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Counseling Psychology


Counseling psychology programs teach people how to counsel clients experiencing psychological problems or distress.

Students learn to work with groups, families, and individuals.

Counseling psychology programs include topics such as:


Internships allow students to develop skills. Most counseling psychology programs require students to complete an internship.


Several colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in counseling psychology. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in counseling psychology. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is highly competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores. Your bachelor's degree may not need to be in psychology if you have taken some courses in the subject.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

You may also need to complete an interview. Experience working as a volunteer in a helping role (e.g., at a crisis hot line) is a plus.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

A bachelor's degree program in psychology typically requires the following core courses:

In addition, you usually must choose several (but certainly not all) of the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

A master's degree program in counseling psychology typically includes courses such as the following:

A doctoral degree program in counseling psychology typically includes courses such as the following:

In addition, graduate programs typically require the following:

Graduate programs usually include several practicums, which are supervised experiences of real work in this field. At first, you may merely follow a professional around and observe what that person does. Later, you take on more real tasks, including research.

A one-year internship is a standard part of the doctoral degree program.

Things to Know

To offer patient care as a counseling psychologist, you need to be licensed by your state. Requirements vary. Usually you need a doctorate from a approved program, plus at least two years of supervised professional experience. You also need to pass an exam.


King-Snohomish Area

Bastyr University

City University of Seattle

Northwest University

Seattle School of Theology & Psychology

Seattle University

Spokane Area

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Brandman University - Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Fort Lewis Campus)

Brandman University - Joint Base Lewis-McChord (McChord Campus)

West Side Area

Brandman University - Lacey

Saint Martin's University