Grad Students

Doctor of Philosophy

Counseling Education

Become an innovative leader and scholar in counseling and counselor education through this CACREP-accredited program.

With a combined focus on research, theory and practice, this doctoral program prepares leaders for the field of counseling and counselor education. Adding a traditional core curriculum on development theory, this program focuses on clinical counseling theory and practice and the design and implementation of preventative interventions.

Application Deadlines

  • For Fall Enrollment: Dec. 1
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Why Counseling and Counselor Education at NC State:


Quality instruction that incorporates research and best practices you can apply to real-world situations


Individualized field experiences on and off-campus increase students’ competence in theory and practice


Join a program where graduates boast a 100 percent passage rate on licensure exams

Program Details

This Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is designed to prepare leaders for the fields of counseling and counselor education. The program focuses on clinical counseling theory and practice in addition to a traditional core curriculum on developmental theory. Students develop their competence in theory and practice both through the curriculum and through individualized field experiences appropriate to their area of studies in settings on and away from campus.

Our program emphasizes:

  • Multicultural diversity
  • Scientist-Practitioner Model
  • School-College-Community Collaboration Model
  • Clinical counseling theory and practice
  • Developmental theory

This program area of study entails a total of 63 credit hours beyond those earned in an accredited master’s program in counseling of at least 60 semester hours. The program consists of a theory core, research core, professional applications core and specialization, all of which extend the knowledge base of the counseling profession in a community of scholarly inquiry and engagement.

Course descriptions can be found in the university course catalog.

Core Courses (21 Hours)

  • Scholar Leaders Courses
  • Scholar Leader: Diversity and Equity in Schools and Community
  • Scholar Leader: Systemic Change in Education and Society

Required College Research Methods (15 Hours)

  • ED 710  Applied Quantitative Methods in Education, or equivalent
  • ED 730  Introduction to Qualitative Research in Ed, or equivalent

At least ONE of the following research method courses:

  • ED 711 Applied Quantitative Methods in Education II or
  • ED 731 Advanced Qualitative Research and Data Analysis in Ed or
  • ED 750 Mixed Methods Research in Education

Two more advanced research methods courses from the following:  

  • ED 712 Survey Methods in Educational Research
  • ED 750 Mixed Methods Research in Education
  • ECI 710 Research Applications in Curriculum & Instruction
  • ECD 736  Advanced Assessment in Counseling
  • ECD 738  Research in Counselor Education
  • Advanced research courses approved by the advisor

Note: Student areas of research are typically focused around technology and other best practices in school, college and clinical mental health counseling and counselor education; domestic and international diversity; and advocacy and social justice. Students are highly encouraged to develop interdisciplinary scholarship through their dissertations and other research expectations. Doctoral students work closely with faculty in designing, implementing and evaluating innovative educational and research projects in response to the needs of society.

Ph.D Core Course (27 credits)

  • Scholar Core Required Courses (6 credits)
  • ECD 732 Advanced Multicultural Counseling
  • ECD 860 Professional Issues in Counselor Education

Program Area of Study (21 credits)

  • ECD 731 Career Development Theory and Research
  • ECD 735 Counseling Supervision: Theory and Research
  • ECD 843 Advanced Counseling Practicum
  • ECD 847 Counseling Supervision: Practicum
  • ECD 850 Internship in Counselor Education (6 credits)
  • ECD 886 Supervised Practice Teaching in Counselor Education

Dissertation Research (Total 9 Hours)

  • ECD 895 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Note: A thesis equivalent for those not having completed a thesis during their master’s program is a co-requisite: (ECD 893: Doctoral Supervised Research 1-3 cr.).

Full-time or part-time doctoral students who are working on their dissertations, please note that writing the dissertation requires a major commitment of time and effort on both the part of the doctoral student and the faculty advisor. There should be consultation between the student and the dissertation chair about what is expected to be accomplished, and how much time is to be invested before the student registers. The College of Education strongly recommends that students who are registering for dissertation research (895) or preparation (899) register for at least 3 semester hours per semester, when appropriate.

Please note: If you are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in our College of Education and are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., you must formally apply to the program through the Graduate School.

Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree in counseling or an equivalent degree with master’s level coursework equivalent to that of a 60-credit hour CACREP-accredited program. In addition to the academic credentials attesting to intellectual competence, evidence of successful leadership and outstanding professional commitment are desired.

