Forging a new path in Counselor Education and Supervision

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

Take your counseling career to new heights by enrolling in Palo Alto University’s PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program.

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In this program, you will be part of the next generation of leaders moving the counseling profession forward by training new counselors and supervisors, researching effective clinical interventions, and providing influential leadership in organizations. The PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program aims to prepare doctoral students to become culturally-affirming counselor educators and supervisors.

The Counselor Education and Supervision program strives to advance the counseling profession into the future by training leaders who promote anti-oppressive pedagogy, scholarship, supervision, advocacy, and practice. The curriculum and educational experiences, such as our innovative multiple article dissertation and internship program, are designed to prepare you for the real, day-to-day work of counselor educators.

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Program Outcomes

Our program is designed to help students meet the following goals:
  • Graduates will know how to design engaging and culturally-affirming curriculum that is relevant to counselors working in diverse communities and digital mental health.
  • Graduates will be able to effectively utilize culturally relevant models of supervision and will demonstrate skill in evaluation and dispositional remediation.
  • Graduates will develop clear research agendas and publish rigorous, culturally relevant research that promote the counseling profession. 
  • Graduates will understand how to lead with cultural humility and demonstrate leadership excellence with specific skills in administration, accreditation management, program evaluation, and advocacy.
  • Graduates will be able to counsel clients using culturally affirming counseling practice utilizing relevant theories and evidence-based counseling practices.

What can you do with a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision?

This program is designed to help you meet your specific career goals. Graduates with a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision work as advanced level clinicians and supervisors, counseling program faculty, and administrators in higher education, K-12 organizations, and community agencies. This program will specifically develop your expertise in:

  • Graduate-level teaching and counselor preparation
  • Expanded knowledge of mental health through research
  • Counseling supervision
  • Organizational leadership in professional organizations, community agencies, K-12 schools, and higher education settings.

Our internship options and personalized research plan will allow you to prepare yourself for multiple career options.

Who should apply?

  • Licensed professional counselors
  • Graduates of CACREP-accredited counseling programs
  • School counselors
  • Marriage and family counselors
  • Associate professional clinical counselors or post-graduate counselors working towards licensure

Program Format

This program is designed with working counseling professionals in mind. Classes are scheduled one to two days a week on campus, with the rest occurring synchronously online. Our faculty have been leaders in online counselor education for many years and have advanced skills in facilitating classes online.

Program Length

The program is designed to be completed in 11 quarters (including summers).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this program accredited?

The accrediting body for Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) doctoral programs is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CES programs are not eligible to apply for CACREP accreditation until they have students entering the dissertation phase of their program. PAU has created the CES program to be in alignment with CACREP standards and will apply for CACREP accreditation as soon as we are eligible.

In addition to specialty accreditation, academic programs must be approved by regional accreditors to operate. The CES program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which is the regional accrediting body for PAU.

Do I have to live in Palo Alto?

Students will attend class on campus in Palo Alto or Mountain View 1-2 days a week, so living a reasonable driving distance from campus is strongly recommended.

What are funding opportunities?

On-campus jobs, including administrative roles, Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, and adjunct teaching roles are available, as well as limited Scholarship opportunities.

This is not a fully-funded program.

Do you require the GRE?

Admission to our program does not require submission of GRE scores. We believe that other indicators, such as your academic history, professional background, and volunteer engagement, can effectively demonstrate your suitability for our program.

Can I work full time?

Our program is designed for working professionals. Ideal candidates will have a schedule that allows them to attend class 1-2 days a week. 

Can I attend the program part-time?

At this time, the program does not allow for part-time students. If you have concerns about the schedule, please reach out so we can talk with you further about the plan of study and options that work for you. 

Can my internship be at my current employer?

Our internship program focuses on the areas of teaching, supervision, research, leadership and advocacy, and counseling. Your faculty advisor will work with you to create an internship plan that fits your career needs. This may mean you can complete parts of your internship in a setting where you are currently employed, but you will likely need to do other internship hours across different settings during your program. 

I am an LCSW. Can I apply?

This program is designed to advance the education of those with a CACREP-accredited master’s degree in Counseling. Please contact us if you have specific questions about your master’s degree curriculum. 

I am an MFT. Can I apply?

This program is designed to advance the education of those with a CACREP-accredited master’s degree in Counseling. Please contact us if you have specific questions about your master’s degree curriculum.

