Dec 07, 2022  
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook 
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Counseling Psychology, Psy.D.

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Program Overview

The program provides training for the professional practice of psychology as a counseling psychologist and awards the Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology (Psy.D.). The program’s philosophy and model of training are grounded in its identity both as a practitioner-oriented program which offers the Psy.D. degree and as a program which trains professionals to function in the role of a counseling psychologist. The program is student-centered, and is attentive to the needs of the adult learner. Once foundation courses are completed, the curriculum allows students to focus on areas of counseling psychology consistent with their interests and professional goals. The program emphasizes and integrates professional ethics, diversity and multiculturalism, and evidence-based practices throughout the curriculum.

Program Philosophy and Training Model

The Psy.D. is a professional degree which prepares individuals for careers as licensed psychologists. At the Vail Conference in 1973, the APA endorsed the Psy.D. for the training of individuals who offer direct psychological services. Consistent with the Vail Model, the program adheres to a practitioner-scholar model of training. The Psy.D. prepares graduates for the independent practice of psychology with individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations. Psychological services include assessment, evaluation, and diagnosis; intervention with individuals, couples, families, and groups; professional consultation and program development with individuals and organizations; supervision of individuals providing psychological services; and assessment of outcomes of counseling psychological services.

Counseling psychology is a specialty within the broad framework of the professional practice of psychology. Counseling psychologists facilitate personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Through the integration of theory, research, and practice, and with sensitivity to multicultural issues, this specialty encompasses a broad range of practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to live more highly functioning lives. Counseling psychology is unique in its attention both to normal developmental issues and to problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders.

Program Goals and Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course of study for the Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology, students are expected to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes requisite to practice competently in the domains described by each of the following goals and associated objectives:

I. Ground the practice of psychology in the science of psychology

A. Critically evaluate research and theory in psychology
B. Conduct applied clinical research
C. Apply knowledge of the scientific foundations of psychology to professional practice

II. Assess and evaluate psychological functioning

A. Administer, score, and interpret standardized psychological tests
B. Conduct psychological assessments
C. Construct, select, and utilize measures of psychological functioning
D. Write psychological reports

III. Implement psychological interventions

A. Select interventions based on the best available evidence
B. Conceptualize problems according to multiple theoretical perspectives
C. Deliver interventions effectively, ethically, and professionally
D. Monitor the outcome of interventions

IV. Practice with diverse populations

A. Appreciate and integrate the multiple perspectives from which people and systems operate
B. Demonstrate awareness of the impact of bias in psychological practice
C. Provide psychological services competently and ethically with clientele from diverse backgrounds

V. Function in multiple professional roles and settings

A. Collaborate with stakeholders and other professionals
B. Supervise the work of other professionals
C. Consult with individuals, agencies, and institutions
D. Educate students, other professionals, and the general public
E. Provide psychological services in varied settings

VI. Achieve an identity as a professional psychologist

A. Adhere to state and national standards of ethical behavior for psychologists
B. Communicate effectively both orally and in writing
C. Think critically and creatively about problems in professional practice
D. Engage in lifelong learning and professional development

Program Structure and Delivery

Courses in the program are delivered face-to-face.

Degree Requirements

Scientific Foundations 20 cr.
Foundations of Professional Practice 35 cr.
Advanced Training for Professional Practice 12 cr.
Other Requirements 18 cr.
Total 85 cr.

Advanced Training for Professional Practice: 12 cr. (select from among the following)


The faculty members and advisers for the Doctorate of Psychology program have earned doctorate degrees in the areas they teach. Faculty teaching applied courses are practitioners who have professional experience in their area of expertise.

Admission Requirements

The program admits a new class of students to begin classes each fall. Normally, students will not be admitted to the program in the spring and summer terms. The number of students admitted each year is limited. Admissions decisions are based on the applicant’s ability to meet the expectations for academic performance outlined in the Program Handbook. Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not ensure admission to the program.

A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which applicant maintained at least a 3.4 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, is required for admission. The master’s degree must be in a mental health related area (i.e. psychology, marriage and family therapy, social work, counseling, nursing, or human development). Applicants must have completed a clinical practicum of at least 300 hours. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework.

Applicants must have completed the following graduate courses within the last ten years with a grade of “B” or better. Coursework older than ten years may be accepted if the applicant has maintained a professional license to practice in a related field (e.g. LPC, LMFT) which requires documentation of continuing education credits. Applicants may be required to complete missing coursework prior to enrolling in doctoral level coursework:

  1. Developmental Psychology
  2. Physiological Psychology
  3. Counseling Skills
  4. Statistics
  5. Psychological Assessment
  6. Psychopathology
  7. Personality Theory and/or Theories of Counseling
  8. Clinical Interventions
  9. Professional Ethics

Early Entry Option for Saint Mary’s MA in Counseling students ONLY

Students enrolled in the Counseling and Psychological Services Master’s Program at Saint Mary’s University may apply for admission to the PsyD program prior to completion of the MA program, and, if admitted, may enter the Psy.D. program after completion of approximately one year of full time master’s level course work.  Students admitted to the Psy.D. program under this option may complete their remaining master’s level course work as part of their doctoral training. 

Students admitted to the Psy.D. program under the early entry option must meet the following requirements and criteria:

1.  The following master’s level courses must be completed with a grade of “A “, “B” , or “P”              (32 credits total):

PY605 Developmental Psychology 3 credits
PY607 Theories of Personality 3 credits
PY608 Psychopathology 3 credits
PY613 Counseling Theory and Technique 3 credits
PY641 Foundations of Family Therapy 3 credits
PY620 Statistical Techniques 3 credits
PY665 Counseling Skills 3 credits
PY625 Ethics and Professional Issues 3 credits
PY606 Psychophysiology 3 credits
PY621 Psychological Assessment 3 credits
PY693 Basic Practicum 3 credits
PY710 Practicum I 3 credits

2.  The requirement that applicants to the Psy.D. program must have completed a Master’s degree is waived for early entry applicants. The courses listed above are substituted for the required prerequisite courses listed in the PsyD admissions requirements.  All other requirements for admission to the PsyD program must be met by early entry applicants, including the requirement that a GPA of 3.4 or higher must be maintained in Master’s level course work.

3.  Early entry applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate coursework and of 3.4 in their graduate course work.

4.  Early entry applicants must provide at least two of the required letters of recommendation from faculty or supervisors familiar with their master’s level work.

5.  Candidates for early entry may apply for admission to the Doctoral program after completion of 18 credits out of the courses listed above. If accepted into the doctoral program, admittance is provisional pending satisfactory completion of the remaining prerequisite master’s level required coursework.

6.  Students admitted to the PsyD program under the early entry option may elect to complete their master’s in Counseling and Psychological Services through coursework taken in the doctoral program.  The following doctoral courses or their equivalent must be completed for the master’s degree (19 credits total).  Students must also complete the master’s integrative paper and oral examination.

PY818 Muliculturalism and Diversity 3 credits
PYD803 Social and Organizational 3 credits
PYD816 Personality Assessment 3 credits
PYD820 Common Factors 3 credits
PYD821 Cognitive Behavioral or PYD 822 Psychodynamic 3 credits
PYD840-841 Practicum 1-A & 1-B 4 credits
Integrative Paper and Oral Examination 0 credits

Students completing the Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychological Services with the coursework listed above will not meet Minnesota requirements for the LPC or LPCC.  Students seeking this licensure must take at least two additional elective courses in the doctoral program, and should discuss the necessary requirements with their advisor or the Program Director.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:

1.  Completed application form and supplemental application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel) and,

2.  All transcripts documenting undergraduate and graduate coursework, including an official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University from the institution granting the applicant’s completed master’s degree. (an official transcript is one that is sent or carried to the university in an envelope sealed by the granting institution and,

3.  A three to five page personal statement which addresses each of the following areas:

a) Provide a brief description of your background, training, and experience. Include work and experiences both within and outside of the healthcare field.

b) What are your long term career goals? Be as specific as possible. It is understood that these goals may change, and that they may not be clearly formed at this point in time.

c) How does obtaining licensure as a psychologist fit into your career goals? What is unique about a professional identity as a psychologist in terms of meeting your goals?

d) The doctoral program in counseling psychology is demanding of both time and energy, and sometimes students underestimate the commitment needed to complete the program in a timely manner. How do you plan to integrate your work as a student in the program with the other demands in your life? How do you anticipate making changes in your life so that you can successfully complete a doctoral program?

e) Describe the academic, interpersonal, and/or personal challenges that might hinder your success as a student in a doctoral program in counseling psychology. How do you plan to address these challenges?

f) Describe the academic, interpersonal, and personal strengths you would bring to your work as a student in a doctoral program in counseling psychology.

g) What concerns you the most about the prospect of embarking on graduate study in a doctoral program in counseling psychology?

h) What excites you the most about the prospect of embarking on graduate study in a doctoral program in counseling psychology?

i) How do you anticipate (and perhaps hope) that completing a doctoral program in counseling psychology will change you?

4.  Three letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and,

5.  A current résumé listing educational background and work experience and,

6.  Copies of any professional licenses or certifications obtained.

7.  Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus. Applications are due by March 1 for students who wish to begin the program the following fall. Applications must be complete in order to be considered. After preliminary review of applications by the admission committee, selected applicants will be invited for an admission interview. Applications will be notified of the admission decision no later than April 15. Students admitted to the program will be asked to make a non-refundable deposit to hold their place in the program. Selected applicants may be notified that they have been placed on a waiting list. Applications received after the March 1 deadline will be considered for the following fall only if there is still space available in the program.


The Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Accreditation information can be obtained from the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE; Washington, D.C. 20002-4242. Phone: 202-336-5979; TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123.

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