Admissions Information

The University of Southern Mississippi

Applying to the Master's or Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology

Admission to the Counseling Psychology Master's or Doctoral Program is offered once annually with application deadlines of December 1st (Doctoral program) and March 1st (Master’s program); ALL application information must be received by the respective deadline. Please note that application to a graduate program is a time-consuming and lengthy process - you should plan ahead as incomplete applications cannot be considered. Below you will find specific application requirements as well as information about our application procedure.

Application Materials

The following application materials are required and all are submitted electronically through the application portal available online:

  • Graduate School Application (how to start the doctoral application and how to start the masters application)
  • Graduate Record Examination Scores
  • Undergraduate Transcripts (from each school attended; unofficial copies)
  • Graduate Transcripts (unofficial copies)
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • 3 Professional Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose (see information below) 
  • Research Preferences
  • Previous Supervised Clinical Experiences
  • Writing Sample (required for doctoral applicants only)

The Graduate School has moved the application process entirely online. All materials will be submitted online via the Graduate School website. Hard copies of application materials are not accepted. Applicants will be notified by email of the status of their applications. Only completed applications are reviewed.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to check their online application status often ensure their materials are complete; applicants will need to "submit" their final application for review.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is an opportunity for you to showcase your strengths and fit with the program as well as your writing abilities. Statements which address professional goals and fit with the field of counseling psychology and program at USM are positively received. Respond to the following questions (limit your response to 1 page for each question).

Doctoral Applicants:

  • Question 1: Describe your professional goals and how this program will help you accomplish these goals.
  • Question 2: Describe your research interests and discuss how this program will allow you to pursue research in this area (tip: connect your response to a specific faculty member; also address your flexibility in working with your 2nd choice faculty member).
  • Question 3: Describe your professional strengths and areas for growth.

Master's Applicants:

  • Question 1: Describe your professional goals and how this program will help you accomplish these goals. As the MS program has a dual mission of training students for eventual practice as a counselor or continued doctoral study, be sure your answer to this question addresses your intention for this degree.  If you intend to pursue further doctoral study, please include your research interests and how this program (and particular faculty members) will allow you to pursue research in this area.
  • Question 2: Describe your professional strengths and areas for growth.

Review of Applications

Application review will begin promptly following the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all materials have been electronically submitted and received. You will be notified of the status of your application via email throughout the process. Please be sure to check your email regularly. 

Applications are reviewed based on a number criteria including review of previous coursework, examination scores, letters of recommendation, resume and personal statement and fit. A committee of Counseling Psychology faculty reviews each component of the application and based on this review, a limited number of students are invited for an on-campus interview. Those interviewed will be assessed for professionalism and program fit. Students will be notified in writing of the Program’s admission recommendation – a formal letter of acceptance comes from the Graduate School. Some students are placed on an alternate list. In conjunction with ethical standards, students should not hold more than one admission offer – therefore the Program faculty ask that you notify us immediately if your application should no longer be considered or if your graduate plans change.

Students considering both programs may opt to apply for the doctoral program and can reapply to the Master’s program should their application not receive further consideration in the doctoral admission process. There are no prerequisites for application to the programs; previous coursework in psychology is helpful but not required. Previous graduate coursework in counseling psychology may be considered particularly if the course is deemed comparable to current program standards in content and rigor. Such decisions are made after admission to the program and following a review of syllabi. 

Please contact Dr. Bonnie Nicholson, Director of Training, with questions about the doctoral program and Dr. Emily Yowell, Director of Training, with questions about the master's program.