COE: PhD: Counseling
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Impact the Field of Counseling

The Ph.D. program in counseling is based on a researcher practitioner model; it is primarily designed to train researchers, scholars, academicians, and highly skilled practitioners with an emphasis on promoting social justice. We train Ph.D. students with the skills, attitudes, and knowledge valued in academic, research, and service-providing settings. Our program infuses social justice throughout the curriculum and prepares students to acknowledge and validate their clients’ complex and diverse cultural identities and fight against systemic issues of racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, and other forms of social injustices. The Ph.D. deepens a student's counseling knowledge and builds refined research, teaching, supervision, counseling, and leadership and advocacy skills. The University of Missouri—St. Louis (UMSL) Ph.D. program holds advanced accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); it is the only doctoral counseling program in Missouri that holds CACREP accreditation. It is also one of the only counseling Ph.D. programs in the country that offers students the opportunity to complete a three-article dissertation format which puts students in a better position to publish multiple articles from their dissertations.

The UMSL Ph.D. program is nationally recognized and regularly graduates students who go on to make meaningful and lasting contributions to the field. Many graduates of the program are practicing counselors or counselor educators. Graduates of the doctoral program have been placed in academic positions at major universities throughout the USA. A major emphasis in all of our graduate training is our commitment to cultural diversity and social justice.

Graduates of the program will have a degree that clearly distinguishes them from the entry-level practitioner -- to the level of research, advocacy and leadership, counseling, supervision, and teaching of an expert in the field of counseling. The Ph.D. degree internship (a 600-contact hour field experience) requires a combination of research activity, graduate teaching, supervision experience with master’s-level students, leadership and advocacy, and counseling practice in a balanced that students design with the advisors and committees to meet their unique career goals. The Department has a counseling social-justice-focused training center on campus, the Counseling and Social Advocacy Center (CSAC), where students get practical experience under close supervision.

Our program consistently attracts diverse students from across the nation as well as internationally. Students achieve high levels of competency in the areas of research, supervision, teaching, leadership and advocacy, and clinical work. Faculty offer intentional and ongoing support to Ph.D. students throughout their time in the program to help ensure their success. In 2019-2020 three students earned their doctoral degrees in counseling. About 80% of our students who start the program complete it. Our students are consistently able to find jobs in the field after they graduate. Most graduates (about 98%) are employed in the field.

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)

Program Coordinator:

Phillip Waalkes

415 Marillac Hall (MH)
p: (314) 516-6086

Deadline to Apply:
December 1st


Slide 1 Counseling PhD student Zori Paul wins minority fellowship award
Zori Paul won the National Board of Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Award, which included a $20,000 prize to support her PhD research on identity affirmation of bisexual+ women of color. Paul has also studied cross-cultural mentorship and investigated the efficacy of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy through an assistantship with Dr. Joan Luby of Washington University in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of Zori Paul)
Slide 2 Nikki Hurless wins ACES scholarship for counseling PhD research
Nikki Hurless received the 2020-2021 ACES Graduate Student Scholarship for her dissertation research on the role personal histories of trauma play in relationships between counselor trainees and clinical supervisors. Hurless hopes the research will inform how mental health professionals are trained and how supervision is structured. (Photo by August Jennewein)
Slide 3 December graduate Yuima Mizutani explores what ‘home’ means to third culture kids
Yuima Mizutani defended her dissertation, “Searching for a ‘Home’: Examining the Experiences of Confucius Asian College Students with Third Culture Kid Backgrounds,” and will graduate from UMSL this month with a PhD in counseling. Mizutani’s dissertation focused on how third culture kids from Asian countries with Confucian traditions develop a sense of belonging in college. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the application and admissions requirements of the Graduate School, students must submit: 

  • Three letters of recommendation (at least two from individuals with earned doctorates, preferably prior instructors). 
  • A copy of a paper you have written on a scholarly topic, as a writing sample.
  • A professional resume. 
  • Evidence of above-average academic records. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is preferred.
  • Answers to these three questions (limit responses to 300 words or less per question), sent to
    • How do you envision the UMSL doctoral program preparing you to meet your career goals?
    • What are your experiences working with diverse populations and what you have learned from these experiences?
    • What personal qualities do you possess that relate to your interest in doctoral education in counseling?
  • Optional: GRE scores. 

Admission is competitive, and a favorable vote of an admission interview committee, composed of faculty in the emphasis area, is required.

Degree Program

  • Coursework: A minimum of 60 credit hours is required beyond the Master’s degree, including 6 hours of dissertation research. A minimum of 42 of these hours must be completed in residence. 
  • Dissertation: All students must defend orally a written dissertation proposal to their dissertation committee. A dissertation embodying the results of original research must be accepted by the dissertation committee and the Graduate School.

Admission Application

To ensure time for review and decision, applicants should submit the Graduate School application, college transcripts, and any program-specific materials (e.g. supplemental application, letters of recommendation, etc.) well in advance of the December 1st deadline. Please note that unofficial transcripts can be uploaded with the Graduate School application to expedite admissions decisions; however, official transcripts must be received directly from all prior institutions attended before regular admission to any program will be granted. In addition, applicants are urged to request transcripts and letters or recommendation two weeks before completing the online application. Consideration of applications cannot be undertaken until all materials are available.

Degree Requirements

Students in the Counseling emphasis area complete the following requirements:

Research Methods (21 hours)
ED REM 6710 1undefined
CNS ED 7020undefined
CNS ED 7025undefined
ED REM 7771undefined
ED REM 7781undefined
One of the following:3
ED REM 7772
ED REM 7782
One of the following:3
ED REM 6730
ED REM 7772
(if not taken above)
ED REM 7782
(if not taken above)
Counseling Core (57 hours)
CNS ED 6010 1undefined
CNS ED 6020 1undefined
CNS ED 6030 1undefined
CNS ED 6040 1undefined
CNS ED 6050 1undefined
CNS ED 6270 1undefined
or CNS ED 6370
CNS ED 6280 16
or CNS ED 6380
CNS ED 6400 1undefined
CNS ED 6410undefined
CNS ED 70006
CNS ED 7010undefined
CNS ED 70306
CNS ED 7075undefined
ED PSY 6210 1undefined
CNS ED 77806
Dissertation Research
EDUC 79996
Total Hours42
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Susan Kashubeck-West, Ph.D.

Susan Kashubeck-West, Ph.D., received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and women’s studies from the University of Michigan, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the UMSL faculty in 2001, she taught psychology at Drake University (89-93) and Texas Tech University (93-01). She is a licensed psychologist ...
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Emily Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Emily Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Sciences and Professional Programs. She received a BA from Wake Forest University, MA from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and she worked as an elementary school counselor before obtaining her PhD in Counselor Education from University of Tennessee. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nat...
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R. Rocco Cottone, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Professor

Professor Cottone received an A.B. degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.Ed. from the same institution. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from St. Louis University in 1980. He is certified as a family therapist by the NACFT.
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Mary Edwin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Mary Edwin is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education in the Department of Education Sciences and Professional Programs. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Dr. Edwin served as a career counselor and an elementary and middle school counselor. Her research focuses on K-12 career development, career decision-making skills of undergraduate students, and the inf...
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So Rin Kim, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. So Rin Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Sciences and Professional Programs. She holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Kim is a national certified counselor and has worked as a clinical mental health counselor and career counselor both in the US and South Kore...
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Emily Oliveira, Ph.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor

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Phillip Waalkes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Phillip Waalkes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Sciences and Professional Programs. He received his bachelor's degree in English and Psychology from Hope College and his Master's in School Counseling from Western Carolina University. After working for about 5 years as a school counselor in a rural K-12 school, he obtained his Ph.D. in Couns...