This is an archived copy of the 2016-17 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Counseling PhD

Course Requirements

Doctoral students must have met the equivalent of CACREP master's program requirements, plus complete approximately 69 hours of additional coursework, as outlined below.

  1. Master’s Degree—A minimum of 48 semester hours, equal/equivalent to a CACREP-accredited master’s degree, must be completed prior to finishing the doctorate.
  2. Doctoral Field Experience—12 semester hours of class, which includes a combination of supervised clinical training, teaching, and clinical supervision.
  3. Core Doctoral Courses—21 semester hours of required doctoral counseling courses.
  4. Cognate Area— 9 semester hours from one of several department-approved content areas.
  5. Elective — 3 semester hours selected with adviser to build competencies in an area that meets the student’s professional needs.
  6. Research Tools—15 semester hours in research methodology and statistics (or documented proficiency) from the University-approved Research Tools options. One of the research tools courses must be a qualitative research course.
  7. Dissertation—9 to 12 semester hours. In addition to the courses above, all general catalog requirements for the degree must be met.


Doctoral student residency in the A&M-Commerce Department of Psychology, Counseling and Special Education serves three purposes. First, it is designed to encourage collegial relationships between students and faculty. Second, it introduces students to typical professional expectations they will encounter as they progress through their careers. Finally, activities with in the residency enhance student learning by supplementing the academic and experiential components of the program.

To fulfill the residency requirements in the Department of Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, doctoral students must complete the following activities.

  1. Attend a minimum of six doctoral seminars.
  2. Assist faculty members on two different projects intended to ultimately lead to either manuscripts submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals or presentation proposals submitted for peer-reviewed program consideration at state, regional, or national conferences. Students must collaborate with at least two different faculty members.
  3. Engage in a minimum of three departmental activities. Suggested activities include proctoring master’s comprehensive examinations, assisting with Murphy Day, assisting with the fall school counselor conference, assisting with the Truax celebration, assisting in the preparation of the departmental newsletter, maintaining the departmental bulletin board, maintaining the departmental job board, etc. Activities MUST include assisting with Master's-level Practicum (COUN 551). This is in addition to COUN 660 Supervision requirement.
  4. Actively engage in professional service. Two components comprise this requirement:
    1. Holding elected or appointed office in a local (E.g., Chi Sigma Iota, Doctoral student Association, Branch of the Texas Counseling Association), state (e.g., Texas Counseling Association or its divisions), regional (e.g., Southern Region of the American Counseling association), or national (e.g., American Counseling association or its divisions, American College Personnel Association), professional organization or by chairing or serving as a member of a committee of one of these organizations.
    2. Serving on a university, college, or departmental committee or task force (e.g., Master’s Admissions Committee, Departmental Human Subjects Protection Committee, University Library Committee).
  5. Completing 24 semester hours at Texas A&M University-Commerce toward the degree. 

There is no specified time limit for completing residency.


The department reserves the right to suspend from the program any student who, in the judgment of a duly constituted departmental committee, does not meet the professional expectations of the field. A copy of the department’s Retention/Dismissal Procedure may be obtained from the departmental office.

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling

Doctoral Core: 21 semester hours (7 courses)
COUN 610Adv Counsel Theories & Techniq3
COUN 620Superv Cou Human Develop3
COUN 625Research Application3
COUN 621Psychoeducational Consulting and Program Evaluation3
COUN 622Advanced Seminar in Counseling Diverse Populations3
COUN 650Inst Th & Meth in Coun Ed3
COUN 717Ethics & Prof Development3
Cognate (9 semester hours)
Any counseling course excluding 518, 595, 695. or 7189
Doctoral Practicum/Internship (12 semester hours)
COUN 660Doctoral Field Experience1-6
Elective Cluster (3 semester hours)
Elective course 3
Dissertation (9-12 semester hours)
COUN 718Dissertation3-9
Research Tools 15 semester hours: Each must have grade of "B" or better and cannot be used to satisfy other degree requirements.
COUN 695Research Methodology3
PSY 612Psy Ed Statistics3
or HIED 617/CED 610 Stat Proc for Edu & Rese
COUN 613Adv Statistical Technique3
or CED 611 Intermediate Grad Stat
HIED 696Advanced Research Methodolgy: Interpretive Inquiry3
or EDAD 698 Qualitative Research Methods
3 semester hours Approved by Doctoral Coordinator3
Total Hours69

NOTE: No course beyond the master's program that is over ten years old at the time the doctoral degree is conferred can be used toward the doctoral degree.

