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Ph.D. Program - Counseling Psychology

Is the UT Counseling Psychology program a good match for you?

Questions to Consider

  1. Is the field of Counseling Psychology a good match for your career goals, values, interests, and professional development objectives?
    To help answer this question, see a list of frequently asked questions about Counseling Psychology, including information about differences between the UT Counseling and Clinical Psychology programs.
    CLICK HERE to learn more about the profession of Counseling Psychology. For an even more in-depth description of the field, find out if your local library has the book cited below. See especially the first two chapters of:
    Gelso, C.J., & Fretz, B.R. (2001). Counseling psychology (2nd ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers. (also available online in new and used versions from and

  2. Are the special areas of emphasis and training opportunities offered by the UT Counseling Psychology program a good match for you?
    The program emphasizes three areas: research, practice, and advocacy for social justice. Students interested in receiving training in only one or two of these areas are likely to find that the program is not well matched to their professional objectives. To be well satisfied with your training in our program, it is not necessary that you enter seeking a career requiring a balance of these three training areas. However, it is important that you have a genuine interest in all three aspects of training.
    For example, the UT Counseling Psychology faculty are actively engaged in research on topics such as: (a) How can military veterans and other clients with post-traumatic stress disorder be helped to recover? (b) What are the factors that influence the development of a healthy identity for lesbian women and gay men? (c) What aspects of personality are most influential for wellbeing, career satisfaction, optimum performance, and positive adjustment? (d) What are the key skills that a counselor needs to connect with and help a client who has different cultural values and experiences? (e) How does a strong working relationship between client and counselor help a client to change? And to what degree is this relationship influenced by childhood attachments of both counselor and client? (f) How can a deep understanding at a phenomenological level between two persons of different cultures facilitate the development and growth of each? Students who are seeking a career that involves little, if any research, will still do very well in the UT Counseling Psychology program provided that they have a genuinely strong interest in pursuing research questions like these. Students whose primary interest is in helping others will do best in our program if this interest is combined with a desire to contribute to human welfare by generating new scientific knowledge.
    Students with a strong passion for research and the desire to make new discoveries in the areas described above – or in other areas of research, will do best if these interests are combined with a desire to become a highly effective counselor or psychotherapist.
    Students will find themselves feeling especially at home in the UT Counseling Psychology program if their interests in research and practice are combined with a strong desire to work as advocates for social justice; and if these three interest areas are integrated; for example, by investigating ways to make interventions more effective, using research as a means of influencing social policy, or by redefining "practice" as interventions that change organizations and institutions in addition to individuals.
    To learn more about our training model, CLICK HERE. This document serves as a kind of "constitution" setting forth our training goals. If you find yourself growing excited by this statement of the basic philosophy and mission of the program, it is likely that the UT Counseling Psychology program will be a good match for you.

  3. Have you worked in helping roles with diverse clientele, or have you had other types of multicultural life experiences that shaped who you are? Are you willing to share what you have learned from these experiences with other students?
    If so, it is likely that the UT Counseling Psychology program will be a good match for you.

  4. As you imagine getting to know other students in your program, would you be very pleased to discover that you will be working closely with classmates who have a broad range of ethnic identifications; persons from other countries; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight students; and students with a wide variety of religious beliefs, age, and life experiences? Are you excited by the prospect of becoming good friends and learning from classmates whose beliefs and life experiences are very different than yours?
    If so, it is likely that the UT Counseling Psychology program will be a good match for you.

  5. In addition to valuing diversity, are your other personal values matched to the training values of the program? In particular, are you willing to make some of the objects of your study, yourself and your assumptions about the world?
    To find a detailed statement of the training values of our program, CLICK HERE. If you find yourself resonating with these values, it is likely that the UT Counseling Psychology program will be a good match for you.

  6. Research in vocational psychology has demonstrated that a key to satisfaction in any new environment is having similar likes, dislikes, and interests as persons already in that environment who report being very satisfied. As you consider what you are seeking in a graduate training program, how well do those features match up with what current students like most about our program?
    One way to answer this question is to check out the Top Ten+ list of responses that current students recently gave to the question, "What are the top ten reasons to  apply to the UT Counseling Psychology program?"

  7. Do you believe you would be happy living in Knoxville?
    Your environment and living situation are also important factors in your adjustment and satisfaction with graduate training. The population of Knoxville is 177,000, with 389,000 residents living in surrounding Knox county. Founded in 1791 where the French Broad and Holston Rivers converge to form the Tennessee River, Knoxville is the largest city in East Tennessee and ranks third largest in the state. Knoxville was rated #1 Best Place to Live for cities under 1 million population (354 Metros Ranked) - Source: Places Rated Almanac Millenium Edition. The UT campus has an enrollment of 20,400 undergraduates, and 6000 graduate students. UT is proud to have received over $127 million in grants for 2006.
    Below you will find a number of links to demographic and cultural information about Knoxville, Knox county, and the University of Tennessee.
    Browse these links to gain a sense of your answer to the question above.
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