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Counseling Psychology

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in Counseling Psychology program, housed within the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies (HDPES), is an APA-accredited program designed to train professional psychologists in the Scientist-Practitioner model consistent with APA-accreditation guidelines.

The Program embodies a balanced training experience in the science of psychology, theoretical foundations, application of therapeutic skills, and research, and thus prepares skilled counseling psychologists to function successfully in a variety of professional settings with diverse populations. 


In 1982 the Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology Program was approved by the Howard University Board of Trustees. The first four students were admitted in the fall semester of that same year. The Program was first accredited by the American Psychological Association in September, 2002. The Program was re-accredited in spring 2006 and spring 2013. Additional information regarding accreditation can be obtained from the American Psychological Association, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, (202) 336-5979.
For more information about the program, check the powerpoint in PDF form: Counseling Psychology Program

Program Philosophy

The Program embraces the Scientist-Practitioner model and embodies a balanced training experience in the scientific and theoretical foundations of psychology and in applications of practice skills and research. The Program encourages a hypothesis-testing approach toward obtaining and evaluating information and it encourages the examination of empirical literature related to planning and evaluating interventions that focus on prevention or remediation of problems. The Program emphasizes prevention of psychological problems, the teaching of effective coping skills (to prevent problems), and the development of effective problem-resolution skills to remediate negative coping behaviors.

The mission of the Program is to educate and train counseling psychology students using a Scientist-Practitioner philosophy to provide services in research, teaching and/or practice. It encourages students to identify and use prevention and intervention strategies that focus on the optimum strengths of each client. The Program emphasizes theory, research, knowledge, experiences and concerns focused on a broad spectrum of diversity (e.g., race, gender, culture, class, sexual orientation, socio-economic differences, and disability), specifically as related to individuals in urban communities.

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Admission Requirements

Applications are reviewed once a year for Fall admission to the program. Applicants must submit all credentials, along with their scores on the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test by December 1st. Application guidelines and other required admission information are available from the Graduate School ( It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all admissions materials are received by the Graduate School prior to the December deadline. Admission to the doctoral program requires acceptance to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

We offer early review of applicants who would like to be considered for the Douglass Fellowship ( Early admission applications must be received by November 1st.

Degree Requirements

Length of Time for Completion of the Ph.D. Degree

The Doctoral program in Counseling Psychology generally requires 5-6 years of full-time study, inclusive of the Pre-doctoral Internship and Doctoral Dissertation. However, students are expected to complete all Ph.D. program degree requirements within a maximum of seven (7) years from the date of initial registration in the program. After seven years, students must petition for readmission and may be readmitted only upon (a) fulfillment of conditions recommended by the departmental Committee on Graduate Studies (e.g., demonstrated course viability, etc.) and (b) approval by the Executive Committee of the Graduate School, subject to the rules for readmission to the Graduate School in Article I, Section 7.


1. Admission (GPA, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and personal statement and interview).

2. Students are expected to adhere to the curriculum scheme and matriculate through the program as a cohort, except where course(s) have been waived.

3. Portfolio Review (During the second semester of each year while enrolled in the program). The portfolio review is conducted annually by the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Faculty to evaluate students’ adherence to program objectives and progress towards the degree.

4. Comprehensive Examination (a 16-hour examination over 2 days). The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is taken after the completion of course work or near completion of coursework, typically in the 4th year of the program. Students should apply for the Comprehensive Examination on the proper form through their academic advisor (using the Intent to Take the Preliminary / Comprehensive Examination form; located

5. Dissertation Proposal (approval of a proposal for dissertation research). A dissertation proposal is developed in conjunction with the student’s research advisor and three additional dissertation committee members. A fifth member (from outside the University) is assigned to the dissertation committee upon scheduling the Final Oral Examination of the dissertation. (Students must propose the dissertation before they are approved to apply for internship).

6. Application for Admission to Candidacy. Students can be admitted to candidacy after (a) completing major course work, (b) passing the Comprehensive Examination, (c) satisfying the Expository Writing Examination requirement, and (e) having the dissertation proposal approved.

