Doctoral (Ph.D.) Degree Counseling
The Counseling Graduate Program offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. The
Ph.D. degree prepares its graduates for faculty positions as counselor educators and
for leadership positions in the counseling profession. The degree includes all the
coursework in research and counseling required for students who desire careers as
professional counselors in areas that require a doctoral degree. Students completing
the Ph.D. degree take courses that prepare them to write either a qualitative or quantitative
research dissertation with a conceptual framework.
The program leading to the Ph.D. degree consists of a minimum of 114 semester hours
in length, which includes all coursework completed as part of a master's degree program
and up to 15 hours completed after a master's degree was earned. If a student holds
more than one graduate degree, all courses from each degree program may be transferred
into the doctoral degree program. However, students may not transfer in more credits
than will be completed in the doctoral program at UNO. Due to all of the specified
counseling, minor, and research courses required for graduation, most doctoral programs
are well over 114 hours.
The Ph.D. degree program must include an emphasis area. Emphasis areas require a
minimum of 12 hours of specialized counseling coursework and require that the dissertation
topic be closely related to the emphasis area. Emphasis areas must reflect areas of
expertise held by one or more full-time faculty members. Students in the PhD program
take core courses which include a minimum number of hours in each of the following
- 48 hours of required masters' level counseling courses,
- 39 hours of doctoral level courses,
- 15 hours of research tools, and
- 12 hours of emphasis area courses
Examples of emphasis areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Counselor Education
- Community Counseling
- Counseling Children
- Group Counseling
- Multicultural Counseling
- Rehabilitation Counseling
- School Counseling
- Private Practice Counseling
- Play Therapy
Doctoral students complete a total of 27 hours in research; therefore the minor for
all doctoral students will be in the area of research.
Additional Information, Requirements for the Doctoral Degree
The Counselor Education Ph.D. program prepares counselors for leadership roles in
the counseling profession. Research competency, advanced counseling skills, and practice
in the clinical supervision of other counselors are emphasized in the program. Graduates
generally choose careers as university faculty members (counselor educators), administrators
of counseling programs, private practitioners, and researchers.
Prospective Ph.D. degree students must meet the admission requirements established
by the Graduate School. In addition, applicants must complete the General Test of
the Graduate Record Examination. Ph.D. degree applicants are considered based on criteria
developed and published by the faculty. To be considered for admission to the program
without probation, an applicant must have a graduate grade-point average of at least
3.50. Presentation of the minimum graduate grade-point average does not guarantee
admission. Admission decisions are based on all criteria considered in relationship
to the needs of the program and number of students who can be reasonably accommodated.
Applicants who present graduate grade-point averages that are lower than those listed
above may be considered for admission on probation. In addition to the UNO Graduate
Application, applicants to the Ph.D. program in Counselor Education must also submit
the following: transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended; Graduate Record
Examination scores from the General Test taken within the last five years; a personal
statement; a Counselor Education application for doctoral studies; a current resume;
and three letters of reference. Finalists for admission who are invited must also
interview with the program admissions committee. The interview process includes completion
of a writing sample and a videotaped counseling interview.
Programs of Study
The Ph.D. program goes well beyond the accumulation of graduate course credits. It
includes coursework, supervised field experiences, completion of examinations, a research
project, and a dissertation. The degree program includes a minimum of 114 graduate
credits beyond the bachelor's degree. There are 48 credits of entry-level core counseling
courses (includes three credits in research), 12 credits of counseling courses in
an area of concentration, 39 credits of doctoral-level core counseling courses (includes
12 credits in research), and 15 additional credits in research courses. Because of
the number of credits completed in research (30 credits total), this area serves as
the minor for doctoral students. The doctoral program includes a 100 hour practicum
and a 600 hour internship. Concentration areas in counseling in the doctoral program
are focused in a particular area of counseling such as college counseling, community
counseling, or school counseling. A Program of Study must be completed at the end
of the student's first year of enrollment in the doctoral program.
Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 30 credits in research, which includes coursework
and dissertation research. Students develop competency in both quantitative and qualitative
research methods. They choose one primary method for their dissertation and complete
advanced research courses in that area. It is also possible for students to employ
a "mixed methods" approach to their research.
Ph.D. degree students will be dismissed for any of the following academic reasons:
they accumulate six or more hours of grades lower than B in graduate coursework required
in their programs of study; their cumulative UNO graduate grade-point average for
two consecutive semesters (fall and spring or spring and fall) is below 3.0; they
fail the general or final (dissertation defense) examination twice.
A doctoral student must earn two consecutive semesters of a minimum of nine hours
of residence. The doctoral residence requirement may be met alternatively by three
semesters of enrollment at six or more hours, which may be non-consecutive.
Students who are in residence for the purpose of the above requirement are expected
to devote all of their energies to graduate study under the direct supervision of
a major professor and/or advisory committee. Transfer credit from other institutions
may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the residency requirement if approved by
the department and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Transfer of Credit
A student, with approval from the major professor and the department, may transfer
all credits earned toward one or more master's degrees completed at other universities
and up to 15 semester hours earned outside of a master's degree program. Only graduate
credits in which grades of B were earned that were taken in residence at another university
may be transferred. These transfer hours may be included in the program of study.
Doctoral students, after being admitted to the Ph.D. program, must enroll in graduate
courses each fall and spring until being awarded the degree. A leave of absence must
be formally requested from the faculty prior to any semester in which this requirement
is not met. Students will be dismissed if they fail to meet this continuous enrollment
Students must successfully complete a general examination to continue in the Ph.D.
program. Students may take the general examination when they have completed most of
their coursework, as defined by the faculty.
Ph.D. students must complete their degree within a 13-year period of admission to