COUN 501 - Intro to Coun Profession
Hours: 3
Introduction to the Counseling Profession. Three semester hours. Recommended as initial course in a student's program to serve as an introduction to the counseling profession. Roles of counselors and related professionals in various settings are presented. Professional goals and objectives, trends, professional associations, ethical and legal issues, history, credentials, and preparation standards for counselors are explored.

COUN 510 - Counsel Theory & Tech
Hours: 3
Counseling Theories and Techniques. Three semester hours. A study of the philosophical and theoretical bases of the helping process. Includes study of major counseling theories, basic helping skills, and applications to diverse populations. Also includes professional issues related specifically to the counseling process.

COUN 512 - Career Development
Hours: 3
Career Development. Three semester hours. Interrelationships among lifestyle, work place, and career planning are explored. Career development theories; occupational, educational, and personal/social information sources and delivery systems; and organization of career development programs are studied.

COUN 513 - Communication In Marriage
Hours: 3
Communication in Marriage. Three semester hours. Theories and techniques of verbal, and nonverbal communication in marriage relationship are studied.

COUN 514 - School Counseling and Development
Hours: 3
As the foundation course for those planning to enter school counseling, this course covers organization, planning, management, and evaluation of comprehensive school counseling programs. Appropriate roles and functions of school counselors at various school levels, coordination of professional services; and professional issues such as ethics and associations as they specifically relate to school counseling are included. Recommended for non-counselor educational professionals as well as counselors. Prerequisites: Pass Level 1 examination or consent of instructor.

COUN 516 - Basic Counseling Skills
Hours: 3
Provides the foundation for all practicum and internship experiences. Students learn communication and interpersonal skills under faculty supervision. Demonstration of these skills is a prerequisite for enrollment in practicum (COUN 551). Students will examine their intrapersonal issues and interpersonal styles and will follow ACA Ethical Standards. Prerequisites: Application form returned to department several months before actual enrollment in this course (check department for availability and due dates), Minimum grade of B in COUN 501 COUN 510.

COUN 517 - Assessment in Counseling
Hours: 3
Assessment in Counseling. Three semester hours. Includes group and individual appraisal techniques to be used to support career, educational, and personal planning and development. Standardized and non-standardized data information gathering methods, validity, reliability, psychometric statistics, factors influencing appraisals, and use and interpretation of appraisal results with a variety of populations are explored.

COUN 520 - Advanced School Counseling
Hours: 3
This course is designed to support further understanding of how to implement a comprehensive developmental school counseling program. Furthermore, this course thoroughly examines specialized topics related to school counseling. Through the course, students are taught models that can be applied in real life situations. They are also encouraged to develop their own models for practical application. This course is a required course for all professional school counseling graduate students and students pursuing a career as a professional school counselors in a pre-K-12 school setting. This course is intended to support the development of students’ professional school counseling competencies (dispositions, knowledge, skills, and attitudes) as stipulated by the CACREP. Prerequisites: COUN 514 or consent of instructor.

COUN 522 - Counseling Diverse Populations
Hours: 3
Counseling Diverse Populations. Three semester hours. Emphasis on developing knowledge, skills and attitudes for more effective counseling with persons different from the counselor regarding characteristics such as culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, and religious preference. Substantial attention is given to developing awareness of one's own values, attitudes and beliefs as they relate to counseling in a diverse society. Provides an understanding of how diverse values and mores, interaction patterns, social conditions, and trends related to diversity affect counseling.

COUN 528 - Intro Grp Dynamics & Procedure
Hours: 3
A study of group development, dynamics, and theories in relation to group counseling. Leadership styles, techniques and roles are explored, and ethical issues related to group interventions are discussed. Prerequisites: Pass Level 1 Examination.

COUN 530 - Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Hours: 3
As the foundation course for those planning to be counselors in mental health settings, this course includes theoretical and applied information regarding mental health counseling services in the context of the larger social services system. A variety of delivery systems, staffing procedures, case management procedures, emergency services, treatment paradigms, and the need for consultation and collaboration among mental health professionals are discussed. Prerequisites: Pass Level 1 Examination or consent of instructor.

COUN 534 - Counseling Children and Adolescents
Hours: 3
Prepares counselors to address the specific needs of children and adolescents, with emphasis on developmental needs, specific therapeutic interventions, and common emotional issues. Group and individual counseling techniques and treatment planning are included. Prerequisite: Pass Level 1 Examination.

COUN 539 - Introduction to Play Therapy
Hours: 3
Students will develop an effective philosophy of and approach to play therapy and an increased understanding of children and of children's world views. Through an experiential component, the student will learn to communicate with children at an affective level, to promote children's self-exploration and understanding, and to increase children's sensitivity to and acceptance of others. Prerequisites: Pass Level 1 Examination.