7. Internship. A year-long internship at an APA-accredited facility.

8. Dissertation Defense. This is the Final Oral Examination of the dissertation research.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to the Graduate School does not automatically make a student an official candidate for the doctoral degree. A student must formally apply to candidacy and is admitted to candidacy only when he/she has completed the below requirements.

Before a student can be admitted to candidacy he/she must have:

1. Completed an Admission to Candidacy form available from the GSAS, which must include a list of graduate courses completed, being taken, and yet to be pursued in the program.

2. Passed the Comprehensive Examination.

3. Satisfactorily demonstrated expository writing proficiency to the Office of Educational Affairs.

4. Received approval of a dissertation topic via a process determined by the graduate faculty in the department. Students in the Doctoral Counseling Psychology Program must have their dissertation proposal approved by a 4 member committee of faculty. A copy of the approved dissertation proposal must accompany the Admission to Candidacy form.

5. Received the recommendation of his/her major department on the candidacy form.

6. Completed the Responsible Conduct of Research Training administered by the Graduate School.

7. Secured the approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) as required for the dissertation research project.

8. Secured the approval for candidacy from the GSAS.

Admission to candidacy must be achieved at least one semester prior to that in which the student expects to receive his/her degree. Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree shall be valid for no more than five (5) years. If candidacy status expires (after 5 years) students must seek renewal of candidacy by applying to the GSAS through the department. The Program shall determine the conditions under which the student may be reinstated, subject to the approval of the GSAS.

The student is responsible for fulfilling these requirements on time. Students should consult the Director of Graduate Studies if in doubt as to any of the requirements for candidacy. Students should carefully note the specific requirements of their departments relative to admission to candidacy and regard them as additional to the requirements of the program and the Graduate School.

Residence Requirements

A minimum of six (6) credit hours per semester constitutes full-time residency. A student must be in residence in the Graduate School for at least four (4) semesters in order to be recommended for a degree. Credits transferred from other accredited graduate institutions may not be used to meet the residency requirement.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

  • Shareefah N. Al’Uqdah, Ph.D., Program Director/Assistant Professor |

    Urban mental health; community violence, parenting issues, mental health and physical health outcomes/disparities; PTSD, Depression; and counseling Muslim clients.

  • Gizelle Carr, Ph.D., Assistant Professor |

    Xenophobia for immigrants of color, intersectionality & feminist psychology, qualitative research, mental health and assessment of girls in the juvenile justice system, therapeutic jurisprudence.

  • Angela D. Ferguson, Ph.D., Associate Professor |

    Intersections of identity from a racial, gender, and sexual orientation perspective; multiple forms of oppression and self-concept/psychological well-being; cross-cultural resilience factors in the process of recovery from traumatic injury; women’s leadership styles.

  • Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., Professor |

    Co-occurring disorders; criminal and police psychology; urban issues in counseling; African American men in the criminal justice system; and psychometric assessment. Dr. Toldson is the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Negro Education.

  • Kevin Mwata Washington, Ph.D , Assistant Professor |

    Cultural Trauma Treatment (Post Enslavement Systemic Trauma, PEST), community violence exposure impact on Blacks and Latina/os, multicultural counseling and psychotherapy (emphasis people of African ancestry) for families and couples, spirituality and resilience factors, Multicultural (Black) men identity dynamics, Ubuntu Psychotherapy. Dr. Washington is currently the President-Elect of the Association of Black Psychologists.

  • Kamilah M. Woodson, Ph.D., Associate Professor |

    Health-related risk behaviors (substance abuse & risky sexual behaviors), exposure to violence; mental health disparities, and issues related to internalized racism (as a function of hair texture and skin color).


match rate for APA accredited internship placements, 4 out of the past 5 years


of our graduates in the past 5 years are employed in the field!


of our graduates indicate that they are "Satisfied" or "Very Satisfied" with their graduate training!

Program Contact

Shareefah N. Al'Uqdah, Ph.D

Program Director

Contact for All SOE Graduate Programs

Cristobal Rodriguez, Ph.D

Director of Graduate Studies