Graduate Counseling Psychology students work in the lab

Ball State’s APA-Approved Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology prepares you to become an exceptional counseling psychologist working in academia, university counseling centers, health care settings and/or private practice.

You’ll graduate as a scientist-professional with a strong integration of theory, research, and practice as a health service psychologist. You’ll also be prepared to assume leadership roles—either on-the-job or in professional associations—making you a standout candidate in the eyes of employers.

Most students complete the degree in four to five years.

First meeting of my Counseling Psychology cohort at Ball State: [Department Chair] Dr. Bowman says, ‘I have 10 diplomas. They all have your names on them. Now let’s learn together…’ From day one, the tone was set for a loving, supportive, non-competitive environment. I always felt a sense of belonging that enabled me to learn and grow. Thank you, Ball State!

Nancy Farber, PhD, 1999

What You Will Learn

Program Booklet

To learn more about this program and its requirements pleases download our supplemental booklet.

Download Booklet (PDF)

The PhD in counseling psychology includes:

  • Clinical experiences in a variety of real-world settings
  • A research component that involves discovery of new knowledge
  • A variety of assistantship assignments
  • The integration of knowledge in scientific psychology

The program contains a core of psychology courses in the social, biological, cognitive, affective, and individual bases of behavior.

Why Ball State?

As a doctoral student, you can expect substantial financial support from Ball State to carry out research and present papers at professional conferences.

Additionally, three of our recent doctoral students were honored with the prestigious Ball State University Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation of the Year Award, and one student received an APA Minority Fellowship.

Our Counseling Practicum Clinic is one of many opportunities for you to achieve practical experience as you complete your doctoral degree. Under the supervision of licensed psychologists and counselors, graduate students provide affordable services to about 600 clients each year from Muncie and the surrounding area.

Looking for even more real-world experience? Our program also offers doctoral internships in a variety of settings—from hospitals and other health care settings to university counseling centers, military and correctional facilities.

Learn More about Our Clinic

Our campus and community are diverse, and many of the students who pursue our Ph.D in Counseling Psychology are dedicated to social justice causes and fascinated with human behavior. Students in our programs aren’t afraid to tackle the tough issues, even when it’s challenging.

Ball State’s computer labs and research facilities ensure that you are exposed to the latest technologies in an optimum learning environment.

Our program’s facilities include 10 practicum rooms, an observation corridor, and two group observation rooms—all linked to a secure computer system that digitally records each counseling session. Supervisors are able to view live or previously conducted counseling sessions to provide you with tailored feedback and assessment.

Our doctoral program aims to prepare students to acquire (a) the core knowledge of psychology and counseling psychology, (b) profession-wide competencies of the health service psychologist, and (c) the attitudes, values, and professional identity of counseling psychologists committed to multiculturally respectful and valid social justice approaches.

The program prepares students to (a) create and disseminate scholarly research, (b) acquire knowledge and skills for competent assessment, prevention, intervention, supervision/consultation, interprofessional collaboration, and teaching, (c) use evidence-based practice, (d) and consider diversity and other contextual influences in all aspects of their work with special knowledge and experience in social justice.

Ball State graduates are prepared to function as health service providers, researchers, faculty, and private practitioners.

CPSY Doctoral Program Competency Evaluation Procedures

The doctoral program evaluates the acquisition of competencies in the following ways.

Formative evaluations occur throughout the time a student is in the doctoral program and include the following:

  1. Formative evaluation/feedback processes:
  • Annual Reviews - Each student undergoes an annual evaluation at the end of each spring semester.
  • Ethics Exam - Each student must successfully pass an ethics exam at the beginning of the first doctoral practicum.
  • Practicum Competencies - Various competencies (dependent on practicum experience) are evaluated at the end of each semester by each student’s clinical supervisor.

    In addition to these periodic formative evaluations, summative evaluations are also completed at key times as students make their way through the doctoral program.