I have a CACREP Master’s degree but don’t have any hours towards licensure….

Our program does not require you to have any hours accrued towards licensure. You may be able to collect hours while you’re in the program, depending on your eligibility for California licensure laws.

What if my master’s program is not CACREP-accredited?

Students with MA in Counseling degrees from non-CACREP-accredited institutions are not automatically denied, however, applicants must provide evidence that their curriculum meets CACREP standards. 

Can I transfer credits from another CES PhD program?

Transfer Credit Policy 

  • Graduate Level: Only graduate level courses are acceptable for transfer credit. A graduate level course is any course for which a student received graduate credit at their previous institution(s).
  • Acceptable Grades: A grade of “B” or better is required in the graduate level course to be eligible for transfer credit.
  • Accreditation: Previous graduate work must have been completed at a CACREP  accredited Counselor Education and Supervision program.
  • Deadline for Requesting Transfer Credit: Requests for review of transfer credit must be submitted by Aug 1 of the year the student plans to enroll in the CES program.
  • Maximum Credit Awarded: A maximum of 13.5 quarter units or 9 semester units may be transferred into the CES program.
  • Transfer Unit Equivalencies: A student will be awarded the number of units the transferred course is equal to at Palo Alto University, which uses a quarter system. A 3 semester unit course will be awarded as a 4.5 quarter unit credit. A transferred course must be equal to or greater than the number of units of the corresponding CES course.
  • Time Limit for Transfer Credit: In order to be eligible for transfer credit, the course must have been completed within five years of the student’s matriculation at Palo Alto University.
  • Transferable Courses: Students applying for review of transfer coursework should indicate which course(s) they are applying to waive. It is not guaranteed that a course will be eligible for transfer credit.
  • Appeals and Exceptions: A student may appeal transfer credit decisions in writing to the Department Curriculum Committee. Appeals must be submitted within one week after the incoming student is notified of the outcome of their transfer credit application.
  • Please note that because the CES program is billed on a flat-rate, quarterly tuition schedule, transfer or waiver of units will not result in a reduced tuition rate. Additionally, because of our cohort model with required courses in each quarter, your time to completion of the program will not be reduced; however, students who are allowed to waive required coursework may have the luxury of more time available for supplemental internship, research assistantships, paid employment, etc.

Are there student employment opportunities?

On-campus, student employee positions are available to our doctoral students. Additionally, students who have completed their teaching internship (scheduled during the first year), are eligible to teach as adjunct faculty within the master’s counseling program. 

Student Employment

What is a multiple article dissertation?

Our multiple article dissertation format is designed to help launch your scholarship career early. Instead of a traditional dissertation, you will organize your research into 3 journal articles. Our curriculum is designed to help you be successful by providing intentional research opportunities from the beginning of the program.
The dissemination of knowledge holds significant importance in the counseling profession. By structuring your research into journal publications, you acquire a vital skill of effectively communicating your discoveries. Furthermore, this approach enhances the likelihood of your work being published and cited even before defending your dissertation

Are international students elibible for the program?

Unfortunately, PAU cannot issue I-20s for the PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, due to the portion of the program that is delivered online. International students who are in the US on another type of eligible visa are welcome to apply. 

Year 1  
 FallDeveloping Inclusive & Ethical Approaches to Supervision & Gatekeeping
  Introduction to CES Research & Establishing a Strong Research Agenda 
 WinterQualitative Methods and Analysis for Counseling Research
  Creating Transformative Educational Experiences through Andragogy
 SpringAdvanced Theory, Counseling Skill, and Group Leadership
  Quantitative Methods and Analysis for Counseling Research
 Summer(no class)
Year 2  
 FallApplying Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Counselor Education
  Advanced Quantitative Methods and Analysis for Counseling Research
 WinterIssues in the Counselor Education and Supervision Profession
  Advanced Qualitative Methods and Analysis for Counseling Research
 SpringAdvanced Research Doctoral Seminar
  Dissertation Preparation
  Advanced Pedagogy Doctoral Seminar
 Summer(no class)
Year 3  
 FallProgram Leadership: Assessment, Accreditation, & Inclusive Management
 WinterNavigating Organizational Cultures through Leadership & Advocacy
 SpringAdvanced Supervision Doctoral Seminar
 Summer(no class)