Hours: 3
This course provides an overview of theory and research related to human growth and development over the lifespan. In addition to meeting the core curricula objectives required for accreditation, the course provides specific developmentally appropriate interventions supported by research that are designed to enhance the growth and development of clients who seek counseling services. Crosslisted with: PSY 545.

COUN 548 - Advanced Counseling Skills
Hours: 3
A laboratory-based, experiential course, Advanced Counseling Skills will merge the continued development of basic skills with theoretically based conceptualization skills and techniques. Students will examine their intrapersonal alignments with chosen theoretical orientations. Students will practice theoretically consistent conceptualization skills and techniques. Students will be expected to adhere to ACA Ethical Standards. Pre-requisites: Pass Level 1 Examination.

COUN 549 - Ethics in Prof Coun
Hours: 1
Ethics in Professional Counseling. One semester hours Examines ethical and legal issues in counseling and the behavioral sciences. Includes theories of moral philosophy and the development and application of professional codes.

COUN 551 - Practicum
Hours: 3
Provides for continued development and practice of skills learned in COUN 516. Students develop conceptual and professional skills related to their practice at a field site and practice various specified counseling and related activities during a minimum of 100 hours at an agency or educational setting. Prerequisites: Application form returned to department several months before actual enrollment in this course (check with department for availability and due dates), a grade of “B” or better in 548, and successful completion of Admission to Candidacy requirements (or the equivalent for those seeking school counselor certification only), and pass Level 2 Examination within the Department of Counseling. Graded on a satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) basis, with a grade of “S” required to progress to COUN 552. Note Satisfactory performance at the field placement and during on-campus class meetings must be demonstrated before students can proceed to internship (COUN 552).

COUN 552 - Internship
Hours: 3
Primary interest is on integration of process, conceptual, professional, and personal skills. Provides extensive supervised experience in a setting closely aligned with student’s chosen program. Prerequisites: Application form returned to department several months before actual enrollment in this course (check for availability and due dates); successful completion of COUN 551. Students must receive a grade of “S” in the first semester of 552 to progress to the second semester of 552, and an “S” in the final semester of 552 to graduate and/or be recommended for school counselor certification. Note Course is repeated for two, three-credit hour courses, each requiring approximately 20 weekly hours (300 total in each) of field experience, to meet master’s degree requirement of six hours of internship.

COUN 560 - Crisis Intervention
Hours: 3
An overview of crisis intervention. Major theoretical models of situational crises are described and operationalized across a variety of service delivery systems. Students will develop conceptual competency necessary for professionals engaged in crisis intervention. Special emphasis is given to contemporary research in suicidology, disaster psychology, and crisis management for schools. Prerequisites: Pass Level 1 Examination or admission to Student Affairs program or consent of instructor.

COUN 564 - Family Crisis & Resources
Hours: 3
Family Crises and Resources. Three semester hours. Crises and special problems encountered in family living with individual and community resources pertinent to them.

COUN 580 - Cou Substan Abuser: Drugs
Hours: 3
Chemical Dependency in Perspective. Three semester hours. Covers a broad range of topics related to chemical dependency that school, community, student affairs, marriage/family, career, and other counselors should know. Topics include prevention, abused substances and their effects, symptoms of chemical dependency, an introduction to various chemical dependency treatment models, applications in a multicultural society, chemical dependency counseling with children and families, twelve-step and other support groups, employee assistance programs, relapse prevention, HIV/AIDS and other current issues.

COUN 581 - Assessment and Treatment of Chemical Dependency
Hours: 3
Provides in-depth information regarding the assessment and treatment of chemical dependency. Topics include coping skills; motivation for change; management of stress, anxiety, and anger; screening for chemical dependency in health care settings; various chemical dependency interventions; and planning specific treatments to match individual clients. Prerequisites:Pass Level 1 Examination or consent of instructor.

COUN 589 - Independent Study
Hours: 1-3
Independent Study. One to three semester hours. Individualized instruction/research at an advanced level in a specialized content area under the direction of a faculty member. May be repeated when the topic varies. Prerequisites: Consent of department head.

COUN 590 - Legal Issues Stu Affairs
Hours: 3
Legal Issues in College Student Affairs. Three semester hours. Provides information about the legal issues common to college student affairs administrators. Includes student-university relationship, risk management techniques, civil rights, contracts and federal regulations.

