Doctor of Philosophy - Counseling and Student Personnel Services

Degree Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services at the UGA Gwinnett Campus is a nationally-ranked, part-time, CACREP accredited program in counselor education and supervision grounded in social justice and multicultural principles and research. The program has a flexible schedule designed for school counselors, mental health counselors, and student affairs professionals working full-time. The Ph.D. program for Counseling and Student Personnel Services is delivered through a cohort model with prescribed coursework. Yet, it allows for some variability among students.

Applications to the program are due by December 1st each year.

Program Mission Statement

The Counseling and Student Personnel PhD program has the specific purpose of preparing graduates to be counselor educators and supervisors and to assume leadership in working with students in P–16 educational settings, as well with their families and communities. The program also focuses on the integration of multiculturalism and social justice, emphasizing ways that counseling professionals can become leaders and advocates for systemic changes in the settings in which they work. The program is grounded in a scientist-practitioner-advocate model, where students will be developing further understandings of counselor identity across research, clinical, and advocacy awareness, knowledge, skills, and contexts.

Beyond meeting admission requirements, faculty in the doctoral program admit students motivated and ready to build upon their prior knowledge of the counseling profession. Faculty create learning environments conducive to scholarly inquire and work with students in new ways to facilitate critical thinking while increasing research skills. Students have opportunities to generate new knowledge while faculty scaffold their experiences as scholars during conference presentations and in the publication of literature. As a result of the collaborative work between faculty and students in this rigorous doctoral program, program alumni are equipped with the knowledge and research skills necessary for leadership roles in the counseling and P-16 environments.

The Ph.D. program objectives include:

  1. To train students to become a “scholar-advocate-practitioner” in counseling.
  2. Prepare students to address issues of social justice in P-12 and higher education settings.
  3. To help students become more effective in advocacy and implementing systemic change.

How many course hours are required, and how many are electives?

The course sequence includes 22 required courses plus a cognate area and dissertation hours. A few of the courses may be taken more than once, depending on a student's needs and goals. For example, one teaching internship course is required; however, the class may be taken again for those who plan to pursue positions in counselor education. A cognate area, a minimum of 9 hours in a targeted area, is also required, although some students select to pursue additional hours in this area. Other students, for example school counselors with an Ed.S. in School Counseling, may be allowed to opt out of this requirement. Finally, the number of dissertation hours earned varies among students. It is determined by the number of semesters over which the dissertation is completed.

How long will it take?

The current course sequence is designed over a four-year span that includes the academic year and summers. The scheduling of classes is designed to allow students to continue working. Classes tend to begin at 5:00 p.m. Some classes meet once each week, and some meet on alternate weeks. Some offer a hybrid delivery, with some content delivered online and some delivered in the classroom. There is some flexibility regarding completion time, depending on the student's personal course plan for electives, cognate area, and dissertation completion. Most finish within four years, while others add semesters for dissertation completion.


This doctoral program is distinguished by the training foci in the following areas:

  • Train students in a scholar-advocate-practitioner model.
  • Prepare students to address issues of social justice in P-16 settings in order to become more effective at advocacy and implementing systemic change.
  • Engage students in supervised counselor education and supervision practice, including teaching and clinical experiences that complement student career trajectories.
  • Encourage student involvement and leadership in professional organizations and other activities.

During the first year of coursework, a program coordinator facilitates the guidance of each new cohort and every student is assigned an individual faculty advisor. During the second summer, students select major professors and committee members to direct both their programs of study and dissertations.


Program Faculty

Dr. Deryl Bailey                                       Dr. Linda Campbell 
Dr. Anneliese A. Singh                            Dr. Laura Dean
Dr. George McMahon                             Dr. Diane Cooper
Dr. Jolie Daigle

How much will it cost?

Click here for tuition rates per program.

Financial Aid

Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

The Student Experience

Students proceed through the program in a cohort model with learning communities, which provides additional support to working professionals. Students select clinical practicum and internship experiences tailored to their interests – including a capstone project involving the planning and coordination of a diversity conference which contributes to the development of leadership skills, multicultural awareness and social justice in p-16 settings. A 9-hour cognate allows for further specialization. Students also have opportunities to work closely with nationally and internationally renowned faculty mentors including research, teaching and service in counselor education. 

For what careers will this degree prepare me?

This degree prepares students for a variety of careers in the P-16 setting. Several graduates are now in positions with various universities as counselor educators or in student affairs. Others are working in P-12 settings as counselors or counselor coordinators. Still others are in private practice in the counseling arena. Some graduates have continued in their fields, working at advanced levels.

Alumni Reflections

“The Counseling and Student Personnel Services program at UGA changed me professionally and personally. It has allowed me to blossom as an advocate, scholar and practitioner through invaluable interpersonal connections with faculty and peers.” – Dr. Lauren Moss

“This program prepared me to be a social justice advocate and allowed me to pursue my area of research interest. The cohort model and great mentoring contributed to my success.” – Dr. Rodney Pennamon

Program Resources

UGA Admissions                              
CSPS Program Newsletters              Fall 2015 Newsletter
Program Handbook                           Program Assessment
Spring 2017 Newsletter                     CSPS PhD Annual Report
Graduation and Job Placement Rates


This Program is Designed for You
The Advantages of the Cohort Model
Learn From Nationally Recognized Faculty
A Comprehensive Internship Opportunity
Infusing Social Justice Throughout the Program
Making the Right Choice for Your Future
Unique Features of This Program

Degree Program Webpage


Diane Cooper