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: 

  • Graduate School Application (see links below)
  • Graduate Record Examination Scores
  • Undergraduate Transcripts (from each school attended)
  • Graduate Transcripts
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • 3 Professional Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose (see information below) 
  • Research Preferences
  • Writing Sample (required for doctoral applicants only)

To begin an application, please visit: Choose the Fall semester post your application.  The next page will allow you to choose the program name and begin the program specific application.  You will be directed to complete questions specific to the Counseling Psychology program. No additional program-specific applications are needed. There is not a separate graduate assistantship application. Applications will be available beginning mid-August.  While the application portal will continue to accept applications, applications submitted after the program-specific deadline will not be reviewed or considered for admission. 

  • Program Names found in application portal dropdown list:
      Counseling Psychology Master's Program
      Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program [Official Program Name: Psychology (Counseling Psychology)]
  • You will then set up an account and begin the application process. Please note that the application fees are required in order for the application to be processed. Please do not delay in paying the application fee as this may result in the application not being completed by the deadline. Note: Fee waivers are available upon request for military and McNair scholars.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to check their online application status often to ensure their materials are complete.
  • Again, applications submitted after the program application deadlines (PhD Program: Dec 1st; MS Program: March 1st) will not be reviewed or considered for admission even if fully complete.
  • Consider applying for the Go Gold Diversity Fellowship.

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). The entire statement should be saved as one document and uploaded to the application portal. Please do not simply upload a generic personal statement. Ensure your statement includes responses to these questions. 

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.

Tips for applicants 

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. Melanie Leuty, Director of Training, with questions about the doctoral program and Dr. Emily Yowell, Director of Training, with questions about the master's program.