ABOUT THE PROGRAM


Is your program accredited?
Yes. We have been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1988. Our next site visit for re-accreditation is Fall 2027.

How long is your program?
Our program includes a minimum of four years of on-campus coursework and related training experiences. Students then complete a one-year full-time pre-doctoral clinical internship.

Some students choose to spend five years completing the on-campus requirements. They then complete their internship in their sixth year.

Is your program more practice-oriented or more research-oriented?
Our program is both practice-oriented and research-oriented. It was founded on the scientist-practitioner model of training and is consistent with our current accreditation standards for health service psychology. Accreditation standards emphasize integration of science and practice. Our program is not a good fit for students with little to no interest in gaining research competency. Our program is also not a good fit for students who are not dedicated to gaining competency in counseling skills.

Do I have a choice in how much research and clinical work I’m involved in?
Yes and no. We encourage students to tailor their training experiences according to interests and professional goals. But, all students will receive substantial training in both research and clinical work. See Training and Opportunities for more information on the required and optional experiences in our program. Students can tailor their training with the optional experiences.

What is the program’s approach to diversity and social justice?
Program faculty are committed to their own multicultural and social justice-focused development as people and as professionals. Faculty are also committed to creating a training environment that fosters students’ development in these areas. Opportunities for multicultural and social justice development are available. In addition, our program has a policy on Respect for Diversity. All students in our program are expected to follow this policy.

Can I receive my degree online?
No. All of our required courses are taken on campus.

Is it possible to be a part-time student?
No. All students enrolled in the Counseling Psychology Program must be enrolled on a full-time basis.

Where can I get more information about your program?

MASTER’S DEGREE IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY


Do I earn a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology?
Students who enter our Ph.D. program without a master’s degree in a closely-related area can earn a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. This is a coursework only degree (no thesis). All courses in this degree are also required for the Ph.D. The master’s degree we offer is a nonterminal degree; it does not prepare students for independent practice. Only students admitted into our Ph.D. program can receive this master’s degree.

Can I enroll in the Ph.D. program with the intent to complete only a master’s degree?
No. Students should only apply to the Ph.D. program if they intend to complete the Ph.D. program. The Counselor Education programs in our department do offer master’s degrees that can lead to licensure as a mental health professional. Those degrees could be considered by students only wanting to complete a master’s degree at Auburn University.

ELIGIBILITY AND ADMISSIONS DECISIONS


What are your requirements for admission?

  • The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admission to any graduate program at Auburn University.
  • The counseling psychology program does not impose further requirements for admission, other than completion of all requested application materials by the application deadline and participation in an admissions interview (if invited).
  • Because of the competitive nature of our program’s admissions process, many students who meet the minimum qualifications will not be admitted to the program. Program data available in the “Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data” document give characteristics of our students and provide data related to how we select students.

How many students do you admit?
We currently enroll six students per year. We typically receive 60-100 applications and interview 20-22 students. We then offer admission to approximately 6-10 students to admit our cohort of six students.

Does my undergraduate degree need to be in psychology?
No. However, the majority of students who enroll in our program did major in psychology or a closely-related field that included several psychology courses. Among students with little undergraduate psychology coursework, our enrolled students typically have completed a master’s degree in psychology or counseling.

If you took very few psychology courses as an undergraduate and you do not have a master’s degree in a related field, you may consider gaining additional experience before applying to our program (e.g., taking additional undergraduate psychology classes, gaining psychology research experience, or working/volunteering in a clinically-related setting).

Does having a master’s degree increase my chances of admittance?
We do not prioritize admission for students with a master’s degree, nor do we prioritize admissions for students with only a bachelor’s degree. If your undergraduate academic GPA and/or your GRE scores were not strong, then strong performance in a master’s program does help to demonstrate your ability to succeed in a graduate program. Thus, in this case, earning a master’s degree may increase your ability to be admitted to our program.

