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 100-130 applicants, we accept enough applicants to form a class of 7-8 students.

What are the average GRE scores and GPAs of successful applicants?
Between 2005 and 2011, the average GRE score (verbal + quantitative) has been 1226. Undergraduate and graduate GPAs were 3.52 and 3.895 respectively.

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 retake the GRE.

Do I need to take the new (2011-2012) GRE if I have take 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. We consider your best scores, regardless of how many times you take the exam.

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.

What are the characteristics of your doctoral students?
Our students average 26 years old entering the program. Approximately 70% are female, 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. Research experience is also highly desirable. 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 clinical and research supervisors are suggested.

How long will the program take?
If you enter with a bachelor's degree, you should be prepared for a minimum of five 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 years of academic study and one year of internship. Students often 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.

What are the strengths of your program?
Foremost among our strengths is a faculty that is highly involved in and committed to training. 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, a healthy portion of our graduates who have been, and continue to be, involved in empirical efforts and publications.

With regard to clinical experiences, our primary practicum site is our community-based clinic 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.

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. Students enrolled in the doctoral program do not earn a "master's-along-the-way." 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 we do not admit students to work specifically with a given faculty member. Rather, we accept students whose current interests are generally compatible with faculty interests. After a new doctoral class is admitted, students are sent a questionnaire about their interests and prior experience in research. Then individuals are matched with faculty research supervisors based on experience and congruence of interests. During their time here, we strongly encourage students 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. Some previous sites include:

Albany Medical Psychology Consortium (Albany, NY)
Appalachian State University Counseling Center (Boone, NC)
Arizona State University Counseling Center (Tempe, AZ)
Boston Multicultural Psychology Internship (Boston, MA)
Buffalo VA Medical Center (Buffalo, NY)
California State-Long Beach Counseling Center
Dutchess County Community Mental Health Center (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Edith Nourse VA Medical Center (Bedford, MA)
Geisinger Medical Center (Danville, PA)
Greater Hartford Consortium (Hartford, CT)
Hudson River Psychology Consortium (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Huron Valley Center (forensic facility in Ypsilanti, MI)
Interfaith Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY)
Jewish Child Care Association (Pleasantville, NY)
Maimonides Medical Center, (NYC, NY)
Mt. Sinai Hospital (NYC, NY)
Penn State University Counseling Center (College Park, PA)
Syracuse VA Medical Center (Syracuse, NY)
University of Akron Counseling Center (Akron, OH)
UMass Counseling and Personnel Services (Amherst, MA)
University of Delaware Counseling Center (Newark DE)
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, and about 50% do full- or part-time independent practice. 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:

Albany Medical Center (Albany, NY)
Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
Capital District Psychiatric Center (Albany)
Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney, VA)
Harvard University Counseling Center (Cambridge, MA)
Interfaith Medical Center ( Brooklyn, NY)
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (Los Angeles, CA)
Loyola Marymount College Counseling Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Middle Tennessee Veterans Healthcare (Nashville, TN)
Mt. Sinai Hospital (NYC, NY)
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)
Schenectady County Child Guidance Center (Schenectady, NY)
Simmons College Counseling Center (Boston, MA)
Southdown Institute (Ontario, Canada)
Stratton VA Medical Center (Albany)
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 Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
University of Florida
Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, CT)