As you probably know, the “ideal” counseling psychology PhD applicant has substantial research experience.  However, many undergraduate students have not had the opportunity to get enough research experience by the time PhD application deadlines roll around the fall of their senior year.

Therefore, many students find it necessary to first pursue a terminal master’s degree, which may allow them the additional time necessary to build up their research (and other) skills before it comes time to apply for PhD programs in the fall of their final year of their master’s program.

However, not all master’s programs can provide students with the resources, opportunities, and faculty support to obtain this additional research experience.  This is why students who want to get their PhD in counseling psychology should be careful about what master’s programs they consider.  I encourage these students to *tactfully* seek answers to some of the following questions when deciding which master’s programs to attend:

  1. About what percentage of the master’s students in your program work with the faculty on research projects?
  2. In what ways are master’s students typically involved in faculty research? Do they have the option of joining faculty research labs/teams?  What kind of research tasks can the master’s students take on?
  3. Are students allowed/required to complete a master’s thesis? How do the faculty typically work with students to facilitate the planning and completion of these theses? What do alumni of the master’s program have to say about the thesis completion process… did they get the support they needed?
  4. In what ways are master’s students provided support to conduct first-author research projects (in lieu of, or in addition to, a master’s thesis)?  What resources (e.g., funding for participants, access to Qualtrics and may be available to support such projects?
  5. What percentage of master’s students are able to acquire full-time funding (i.e., 20/hrs/wk with tuition remission, monthly stipend, and health insurance) to reduce the cost of getting the degree?

Below the map a list of regionally-accredited* counseling or counseling psychology master’s programs where master’s students typically have the opportunity to collaborate with counseling psychology faculty members on research projects.  Important Disclaimer: this list was created by volunteers working for the HAMMER Lab and is NOT exhaustive, so please bear in mind that some good programs will be missing from this informal list.

To learn more about each program, click on the name of the University to navigate to that master’s program’s website.  But first, here’s an interactive map of where each program is located.

University of Kentucky
Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology
Lexington, KY

University of Missouri
Department of Education, School, and Counseling Psychology
Columbia, MO

Georgia State University
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services/Department of Educational Policy Studies
Atlanta, GA

Boston College
Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology
Chestnut Hill, MA

Tennessee State University
Department of Psychology
Nashville, TN

Loyola University Maryland
Department of Psychology
Baltimore, MD

The University of Southern Mississippi
Department of Psychology
Hattiesburg, MS

The University of Kansas
Department of Educational Psychology
Lawrence, KS

Texas Woman’s University
Department of Psychology and Philosophy
Denton, TX

Rutgers University
Department of Educational Psychology
New Brunswick, NJ

Arizona State University
Counseling and Counseling Psychology
Phoenix, AZ

University of Denver
Department of Counseling Psychology
Denver, CO

Loyola University Chicago
School of Education
Chicago, IL

University of Louisville
Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology
Louisville, KY

Chatham University
Department of Psychology
Pittsburg, PA

University of Massachusetts Boston
Department of Counseling and School Psychology
Boston, MA

University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Education
Kansas City, MO

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Department of Educational Psychology
Lincoln, NE

New Mexico State University
Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology
La Cruces, NM

Teachers College, Columbia University
Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology
New York, NY

The University of Oklahoma
Department of Educational Psychology
Norman, OK

University of Houston
Department of Educational Psychology
Houston, TX

University of Indianapolis
School of Psychological Sciences
Indianapolis, IN

University of Florida
Department of Counselor Education
Gainesville, FL

Marquette University
Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Milwaukee, WI

Oklahoma State University
School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology
Stillwater, OK

University of British Columbia
Department of Education and Counseling Psychology and Special Education
Vancouver, BC

University of Miami
Educational and Psychological Studies
Miami, FL

* There are accrediting bodies such as MPCAC and CACREP that offer accreditation to master’s programs.  However, there is no rigorous, peer-reviewed research that suggests that counseling psychology programs accredited by these bodies offer higher quality training than regionally-accredited counseling psychology programs that are not accredited by these bodies.  That being said, if you are interested in getting licensed at the master’s level as a mental health professional, then you do need to pay strict attention to program accreditation, as certain jobs may be off-limits to you if you did not go to an accredited program.  This webpage and list is focused on those who want to go on to doctoral-level work, and thus is primarily concerned with the quality of training (research training, in particular), rather than career options if you stop after getting your master’s.