COUN 595 - Research Literature and Techniques
Hours: 3
Emphasizes research in the student's major field, basic statistics, literature review, proposal and report development, research implementation, needs assessment, program development, and ethical and legal considerations regarding research through the presentation of a formal research proposal and/or completion of presentation of a research report. Prerequisites:Pass Level 2 Examination or admission to Student Affairs program or consent of instructor.

COUN 597 - Special Topics
Hours: 1-3
Special Topics. One to three semester hours. Organized class. May be repeated when topics vary.

COUN 606 - Stu Affairs Services Hi Ed
Hours: 3
Student Affairs Services in Higher Education. Three semester hours. As the foundation course for those planning to enter students affairs work in higher education, this course offers students opportunities to examine the historical and contemporary role and scope of college students personnel services. Provides students with in-depth understanding of major theories of students development and the application of these theories to student development practice.

COUN 607 - Contemp College Student
Hours: 3
The Contemporary College Student. Three semester hours. Examines various aspects of contemporary college student life and characteristics of present and future college students. Presented as a seminar to identify and examine salient issues facing college students including, but not limited to, sources of motivation, learning styles, development of values, relationship development, mental-health/psychosocial development and issues related to gender, health, and intercultural concerns.

COUN 610 - Adv Counsel Theories & Techniq
Hours: 3
Advanced Counseling Theories and Techniques. Three semester hours. In-depth study of various counseling approaches with opportunities for demonstration and evaluation of each student's counseling skills. Prerequisite: Doctoral status or consent of the instructor.

COUN 611 - Introduction to Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy
Hours: 3
A survey of the historical development and principal conceptualizations of marital and family counseling/therapy. Goals include an initial examination and comparison of various theories currently employed in the field with an emphasis on interview techniques. Subject areas to be covered include the various schools of family counseling/therapy, along with current trends and issues in marriage and family counseling/therapy. Prerequisites: Pass Level 1 Examination or consent of instructor.

COUN 612 - Adv Sem M&F Coun/Therapy
Hours: 3
Advanced Seminar in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy. Three semester hours. A didactic and experiential seminar course in marital and family counseling/therapy for advanced students. Emphasis is on the development of the student's therapeutic expertise in structural and strategic family intervention techniques. Prerequisites: COUN 611 and doctoral status or consent of the instructor.

COUN 613 - Adv Statistical Technique
Hours: 3
Includes a review of introductory statistics, presentation of basic concepts of analyses of variance, advanced correlational methods, and multiple regression, as well as other advanced statistical methods. Focuses on use of the computer for data. Meets requirements for a Level III research tool course. Prerequisite: Level I and Level II research tools or equivalent or permission of the instructor. Crosslisted with: PSY 612.

COUN 614 - Counseling Strategies for Parent-Child Relationships
Hours: 3
A didactic and experiential course dealing with counseling techniques applied to the improvement of parent-child relationships. The course focuses on intervention skills of transgenerational family therapy, play therapy, and parenting education based on an understanding of the family life cycle and family structure. Prerequisites: Doctoral standing or consent of instructor.

COUN 615 - Marital Counsel/Therapy
Hours: 3
Marital Counseling/Therapy. Three semester hours. A study of counseling theories applied to marital and other dyadic relationships. Emphasis will be placed on the assimilation, integration, and application of information pertaining to such topics as marital/divorce developmental tasks theory, object relations theory, systemic family of origin theory, interaction patterns in marriage, divorce process, and post-divorce adjustment. Techniques and historical development of marriage enrichment, marital counseling/therapy, and divorce counseling/therapy interventions will be included. Prerequisites: COUN 611 and doctoral status or consent of the instructor.

COUN 620 - Superv Cou Human Develop
Hours: 3
Supervision in Counseling and Human Development. Three semester hours. A didactic and experiential course for post-graduate and doctoral students who wish to assume the role of supervisor. Goals include the assimilation and application of major theoretical/conceptual models and supervision approaches in counseling and human development. Prerequisite: Doctoral status or consent of the instructor.

COUN 621 - Psychoeducational Consulting and Program Evaluation
Hours: 3
Psychological, educational, and sociological theories, models, and processes applied to human and organizational systems of change. Special attention is directed to applying theory to practice and to differentiating between human and structural problems and interventions. Prerequisites:Doctoral standing or consent of instructor. Crosslisted with: PSY 679.

COUN 622 - Advanced Seminar in Counseling Diverse Populations
Hours: 3
This course provides students with a variety of opportunities to increase their level of personal (self-reflective) awareness, and clinical awareness, knowledge, and skills in working with diverse populations. This increased level of cultural competence better prepares students to teach supervise, and mentor counseling trainees and novice practitioner, to conduct culturally sensitive research, and to provide direct services to culturally diverse clients. Prerequisites: Doctoral standing or consent of instructor.

