Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students do you admit annually?

What are the average GRE scores and GPAs of successful applicants?

If I took the GRE many years ago, do I need to retake it?

Do I need to take the new (2011-2012) GRE if I have taken the old one?

Do I need to take the psychology GRE exam?


If I did not score well on the GRE should I take it again?

Can I apply if I don't have an undergraduate degree in psychology?

What are the characteristics of your doctoral students?

Can I enroll in the doctoral program on a part-time basis?

What kinds of previous experiences are required for admission?

How long does it take to complete the program?

What is the theoretical orientation of your faculty?

What are the strengths of your program?

What is the relationship between your doctoral program and your master’s programs?

How can I find out if a specific professor is taking new students next year?

How successful are students at obtaining internships?  

What kinds of jobs do students get? 

How many students do you admit annually? 
Out of the approximately 85-150 applicants each year, we accept enough applicants to form a class of 6-8 students. See Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data.

What are the average GRE scores and GPAs of successful applicants?
In the past couple of years, the GRE scores tend to average 155 to 160 for each test, with analytic/writing scores typically 4.5 and above. We consider your best scores, regardless of how many times you take the exam. In terms of GPA, average undergraduate and graduate GPAs range from 3.5 to 3.8.

If I took GRE many years ago, do I need to retake it?
Yes, if your scores are more than 5 years old, you will need to re-take the GRE.

Do I need to take the new (2011-2012) GRE if I took the old one? 
No, the old one is sufficient.

Do I need to take the psychology GRE exam?
The Psychology subject test is recommended but not required. Only the verbal and quantitative scores are required. 

If I did not score well on the GRE should I take it again?
Yes. We look at your best scores, even if you do worse the second time you take the exam.

Can I apply if I don't have an undergraduate degree in psychology?
Certainly, as long as you have a minimum of 18 undergraduate credits in psychology, including statistics and either abnormal or personality psychology, preferably both. We do not accept students who have not met this minimum requirement, as graduate level coursework in psychology demands a fundamental understanding of the discipline.

What are the characteristics of your doctoral students?
Our students average 26 years old entering the program. Approximately 70% are women, 23% are of ethnically diverse heritage, and roughly 50% enter the program with prior graduate study. The focus of previous education is quite diverse, including counseling, general psychology, linguistics, biology, philosophy, sociology, business, art, physics, and assorted languages. Prior to admission, students have had experience in both applied and scholarly endeavors in psychology.

Can I enroll in the doctoral program on a part-time basis?
No. At present, the program is designed for at least three years of full-time study. Most students remain in full-time status throughout their academic and internship years. Also, applications are accepted only for a fall matriculation.

What kinds of previous experiences are required for admission?
We look for undergraduate students who have some practice experience (e.g. hotline counselor, teacher, residence hall advisor), and master's students with counseling experience. Substantial research experience is also necessary. If you have not done an independent research project but have helped out on a research team, include that information in your application. References from faculty, clinical and research supervisors are desirable.

How long will the program take?
If you enter with a bachelor's degree, you should be prepared for a minimum of five to six years of academic study, including a year of internship study. If you are starting with some previous graduate study, the answer to this question will depend on how closely your prior study matches our requirements (see Advanced Standing), and on the sequence of remaining coursework. Experience with previous students entering with substantial graduate coursework in counseling suggests that the minimum time necessary to complete the program is three to four years of academic study and one year of internship. Students tend to take 6 years to complete the program in order to take advantage of our array of clinical and research opportunities. 

What is the theoretical orientation of your faculty?
We are a very diverse group, with representatives or proponents of cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, systems, gestalt, humanistic, developmental, feminist, and interpersonal points of view. Our training philosophy is to help our graduate students develop their own therapy style within empirically supported treatment approaches, rather than to insist on one approach.

What are the strengths of your program?
Foremost among our strengths is a faculty that is renowned in the scientific psychology community, nationally and internationally. Moreover, we are highly involved in and committed to training. We are particularly proud of our wonderful doctoral students who are diverse in backgrounds and interests yet committed to contributing to a cohesive learning community. 

The program is unusual in the array of opportunities for clinical and research experiences. We offer a balance of training opportunities that fit well with the scientist-practitioner model of psychologist training. With regard to research experiences, our curriculum and assistantship opportunities provide for early and constant exposure to and experience in the scientific role of the psychologist. As a result, many of our graduates have been, and continue to be, involved in empirical efforts and publications, and many of our alumni enter academia as faculty in universities and 4-year colleges.

With regard to clinical experiences, our primary practicum site is our community-based clinic, the Psychological Services Center, which is devoted to doctoral training needs that services a wide variety of clients, and therefore all students obtain the equivalent of a community mental health setting experience as required practicum experience. Other advanced practicum sites, and other training opportunities via funded positions, cover those students desirous of experience in family therapy, public and private community mental health, neuropsychology, inpatient and day treatment services, substance abuse services, adolescent residential care, and college counseling services. In addition, we have a strong assessment element in our curriculum that attracts positive attention from those sites that consider our students for internship placement.

