Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

With an emphasis on theory, research and evidence-based practices, the counseling psychology Ph.D. prepares the practitioner-scholar to advance the practice of psychology and improve mental health recovery and wellness through research and reflective practice. Faculty at Wayne State University emphasize a developmental approach to understanding individuals, youth, couples and families within the larger ecological contexts. The Counseling and School Psychology Clinic in the College of Education is our on-campus training clinic and serves WSU students, their families and the larger Detroit community.

Important dates

  • January 15: Applications for fall semester due

  • Fall semester of each year


The Counseling Psychology program is waiving the GRE requirement for the Fall 2021 application cycle due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.


In order to be eligible for the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program, most applicants will have a bachelor's or a master's degree in psychology, or a closely related field. If you are applying as a Canadian citizen and may be practicing in Canada, you are required to have a bachelor's degree in psychology to be considered for admission, based on Canadian psychology licensing requirements. The program requires a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply; however, the typical student admitted to this program has an undergraduate /graduate GPA above 3.5. A holistic review process requires submission of transcripts, GRE, three letters of recommendation, personal statement and program application. Ph.D. applicants must also submit a statement pertaining to research training and interests in addition to an overall personal statement with your application.

Course requirements

A minimum of 110 hours of specific graduate-level coursework is required for program completion. Completion of this degree under APA accreditation status will satisfy the State of Michigan Board of Psychology requirements for a license to practice psychology (LP). The length of study depends on whether students already hold a master's. The duration of your coursework is expected to be a total of three years if you enter as a "direct admit" (with a bachelor's), needing all graduate coursework, and it is expected to be two additional years beyond the master's, depending on how one's prior coursework transfers to our requirements at WSU. After coursework, students must complete qualifying exams, dissertation and pre-doctoral internship during the final years of study. Qualifying exams must be completed after finishing doctoral coursework to be eligible for doctoral candidacy to begin your dissertation study and pre-doctoral internship hours.

The program requires a minimum of three years of full-time residence, but typically spans four to five years as students engage in coursework, training in research, clinical training and practice, and supervision.

Students are required to participate in teaching, research, or service activities to the profession or community. Students will work with their major advisor to select an activity in each of these areas that aligns with their Plan of Work and career goals. Students are also required to complete a 2,000-hour pre-doctoral internship at an approved clinical site and must take part in an annual review required by the Graduate School each year. Students are required to maintain passing grades and require to complete a B or better in major and cognate courses.


Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology (core courses)

Courses Cr. Hrs.
Core courses subtotal 65
EDP 7520 Ethics and Professional Standards for Psychologists 3
EDP 7410 Human Development Psychology 4
EDP 7370 Adult Psychopathology 3
EDP 7610 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 3
EDP 7240 Systems of Psychotherapy 3
EDP 8319 Pre-practicum in Psychotherapy 3
EDP 7220 Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents 4
CED 7730 Cultural and Diversity Issues in Mental Health Treatment 3
PSY 7010 History and Systems of Psychology 3
PSY 7120 Biological Basis of Behavior 3
PSY 7440 or PSY 8620 Cognitive Development or Social Cognition 3
EDP 7561 Assessment of Cognitive Functioning 4
EDP 7562 Assessment of Personality and Social-Emotional Functioning 4
EDP 7430 Applications I: Behavioral Psychology and Social Learning 4
EDP 7400 Foundations of Social Psychology/td> 3
EDP 8320 Practicum in Clinical Procedures/td> 5
EDP 9000 Doctoral Seminar in Counseling Psychology/td> 3
EDP 9319 Advanced Practicum in Clinical Procedures (or more, depending on background at entry point) 1
CED 9120 Seminar and Internship Supervising Counselors 3
EDP 9320 Internship in Clinical Procedures 3

Research curriculum (including dissertation)

Courses Cr. Hrs.
Research curriculum subtotal 45
TBD Statistics and Research Design courses (selected with advisor) 15
ED 9991 Doctoral Candidate Status I: Dissertation Research & Direction 7.5
ED 9992 Doctoral Candidate Status I: Dissertation Research & Direction 7.5
ED 9993 Doctoral Candidate Status I: Dissertation Research & Direction 7.5
ED 9994 Doctoral Candidate Status I: Dissertation Research & Direction 7.5

Core classes and research curriculum (including dissertation)

Courses Cr. Hrs.
Total (approximate, dependent upon student background) 110
Core classes subtotal 65
Research curriculum subtotal 45

Requirements for consideration of admission

  • Course requirements including a standard Plan of Work
  • Description and specifics of program milestones (e.g., credit hours of the program/dissertation, comprehensive exams, dissertation, funding, practicum/clinic)
  • Student admissions and outcome data - We can state that we are seeking accreditation on contingency


Francesca Pernice, Ph.D. 
Associate professor
313-577 1718

Theoretical & Behavioral Foundations
Phone: 313-577-1613

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.