PhD in Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development

Students in our doctoral program in Counseling Psychology and 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’s University’s community engagement, we have a long-standing tradition of promoting social justice by providing service to disenfranchised students in some of the poorest schools in the city. 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 PhD in Counseling Psychology program initially received designation status by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards/National Registrar Joint Designation Project in May 2008, and was renewed in 2012 and 2015. The program is also currently in the process of review for accreditation by the American Psychological Association.


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: 26 credits; AHD: 34 credits)

  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 684 Applied Multiple Regression (4 cr)
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • SED LC 999 Dissertation Advisement (6 cr)
  • Two additional research methods/advanced statistics courses (8 cr) for CP students; Four additional research methods/advanced statistics courses (16 cr) for AHD students

Psychological Foundations (CP: 23 credits; AHD: 23–24 credits)

  • GMS BN 776 Human Neuropsychology or GMS BN 777 Basic Neurosciences or SSW HB 751 Human Neuropsychology (4 cr)
  • SED CE 801 Cognitive Affective Bases of Behavior or GRS PS 824 Cognitive Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED CE 802 Social Bases of Behavior or GRS PS 761 Major Issues in Social Psychology (4 cr)
  • GRS PS 730 History & Systems of Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED DS 600 Culture, Ethnicity & Race: A Developmental Perspective (4 cr)
  • SED DS 504 Adolescent Development (3 cr) or SED CE 705 Lifespan Development (3 cr) or SED LS 750 Cognitive Development and Language (4 cr) (AHD only)

Counseling Psychology Core (Required for CP; Elective for AHD) (CP: 18 credits)

  • Series of brown-bag discussions on topics in Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development (0 cr) (required for both CP & AHD)
  • 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)
  • SED CE 826 Intellectual & Behavioral Assessment (Child—2 cr) or GRS PS 772 Clinical Psychological Assessment (Adult—4 cr)

Clinical Core (CP only) (22–24 credits)

  • SED CE 846 Foundational Clinical Practicum—2 semesters x 4 cr (8 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 949 APPIC Internship in Counseling Psychology—2 semesters (variable credits)
  • SED CE 948 Supervision and Consultation Practicum—1 semester (2 cr)
  • SED CE 926 Assessment Practicum (Child—2 cr) or GRS PS 774 Clinical Psychological Assessment (Adult—4 cr)
  • Internship (0 cr)

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


  • SED LC 500/900 Directed/Independent Study (8–16 cr)
  • SED CE 721 Sport/Performance—4 semesters x 2 cr (8 cr)

Track Courses

Students will take 12 (CP) to 16 (AHD) credits in their track area. Example track courses are provided below.

Sport/Performance Psychology Track
  • SED CE 650 Counseling Skills and Techniques in Sport and Exercise Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED PE 505 Sport Science (4 cr)
  • SED DS 700 Advanced Seminar in Sport and Exercise Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED PE 529 Psychology of Coaching Teams (4 cr)
  • SED CE 643 Mindfulness & Performance (4 cr)

In addition, two semesters of SED CE 721 Sport & Exercise Psychology practicum (2 cr each) are required.

Child/Adolescent Mental Health & Development Track
  • SED LS 626 Intercultural Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 706 Introduction to Special Education (4 cr)
  • SED EC 507 Play and Child Development in Early Childhood (4 cr)
  • SED SE 534 Classroom and Behavior Management (4 cr)
  • SED BI 620 Educational Issues in Bilingualism (4 cr)

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.