Do I need clinical experience to be admitted?
We prefer that applicants have some clinical or related experience to demonstrate commitment to the field. We consider psychotherapy experience, volunteer and organizational involvement that requires helping and communication skills, practicum and internship coursework in human services, and employment in related fields. If you do not have experience, we will look at your Statement of Interest to understand your rationale for entering a Ph.D. program in counseling psychology. You may also consider gaining relevant experience before you apply.

Do I need research experience to be admitted?
We look for evidence that students want to gain research competency. We consider paid or volunteer work as a research assistant. We also consider research coursework and independent research projects. If you do not yet have such experience, we will look at your Statement of Interest for evidence that you do want to be involved in research during your doctoral training. You may also want to consider gaining relevant experience before you apply.

Will I be considered if I have a low GRE score or low GPA?
Yes. We do not eliminate applicants from consideration based on a single factor. Our preferred GRE total score (verbal plus quantitative) is 312 or above. Our preferred minimum GPA is 3.0 or higher for undergraduate GPA and 3.5 or higher for graduate GPA. If GRE scores and/or GPA are lower than our preferred minimums, we look for other evidence of readiness for graduate work, such as work or volunteer experience in the helping professions, research interests and experiences, professional objectives, and letters of reference.

Is my TOEFL score high enough to be accepted?
TOEFL scores are required for international student applicants only. Our minimum scores for admittance are as follows:

  • Paper TOEFL range=310-677, Auburn minimum
  • 550Computer TOEFL range=0-300, Auburn minimum
  • 213iBT TOEFL range=0-120, Auburn minimum 79.

APPLICATION PROCESS


How do I apply?
Applications are submitted through the Auburn University Graduate School.

When are applications due?
Applications are due December 1 for admission the following Fall semester. We only offer Fall admission. You should request your official college transcripts and official GRE scores well in advance of the December 1 deadline to ensure all of your materials are received by the deadline.

Do I have to pay to apply?
There is a fee for an application to the Graduate School. Up-to-date fees are available on the Graduate School website. As described on their website, the fee is waived for some applicants. The counseling psychology program does not require any additional applicant fees. However, students are responsible for the costs associated with securing official transcripts and standardized test scores.

How do I make sure my application is complete?
You can log into your Application Account to check the status of your application. In advance of the deadline, you should ensure each of the following:

  • You have actually submitted your application and paid the application fee (unless exempted);
  • Letters of recommendation have been received from your three references;
  • Official transcripts have been received from all college and universities you have attended;
  • Official GRE scores have been received; and
  • Official TOEFL scores have been received (international students only).

Applications that are incomplete as of the December 1st deadline may not receive full consideration.

What is your admissions interview process?
We conduct on-campus interviews in February or March of each year. We offer interviews on two separate days, with approximately 10 applicants attending each day. The interview day lasts from approximately 8am to 4pm. It includes informational sessions and individual interviews with faculty, staff, and advanced current students.

On the evening prior to the interview day, our current students host a social event for applicants. Faculty members do not attend the socials so that applicants and students can candidly ask questions and speak of their experiences. Attendance at the social is not required, but is strongly encouraged as previous applicants have found it very helpful in learning more about what it is like to be a student in our program.

When will I know if I have received an interview?
We typically notify applicants of their interview status in mid to late January. We offer interviews to approximately 20-22 applicants. Any students not included in this initial interview pool will also be informed of their status. Because we receive many more applications from qualified individuals than we can offer admission, we do inform some applicants in late January that they are no longer under consideration for admission. Other individuals are informed that their application has been placed on “hold.” This means that although we did not select them for an interview at first, their application is still under consideration and we may follow-up to offer an interview if some applicants decline our interview offer to interview or withdraw following interviews.

How will you contact me to offer me an interview?
We typically use email to communicate with applicants. Check your email regularly. Contact us if you change your email address after you submit your application. If applicants do not respond to our invitation for an interview within a few days, we reserve the right to withdraw the offer in order to offer an interview slot to someone else.

