Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselling Psychology
Thesis-based, on campus degree
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselling Psychology prepares individuals to develop the philosophical, theoretical, and research expertise in counselling psychology required of those who wish to offer effective psychological education and counselling and to work as counselling psychologists in a variety of public and private practice settings.
The PhD program is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), and course content follows CPA's accreditation guideline standards for training.
A program committed to social justice
The Counselling Psychology programs at the University of Calgary are guided by a common mission, values, program goals, and principles. The program follows a scientist practitioner model of training and is committed to social justice efforts in all areas of scholarship.
The mission of the Counselling Psychology program the University of Calgary (hereafter the Program) is to prepare the next generation of Counselling Psychologists to be reflexive, critical, and culturally responsive researchers, educators, and practitioners. Taking on a generalist approach, the Program provides students with broad preparation for careers in a wide range of settings, including education (schools, colleges, and universities), government, social services, health units and hospitals, community agencies, business and industry, and private practice. Both the MSc and PhD programs are grounded on a scientist-practitioner model, emphasizing: the integration of science and practice; critical evaluation of theory, research, and practice within the profession; and the generation and dissemination of cutting-edge knowledge. Furthermore, the Program upholds an active commitment to social justice, highlighting the importance of infusing advocacy in both the science and practice of psychology. As such, we aim to use the power and privilege obtained as Counselling Psychologists to aid in the understanding, healing, and advocating for the wellbeing and justice within and outside of our communities.
The PhD program in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary has been accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) since 2010-2011:
Office of Administration, CPA,
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702,
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3.
The program's term of accreditation goes from 2020-2026.
Application opens: September 1
Application deadline: December 1
Official supporting document deadline: December 1-No Exceptions
Students must use the online application found at the How to Apply page.
Full-time on campus
In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies admission requirements, entry requirements for the PhD in Counselling Psychology include:
a) A completed thesis-based master’s degree in Counselling Psychology (or equivalent) from an approved university, with a minimum grade point average of 3.50 in the master’s program, including 500 hours of practicum, with a minimum of 400 hours (200 direct client contact hours) completed under the supervision of a registered psychologist.
b) A master's thesis (or equivalent research project). Although not a requirement, it is beneficial to also have completed an undergraduate psychology degree with an honour's thesis.
c) Prerequisite coursework:
- Applicants required to have completed a 3-unit senior undergraduate (or graduate) course in Historical and Scientific Foundations of General Psychology
Applicants are also required to have completed two 3-unit senior undergraduate courses (or one 3-unit graduate course) in each of the following four areas:
- Individual Behaviour (e.g., personality theory, human development, individual differences, abnormal psychology)
- Social Bases of Behaviour (e.g., social psychology; cultural, ethnic, & group processes; sex roles; organizational & systems theory)
- Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behaviour (e.g., learning, sensation, perception, cognition, thinking, motivation, emotion)
- Biological Bases of Behaviour (e.g. physiological psychology, comparative psychology, neuropsychology, psychopharmacology)
Applicants are required to have completed graduate coursework equivalent to the courses that comprise the University of Calgary's MSc in Counselling Psychology program (see Pre-Admission Checklist below).
d) Prerequisite practicum hours. Applicants need to have completed 500 hours of practicum during their master's degree, with a minimum of 400 hours (200 direct client contact hours) completed under the supervision of a registered psychologist.
e) A curriculum vitae, including information about previous employment and volunteer experience.
f) A concise (500 word) rationale of why the applicant and this program would be a good fit, including a description of the applicant's research interests and potential thesis supervisors from within the counselling psychology program area, if applicable.
g) Three references, two of which are academic references (e.g., a professor) and one of which is from someone who has provided clinical supervision for the applicant (e.g., a practicum supervisor). It is recommended that one of the academic references be the applicant's master's thesis supervisor or a professor who is familiar with the applicant's thesis research.
h) The PhD in Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Checklist is required.
i) Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. Original documents or certified true copies of each of your official transcripts and degree certificates, in the original sealed envelope, sent directly from the issuing University.
If the original transcript documents are not in English, applicants must submit original documents or certified true copies of each of your official transcripts and degree certificates in the original language, in the original sealed envelope, sent directly from the issuing University, and an English translation from the issuing University or a notarized word-for-word English translation of a duplicate copy of that original.
j) Meeting the English language proficiency requirement. Proficiency in the English language is essential for the pursuit and successful completion of graduate programs in the Werklund School of Education. Prior to admission to Graduate Programs in Education, an applicant whose primary language is not English must fulfill the English language proficiency requirement. For additional information, please visit our How to Apply page.
Please note: Applicants may be interviewed prior to admission to evaluate their understanding of, and motivation for entry into the Counselling Psychology program.
Successful applicants will need to produce the results of a Criminal Record Check before they will be permitted to participate in practicum or internship experiences associated with the program.
Offers of admission are valid only for the term to which applications are made. Graduate Programs in Education will not grant deferrals of admission. Students unable to take up an offer will be required to submit a new application.
