Jul 22, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Counseling and School Psychology, PhD (Counseling Psychology track)

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The program is designed to take four years of full time study plus a full time internship. In rare cases, students with an applied master’s degree can complete the coursework in three years, plus a full-time internship in their fourth year. Such a course takes considerable planning and typically requires overloading for 1-2 semesters because several courses include two cohorts and are offered every other year.

The program’s two specialty major areas of study, school psychology and counseling psychology, share some coursework. They are differentiated by foundational courses, areas of research, the field in which students will supervise master’s level students, practicum training, teaching opportunities, and accreditation.

The program requires a minimum of 91 graduate credits. Those who enter with a master’s degree will have a reduction in required course credits to the extent their master’s level courses match our required courses (see “Plan of Study” sheet in the Appendix). Students who wish to have their courses considered for advanced standing must complete the form in taskstream along with the syllabi at least one semester before the course is planned or upon matriculation (for first year courses).

Accreditation and Licensure

The program is designed to meet the requirements to attain accreditation at the doctoral level by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation.  

Accreditation is important in order for graduates to obtain licensure as a psychologist and status as a Health Service Provider in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other states. The program’s training model and learning outcomes are organized to meet the training standards of the APA Commission on Accreditation.

Program Commitment to Respect for Diversity and Developing Skills to Serve a Diverse Public

In addition to our training goals, we expect students to adhere to the Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity (2006) [1] and the guidelines Preparing Professional Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public developed by the APA Board of Educational Affairs (2013). Concerns about students’ respect for diversity or ability to develop skills in serving a diverse public will be shared with the student, and if necessary, students may be asked to remediate in this area if concerns persist.

For complete details about the program’s commitment to diversity, click here.

Teaching Requirement

Each student will co-teach at least one semester and also take the following course:

Other Requirements

Field Work

Every student must participate in two semesters of Practicum and complete a full year of Internship. The internship, typically completed during the fourth or fifth year after having met all course requirements, provides preparation for functioning as an independent counseling psychologist.

Research Team

Every student will participate on at least one Faculty-Student Research Team for five semesters. Research teams are composed of faculty mentors and other graduate students who collaborate on research projects, presentations, and papers.

The Qualifying Paper (QP)

Successful completion of the QP, a critical and synthetic review of a focused body of literature in the area in which the student plans to complete the dissertation, results in admission to doctoral candidacy.


The dissertation is an original empirical research project (quantitative or qualitative) that makes a substantive contribution to the knowledge base in counseling psychology or school psychology. It is usually completed by the end of the fourth year, although students may choose to complete the dissertation during or following the internship year.

Program Coals and Competency Requirements

By the time of graduation, students are expected to demonstrate the knowledge and skills requisite of psychologists ready for practice as delineated in the “Competency Benchmark Student Evaluation Form” (APA, 2012). The program emphasizes evidence-based practice and collaboration; throughout course work and field experiences students must demonstrate skill in delivering effective services that result in positive outcomes for clients. Student competencies will be demonstrated in professional values and attitudes, satisfactory completion of academic and course requirements, satisfactory completion of fieldwork requirements, and satisfactory completion of research requirements. Successful students will demonstrate the following APA competencies with the exception of #15 Management-Administration:

  1. Professional Values and Attitudes: as evidenced in behavior and comportment that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology.
  2. Individual and Cultural Diversity: Awareness, sensitivity and skills in working professionally with diverse individuals, groups and communities who represent various cultural and personal background and characteristics defined broadly and consistent with APA policy.
  3. Ethical Legal Standards and Policy: Application of ethical concepts and awareness of legal issues regarding professional activities with individuals, groups, and organizations.
  4. Reflective Practice/Self-Assessment/Self-Care: Practice conducted with personal and professional self-awareness and reflection; with awareness of competencies; with appropriate self-care.
  5. Relationships: Relate effectively and meaningfully with individuals, groups, and/or communities.
  6. Scientific Knowledge and Methods: Understanding of research, research methodology, techniques of data collection and analysis, biological bases of behavior, cognitive-affective foundations of behavior, and development across the lifespan. Respect for scientifically derived knowledge.
  7. Research/Evaluation: Generating research that contributes to the professional knowledge base and/or evaluates the effectiveness of various professional activities.
  8. Evidence-Based Practice: Integration of research and clinical expertise in the context of patient factors.
  9. Assessment: Assessment and diagnosis of problems, capabilities and issues associated with individuals, groups, and/or organizations.
  10. Intervention: Interventions designed to alleviate suffering and to promote health and well-being of individuals, groups, and/or organizations.
  11. Consultation: The ability to provide expert guidance or professional assistance in response to a client’s needs or goals.
  12. Teaching: Providing instruction, disseminating knowledge, and evaluating acquisition of knowledge and skill in professional psychology.
  13. Supervision: Supervision and training in the professional knowledge base of enhancing and monitoring the professional functioning of others.
  14. Interdisciplinary Systems: Knowledge of key issues and concepts in related disciplines.  Identify and interact with professionals in multiple disciplines.
  15. (Not Assessed/Expected for this Program): Management-Administration: Manage the direct delivery of services (DDS) and/or the administration of organizations, programs, or agencies (OPA).
  16. Advocacy: Actions targeting the impact of social, political, economic or cultural factors to promote change at the individual (client), institutional, and/or systems level.


Attainment Measures

The UMass Boston Counseling and School Psychology PhD Program is competency-based. All students are expected to satisfactorily demonstrate the attainment of the Program Goals, Objectives, and 15 relevant Professional Competencies and Professional Behaviors. Students are also expected to satisfactorily meet competencies of counseling psychology for the relevant benchmarks (e.g., readiness for practicum, internship, and professional practice). Attainment is assessed via varied measures from varied sources:

  • Content knowledge assessed by Research Requirements and the defense of the Dissertation.
  • Content knowledge as evaluated by departmental faculty and conveyed via grades in specified assignments and courses.
  • Knowledge and skills evidenced during practica, as assessed on assignments and via the “Competency Benchmark Student Evaluation Form” in Appendix, p. E105 and in the Practicum Handbook.
  • Knowledge and skills evidenced during the internship, as assessed by Field Supervisors using the “Competency Benchmark Student Evaluation Form” in Appendix, p. E105.
  • Self-assessment of knowledge and skills attained.

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