Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Counseling

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest university award given in recognition of completion of academic preparation for professional practice in counseling. Candidates are provided primarily with courses and practicum/internship experiences that will be instrumental in assisting them to function more effectively as professional counselor educators, as counseling practitioners, and as researchers.


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and Counseling is designed to prepare graduates for work in counselor education programs and doctoral level counselors for work in university counseling centers and other counseling sites. The major emphasis of this program is to prepare graduates for a career in university teaching, supervision, and research in counseling programs.

Counselor education and counseling students at Idaho State University will be:

  1. Prepared to teach courses in counseling skills and counseling theories.
  2. Prepared to supervise counselors and counseling students via individual/triadic and group supervision across all counseling specialties (i.e., Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; Student Affairs Counseling; and School Counseling). 
  3. Prepared to teach selected courses in one or more of the CACREP major areas.
  4. Prepared to teach selected courses in the general CACREP common core.
  5. Prepared to evaluate counselor education programs and counseling sites.
  6. Knowledgeable of professional issues in the field of counselor education and profession of counseling.
  7. Knowledgeable of ethical issues and practices in the field of counselor education and profession of counseling.
  8. Experienced in developing and conducting qualitative and quantitative research.
  9. Experienced in writing for professional publication.
  10. Experienced in the advisement and mentorship of master's level counseling students.
  11. Knowledgeable and skilled in providing advanced clinical counseling skills.
  12. Knowledgeable of the sociological manifestations of cultural diversity.

Admission Criteria

The student must apply to and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. In addition, persons applying for admission to the doctoral program in Counselor Education and Counseling must meet the following criteria for selection. Applicants must have:

  1. a master's degree from a CACREP accredited program and be licensed as a counselor in Idaho or a state with comparable requirements OR a master's degree in counseling and be a Nationally Certified Counselor and apply for an Idaho Counseling License upon admission to the doctoral program OR a master's degree in counseling, one year of full time post-master's degree counseling experience, graduate coursework curriculum requirements in all of the CACREP common core areas, and be a Nationally Certified Counselor or Idaho Licensed Counselor (persons who do not meet these requirements may be considered for admission as Classified (w/PR) while removing deficiencies in coursework and/or credentials);
  2. taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Preference will be given to scale scores of 40 percentile or more;
  3. a professional resume;
  4. a maximum one-page statement of post-doctoral career objectives;
  5. submitted three (3) letters of recommendation;
  6. completed the online Idaho State University Graduate School and Department of Counseling application; and
  7. completed an on-campus interview by the Department of Counseling Admissions Committee.

The Admissions Committee will make the final decision regarding admission. This decision will be based on grade point and test score ranking, as well as on the committee's impression of the applicant's interpersonal style and compatibility of personality with the program's training philosophy and his or her writing sample.

Selection Schedule for Doctoral Study

To apply to Graduate School and the Department of Counseling, go to and click on Graduate Application. The application materials for the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Counseling program must be submitted by December 1 to be considered for admission for the following academic year.

Selection of applicants for on-campus (ISU-Pocatello) interviews will be announced by early January. Notification of successful applicants for admission and alternates will be announced by approximately late January. A maximum of 5-6 students are admitted to the program each year (ISU-Pocatello, 3; ISU-Meridian, 3). Classes begin in the Fall semester of each year.

Master's Degree Curriculum Review

Doctoral students who have earned their master’s degree from a 60 credit hour CACREP accredited program will be assumed to have entry-level knowledge in core and major course areas. Those not graduating from a 60 credit hour CACREP accredited program will have their transcripts evaluated by a faculty committee to determine knowledge base deficiencies. A remediation plan of study will be developed and approved by the faculty as necessary. This review will take place prior to the beginning of the first semester. The transcript review will verify content of the following course comparable to the CACREP Core Areas in one of the five (5) counseling specializations.

Specialization Areas

Each doctoral student must complete at least one of the CACREP specializations of our specialty programs: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling; School Counseling; Student Affairs Counseling; and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling. Upon completion of the CACREP specialization requirements, the Program Requirements Verification form must be signed by the student's committee chair.

Each specialization requires competence in the following:

  1. Skills and Practices
  2. Supervision
  3. Teaching
  4. Knowledge

The committee chair, in conjunction with the program coordinator for the specialization and/or other faculty members, directs the student’s study to achieve this competence. Students will develop a portfolio demonstrating competence in the specialization area. Aside from obtaining licensure, students may tailor all their teaching experiences to uniquely fit their interests and professional goals. Plans are primarily negotiated with the committee chair and in some cases may require approval from the coordinator for that specialization area with the major advisor and program (i.e., specialization) coordinator approval. Application for licensure as an LPC in Idaho should be submitted by the beginning of the second year.

Admission to Candidacy

Each student demonstrating an adequate foundation for doctoral study, based upon the selection criteria and the master’s degree curriculum review, may apply for degree candidacy. The application for candidacy will include:

  1. A course of study designed to remove entry-level deficiencies as indicated by the master’s degree curriculum review;
  2. An approved plan for completion of specialization areas in both core and major areas; and
  3. An approved final program of study.

After receiving the written approval of the committee chair and a second graduate faculty committee member from the department, the application may then be submitted to the department for approval and the appointment of a third departmental committee member. The fourth committee member can either be a Department of Counseling faculty member or a non-departmental graduate faculty selected from the Division of Health Sciences or the university at large. The fifth committee member is the Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR).

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination is five days in length and is scheduled the first week of February.

Part One: Oral Exam Component

An oral exam, lasting approximately 60 minutes, will be scheduled with the student and four faculty members. Questions posed by the faculty during the oral examination will serve to evaluate the student's knowledge of CACREP standards, including teaching, supervision, research, and leadership/advocacy. Students will not have access to the oral examination questions or content prior to the scheduled meeting.

Successful completion of the oral examination is based upon a vote of the faculty. A "pass" grade on the oral exam requires a pass vote of at least 75% of the faculty present for the exam.

If the student receives a "conditional pass" (a vote of passing by a majority of the faculty present for the exam, but less than 75%), the student will be provided a prompt for the written exam (developed by their Department doctoral committee) designed to remediate their knowledge of CACREP standards rather than one being focused on the student's scholarly agenda.

If the student fails the oral comprehensive examination (determined by a fail vote by the majority of faculty present for the exam), the student's Department doctoral committee will develop a PPP providing a formal remediation plan that could result in dismissal from the doctoral program if the PPP requirements are not fulfilled as stipulated.

Students are to have no interaction nor communication between themselves regarding the oral exam until the completion of the final person Friday afternoon. The integrity of the exam hinges on your ability to not discuss your oral exam experience until the day is complete for all students. Violation of this policy would indicate a serious core disposition violation related to your own professional integrity.

Part Two: Written Exam Component

Upon successful completion of the oral examination, the student will be approved to sit for the written component of the comprehensive examination.

For the written exam, students will receive one written prompt (developed by their Department doctoral committee) that will be used to guide the student's development of a conceptual counseling journal article. The written exam prompt will be provided to the student on a Friday afternoon and the final manuscript will be due the following Friday by 5 p.m. MST. Students may choose to work from home or may ask in advance for arrangements to work in a private location on campus during weekdays. Students will have full access to any scholarly materials they choose through the ISU libraries, the internet, hard copies/electronic copies of books, journal articles, and other reference materials as part of their own scholarly collection.

Students may not communicate with other doctoral students regarding their manuscript development, share resources, or seek feedback or editorial help from faculty, other students, or any other people or entities. The written exam is to be the student's own, solo-authored work.

Manuscripts must be formatted according to APA 7th edition (2019) style and be appropriate for submission to a peer-reviewed counseling journal. Manuscripts will be submitted in Moodle using Turnitin and students are advised to review the Department and University policies on plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

Upon submission of the written comprehensive examination, a faculty editorial board (comprised of two or more faculty, but not the student's doctoral advisor) will review the student's manuscript. Students will be notified of the results of the written exam within thirty days from the Friday due date of the exam.

If the student receives a "pass" on the written exam, the student will be required to address all suggestions made by the faculty editorial board. Students are strongly encouraged to submit their completed manuscript to a counseling related journal.

A student who receives a "conditional pass" on the written exam will be required to revise and resubmit their work to their Department doctoral committee within a one week period from notification of the results. If after the revise and resubmission process the student's work is considered incomplete or contains significant content, editing, or formatting concerns, the student's Department doctoral committee will develop a PPP providing a formal remediation plan that could result in dismissal from the doctoral program if the PPP requirements are not fulfilled as stipulated.

If the student receives a "fail" on the written exam, the student's Department doctoral committee will develop a PPP providing a formal remediation plan that could result in dismissal from the doctoral program if the PPP requirements are not fulfilled as stipulated.

Students will receive results of the examination no later than 30 days from the Friday submission date.


After the student is admitted to degree candidacy, the dissertation proposal and preliminary research that the candidate and first two committee members have agreed upon will be presented to the complete five-member committee for recommendations and approval. Following the approval of the proposal and the completion of the comprehensive examination, the candidate is authorized to proceed with the dissertation in preparation for a final oral examination defense. The final defense is open to any member of the graduate faculty directing a request through the Dean of the Graduate School and the chair of the committee.


Following the bachelor's degree, each applicant must complete the equivalent of ten semesters of graduate study including the master's degree and three semesters of doctoral internship. At least six of the semesters must be at the doctoral level
and four of these must be consecutive semesters (not including summer sessions) of full-time graduate study on campus. Students are strongly encouraged to attend all six of these semesters on a full-time basis.

Continuous Enrollment

Following admission to doctoral study, the student must register for course work, practicum, internship, independent study, or dissertation credit each semester until the completion of the degree.

Required Courses
COUN 7683Leadership and Advocacy in Counselor Education2
COUN 7701Introduction to Quantitative Research Design2
COUN 7702Advanced Quantitative Research Design2
COUN 7703Qualitative Research2
COUN 7704Qualitative Methodology and Analysis2
COUN 7705Instructional Theory for Counselor Educators4
COUN 7710Practicum in College Teaching2
COUN 7712Advanced Psychological Testing and Assessment2
COUN 7724Advanced Diversity Issues3
COUN 7727Advanced Theories of Counseling3
COUN 7774Advanced Group Procedures3
COUN 7790Supervision in Counselor Education3
COUN 8800Research and Professional Issues2
COUN 8801Doctoral Career Development1
COUN 8802Scholarship in Counselor Education2
COUN 8848Doctoral Counseling Internship2
COUN 8848LDoctoral Counseling Internship Lab0
COUN 8849Doctoral Internship1-18
COUN 8849LDoctoral Internship Lab0
COUN 8850Dissertation1-12
Suggested Electives
COUN 7758Independent Problems1-4