Counseling Psychology

Group photo of Psychology Counseling Faculty
Left to right: Melissa Ertl, Alex Ajayi, Patricia Frazier, Richard Lee

The Counseling Psychology program at the University of Minnesota seeks to fully understand the changing demographics in society, the increasing globalization of the world in which we live, and the need for both relevant research and mental health services to address these shifts. We respect and understand the value of cultural and individual diversity in society including, but not limited to, diversity related to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. As a graduate training program, we are committed to promoting equity and diversity in the recruitment, retention, education, and professional development of Counseling Psychology students with the hope that they will work toward addressing the multicultural concerns of people around the world.


The Counseling Psychology program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1952 (for more information please see accreditation). APA accreditation allows Counseling Psychology graduates to be eligible for the licensure exam (Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, EPPP) upon completion of their degree, though licensure eligibility varies by state. Please see the Public Licensure Disclosure for additional information. As part of our APA accreditation process, we also provide information (e.g., costs, time to completion) on student admissions, outcomes, and other data.


Students are expected to be actively involved in research throughout their graduate training, beginning with a first-year research project and culminating in an empirical dissertation. Counseling Psychology faculty are engaged in a variety of research projects and work closely with graduate students, as well as undergraduate students, to develop independent and collaborative research. Please visit faculty lab websites to learn more about their ongoing research (FamiLee Lab, iWell Lab, STRIPE Lab, and Stress and Trauma Lab).

Funding Opportunities

The Department of Psychology offers a variety of funding opportunities to graduate students. For more information, please see the Funding Opportunities webpage. In addition to departmental funding, the counseling psychology program has endowed scholarships available to graduate students active in the program and in good academic standing.


Please visit the Graduate Education Catalog: Psychology for curriculum and graduation requirements specific to the Counseling Psychology program.

The aims of the Counseling Psychology program are to educate students to become (a) scholars who can evaluate and conduct research in counseling psychology, (b) practitioners who integrate counseling psychology and general psychological research with the practice of counseling psychology, and (c) educators who communicate effectively about psychology in the classroom and other settings. Graduate study in the Counseling Psychology program is designed to prepare students for academic, research, and practice careers at the Ph.D. level. Our training philosophy is based upon the scientist-practitioner training model which emphasizes broad training in research and practice for a full understanding of the field. Consistent with this philosophy, students are educated in (a) the basic science of psychology and its methods and (b) the specific science and practice of counseling psychology. Students receive a strong foundation in the science of psychology and an empirical research viewpoint toward counseling psychology.

Sample curriculum plans for future students:
Odd Year Admits, 2023-2029
Even Year Admits, 2024-2030

Counseling Program Handbook:
Graduate Student Handbook

The Department of Psychology provides courses for a broad background in general psychology and social science methodology. The Counseling Psychology program includes substantive coursework that demonstrates the application of psychological theories, principles, and methods to counseling-related research and practice. Similarly, courses in theory, intervention, and assessment provide students with extensive practice training experiences. Through structured practice experiences, students apply the science of psychology to counseling. The practice experiences subsequently inform the types of research conducted by students and faculty. Close working relationships with faculty provide students with opportunities for research experiences and professional development activities. Graduate funding options also provide the opportunity to obtain teaching experiences, develop and conduct independent lines of research, and attend professional conferences.

Training in Counseling Practice

In addition to coursework that provides students with formal training in the science of psychology, the Counseling Psychology program offers applied training through practica and internships. Typically, students complete the beginning practicum at the Student Counseling Services and continue with an additional 600–800 hours of advanced practicum at various sites in the Twin Cities area. Practica/Advanced Practica training integrates supervised counseling and assessment practice with readings and case conceptualization based on theory and empirical literature. All practicum trainees are required to follow the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for Practitioners.

The predoctoral internship is one academic year, full-time. For purposes of licensure as a professional psychologist, internships with an APA-approved site are strongly recommended.

Beginning Practicum

In the Student Counseling Services (SCS) Beginning Practicum, trainees provide career, academic and personal counseling to students at the University of Minnesota. Trainees complete the beginning practicum during the second year over 2 semesters. The practicum is 510 hours which consists of 17 hours per week of supervised practice and preparation (two half days of counseling clients and a 2-hour seminar). Supervision is provided by a psychologist and predoctoral interns using a live supervision model.

Advanced Practicum

The Twin Cities metropolitan area provides a wealth of advanced practicum opportunities for graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program. We currently have agreements with approximately 40 sites and new opportunities are added continuously. Advanced practicum settings include:

  • VA Medical Centers
  • mental health clinics
  • small and large counseling centers 
  • hospitals 
  • consulting firms
  • human resource programs
  • private practices
  • in-house career counseling and assessment clinic

Placements are competitive and practicum sites are eager to accept our students into their programs. Our students also give their practicum sites good marks for the training and supervision that they provide.

Internship Placement

Our students compete very well for internships. Over the last ten years, all students have been matched with internships with university counseling centers, VA Medical Centers, university medical centers, community mental health centers, and public and private hospitals.

Alumni Outcomes

The Counseling Psychology program measures alumni outcomes in a variety of ways (e.g., successful completion of a doctoral dissertation, licensure, and career placement). 

  • The Department of Psychology maintains a list of recent graduates that includes their area of specialization, adviser, and dissertation title. Counseling graduate students typically finish their degree within six years of entering the program.
  • Graduate training in the University of Minnesota Counseling Psychology program will prepare students to take the EPPP; however, requirements for sitting for the EPPP vary by state licensing boards so please review the Public Licensure Disclosure document for additional information.

Graduates of the Counseling Psychology program have accepted positions in a variety of career settings, such as colleges and universities, VA Healthcare Systems, and community and mental health/addiction clinics. Please visit our listing of Graduate Career Placements from 2013-2023 to discover the initial jobs our graduates held after graduation. Please also see the STRIPE Lab, Stress and Trauma Lab and FamiLee Lab for details on current jobs held by our graduates.

Core Faculty

Alex Ajayi, Assistant Professor
Melissa Ertl, Assistant Professor
Patricia A. FrazierDistinguished McKnight University Professor and Area Co-Director
Richard M. LeeDistinguished McKnight University Professor, Area Co-Director, and Director of Asian American Studies

Affiliated Faculty

* Affiliated Faculty do NOT admit graduate students in the Counseling Psychology Program

Samantha Anders, Adjunct Faculty and Practicum Coordinator, Department of Psychology
Liza Meredith, Contract Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Lovey Peissig, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Psychology and Leadership Development Manager, Human Resources
Moin Syed, Professor, Personality, Individual Differences, and Behavior Genetics
David J. WeissProfessor, Quantitative-Psychometrics Methods

Emeritus Professors

René V. DawisProfessor
Jo-Ida C. HansenProfessor