For more detailed information about unique aspects of our program, please see Letter from Training Directors.

What is the relationship between your doctoral program and your master's programs?
The doctoral and master's programs are separate, both in admissions and in coursework. In terms of admissions, applicants must specify which program to direct their application. Students who are not offered admission to the doctoral program may request that their application be considered for the master's program, with no extra application fee. With the exception of a few courses, coursework for students in the doctoral program is separate from that of the master's program.

How can I find out if a specific professor is taking new students next year?
It is not necessary to contact individual faculty to find out if he/she is taking new students because typically all faculty work in research teams with students. You should be aware that we accept students whose current interests are compatible with faculty interests. Thus, in your personal statement, please be specific about your interests and about which faculty you would prefer to work with in a mentorship arrangement. Individuals are matched with faculty research supervisors based on experience and congruence of interests. Also, after a new doctoral class is admitted, students are sent a questionnaire about their interests and prior experience in research. During students’ time here, we strongly encourage them to expand their interests and attend research groups and teams with faculty other than their specific research mentor. In fact, students often choose dissertation chairs other than their advisors because their interests have changed since the beginning of their doctoral work. We consider this process to be a strength of our program.

How successful are students at obtaining internships?
Our students have been very successful at obtaining offers all over the country. Most students are matched with one of their top choices. Internship sites range from university counseling centers, to hospitals, to community mental health centers, to forensic centers. Actually, in previous years our “match rate” has succeeded that of the national rate. See Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data for recent internship rates.

Some previous internship sites include:

Albany Medical Psychology Consortium (Albany, NY; includes VA)
Appalachian State University Counseling Center (Boone, NC)
Arizona State University Counseling Center (Tempe, AZ)
University of Delaware Counseling Center (Newark, DE)
VA at Battle Creek, Michigan
VA at White River Junction (VT)
VA in Pittsburgh (PA)
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
Lackland Air Force Base (San Antonio, TX)
New York University Medical Center (NYC)
University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center (Philadelphia, PA)
Penn State Counseling Center (University Park, PA)
Kings County Hospital (NYC)
Boston Multicultural Psychology Internship (Boston, MA)
Buffalo VA Medical Center (Buffalo, NY)
California State-Long Beach Counseling Center
Edith Nourse VA Medical Center (Bedford, MA)
Geisinger Medical Center (Danville, PA)
Greater Hartford Consortium (Hartford, CT)
Jewish Child Care Association (Pleasantville, NY)
Mt. Sinai Hospital (NYC, NY)
Syracuse VA Medical Center (Syracuse, NY)
University of Akron Counseling Center (Akron, OH)
UMass Counseling and Personnel Services (Amherst, MA)
University of Minnesota Counseling Center (Minneapolis, MN)
University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
University of Southern Florida Counseling Center
Utah State University Counseling Center
Washington DC VA Medical Center

What kinds of jobs do graduates get?
Increasingly, students have been taking post-docs after their internship year. Most of our graduates work in clinical settings, but quite a few have taken academic positions. In a recent alumni survey, we estimated that about half of our alums teach either full- or part-time. About 60% are regularly involved in developing innovative programs and services. Some are in nontraditional jobs, such as consultants to police departments. First jobs of our graduates include:

VA in Buffalo (NY)
VA in Albany (NY)
VA in Minneapolis (MN)
VA in Cincinnati (OH)
Arcadia University (PA)
Comprehensive Neuropsychological Associates (Albany, NY)
Alliant University (San Diego, CA)
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)
University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL
University of Delaware Counseling Center (Newark, DE)
Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
Capital District Psychiatric Center (Albany, NY)
Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney, VA)
Harvard University Counseling Center (Cambridge, MA)
Hobart and William Smith College Counseling Center (Geneva, NY)
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (Los Angeles, CA)
Louisiana Tech University (Ruston, LA) 
Loyola Marymount College Counseling Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Michigan State University Counseling Center (East Lansing, MI)
Middle Tennessee Veterans Healthcare (Nashville, TN)
Mt. Sinai Hospital (NYC)
Carlos Albizu University (Miami, FL)
Montefiore Medical Center (NYC)
National VA Trauma Center (Honolulu, HI)
Northeast Occupational Exchange (Brewer, ME)
Northwestern University Counseling Center (Evanston, IL)
NYS Psychiatric Institute (NYC, NY)
Pioneer Valley Mental Health Clinic (Northampton, MA)
Albany Medical Center/College Dept. of Psychiatry (Albany, NY)
Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Southdown Institute (Ontario, Canada)
Union College Counseling Center (Schenectady, NY)
US Air Force
US Army School of Aviation Medicine (Enterprise, AL)
University at Albany Counseling Center (Albany, NY)
University of Baltimore (Baltimore, MD)
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
University of Minnesota Counseling Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, CT)