2. Summative evaluation/feedback processes\

  • Comprehensive Review of Practitioner Skills (Portfolio Exam) This review evaluates multiple skills via the submission of a portfolio that consists of artifacts representative of the student’s work. The portfolio is reviewed by a review committee, and the student’s committee chair. This is typically completed during the spring of the second year.
  • Comprehensive Examinations (Preliminary Exams) - The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to apply the acquired knowledge of a counseling psychologist by competently answering a series of questions developed by program faculty. The comprehensive exam is one examination consisting of two parts, one written and one oral. The written exam consists of two parts, the core questions and the committee questions. Some questions are answered as take-home essays and some are answered in an on-campus, time-limited format. Students typically take and complete the comprehensive examination at the end of summer term of their second year (written) and the beginning of their third year (orals).
  • Readiness for Internship Review - Students are evaluated by faculty and approved as “ready for internship” during the fall semester of the third year.
  • Dissertation Proposal - A proposal, presenting each student’s planned dissertation study, is approved by the student’s doctoral committee typically during the fall semester of their third year. The dissertation proposal must be approved prior to competing the process of applying for an internship.
  • Successful Completion of Internship - Each student must successfully complete all internship requirements, as determined by their internship program director.

Dissertation Defense -The dissertation defense is the formal presentation of the dissertation study results to the student’s doctoral committee for review and approval.

If you need help paying for your education, a graduate assistantship is an excellent option.

Our department offers a limited number of assistantships that provide a stipend and tuition offset. Each doctoral student is guaranteed an assistantship and full tuition waiver in the first year (the student is responsible for dedicated fees).

Assistantships are typically available for three years, and some summer assistantships are also available.

In addition, Ball State has some of the most competitive tuition fees in the Midwest.

The counseling psychology program at Ball State was so formative for me, both personally and professionally. On a personal level, I was challenged to leave my comfort zone of noticing social injustice, but not really seeing my role in bringing about change, to how I can co-participate with others to pursue a more just experience for all. On a professional level, no stone was unturned. I developed my skills as a researcher and contributor to the field. I gained first hand experience conducting clinical supervision and training. And my clinical skills were sharpened as a result of the expertise of the faculty and the various training sites I was exposed to.

Nick Lee, PhD, 2015

Cognates/Major Areas of Study or Emphasis

A cognate at Ball State offers you the opportunity to develop special knowledge in areas of interest. A cognate consists of either one 24 or two 15 credits of coursework and/or practicum.Consistent with APA’s CRSPPP Taxonomy (APA, 2012), the Ph.D in Counseling Psychology offers cognates that allow for either a major area of study or an emphasis in

American Psychological Association


Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association

750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002

Phone: (202) 336-5979/ Email:

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Licensure Info

  • Sex Therapy
  • Social Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Diversity
  • Social Justice
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Couples/Family Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Research
  • Consultation
  • School Counseling
  • Other degree-granting graduate programs consistent with student’s professional goals and approved by their doctoral committee

Program Requirements

We offer a range of theoretical and practicum courses that constitute the core curriculum. To encourage broad educational comprehension, you will also be required to take courses from other areas, including educational psychology, social psychology, psychological science, and developmental psychology.

Total: 106 -112 Credits


A few of the classes you will take include:

  • CPSY 678 – Theories and Techniques of Counseling the Culturally Diverse
  • CPSY 740 – Practicum in Counselor Supervision
  • EDPSY 642 – Intermediate Statistics
  • EDPSY 650 – Individual Testing (Wechsler Scales)

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology?

Graduates of the Ph.D. in counseling psychology program are employed in a variety of settings, including faculty positions in undergraduate and graduate programs and staff and administrative psychology positions in:

  • Private Practice
  • University counseling centers
  • Integrated behavioral health in primary care
  • Health care settings such as academic medical centers
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Veterans administration hospitals
  • The Army, Navy, and Air Force
I enjoyed a fantastic experience with the Counseling Psychology department at Ball State University. The program well prepared me for a career as a psychologist in the Veterans Affairs system, and I am grateful to call myself a BSU alum.

Scott Fernelius, PhD, 2015

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Then you will need to meet our admissions criteria and apply.

More Information

What is social psychology and clinical mental health counseling? If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or, if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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