Welcome to Prospective Doctoral Students

Dear Prospective Student:

We hope you may consider the opportunities for graduate study in Counseling Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. We offer both a doctoral and a terminal master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.  The doctoral program was recently ranked the #1 program in the country by www.counselingpsychology.org based on our 100% pass rate on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology used for licensure.

The doctoral program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1979.  Over the past 9 years, our pre-doctoral internship match rate has been approximately 96%, with virtually 100% of matched applicants being matched with their top two preferred internship sites.

We subscribe to a scientist-practitioner model of training which emphasizes scientifically grounded practice. As such, most of our faculty conduct applied research. Research experiences in the program and department are plentiful. Research teams focusing on college student drinking, positive parenting, aggressive behavior, vocational counseling, criminal thinking and ethnic/racial health disparities provide an important platform for gaining sound research skills and for receiving supportive and engaged research mentoring. Research collaboration among students and faculty is highly valued, and students and faculty regularly publish and present their work at local and national conferences.

We offer several unique training opportunities to graduate students.

  • First, the Counseling Psychology program manages an on-campus training clinic serving both the campus and local community. This allows students to receive intensive supervision from program faculty throughout their training. In addition to a broad emphasis on psychological assessment and evidence-based treatment, opportunities exist through the clinic for specialized training and practice in anger management, parent training, motivational interviewing, and career counseling. Thus, students acquire highly marketable skills which make them more desirable to internship sites and other practice-oriented settings.
  • Second, advanced doctoral students gain invaluable training and experience in clinical supervision of less experienced peers under faculty supervision. This mentorship model provides for an outstanding and unique, supervision experience.
  • Third, our program has close ties with many community agencies through which doctoral students obtain diverse, funded experience in a variety of psychiatric and community mental health settings. 
  • Last, as one of the few counseling psychology programs in the U.S. housed in a Department of Psychology, students benefit from a broad array of professional models, research resources, and collaborative opportunities. For doctoral students, undergraduate teaching opportunities are plentiful and based on the availability of research experiences, graduates of our program find themselves especially well suited for academic positions, as well as practitioner-focused careers.

The doctoral program is cohort-based and applications are accepted once annually (December 1 deadline doctoral program) for Fall admission. Admission to our programs is competitive: we accept about 5 doctoral students out of approximately 80 applications each year. Financial assistance is available for students and includes a monthly stipend and tuition-waiver.

We hope you take some time to explore our website and learn more about our top-ranked programs.  Hattiesburg has recently been named one of the nation’s best campus towns (http://livability.com/best-places/top-10/best-college-towns/10-best-college-towns--/2014 ). The city of Hattiesburg has a lot to offer (http://www.hattiesburg.org/ ) and is within a few hours of the Gulf Coast beaches and New Orleans. Housing is very affordable and we enjoy warm winters and a pleasant Spring and Fall season.

The decision to pursue graduate training is a difficult one. You are encouraged to explore our website and may also seek additional information from the American Psychological Association, APA Graduate Student Organization, and the Society of Counseling Psychology for more information about psychology, graduate school, and the field of counseling psychology. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about our program.


Melanie Leuty, Ph.D.
Director of Training
Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program