Is it possible to arrange a telephone/video conference interview?
You may choose to interview by video conference technology (Zoom) if you have a conflict with both of our in-person interview dates or if travel is cost prohibitive or medically contraindicated. However, we strongly prefer in-person interviews for applicants. Your choice of a doctoral program will affect the next several years of your life. The selections made by the program also involve years of investment in our students. We believe that such an important decision, focusing on a good match between student and program, is best made based on in-person interactions. If you can, we strongly encourage you to plan for an in-person interview.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT


How much does the program cost?
Current tuition and fees are available. Students with a graduate assistantship receive full or partial tuition remission. This means some or all of the tuition is waived. Students on assistantship are still responsible for university fees, books and supplies, and personal living expenses.

Will I receive a graduate assistantship?
We cannot guarantee our students will receive an assistantship. However, our academic department has committed to placing all incoming students in assistantships. This means we offer (barring changes in the financial status of the department) all first-year counseling psychology doctoral students an assistantship within the department if they do not obtain one elsewhere on campus. Students in their second, third, fourth, and fifth (if applicable) year can also apply for assistantships in our department and elsewhere on campus.

Students can also secure assistantships outside the department. Assistantships outside of the department are typically renewable for multiple years. Over the last 12 years, all of our on-campus students (first year and beyond) who wanted funding and who had performed satisfactorily in their previous assistantship received funding via an assistantship or fellowship during the 9-month academic calendar. There are also some summer assistantship opportunities, but not all students on assistantship during the academic year are guaranteed assistantship funding over the summer. In particular, students funded within the department are typically not funded over the summer.

All new graduate student employees must have an approved consumer report and/or investigative consumer report (background check) as a condition for appointment. The information contained in these reports may be used to deny an individual new or continued employment with Auburn University (including first year students who would otherwise receive an assistantship in the department).

If I have an assistantship, do I have to pay tuition?

  • Students with an assistantship that is between .33 and .50 full-time equivalent (FTE) do not pay tuition.
  • Students in a .25 to .32 FTE assistantship within our academic department can also receive a full tuition waiver.
  • Students in a .25 to .32 FTE elsewhere on campus will pay in-state tuition at a reduced rate (note: this final situation has not applied to any of our students since the policy took place several years ago, but we mention it here to be accurate and transparent).
  • All students who receive a tuition waiver are still required to pay university fees.
  • Applicants should be aware of certain conditions and limits to tuition waivers. These are subject to change by the Graduate School. For more information, view the Graduate School’s Guidelines for Graduate Assistantships.

How much do assistantships pay?
The pay rate for assistantships is variable across campus units. Within our academic department, a .50 FTE (20 hours/week) assistantship pays $1,500/month. Students who work fewer hours per week are paid on a prorated basis (.33 FTE = $990/month and .25 FTE = $750/month). Departmental assistantships are almost always awarded on a 9-month (academic year) basis. Students should make financial arrangements for the summer when they may not receive a paycheck. Some students are able to secure 12-month assistantships, but these are typically assistantships that are external to the department.

What other financial assistance is available?
In addition to wages from an assistantship and the accompanying tuition remission, some students seek additional financial assistance. This may come in the form of scholarships and fellowships external to the university. There are also some scholarship and fellowship opportunities available within the university.

For example, six of our current students are funded under the President’s Graduate Opportunities Program (PGOP) Fellowship for the 2018-19 academic year, which offers $10,000 in additional support per year for up to three years for highly qualified African-American graduate students.

In addition, there is a new Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship that provides a minimum of $30,000 in support (including assistantship) to incoming students who will bring exemplary levels of scholarship and innovation to the department. Our program will nominate qualified incoming students.

Our department and college are also able to provide support for student conference travel, which may cover some or all of the costs associated with research engagement at academic conferences.

Other opportunities for financial aid are available.