COUN 623 - Race, Class and Gender
Hours: 3
Race, Class, and Gender Issues in Counseling - Three semester hours The multicultural counseling competencies (Arredondo et al., 1996) specify that culturally skilled counselors are expected to understand how factors such as gender, social class, age, sexual orientation, religion, and educational background intersect and interrelate with ethnicity, race, and culture in the lives of their clients, as well as their own lives. The primary purpose of this course is to explore the interconnections of race, class, and gender; including how they shape the structure of U. S. society, and in turn, the experiences of client and counselor. A conceptual framework for understanding race, class, and gender, and their intersection provides students with increased understanding of contemporary issues that impact their clients’ lives, and provides a foundation for social justice consciousness that leads to client empowerment and advocacy. Pre-requisite: COUN 522: Counseling Diverse Populations or equivalent graduate level multicultural counseling course.

COUN 625 - Research Application
Hours: 3
A doctoral course which focuses on the development of research skills and inquiry methods. The student is exposed to various quantitative and qualitative approaches. In addition, the course provides students with an understanding of scientific inquiry, purpose and benefits of research, research-related ethical and legal issues, and sampling procedures. Prerequisites: Doctoral status and completion of 30 semester hours of doctoral level coursework or consent of instructor.

COUN 650 - Inst Th & Meth in Coun Ed
Hours: 3
This course is designed to develop/improve counselor educator skills including planning units or courses, delivering instruction, and assessing learner outcomes. The course also addresses ethical standards for counselor educators. Although the primary focus is on teaching counselors-in-preparation, students will acquire knowledge and develop skills that are applicable to other situations such as presenting at professional conferences and conducting staff development. Prerequisite: doctoral standing or consent of instructor. Crosslisted with: PSY 680.

COUN 660 - Doctoral Field Experience
Hours: 1-6
Doctoral Field Experience. Three semester hours. The doctoral field experience includes a minimum of nine semester hours, during which time students are involved in various supervised experiences. The first three semester hours include 300 clock hours of supervised clinical work in the department based training facility where students provide direct counseling to individuals, families, couples, and groups, and refine advanced counseling skills. The remaining six semester hours (600 clock hours) include 300 clock hours of clinical experience in an approved site, plus 300 clock hours of supervised teaching and clinical supervision. During this time students are expected to expand their counseling, teaching, and supervision skills. Prerequisites: COUN 610 and 620; consent of Doctoral Internship Coordinator.

COUN 689 - Independent Study
Hours: 1-3
Independent Study. One to three semester hours. Individualized instruction/research at an advanced level in a specialized content area under the direction of a faculty member. May be repeated when the topic varies. Prerequisites: Consent of department head.

COUN 690 - Qualitative Research
Hours: 3
Practicum in Qualitative Research Hours: Three. This practicum experience is designed to complement and build upon knowledge gained in HIED 696 or EDAD 698. Prerequisites: HIED 696 or EDAD 698 Note: The course is intended for advanced doctoral students who plan to do a qualitative study for their dissertations and/or seek in-depth practical experience in the use of qualitative research methods used in educational research (e.g., interview strategies, participant observation, and case studies).Students will engage in practice and skill development in analyzing and interpreting qualitative data, communicating results, and evaluating qualitative research. Each student will complete a qualitative research project and write a journal length article based on the research.

COUN 695 - Research Methodology
Hours: 3
Research Methodology. Three semester hours. An overview of research methodology including basic concepts employed in quantitative and qualitative research methods. Includes computer applications for research. Meets requirements for a Level I research tool course. Prerequisites: Doctoral status or consent of the instructor.

COUN 697 - Special Topics
Hours: 3
COUN 697 - Special Topics Hours: Three Organized class Prerequisites Doctoral status Note May be repeated when topics vary

COUN 717 - Ethics & Prof Development
Hours: 3
Ethics and Professional Development. Three semester hours. Examines ethical and professional development issues in counseling and the behavioral sciences. Prerequisite: Doctoral status.

COUN 718 - Dissertation
Hours: 3-9
Doctoral Dissertation. Three to nine semester hours. A candidate must present a dissertation acceptable to the student's advisory committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research on a problem in the area of his specialization. To be acceptable, the dissertation must give evidence that the candidate has pursued a program of research, the results of which reveal superior academic competence and significant contribution to knowledge. Graded on a (S) satisfactory or (U) unsatisfactory basis.