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Ph.D. Degree in Counselor Education and Supervision


The doctoral program in counseling at Mississippi State University builds upon the knowledge, skills, and work experiences students have acquired in counseling or counseling related fields and prepares them to become highly competent practitioners, faculty researchers and scholars, administrators, leaders in the profession, and excellent teachers and clinical supervisors. The program's design and training philosophy is based on the scientist-practitioner model and emphasizes critical thinking skills, the integration of theory with practice, experiential learning, scholarly research, advocacy and social justice awareness and activities, and professional identity and leadership roles.

The program is a focused, developmental sequence of advanced coursework which include a counseling core, a minor or focus area, elective courses, practicum and internship, extensive research and statistics, passing written and oral doctoral comprehensive exams, and successfully planning and defending the dissertation. Counseling core coursework includes advanced studies emphasizing theory, clinical supervision, multicultural competencies, assessment and appraisal, teaching, advocacy, social justice, and leadership, ethics, consultation, research skills development, and critical thinking. Doctoral students also complete a minor or focus area from any academic department in the university offering graduate coursework with a prefix different from the COE program emphasis. This gives doctoral students the opportunity to benefit from a broad array of theory, practice, and research in fields related to counseling. Doctoral students must also complete 900 hours of practicum and internship experiences in a setting appropriate to their program concentration area.

Doctoral Program Objectives

1. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of counseling theories and utilize ethically and culturally relevant skills for conceptualization of clients from multiple theoretical perspectives.

2. Students will understand and apply skills of clinical supervision in individual, triadic, or group supervision.

3. Students will understand their roles and responsibilities in educating counselors and apply culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum development skills to teaching in counselor education.

4. Students will utilize research skills to engage in professional writing for journal and newsletter publication, conference proposal preparation, dissertation writing, and related research activities.

5. Students will develop skills and strategies for engaging in leadership, advocacy, and social justice initiatives aimed at addressing multiple levels of client treatment and counseling practices. 

6. Students will engage in ethically and multiculturally competent counseling, clinical supervision, counselor preparation, research, and leadership and advocacy practices necessary for effective counseling outcomes.

7. Students will analyze and evaluate evidence-based counseling practices that inform counseling effectiveness.

8. Students will demonstrate skills and strategies for formulating groups and engaging in group work for effective counseling outcomes.

9. Students will assume leadership positions in counseling and/or related areas.

10. Students will generate new knowledge for the profession through dissertation research focusing on areas relevant to counseling practice, counselor education, and/or supervision.

Doctoral Degree in Counselor Education and Supervision (COED)

The COED program is designed for doctoral students with an emphasis in clinical mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, or school counseling. Students accepted into the Ph.D. program in Counselor Education must hold a master’s degree from a CACREP or CORE accredited counselor education program or satisfy the CACREP/CORE master’s curriculum requirements in their doctoral programs of study. The minimum number of graduate hours in a Ph.D. program is 81. Most full-time students who hold a CACREP/CORE approved master’s degree complete their Ph.D. coursework in 3 years, including summers.

Course Sequencing and Student Progress

Each doctoral student enrolled in the program is assigned a faculty advisor who assists the student with course selection and navigating through to successful defense of the doctoral dissertation. Each student is strongly encouraged to communicate frequently with his/her advisor. Coursework provides a balance between theory, practice, and experiential learning. The course sequence varies depending on the students' enrollment status (full or part-time) and enrollment in summer classes. The program can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Most full time doctoral students complete the program in three years, including summers. Academic and professional development evaluations are made of all doctoral students each semester to ensure ongoing professional growth and completion of coursework in a timely manner. There are other important requirements for the doctoral degrees in counseling at Mississippi State University. It is the student's responsibility to know them and to make sure his/her program of study conforms appropriately to these requirements. When in doubt, the student is urged to consult with his/her faculty advisor at all times.

Professional Development

Many opportunities are available for professional development throughout the doctoral students' program. Doctoral students are expected to participate in professional and community leadership experiences and advocacy and social justice activities that benefit their clients and the profession. In addition, they are expected to become members of their appropriate professional organizations and to seek out opportunities to serve on state, regional, and national committees of ACA and its affiliates or those of their appropriate specialty areas.

Doctoral students are required to deliver one or more presentations at regional, national, or international conferences and serve as the primary presenters. Many have accomplished this goal as well as attended professional meetings as conference participants. Additionally, doctoral students have been involved in advocacy activities at the community, state, and national levels, and are a part of a very active campus Chi Sigma Iota Chapter.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral programs is for Fall semester only, with February 1 as the application deadline. Applicants must have a master's degree, or its equivalent, from a fully accredited educational institution, and earned a minimum GPA of 3.40 (based on a 4.00 system) on all prior graduate coursework. Additionally, applicants are required to provide official transcripts from all degree programs, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores no more than 5 years old, and three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's educational skills, abilities, and character. Applicants are also expected to provide a personal statement to include reasons for pursuing doctoral study, a discussion of career goals and plans, full time work experiences (at least two years), professional activities, and contributions they can make to the program and to the profession.

Applicants who have a strong chance for success in the program and have met all of the above requirements will be invited by the department for an on campus interview. The interview will include meetings with departmental faculty and current doctoral students, participating in a work sample/demonstration of clinical skills, and submission of a current vita and writing samples. After the interview process has been completed, applicants will be notified if they have been selected for admission to the program. Applicants are encouraged to check with the program for additional requirements. Further information may be obtained from the Bulletin of the Graduate School and the graduate application may be obtained online at:

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available for full-time doctoral students enrolled in the program. Applicants should begin the process early to secure an assistantship. Doctoral students with assistantships work twenty hours per week and may receive tuition reimbursement and a stipend. For more information and to obtain an application please visit

Financial Aid

A variety of financial aid is available to eligible students. Information about student financial aid may be obtained via the Mississippi State University website at

Contact Information

For further information about the doctoral programs, contact the following program coordinators:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Dr. Joan Looby, Professor
Phone: (662) 325 3426

Rehabilitation Counseling
Dr. Zaccheus J. Ahonle, Assistant Professor
Phone: (662) 325 3426

School Counseling
Dr. Cheryl Justice, Professor
Phone: (662) 325 3426