PhD in Counseling Psychology & Applied Human Development

Students in our doctoral program in Counseling Psychology & Applied Human Development (CPAHD) receive training in two core areas of study: 1) psychological foundations of behavior and 2) research methods and data analysis. Students identify the specialization area to which they are applying: Counseling Psychology or Applied Human Development. Further, students in both specialization areas will follow one of our two program tracks (Child/Adolescent Mental Health and Development or Sport/Performance Psychology) and receive additional training in the track area they choose. All students receive training in a specialization-specific applied experience or practice opportunities; Counseling Psychology students are also trained in counseling psychology foundations.

Graduates of our program use their specialized knowledge, research skills, and counseling competencies in a wide variety of postdoctoral career choices, including the following: faculty positions in colleges and universities; clinical or consulting positions in K–12 schools, government, industry, or human service agencies; and work with individuals, teams, or organizations dedicated to superior performance in sport and other performance realms.

Based in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, we are particularly focused on children and youth, and on educational and sport/performance settings, including elementary, middle, and high schools, college counseling centers, and college athletic teams. As an integral part of Boston University’s community engagement, we have a long-standing tradition of promoting social justice through our research, teaching, and collaborations with schools, community agencies, and other partners. We are dedicated to working in school settings because education provides a crucial contribution to the formation and maintenance of free and just societies by helping students reach to their fullest potential. The Counseling Psychology PhD Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will acquire an advanced understanding of the role and function of the culturally responsive professional psychologist in a wide range of clinical, training, and research settings.
  • Students will acquire an advanced knowledge of the theories and evidence-based scientific findings of psychology, broadly, and counseling psychology, specifically.
  • Students will demonstrate the practical skills and abilities to work in culturally affirming ways with children through emerging adult populations in the role of a counseling psychologist.
  • Students will understand the evidence-base for various interventions and demonstrate the ability to develop, implement, and disseminate research protocols for evaluating professional counseling and educational activities within school and/or community settings.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to critique and advance extant research to improve practice.
  • Students will demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to diversity and individual differences.
  • Students will demonstrate effectiveness working as a professional psychologist with diverse groups in the roles of clinician, educator, researcher, and advocate.


The CPAHD program has a core set of courses required of students in both specialization areas, as well as specialization-specific courses, as noted below. Note that the Doctoral Training Committee must approve other courses as substitutes for the courses listed below.

Total Minimum Credits for Counseling Psychology: 97

Total Credits for Applied Human Development: 81–90

Research Methods (CP: 5 courses, plus dissertation; AHD: 7 courses, plus dissertation)

  • SED LC 999 Dissertation Advisement (6 cr)
  • SED RS 755 Measurement and Psychometrics Theory (4 cr)
  • One quantitative research methods course (e.g., SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods)
  • One qualitative research methods course (e.g., SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods)
  • Two additional research methods/advanced statistics courses for CP students; four additional research methods/advanced statistics courses for AHD students

Psychological Foundations (CP: 22 credits; AHD: 22 credits)

  • SED CE 801 Cognitive Affective Bases of Behavior (4 cr)
  • SED CE 802 Social Bases of Behavior (4 cr)
  • SED CE 809 History & Systems of Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED DS 600 Culture, Ethnicity & Race: A Developmental Perspective (4 cr)
  • SSW HB 751 Human Neuropsychology (3 cr)
  • One human development course (CP must take SED CE 705 Lifespan Development (3 cr) if not already taken)

Counseling Psychology Core (Required for CP; Elective for AHD) (CP: 16 credits)

  • SED CE 826 Intellectual & Behavioral Assessment (Child—2 cr) or GRS PS 772 Clinical Psychological Assessment (Adult—4 cr)
  • SED CE 848 Effective Interventions—Child (2 cr)
  • SED CE 849 Effective Interventions—Adult (2 cr)
  • SED CE 850 Theories & Models of Consultation & Supervision (2 cr)
  • SED CE 851 Vocational Psychology (2 cr)
  • SED CE 852 Prevention in Counseling Psychology (2 cr)
  • SED CE 853 Counseling Health Psychology (2 cr)
  • SED CE 854 Adv Research in Counseling Psychology (2 cr)
  • Series of brown-bag discussions on topics in Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development (0 cr) (required for both CP & AHD)

Clinical Core (CP only; minimum 22 credits)

  • SED CE 846 Foundational Clinical Practicum—2 semesters x 4 cr (8 cr)
  • SED CE 926 Assessment Practicum (Child—2 cr) or GRS PS 774 Clinical Psychological Assessment (Adult—4 cr)
  • SED CE 946 Advanced Clinical Practicum—2 semesters x 4 cr (8 cr)
  • SED CE 947 Externship Practicum Placement—2 semesters (variable credits) (optional course)
  • SED CE 948 Supervision and Consultation Practicum—1 semester (2 cr)
  • SED CE 949 APPIC Internship in Counseling Psychology—2 semesters (variable credits)

Specialization-Specific Research/Applied Experience (AHD only—8–16 cr)


  • SED CE 821 Sport/Performance—4 semesters x 2 cr (8 cr)
  • SED LC 500/900 Directed/Independent Study (8–16 cr)

Elective Courses

Students will take 12 (CP) to 16 (AHD) elective credits chosen to enhance their professional development.

Qualifying Tasks and Dissertation

Students must pass two qualifying tasks before proceeding to the dissertation. A total of three qualifying tasks must be completed. The dissertation, written under the supervision of a faculty committee, must be based upon original research about a significant topic in the field.