelligence, and the ability to plan and carry out scholarly research in the field of counseling psychology.

Pre-Doctoral Internship Year
The American Psychological Association requires a counseling psychology internship of a minimum of one calendar year of full time (40 hours per week for 50 weeks) supervised experience in a setting that provides a broad spectrum of both counseling psychology services and clientele.  That may seem like a tall order, but there are many opportunities for placement at well-qualified sites.

Multiple settings for internship experiences are available nationally on a competitive basis, and the faculty must approve site selection.  In the past, students have obtained internships in a wide variety of settings (e.g., health centers, hospital settings).  Internships must meet established standards for pre-doctoral internships in counseling psychology.

Practicum Experiences
Doctoral level practicum courses must have been preceded by at least three credit hours of practicum or internship at the master's level. Students who are admitted into the post-master's track of the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology must have had the equivalent of one semester of counseling practicum or internship (e.g., CPSY 5593, Counseling Practicum or CPSY 5683, Internship in Counseling I or equivalent) at the master's level in order to advance to the doctoral level practicum sequence. Practicum/internship equivalency is met when post-master's track doctoral students demonstrate evidence of supervised practicum and/or internship experiences with clients during their master's training, with a minimum of 100 total hours of service, 40 of which include direct client contact, and weekly one hour supervision by a license eligible or licensed master's level mental health professional during that practicum and/or internship experience.

Students admitted into the post-bachelor’s track of the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology must complete two counseling internship courses (CPSY 5683, CPSY 5693) as part of their year of prerequisite coursework. These students are generally placed in the Counseling Psychology Clinic under the supervision of the Counseling Psychology core faculty.

A minimum of four semesters of practicum is required to provide supervised experiences in the application of counseling psychology services.  Students must demonstrate competencies in individual counseling, group work, consulting, supervising, and their chosen sub-specialty prior to their internship year.

There are opportunities for practicum at several on-campus agencies, including a university counseling service, a mental health clinic at the student hospital, a career information center, and a marriage and family counseling service.

Local off-campus placements have included a community mental health center, a women’s health practice, family service centers, hospital mental health units, and youth services centers, with several practicum options in cities within a 75-mile radius of Stillwater, particularly in and around Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  As you can see, there are many diverse opportunities for experience. We welcome new ideas as well, butthe faculty must approve all practicum placements.

Research Experiences
Our students are encouraged to begin participating in research activities early in their programs.  Usually, students initially become involved in research by joining research teams.  Research teams consist of one or more faculty and one or more students.  The focus is on a topic of interest to the group as a whole.

Student membership in the research team is designed to foster student interest in research, to help students apply what is learned in their research courses, and to encourage students to integrate research and practice.  Additionally, research experience is gained through course work and through completing the doctoral dissertation.

Academic Coursework
We emphasize three broad areas of course work:

  • A general psychology core
  • A counseling psychology core
  • A research core

In accordance with American Psychological Association guidelines, the general psychology core consists of course work in the four basic areas of psychology:

  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • Social bases of behavior
  • Individual behavior

In addition, course work in psychological tests and measurements and the history of psychology is included in the general psychology core.

The counseling psychology core includes:

  • Principles of counseling psychology
  • Career development theories
  • Group & family therapy
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Professionalism and ethics

The research core contains course work designed to develop competencies in:

  • Statistics & research design
  • Research in counseling
  • Psychometric theory
  • Program evaluation
  • Qualitative inquiry and related fieldwork

All of the courses students enroll in are designed to be classroom-based learning opportunities. There are three courses that are offered with options for either an on-line format or a classroom format: EPSY 5463 Psychology of Learning, EPSY 6133 History and Systems of Psychology, and EPSY 5103 Human Development in Psychology.

Elective courses may be taken consistent with the student’s professional goals and sub-specialty interests in such areas as: community counseling and crisis intervention, developmental intervention strategies, child psychopathology and treatment, advanced methods in marital and family treatment, and others. We also offer a varity of specialzied elective courses such as play therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

A minimum of 114 graduate credit hours is required for post-master’s degree students.  This includes related master’s work, a minimum of 12 credit hours of doctoral level practica; 15 credit hours of dissertation, and academic course work approved by the student’s advisory committee. A minimum of 129 graduate credit hours is required for post-bachelor’s degree students. Students will be expected to take Summer courses and some travel to the OSU/Tulsa campus may be required.

Please note that all doctoral students in Counseling Psychology must receive a "B" or an "A" in all of their coursework on their plans of study to meet minimum competency standards. If a student receives a "C" in a course, s/he must retake the course.

Entering Post-Bachelor’s or Post-Master’s
Post-bachelor’s students enter the program with a bachelor’s degree and no other graduate degrees (or no other graduate degrees with a supervised clinical experience). Post-bachelor’s students all begin in the SUMMER. They complete a master’s degree in Educational Psychology en route to the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Post-master’s students enter the program with a master’s degree in counseling, clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, or a similar field, and have AT LEAST 100 hours of supervised clinical experience such as an internship or practicum. Please contact the Training Director with questions.