Counseling Psychology

Prospectus: Counseling Psychology

Program History, Philosophy, and Goals

The doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at New York University is offered through the Department of Applied Psychology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

In 1971 the program was registered with the New York State Department of Education for the professional preparation of psychologists. Since that time Graduates of the Counseling Psychology Program have been considered fully qualified psychologists with specialized training in counseling and eligible for licensure by the State. Since 1981 the program has been fully approved by the American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington DC, 20002-4242 (202-336-5979). Finally, in 1989 the Department of Counselor Education and the Department of Educational Psychology were merged into the current Department of Applied Psychology.

The major philosophical principles underlying the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at New York University are:

1) a focus on a developmental understanding of clients;
2) a commitment to a health model of intervention;
3) an appreciation of the gendered, cultural, class, and institutional context of people's lives as these affect both clients and counselors.

We consider these principles as central to our definition of Counseling Psychology.

More specifically, the goals of our program are to educate counseling psychologists who:

  • are knowledgeable regarding current theory, research, and practice in psychology;
  • have a personally integrated theory of counseling;
  • are committed to life-long learning;
  • have attained the knowledge and skills to work effectively with clients from diverse backgrounds particularly in an urban setting;
  • are able to do self-directed research;
  • have a personally relevant identity as a psychologist and as a counseling psychologist;
  • are prepared to function as multi-faceted and multi-skilled professionals in a wide range of roles as professional psychologists;
  • have grown and developed as human beings in our program with a stronger and clearer sense of self and others;
  • have developed the sensitivity and ability to uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior across all domains of professional practice.

Program Design

The program follows the basic pattern of a scientist-practitioner model for the preparation of professional psychologists. Thus, the program is designed to provide opportunities for students to develop as scientists and as practitioners. Concomitantly, attention is given to the continuing growth and development of the students as human beings. There are four components to our program:

(1) course work,
(2) preparation of candidacy papers and oral exam,
(3) one-year full-time (or equivalent) internship, and
(4) the successful completion and defense of a dissertation.

Internship and dissertation requirements are completed at the end of the program, with increasing numbers of students preferring to complete some or all or the dissertation requirements prior to the completion of the internship.

Across all four of these components, attention is given to the integration of practice, theory, and research. For example, students study counseling process in counseling theory courses at both the MA and PhD level while they also engage in counseling practice in the counseling psychology core practicum requirements. They are expected to draw upon their knowledge of theory and research in the development of their practice skills and competencies while at the same time, we expect that their experience in counseling will enable them to understand and critique counseling theories from both an intellectual and experiential foundation. Sequencing of theory and practicum courses in the counseling psychology core is done by advisement in response to the needs and backgrounds of specific students.

The University and the Program are committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its relations with its faculty, students and staff members, without regard to sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or physical disabilities.

Program Governance

The Counseling Psychology Doctoral program (CNPS) committee is composed of full-time faculty in the program who make a primary commitment to this doctoral program and CNPS student representatives. This committee, chaired by the Program Director, is responsible for the administration of the program and addresses program curriculum and student evaluation, development of policy regarding the program and any other considerations relating to the program. All policy emanating from the committee must be formally approved at a program meeting.

Degree Requirements

For completion of the doctorate, 79 points beyond the bachelor's degree are required. Additionally, as part of undergraduate or other graduate work, 18 credits in psychology are prerequisites to the PhD program. In the Counseling Psychology required curriculum (46 credits), students complete work in counseling theory and process, cross-cultural counseling, group counseling, abnormal psychology, program seminar, seminars in vocational development and counseling theory, clinical assessment, statistics and research design, and practica in individual counseling and counselor training and supervision. Students also must take a counseling psychology specialty elective (3 credits); and statistics and research design electives (9 credits).

