The goal of the Counseling Psychology doctoral program is to prepare counseling psychologists who will promote psychology as a science and contribute to the advancement of the profession.

The program requires a minimum of 103 semester hours that includes 12 dissertation semester hours to complete. The faculty endorses a scientist/practitioner model of training and expects students to become competent researchers and proficient practitioners.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester - December 1

If the deadline falls on a weekend, the following Monday is considered the deadline date. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that all materials are in by the deadline date. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale
  • Graduate GPA or 3.50 or better on a four-point scale
  • The GRE requirement is optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Preferred Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (the score indicated or higher): Verbal = 152, Quantitative = 151, and Analytical Writing = 3.5
    Please note that the GRE is not required for graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships within the College of Education, nor is it required for Graduate College fellowships. The GRE is a requirement for Special Graduate Assistantships (SGAs) offered through the Iowa Measurement and Research Foundation.
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)

Application Procedure

  1. Create an application account to begin the application process.
  2. Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  3. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password which you will use to access MyUI, our online service center for students and applicants.
  4. You will use your Admissions Profile on MyUI to upload required supplemental materials.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • Copies of official transcripts of all previous college work - graduate and undergraduate
  • NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle only. Official report of GRE scores
    • General - verbal and quantitative (UI Institutional code: 6681)
    • Psychology - requested, but not required
  • Statement of student's reasons for seeking advanced training as a counseling psychologist, including a statement of personal career objectives
  • A vita or resume
  • Completed PDF iconDisclosure Statement
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • Three letters of recommendation*

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.


Program Admissions Coordinator: Stacey McElroy-Hetzel (

Application questions can be directed to: Sue Cline in the Office of Student Services   319/335-5260,

We look forward to receiving your application!

Additional Information

  • Admission to the program is very competitive. Typically, only 8 to 10 students are admitted each year from a pool of about 80 applicants.
  • All student must begin their program of study during the first fall semester after admission. It should be noted that since the counseling psychology program is full-time, students cannot complete it on a part-time basis. Students may enter the program with either a bachelor's or a master's degree.
  • Prospective students will be selected to attend an open house interview day as part of our admissions process. The open house interview typically happens during February. Following the interview day, students will be notified of either being accepted, put on an alternate list, or not accepted. During the interview, you will have an opportunity to have many of your questions answered, take a tour of the campus and the University Counseling Service, and meet with individual faculty. More information about the interview will be provided to invited applicants.

Background Checks

Prospective students need to be aware that doctoral students in the counseling psychology program are regularly placed into various practicum settings.  In some of these settings, such as the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics or when working with children, criminal background checks are required, and a fee is assessed to the student for the background check. If a positive result is determined on a criminal background check, the program must refer the case to a College of Education committee for a final determination of suitability for practicum placement.

Student Disclosure of Personal Information and Personal Therapy

In accordance to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2002) ethics code 7.04 (Student Disclosure of Personal Information) and 7.05 (Mandatory Individual or Group Therapy), our counseling psychology program is making prospective students aware of the following:

Prospective students need to be aware that doctoral students in the counseling psychology program are enrolled in some courses that may necessitate the disclosure of some personal information as part of the process of the class.  For instance, in supervision or a psychotherapy course, students may be asked to discuss personal issues relevant to the student’s learning of a particular concept or process of therapy.

We certainly support and encourage all students to have personal experiences in therapy as a client.  Although we do not mandate therapy for all students in our program, in certain instances, some students may be encouraged to pursue personal therapy and counseling.  Typically, students are encouraged to seek out therapy and counseling if (a) they are experiencing personal concerns significant enough to impact their academic performance; (b) they are experiencing personal concerns significant enough to impair their clinical responsibilities; (c) they are interested in the personal growth and the experience of therapy.

However, in some other instances, if the faculty deems it necessary, students may be mandated to seek counseling and therapy if the personal issue or concern is significantly impairing their academic and counseling responsibilities.  In these instances, the student will work closely with their advisor and the faculty to find appropriate accommodations.

What is it like to live in Iowa City?

Iowa City has a vibrant downtown featuring shopping, dining, and seasonal events such as festivals and farmer’s markets. Iowa City is also a UNESCO city of literature. We have numerous parks and an expansive network of bike paths. Learn more about all Iowa City has to offer.

Iowa City and the surrounding areas also offer ample opportunities to enjoy arts, music, sports, and nature.

How is diversity valued at the University of Iowa and in the Counseling Psychology (CP) program?

The Counseling Psychology Program is highly committed to a multicultural education environment. Many faculty and students conduct research on current multicultural issues. Further, our program offers a multicultural counseling course, multiple electives concerning issues of multiculturalism, and finally multicultural issues are integrated throughout most of our courses. It is our hope that such an emphasis will better prepare our students to meet the needs of our culturally diverse society.

For more information on culturally diverse programming, support and additional services at the University of Iowa and the Iowa City area, please visit the UI Cultural Centers website.

What practicum opportunities exist in the CP program?

We have numerous and varied opportunities for clinical training in child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy and assessment. CP students complete clinical practicums at various sites throughout the greater Iowa City area, including the VA Hospital, University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, community mental health clinics, and university counseling centers. For more details on currently approved practicum sites, please visit: [insert link here]. 

What makes the CP program unique? Why should I come to UIowa?