Applications, transcripts and all supporting documents must be submitted 11:59 pm MT on the application deadline date for each program. Please visit the FGS applicant transcript page to answer frequently asked questions on transcripts.
For additional information on transcripts and where to send them, please visit our How to Apply page.
Three (3) references are required. Two of which are academic references (e.g., a professor) and one of which is from someone who has provided clinical supervision for the applicant (e.g., a practicum supervisor). It is recommended that one of the academic references be the applicant's master's thesis supervisor or a professor who is familiar with the applicant's thesis research. No hard copy letters of reference or documents will be accepted.
Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies' advice on finding references for your application.
References are due by the application deadline, so you should complete the online application earlier in order to give your referees sufficient time to submit their reference. Referees will receive notification on how to submit their reference after you submit your application and are due on the application deadline regardless of when they receive the notification. Please ensure that your references are aware of the supporting document submission deadline. Applications without completed reference forms will be considered incomplete after the application deadline has passed.
Statement of Intent
Statement of Intent must be uploaded to your Student Centre after the application has been submitted. Applicants will receive a confirmation email with instructions and information regarding this process upon completion and submission of the online application.
As a Graduate Student you are expected to devote the time, effort, and energy necessary to engage in scholarship. As a graduate student, you will determine the specific milestones and requirements of your program of study in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar and with your graduate supervisor.
An integral part of the masters experience is working closely with a supervisor on the development and completion of a research project. A graduate supervisor mentors graduate students through regular meetings and research training aimed at research, scholarship, teaching and professional development. Graduate supervisors support students in the timely completion of their programs. As a Graduate Student, you are expected to meet with your graduate supervisor on a regular basis. While each student-supervisor relationship is unique, graduate supervisors can assist graduate students in a number of ways: advising on course selection, applying for awards and scholarships, obtaining research funds, applying for teaching assistant and sessional teaching opportunities, developing track records in refereed publications and conference presentations, getting involved in leadership and service, and encouraging and supporting apprenticeship in a research community of practice (collaborative review of papers, grants, academic writing, and data analysis).
In the PhD program a supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission.
The Werklund School of Education provides funding opportunities for full-time doctoral students admitted to the on-campus program, for the first 4 years in program.
Police Information Check
All successful applicants to the Werklund School of Education Counselling Psychology program are required to provide a current clear Police Information Check which includes a Criminal Record Check and a Vulnerable Sector Search. All successful applicants will be also required to acknowledge the requirement for a Police Information Check by submitting an "Acknowledgment of PIC Requirement" declaration form prior to the start of the program. Students who are not residents of Calgary must arrange for a Police Information Check through their nearest police service or RCMP detachment in the area where they reside. In order to be considered "current", the Police Information Check must be completed no earlier than June 30 and students will be required to request a new Police Information Check every year in which they enroll in a practicum or internship (Educational Psychology 742, and 743). The original Police Information Check must be presented to the administration in the Graduate Program Office in the Werklund School of Education before the start of Fall Term classes and to the organization hosting the student on or before the first day of the practicum or internship.
Students who are concerned about the presence of a criminal record should contact the police department to discuss the process for eliminating or erasing such a record.
A current clear Police Information Check is required for all third-party and University of Calgary practicum and internship placements. Failure to present a Police Information Check may result in the student being unable to complete their Practicum or Internship. Successful completion of both Practicum and Internship are required for graduation.
Students are obligated to inform the Faculty immediately of any change in the status of their criminal record.
Intervention Record Check
In addition, it is strongly recommended that students obtain an Intervention Record Check (IRC) in each year that they participate in a practicum. Even if your site does not specifically require this check, it is to your advantage to have an IRC done so as to prevent a potential issue should there be a last minute change in your placement site.
NOTE: IRCs are not required by the Werklund School of Education (WSE), and should not be submitted to WSE. Results should be kept in your personal records, and shown to your practicum site should they request to view them.
Program Information for Current Students
The PhD in Counselling Psychology has a minimum requirement of two years of full-time residency on-campus.
The requirements for completion of the PhD program are as follows:
a) 24 units of course work at the doctoral level that includes:
i. Educational Psychology 704 and an additional 3-unit course in research methods at 600 or 700 level as approved by the supervisor;
ii. Educational Psychology 711 and 731;
iii. Practicum courses: Educational Psychology 742 and 743. Note section 6 Police Information Check below.
b) Candidacy requirements.
d) A twelve-month full-time internship: Educational Psychology 788. Note section 6 Police Information Check below.
Applicants who are offered admission as a qualifying student due to missing pre-requisite coursework or practicum hours will be required to take additional courses or to complete additional practicum hours within the doctoral program to ensure equivalent training. A qualifying student may take up to 12 units to meet equivalency requirements during the qualifying year. Qualifying status will be granted for a period not exceeding one year.
Course content addresses theory, research, and practice in the domains identified by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) for accreditation of doctoral programs in professional psychology.
Candidacy must be completed within 28 months from the program start date. Admission to candidacy is an acknowledgement that a student is fully prepared to devote his/her full attention to the dissertation research. For admission to candidacy, the Faculty of Graduate Studies requires that (1) all mandatory course work has been completed, (2) an oral candidacy examination has been successfully passed, and (3) a dissertation research proposal has been approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee.
The Doctoral thesis is the focus of the degree program. In consultation with the supervisor, the student should formulate an appropriate thesis topic as early as possible in the program because the thesis proposal affects the choice and number of courses needed in order to complete the program. The thesis proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee before continuing towards candidacy.
Ethics approval is required for all research projects involving the use of human subjects, before data collection begins. Prior to submitting an ethics application, students must complete Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans: A Concise, Online Tutorial, http://www.ucalgary.ca/research/ethics/CORE_Tutorial, and attach the certificate issued upon completion to the ethics application form.
To initiate the ethics approval process, the student must submit a copy of the application (available on the Research Services website) to the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board or the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board.
Police Information Check
see Practicum and Internship section below
Expected completion time for full-time students in four years with a maximum completion time of six years.
An interim supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission. Students are responsible for initiating discussions with potential permanent supervisors and are expected to have finalized supervisory arrangements by their second annual registration.
Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.
Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to Graduate Programs in Education by February 1.
Faculty Members/Research Interests
Current faculty members and their areas of interest can be found by going to the Counselling Psychology: Faculty Members page.
Doctoral Procedures Checklist
At the beginning of program:
- Register for an eID to access myUCalgary. Keep your eID and password confidential.
- Accept your Offer of Admission in the online Student Centre.
- Activate your UCalgary IT computing account that comes with a UofC email. We strongly encourage you to use this email while in program.
- Before you start utilizing your UofC email, update your email address in the online Student Centre.
- Confirm your current e-mail address to your Graduate Program Administrator (see your Admission Letter for contact information). Please include your full name, UCID number, program, and specialization.
- Attend one of the scheduled Virtual Welcome Sessions for Graduate Programs: Education (GPE) students.
- Attend one of the scheduled Student Orientations to GPE Online Delivery Tools. We recommend this for students in on-campus programs, due to the fact that online tools may be utilized in on-campus courses.
- Connect with your supervisor to plan your program.
- Initialize your registration.
- Register for courses.
- Check with FGS, Research Services and SSHRC for possible research funding.
Within 12 months:
- Confirm the number of courses required for program completion with the supervisor.
- Submit the online Annual Progress Report form through student centre, approved by supervisor, and Graduate Program Director of GPE or designate.
Every 12 Months:
- Complete registration initialization.
Within 15 months:
- Consult with supervisor regarding the appointment of the supervisory committee. Complete the Appointment of Supervisory Committee form.
Within 28 months:
- Request candidacy examination guidelines.
- Complete all course work prior to the candidacy examination.
- Submit a research proposal to the supervisory committee. If acceptable, this proposal is signed by the members of the supervisory committee and placed in the student's file.
- Complete candidacy requirements and examination.
Within 4 to 6 years:
- Have ethics application approved before collection of data.
- Complete thesis and final oral examination.
- Submit two unbound copies of the thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies along with the Thesis Clearance form.
- Submit an Application for Degree through your Student Centre.
- Attend convocation and celebrate.
There are various forms related to a student’s progress through their graduate degree. Please refer to the forms for detailed instructions on their proper completion. Students who have any questions or concerns should contact their Graduate Program Administrator. Required forms are available in the GPE office and some can be accessed by downloading them from Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Integrated Services in Education (formerly U-CAPES) is an on-campus clinic is housed in the PACE unit within the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Recipient of the Canadian Psychological Association Foundation 2009 Access to Innovative Psychological Services Award, Integrated Services in Education (ISE) is a nationally recognized leader in psychological service that offers clinical services, professional development, and applied research/programme evaluation. The clinic provides opportunities for both Educational Studies in School Psychology (EDSP) and Educational Studies in Counselling Psychology (EDCP) graduate students to gain hands-on experience under the supervision of registered psychologists in each of these areas. Graduate students are provided with the very best experiential learning while making a contribution to the community. The core values of empowerment, respect for diversity, advocacy, resiliency, and accountability permeate the teaching, research, and services of ISE.
ISE provides psychoeducational services to the local Calgary community and has developed partnerships with a number of regional educational and health service providers. ISE is strongly committed to excellence in both the quality of psychological services provided to the community as well as in the learning experiences offered to graduate students. Serving the practicum and supervised learning programme of the on-campus MSc and PhD students in School and Applied Child Psychology programmes, ISEprovides direct benefit to the students in a number of ways. Through the supervised training opportunities to work directly with children and youth in the clinic, much of the revenue from the services provided is returned to doctoral students in the form of annual PhD funding. This funding support allows students to gain valuable professional experience and complete their research in a timely manner. Under the guidance of PhD students, Masters students are also provided with the opportunity to complete practicum placements in the clinic, and are provided with a hands-on learning environment in which to develop their assessment, diagnostic, and intervention skills.
Further information can be found on the ISE website