Students also must complete departmental and state licensure course requirements covering measurement, history and systems, principles of learning, personality, developmental psychology, social psychology, and the biological basis of behavior (21 credits). In addition to course requirements, students must pass a comprehensive examination to be admitted to candidacy, complete a full-year full-time internship, have an approved dissertation proposal and dissertation, and pass a final oral examination of the dissertation.

Some courses may be waived, exempted or passed by examination. A minimum of 54 credits must be completed at New York University for students admitted with a bachelors degree (36 credits for students admitted with a master's degree).

Student Self-Disclosure

Standard 7.04 of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002) states that:

Psychologists do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.

In compliance with Standard 7.04, NYU Counseling Psychology would like to inform prospective and current PhD students of our approach and expectations with respect to self-disclosure of personal information in the course of the doctoral training.

A major goal of our program for our graduates is to demonstrate core professional identity as a counseling psychologist in science, practice, teaching, supervision, and other roles. Core values of counseling psychology includes understanding contextual and cultural influences, holding a strength-based, social justice approach, understanding self and others as being shaped by cultural diversity, and demonstrating capacity to engage in reflective practice. We believe that self-awareness of attitudes, values, and beliefs toward diverse others and the ability to continually reflect on one's own personal and interpersonal dynamics are critical to the development of effective professional skills and identity.

Towards this aim, students will be asked to engage in a process of personal exploration with their supervisors and trainers in their clinical practicum, externship, and/or internship settings. Some courses also require completing assignments that involve self-disclosure and self-reflection about personal history and cultural identities.

American Psychological Association (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.


Housing in the New York City area is in short supply and very expensive when compared with other parts of the United States. Contact the Office of Off-Campus and Graduate Housing, 14A Washington Place, New York, NY 10003 (212 998-4620) for further information.

Steinhardt Fellows Program and Research Assistantships

The Steinhardt School offers all full-time PhD students a complete funding and mentoring program. The Steinhardt Fellows program is designed to help PhD students undertake full-time study and research, to participate in superior academic and scholarly experiences, and to complete their studies in a timely manner. Financial support includes a guarantee of 24 credits of tuition plus fees, health insurance, and a stipend of approximately $24,000 for the first three academic years, and $18,000 in the fourth year of study.

Selected doctoral students may alternatively be appointed to a Research Assistantship. Research Assistants are funded by external grants and work with a principal investigator on a funded research project. Unlike Steinhardt Fellows, RAs agree to work 20 hours per week on an ongoing research project, typically with a team of faculty and other students. Steinhardt Fellows may become Research Assistants when Steinhardt faculty has available funding for projects that require research assistance.

All admitted full-time PhD students are awarded a full funding package and are assigned to a faculty mentor. There is no special application for this funding program.

The Application and Admissions Process

An application to the Counseling Psychology Doctoral program is filed online at The application process includes a detailed autobiography (an outline is attached) and listing the contact information of those you wish to ask for recommendations. Your references will be contacted and asked to complete their recommendations online. In addition, your scores on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination should be submitted directly to New York University’s Office of Graduate Admissions. Results of the GRE are evaluated within the context of the applicant's educational and cultural history.

All individuals who have a completed application containing all of the above information on or before the December 1st deadline are considered for admission for the following September. Then a two-stage process is implemented. Because the number of applicants is large (approximately 300), and the number of applicants admitted is small (approximately 3), it is impossible to interview all who apply. Completed applications are screened by members of the faculty who select those who will participate in the interview process.

While all application material is evaluated, serious consideration is given to those who have GRE scores at or above the 70th percentile in the verbal section and at or above the 50th percentile in the quantitative section.

Applicants selected to participate in the interview process are notified by e-mail in early February. The interview date for 2017 is February 10. Selected applicants are expected to make every effort to participate in the interview process in person, as it is not likely that an applicant would be admitted without an interview. Although phone or skype interviews may be scheduled as an alternative, the faculty strongly prefer to interview candidates in person. 