We strongly value community engagement and encourage all of our students and faculty to engage with or give back to the community in their professional capacities. Our faculty have expertise in a range of topics including vocational psychology and career development of under-served youth (Dr. Ali), identifying and developing talent in twice-exceptional youth (those with a concurrent disability and intellectual giftedness; Dr. Foley Nicpon), process and outcomes in psychotherapy and multicultural orientation (Dr. Kivlighan), and intellectual/cultural/political humility and multicultural couples/families (Dr. McElroy-Heltzel). In addition to a wealth of practicum opportunities, we recently developed and launched the Telepsychology Training Clinic (TPTC), which is an in-house mental health training clinic that serves underinsured and underserved Iowans across the state.

What careers can I pursue after graduation?

Our students have gone on to a variety of careers post-graduation. Most of our graduates engage in clinical work in settings such as counseling centers, hospitals & clinics, private practice, consortia, community mental health centers, and veteran affairs medical centers. Our students have also been successful in obtaining faculty positions at R1 universities and liberal arts colleges.

What research opportunities are available in the CP program?

Our program is built on a scientist-practitioner model and we value both research and clinical work. All students in our program are required to complete two research articles. Article 1 can be either empirical or a literature review, and students are required to submit this article to a peer-reviewed journal prior to sitting for their comprehensive examination. Article 2 is a student’s dissertation project and must be empirical. It is also written in the format of a journal article; students in our program do not complete the traditional five chapter dissertation. In addition to these requirements, we encourage students to participate in research projects with their advisor or other faculty and students in the program. This may including assisting with the development of studies, data collection, and co-authorship on presentations and publications. 

Can I create my own practicum experience?

Yes. CP students have the opportunity to submit proposals for new clinical practicum opportunities to the faculty to be considered. In the past, student have successfully developed new training opportunities in Pediatric Oncology and community mental health. Faculty approval of new practicum experiences is based on the availability of supervision by a licensed psychologist on site as well as the sites ability to meet the program’s requirements and expectations for clinical training.

Are all doctoral students funded in the CP program?

We cannot guarantee funding and it is not typical for students to receive a funding offer along with their admissions offer. However, our students have a strong history of receiving funding through research and teaching assistantships for the duration of their doctoral studies. Students have received funding in the College of Education, Public Health, Nursing, Mass Communications, University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, and various centers and departments throughout the university. Typically, students seek out funding for the upcoming academic year in the summer; it is not typical fur students to be funded over the summer.

There are formal mechanisms for searching for funding opportunities here:

For information on stipend amounts and tuition remission, please see:

What is the typical time expectation to complete the program?

Time to complete the program is about 6 years. For additional admission and outcome data, please visit:

Do I have to have a master’s degree to apply? What if I didn’t major in psychology?

We accept students with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. You may apply even if you did not major in psychology or another helping profession. However, having a record of 1-2 courses in psychology and statistics, work or volunteer experience in a helping-related field, or research experience in psychology will be helpful in these cases.

What is the average cost of housing in Iowa City? Typical cost of living?

Aspire at West Campus is a privately managed but on-campus complex that caters to graduate students. Numerous other off campus living options are available, either within walking distance of campus or along the bus line. Iowa City and neighboring Coralville have a variety of grocery shops, including Hy-Vee, WalMart, Target, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s.  The following website offers a cost of living estimate for Iowa City:

Are there opportunities to collaborate with faculty in addition to my advisor?

Yes, we strive to create a collaborative atmosphere among students and faculty. Students may hold GRAs or GTAs with other faculty in the program, may consult with other faculty about their research projects, and may informally collaborate on projects of mutual interest.

What support exists within the CP program (community atmosphere within department)?

We typically hold 1-2 social events throughout the academic year where all faculty and students are invited to attend. In addition to these social events we hold town halls to discuss emerging issues in the program and encourage open communication between faculty and students. We have a student advisory committee that includes a representative from each cohort that communicates student questions and concerns to the faculty at our monthly faculty meetings. Finally, we match incoming students with a second year student mentor to help new students acclimate to the program.

What are student relationships with faculty like?

Faculty strive to create collaborative relationships with students and view students as junior colleagues. Each faculty member has their own advising style, but we each meet regularly with our students (either individually or in groups), make time to understand each of our students’ career goals, and guide our students in tailored opportunities that will set them up for success in meeting their unique goals.

What does Iowa look for when considering the ideal prospective applicant?

In addition to academic potential, we strongly value fit between a student’s career goals and the mentoring and training opportunities we offer, as well as the culture and values of our program. We value multiculturalism, community engagement, and a collaborative spirit. In an applicant’s personal statement, it is helpful to address why you are interested in counseling psychology and why you are interest in our program specifically. It is helpful to identify 1-2 faculty members you would be interested in working with and how your interests overlap with their research or areas of expertise. 

What opportunities are there to specialize or obtain graduate certifications within the program?

The College of Education offers various Graduate Certificates including those in College Teaching, Online Teaching, and Applied Behavior Analysis.

Can I talk to a current student in the program?

Please contact the admissions coordinator, Dr. Stacey McElroy-Heltzel ( who can put you in touch with a current student(s).

Which of the faculty will be accepting new students this year?

Typically, all of our core faculty accept new students each admission cycle. Please note that Drs. Schreier and Bermingham have clinical appointments and thus do not formally advise students.

Employment Opportunities
  • Higher education
  • Counseling centers
  • Hospitals & Clinics
  • Private practice settings
  • Consortia
  • Community mental health centers
  • Veteran Affairs medical centers
Application Deadlines
  • Fall semester - December 1

If the deadline falls on a weekend, the following Monday is considered the deadline date. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that all materials are in by the deadline date. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applications Questions