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Psychology (Counseling) - Doctorate

Availability: Hattiesburg Options

Considering the Counseling Psychology PhD Program?

Counseling psychology has historically maintained a focus on psychological health and adaptive development including vocational issues, prevention and diversity. Our strengths include:

  • High quality clinical training in evidence-based interventions supervised by faculty in our in-house training clinic and community training sites.
  • Research team involvement enabling development of strong scientific skills investigating topics with real-world application. Publication and presentation opportunities available.
  • Coursework delivered by experts allowing for interdisciplinary training opportunities with other psychology specialties.

We also offer a Counseling Psychology Master's program which is closely aligned with our doctoral program and a good option for applicants interested in practice-focused careers. 

Meet the Counseling Psychology Faculty

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100%current students offered GA positions
6 students admitted annually
100%internship match rate

Why a Counseling Psychology PhD at Southern Miss?

Counseling psychology has been shaped by values that give priority to interventions which foster psychological health and adaptive development and has historically been driven by a focus on normative development, vocational issues, prevention and diversity. Graduates become licensed and go onto work in VA’s, University Counseling Centers, healthcare, academia, and in private practice. Our program specializes in:

  • Evidence-based approaches to interventions focused on adults
  • Scientific methodology which prepares graduates for both research and practice careers
  • Professional behaviors including supervision, teaching, and mentorship

Class sizes are small to allow for more individualized training opportunities. Master's and doctoral coursework overlaps in the first 2 years, allowing for an integration of training across these two programs. A big advantage of being housed in a School of Psychology is that classes are taught by experts in each discipline and students have the opportunity to take classes with students in other Psychology disciplines. Counseling Psychology faculty provide integrated, discipline-specific training in counseling interventions, ethics, multicultural issues, diagnosis and assessment. As a scientist-practitioner training program, research and clinical opportunities are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Cohort sizes are small, allowing for high quality mentorship. Faculty members invest significant time to ensure doctoral graduates are well-prepared psychologists. This includes coursework taught by experts in the subject area, research mentorship provided through a research team model which includes graduate and undergraduate students who participate in publications and presentations, and often includes clinical supervision in the in-house training clinic. All faculty are licensed psychologists, and many provide weekly supervision of practicum and externship.

Students are admitted directly to research teams supervised by a faculty member. Research teams meet regularly to collaborate on research initiatives, and to allow for supervision of thesis and dissertation projects, as well as individualized mentoring.

Graduate students engage in all aspects of the research process including presentations at national conventions and publications in top-ranked journals in the field. Applied research opportunities are available which demonstrate the benefits of the scientist-practitioner model.

Learn more about Counseling Psychology research by visiting our YouTube Channel

Practicum experiences include both training opportunities in our in-house training clinic, as well as carefully arranged training opportunities in community sites to include residential programs, substance use, assessment, behavioral health, pain management, Veteran’s Administration, university counseling center and the state hospital. Practica in the in-house training clinic are closely supervised by licensed faculty members and provide a high quality training environment emphasizing evidenced-based interventions. Supervision experience provided. Over the last five years, 100% of our students have been placed at their top ranked internship sites, which exceeds the national average.

More information about clinical training opportunities can be found on our YouTube Channel

Graduate Assistantships are generally available for all students throughout their four-year training program (students completing predoctoral internship in the 5th year are paid through the internship site). Graduate assistantships support students by providing both a full tuition scholarship, and a 9-12 month stipend. Graduate assistantships include teaching and research assistantships, and paid clinical externship positions in training sites throughout the area. Opportunities exist for undergraduate teaching.

Applications are due December 1. Application deadlines here differ from those posted by the Graduate School. Late applications are not accepted.

The School of Psychology is currently not requiring GRE scores for graduate applications. 

A completed application will include the following:

  • A standard graduate application
  • 3 letters of recommendation from faculty familiar with your academic and scholarly potential
  • Writing sample
  • Personal Statement should answer the following questions (limit response to 1 page per question; 3 pages max): 
    • Describe your professional goals and how this program will help you accomplish these.
    • 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 flexibility in working with second choice faculty member).
    • Describe your professional strengths and areas for growth. 

Statements addressing professional goals and fit with the field of counseling psychology and USM are positively received.

Applicants are admitted to work with a specific faculty member. Please rank order your preferences on the form provided in the online application. 

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about our program and how to apply. A brief video explaining the application process is available on our YouTube Channel

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 interview (format TBD).  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 visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about our program and how to apply.

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about our program and how to apply. More information about our program can also be found on our YouTube Channel

The Counseling Psychology Student Government (CPSG) serves as the graduate student group for both the Master's and Doctoral programs in Counseling Psychology. CPSG serves to create a supportive environment for graduate students in the Counseling Psychology graduate programs, and facilitate professional development outside of required coursework and experiences. CPSG engages in several activities each year such as fundraising, hosting social activities, inviting speakers to campus, serving as a liaison between students and faculty, and providing peer mentors for newly admitted students.

The Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program values diversity and has a strong commitment to promoting the growth for our students in an atmosphere emphasizing the significance of diversity.

Our Diversity Committee promotes a greater understanding about the impact of diversity on the profession of psychology. We work to enhance the diversity among our students, faculty, and staff. We infuse conversations about diversity into all aspects of training including research, coursework, practica, and professional development.

For more information on our commitment to diversity, please visit our YouTube Channel

We also offer the Go Gold Diversity Fellowship which is awarded annually to 2 diverse graduate students following a competitive application process. Applications are invited from any newly admitted, diverse School of Psychology graduate student with an interest in applying their training to affecting the lives of diverse populations through research and/or practice.

Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data

Please review the Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data for program admission and graduation rates and other important program outcome statistics.

The Counseling Psychology doctoral program has been continually accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation since 1985. For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association at:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123
Fax: 202-336-5978

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Our program is modeled after the psychology licensure requirements in the State of Mississippi. We cannot determine if our program meets the licensure requirements in other states. We recommend that students verify their program of study meets the desired state’s licensure requirements. For more information on licensure in other states, please visit or contact Dr.%20Emily%20Yowell, Director of Training, with questions.


Degree Plan Availability
Psychology (Counseling) PhDHattiesburg


  • Veteran’s Administration Psychologist
  • Licensed Psychologist, Private Practice
  • University Counseling Center Psychologist
  • Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychology
  • Military Psychologist
  • Research Fellow
  • Dr. Greg Futral, 2010, 
    Licensed Psychologist and Director, Pine Grove Behavioral Health Systems, Forrest General Hospital
  • Dr. Sarah McMurtry, 2013, 
    Licensed Psychologist and Director, Perspectives Psychological Resources
  • Dr. Katie Bigalke, 2015, 
    Assistant Director/ Training Director, Georgia Southern University Statesboro Counseling Center
  • Dr. Jeremy Noble, 2014, 
    Command Psychologist for 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Army
  • Dr. Margo Hurlocker, 2016, 
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions
  • Dr. Ryan Martin, 2004, 
    Professor, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay