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Frequently Asked Questions

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The number of students admitted to the doctoral program varies from year to year depending on the overall number of student applicants for that year, as well as faculty workload. However, approximately 5-7 students are admitted to the program per year.

Students must be enrolled in the Program on a full-time basis throughout their matriculation in the Program.

The program does not accept transfer courses to the doctoral program.  You may request a waiver of a course in the doctoral program, if you have already taken the course in a counseling psychology program from a recognized accredited institution.  The Counseling Psychology Program at Howard University will waive up to two (2) courses from a previous, accredited institution with a grade of B or better into the Ph.D. program, dependent on the approval of the Program faculty.  Official transcripts, the course syllabus and a Waiver of Required Courses form (see Appendices, p. 48) must accompany any request for a transfer of credits. If a course is waived, an elective may be required in lieu of the waived course based on the recommendation of the student’s advisory committee to meet the minimum number of credit hours for the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. 

After an offer of admission by the Graduate School, you will be assigned an academic advisor who will assist you with academic advisement and other matters regarding progress in the doctoral program.  The name of your academic advisor is indicated in your letter of welcome from the HDPES Department Chairperson.  After your enrollment, your advisor will assist you in developing your Program of Study (an academic plan of courses and other requirements). 

The Counseling Psychology Student Association (CSPA) is comprised of doctoral counseling psychology students which allow students to engage in a number of Program activities throughout the year that facilitates cohesion of students as a whole. The CSPA has been active in organizing and sponsoring professional seminars for students to enhance professional growth. CPSA is actively involved in organizing, hosting, and developing the annual National Black Counseling Psychologist Conference, which is usually held in the spring semester, during the month of April.

There are several student associations on campus and professional associations off campus that welcome student involvement.  Some of the off-campus associations include the Howard University Counseling Psychology Student Association, Kappa Delta Pi (Theta Alpha Chapter), Phi Delta Kappa (Howard University Chapter), the Graduate Student Council, and the School of Education Student Council. Off campus professional associations in the area that welcome student involvement (e.g., the D.C. Counseling Association, the D.C. Psychological Association, the Association of Black Psychologists, the American Counseling Association, and the American Psychological Association) are open to student involvement and membership. Several students during the past few years have attended The Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (SMEP) summer conference.   In addition, each year on campus, lectures and workshops are sponsored by the School of Education, the Psychology Department, professional associations, and various research units of the University in which students have opportunities to become more involved in professional issues and discussions. 

Externship and Internship are required components of the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program.  Students begin their externship in the first semester of their second year of the Program and continue to take this course until the end of their third year.  Those students who wish additional externship experience may elect to apply to an externship site and take the externship course during their fourth year in the Program.


The externship experience is an essential part of students’ training and is invaluable to the enhancement of necessary skills as a psychologist.  It precedes internship and may in some cases, lead to an internship at the same location.  It is important to approach this experience with a serious commitment to your preparation as a counseling psychologist.  Prior to entering the second year, students are required to seek out and interview for an Externship position. Once an externship site has been secured, students must register for the Externship class (HUDE 490) the following academic semester. 

The minimum externship experience is 1200 hours, of which at least 600 hours are in direct service experience and at least 200 hours are in formally scheduled supervision.  Other recommended extern activities include attending case conferences, writing reports and maintaining current clinical notes. To obtain 800 hours of direct service and supervision, you will need to work an average of 8 hours per week for at least 11 months in your first 2 years of externship and 16 hours per week for at least 11 months in your 3rd year of externship.


The internship is the capstone experience of professional education and training preparatory for the application of psychology in health and human services.  It is the culminating experience in the training of doctoral students in counseling psychology and is an intensive one year period of supervised practice that usually follows the completion of graduate coursework and clinical training.  Once an Internship placement has been secured, you will work at that placement for 40 hours per week.  Some students remain in the area (e.g., Howard University Counseling Services), while others have selected areas outside of the DC Metro area such as Boston, Louisiana, and New York. 

Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree.  A student can be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. by submitting an admission to candidacy application to the Graduate School with the recommendation of the student’s advisory committee after the student has: (a) completed all required course work, (b) is as a student in good standing, (c) passed the comprehensive examination, (d) satisfied the Expository Writing requirement, and (e) secured an approved dissertation proposal.  Successful completion of all these requirements leads to approval to candidacy by the executive committee of the Graduate School.

You are not eligible to enroll in dissertation research (HUDE-509) until you become a doctoral candidate, which includes having an approved dissertation proposal on file.  Nevertheless, you are allowed to develop a research interest and enroll in other research courses that will help you in the preparation of a dissertation proposal (e.g., HUDE 442, 500, 501, and 503).

Howard University


The Graduate School


The School of Education



Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies

202-806-7351 or 202-806-7350

American Psychological Association

750 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20002


Association of Black Psychologists

P.O. Box 55999

Washington, DC 20040-5999


American Counseling Association

5999 Stevenson Avenue

Alexandria, VA 22304


The International Association for Counselling