  • Completed online application, department application form, resume and non-refundable application fee
  • GRE scores
  • Three recommendations from people who know your academic record and potential for graduate study (letters should be uploaded online)
  • Official* transcripts of all post-secondary education
  • Official** statement of English Proficiency (TOEFL) for international students
  • Students will be asked to submit a writing sample once an application is received

Selection for admission is based on a number of considerations:

  1. Academic achievement, especially in the junior and senior undergraduate years, and performance in any graduate courses, are carefully evaluated for evidence of competence in intellectual inquiry. For PhD students, a 60-credit hour counseling degree or equivalent master’s program and coursework is required.
  2. Performance ratings and recommendations from professors and supervisory personnel are also carefully examined for evidence of personal qualities requisite for professional competence.
  3. Demonstrated leadership activity and/or significant work experience represent additional important factors.
  4. Interview process – all doctoral candidates are expected to be interviewed, barring significant geographical distances.
  5. Other additional materials are also welcome to supplement the application – such as a research paper, a video of some “helping” activity by the candidate, etc.

Applications and all supporting documents must be received on or before the Graduate School Priority Deadlines or the Program Deadlines.  International students should also consider their specific deadlines, whichever is earlier. For questions, contact us via or 919-515-2244.

**Request the test center to send your scores directly to NC State when taking the exam; GRE/TOEFL Institution code 5496. Upload unofficial copy when submitting the application.

The Graduate School
North Carolina State University
Research Building III, Room 240
1005 Capability Drive, Box 7102
Raleigh, NC  27695

Review the Estimated Cost of Attendance associated with this doctoral degree for the upcoming semester tuition and fees. Note that tuition and fees are subject to change.

For a complete and detailed description of the programs’ objectives and organization, as well as regulations, procedures and resources for all students, please refer to The Student Handbook.

  • PLO 1: Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice – Students will demonstrate knowledge of and skills related to ethical professional counseling practice (CACREP 2.F.1).
  • PLO 2: Social and Cultural Diversity – Students will demonstrate knowledge of the role cultural context plays in the practice of professional counseling and apply culturally relevant skills for working with diverse populations (CACREP 2.F.2).
  • PLO 3: Human Growth and Development – Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of human growth and development, as well as related contextual dimensions, to the practice of professional counseling (CACREP 2.F.3.).
  • PLO 4: Career Development – Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of career development to the practice of professional counseling (CACREP 2.F.4.).
  • PLO 5: Counseling and Helping Relationships – Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills of the helping process; counseling theories and techniques; prevention, education, consultation, and wellness models; counselor self-understanding; and the change process (CACREP 2.F.5.).
  • PLO 6: Group Counseling and Group Work – Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills of group development, dynamics, theories, and techniques (CACREP 2.F.6).
  • PLO 7: Assessment and Testing –  Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of culturally and developmentally appropriate clinical assessment and evaluation practices (CACREP 2.F.4.; CACREP 2.F.7.).
  • PLO 8: Research and Program Evaluation – Students will critically evaluate and utilize research, evidence-based practices, and/or program evaluation (CACREP 2.F.8.).
  • PLO 12: CES – Students will demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary to function as counselor educators, supervisors, researchers, and practitioners in academic and clinical settings.

Core faculty in the Counseling Education Doctoral Program:

  • Stanley Baker, Professor of Counselor Education, Counselor Education Program, Coordinator of the School Counseling Program, Adviser to the Nu Sigma Chi Chapter of the Chi Sigma Iota Counseling and Academic Honor Society International, ELPHD Department
  • Adria Shipp Dunbar, Assistant Professor, Counselor Education, ELPHD Department
  • Marc Grimmett, Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, Counselor Education, ELPHD Department
  • Sylvia Nassar, Professor, Doctoral Program Coordinator, Counselor Education, ELPHD Department
  • Jose Picart, Senior Faculty Fellow, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Professor of Counselor Education, ELPHD Department and Executive Director, Wake Partnership for Postsecondary Success
  • Siu-Man Raymond Ting, Professor, Program Coordinator of Counselor Education Program, and Director of Graduate Programs, ELPHD Department

We have amazing faculty that have helped me not only understand myself better but have taught me how to be the best school counselor I can be. Having a counselor-first program has developed my counseling skills as well as prepared me for my work in my placement so far.

Jess Mattie

— Jessica Mattie, Student in Counselor Education

When you join the Counseling and Counselor Education program at the NC State College of Education, you will receive the quality instruction you need at North Carolina’s leading college of education to become the counseling professional you want to be.


In Education Research Productivity by Faculty in N.C. (U.S. News)

Top 12%

In Colleges of Education Rankings Nationwide (U.S. News)


Ranked in Value Among Colleges of Education in N.C. (Money Magazine)

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Dr Sylvia Nassar
Dr. Sylvia Nassar