The interview process consists of an individual interview with a faculty member and a group interview. The structure of the group interview varies with the faculty interviewing team. For example, applicants may be asked to select a topic to discuss or be given a topic to discuss. In any event, two or three members of the faculty typically observe the discussion for about 30 minutes. Following this discussion, the faculty may direct questions to individuals or to the group as an entity.

Following the individual and group interviews, faculty members rate the participants as to their fit into the mission and philosophy of the Counseling program. After the interviews have been completed, the faculty of the program compiles a list of accepted and alternate applicants. These applicants are reviewed and approved by the Departmental faculty prior to notification in writing to applicants by April 1.

More frequently, applicants who are asked to interview have:

  • Master’s degrees in counseling, psychology or related fields.
  • Professional work experience in the helping professions.
  • A primary interest in research and practice focusing on developmental issues.
  • Primary professional aspirations are consonant with the field of Counseling Psychology. (Those unfamiliar with the field of Counseling Psychology as a professional specialty are advised to review The Counseling Psychologist and The Journal of Counseling Psychology. Applicants should be aware of the differences in the various degrees and specialty areas in the mental health field: PhD, PsyD, MA, MSW; Counseling Psychology vs. Clinical Psychology, etc.)

Our history indicates that applicants characterized by the following are rarely interviewed:

  • Individuals who have just received or only have an undergraduate degree without significant research experience.
  • Without significant work experience other than part-time work conducting as a student.
  • Have a primary interest in psychopathology.
  • Primary professional aspiration appears to be in private practice.
Common Difficulties Completing Folders by Deadline (December 1):
  • Failure to complete the online application.
  • Failure to take the GREs early enough so that the scores reach NYU by the deadline (Typically, it takes six to eight weeks from the date of the examination).
  • Failure to give recommenders adequate time to complete recommendations and add them to the online system.
  • Failure to have your transcripts sent to NYU.
Outline for Professional Autobiography

Please follow this outline in preparing the Professional Autobiography required as part of the application. This replaces the personal statement called for in the School of Culture, Education, and Human Development Application.

1. Utilizing the following questions as a guideline, tell us as much as you are willing to reveal about yourself. We do not wish to pry into private matters; however we do wish to give you ample opportunity to present those aspects of yourself, which you believe ought to have bearing upon our evaluation.

a. Why do you seek a career in counseling psychology?

i. What are your career goals?

ii. Why did you choose to apply to the Counseling Psychology program at NYU? 

b. What evidence supports that you have a high level of ability to work as both a clinician and a researcher?

c. What aspects of your personal, educational, and/or social history and experience have been significant in your professional development towards a career as a counseling psychologist?

Your professional autobiography should be no more than three (3) pages (double-spaced).

Please upload the Professional Autobiography to the online application in the Professional Autobiography section rather than mailing it to the Department of Applied Psychology. The Department recommends that you apply early to ensure that you will have met the application requirements.


  • Questions regarding the application process should be directed to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
82 Washington Square East, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6644
(212) 998-5030

More information regarding the application process can be found at

  • For more information about the PhD in Counseling Psychology, please contact:

Department of Applied Psychology
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
246 Greene Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-5555

Or you can visit the department online at

Counseling Psychology PhD Application Items

An completed application will consist of the following four (4) items (due 12/1):

  1. Your online application including your professional autobiography at

  2. Transcripts

    Upload 1 official transcript from EVERY postsecondary school you attended. DO NOT MAIL your transcript to our office, unless requested. If your transcripts are not in English, a certified/notarized translation must be uploaded along with the official transcript in its original language. 

  3. Official GRE Scores

    Scores are typically released to schools approximately 15 days after a test is administered.  You must report official scores to NYU Steinhardt using the following. A department code is not required:

    New York University (Institution Code 2556)
    Office of Graduate Admissions

    NYU Steinhardt
    82 Washington Square East, 3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10003-6644

  4. Three (3) completed recommendations posted on the online system.

For complete application instructions, please review: