Apr 21, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Counseling and Psychology in Education-Counselor Education (Ph.D.)

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Admissions Information  

Student Learning Outcomes  

As of fall 2021, this program is not accepting applications.

Program Overview

If you are pursuing a master’s degree you may specialize in school counseling or clinical mental health. If you plan to pursue an Ed.S. or Ph.D., you can specialize in counselor education. Our small class size allows you to develop one-on-one relationships with faculty as you gain the necessary skills to serve the educational and mental health needs of children. The program has been accredited by CACREP since 1993. Learn more at usd.edu/cpe.

DELIVERY: On campus

Counselor Education specialization

108 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree or 60 hours beyond a master’s degree.

  • Master’s Degree 48 credit hours or higher
  • Counseling Doctoral core 33 credit hours
  • Research/Stats core 9 credit hours
  • Dissertation 15 credit hours
  • Supporting courses for a cognate area 3 credit hours

Counseling Core course work (Ph.D.): 33 hours


The student must complete all courses in the core with a grade of “B” or better.

Students are also required to take an additional three credits of COUN or non-COUN courses to form a cognate area.

The student may retake two courses and must maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher. In addition to this core curriculum, the student is required to complete a nine credit hour cognate area of specialization.

Dissertation: 15 credit hours


Doctoral students in consultation with their advisor, design a Professional Prospectus prior to Oral Preliminary Exams. The Professional Prospectus reflects each student’s intentional plan to engage in professional development opportunities throughout the doctoral program.

Ph.D. students must complete two academic years in-residence or full-time registration. Residency includes a period of continuous full time engagement on campus. In addition to course work, students actively participate with the faculty in teaching and research. Through the prospectus, students, along with their advisor, construct a plan for meeting residency requirements and related activities, as well as the program of study. The faculty approves the prospectus as part of the preliminary examination. The prospectus is included in the student’s portfolio which is assessed as a part of the comprehensive examination process.

Successful passage of the trial-term coursework, the preliminary examination process, and the maintenance of a grade point average of 3.5 or above allow students to continue full admission.

Students may then select an advisory committee, file a program of study, and begin working on the proposal for dissertation research with their advisor.

Each doctoral student is required to take a comprehensive written examination before admission to final candidacy for the doctoral degree. Students must achieve final candidacy prior to defending the dissertation proposal.

If students have not completed the dissertation during the semesters in which they have registered for the required 15 hours, they must continue to register for additional dissertation credit hours if they are actively working on their research and seeking advisement.

Passing a final oral examination on the dissertation marks successful completion of the dissertation. The examination committee consists of the advisory committee previously selected by the student and includes one member from outside the School of Education, while at minimum 2 members must be Counselor Education program faculty with the chair of the dissertation being Counselor Education program faculty.

Performance Requirements for all Doctoral Counseling Students

Retention decisions at all levels require demonstration of consistently high academic and clinical performance. These requirements are in accordance with the Annual Evaluation of Student Progress policies and procedures (see the Counseling Student Handbook), as well as those set forth in the Graduate Catalog. A student’s character, personal, and professional behavior is evaluated during the course of the program. Students must demonstrate qualities of good character consistent with the program’s mission and policies, the ethical guidelines of the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).

All students in the doctoral program must successfully complete a trial term of coursework and the preliminary written examination followed by an oral interview with members of the program faculty to continue or gain full admission (see doctoral program retention policy). The retention sequence is defined as the first 12 hours of all non-cognate coursework within a counseling program of study. A rating of acceptable or higher on semester evaluations of student progress, including grades of B or higher in all course work, (overall GPA must maintain 3.5 or higher throughout the program of study) is required for retention in the program. Once this retention requirement is met, students are retained under the Guidelines of the Annual Student Evaluation Process.

Application Requirements

  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Admission test scores*
  6. Statement of purpose
  7. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. For specific program requirements and submission deadline, visit: catalog.usd.edu.

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

The educational curriculum for your academic program may or may not meet educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification in states other than South Dakota. If you are planning to apply for licensure/certification in a state other than South Dakota after completion of your program, please review that state and your program on USD’s Licensure-Track Programs webpage. Licensure-Track Programs

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization


Division of Counseling and Psychology in Education
605-658-6623 | cpe@usd.eduusd.edu/cpe

Graduate Admissions
605-658-6140 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad

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