Graduate opportunities

Our Doctor of Philosophy degree in Counseling stimulates student inquiry and develops advanced knowledge and counseling skills. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to work as a(n):

  • Advanced counseling practitioner
  • Counselor educator
  • Counselor supervisor
  • Director of guidance and counseling programs for schools, researchers and administrators

Our academic core focuses on counseling and counseling-related areas while providing flexibility for you to develop a specialization.

A recent emphasis in the program is on preparing counselor educators to work at the university level.

The program is both theoretical and experiential. You’ll participate in a six-semester, on-campus clinical experience to complete doctoral-level practicum and internship experiences. You’ll also complete a portfolio that demonstrates your teaching, supervision, research and leadership skills.

All students are required to be state-licensed or seek licensure as professional counselors.

Gain new perspectives

Many faculty members are recognized experts in their field. They’ve earned recognition from the American Counseling Association, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Texas Counseling Association and Chi Sigma Iota international honor society. Their research interests include:

  • Addictions counseling
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Crisis intervention
  • Multicultural issues
  • Near-death experiences and spiritual transformation
  • Play therapy
  • Professional issues in counselor education
  • Veterans' issues

The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (1001 N. Fairfax St., Suite 510; Alexandria, Va. 22314; telephone 703-535-5990). This accreditation means we meet or exceed strict academic standards for excellence. We also have received the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision’s Outstanding Program Award, and its Publication in Counselor Education and Supervision Award multiple times.

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 500; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-223- 0077). The college also is one of the top producers of teachers, administrators, counselors and other school professionals in Texas.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You’ll need to meet the admission requirements for the graduate school and the following program requirements:

  • Completed program admission application
  • Master's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 3.5 GPA on all graduate course work
  • Submitted GRE verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing scores with no minimum score required (for holistic review and scholarship and fellowship competition)
  • Three professional references (forms provided by the program)
  • Résumé including professional experience and creative endeavors
  • Personal statement
  • Counseling skills demonstration video
  • Written permission from the counseling program doctoral admissions committee chair to participate in the doctoral admissions exams (granted only after the foregoing items are on file in the counseling program office)
  • Written and oral doctoral admission exams (admission exams for the counseling program are offered once each academic year early in the spring semester)

After the written and oral doctoral admission exams, faculty members conduct a holistic review of all applicants. You’ll receive a letter regarding your admission within one month of the orientation and interview. A satisfactory criminal history background check is required prior to enrollment. If you’re granted provisional admission, you should contact the counseling program for academic advising before registration.

Degree requirements

In addition to the following requirements, the doctoral degree also requires 9 credit hours of a research tool that’s not included in the degree plan.

  • 36 credit hours of counseling core courses
  • 9 credit hours of dissertation
  • 12 credit hours of electives or in a minor
  • 9 credit hours of counseling specialty courses
  • 6 credit hours of research core courses

Financial assistance

Our department funds many assistantships and scholarships to help you pursue a graduate degree. Students interested in an assistantship should submit an application with the doctoral program application. Visit our website for more information on scholarships. Information about other financial assistance programs is at the graduate school website or the financial aid website.

Counseling program services

Counseling and Human Development Center

The center offers individual counseling as well as couple, family and group counseling. Low-cost counseling services are provided by counselors-in- training supervised by faculty members using the latest in audiovisual technology.

Child and Family Resource Clinic

The clinic provides counseling and assessment services to children, adolescents, adults and families experiencing difficulties at home or school. Graduate students supervised by faculty members acquire valuable field experience.

Center for Play Therapy

The center encourages children’s development and emotional growth through play therapy, a dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child and a trained therapist. The center provides training, research, publications, counseling services and scholarships. It also acts as a clearinghouse for literature in the field.

Consortium for Animal-Assisted Therapy

The consortium trains professionals and volunteers to work with their pets to facilitate the mental health, well-being and development of adults, adolescents and children through positive human- animal interactions.

Continuing education opportunities

Each year, our program offers conferences where nationally known speakers present current perspectives on counseling issues. Licensed professional counselors, nationally certified counselors and licensed chemical dependency counselors may earn continuing education credit by attending these conferences.

  • Animal-assisted therapy training workshops (September and April)
  • Institute in Counselor Supervision (January or February)
  • Play Therapy Conference (October)
  • Summer Play Therapy Institute (July)


Angie Cartwright, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Sam Houston State University. Underserved populations in counseling and counselor education including legal offenders, single-parent families and communities of color.

Peggy Ceballos, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Effectiveness of CPRT on immigrant Latino parents and their children.

Cynthia Chandler, Professor; Ed.D., Texas Tech University. Animal-assisted therapy; biofeedback therapy; women’s emotional health; counseling supervision.

Eric Dafoe, Clinical Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Expressive arts; play therapy; school counseling.

Kimberly King, Clinical Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Ed.D., University Of North Texas. Play therapy, clinical supervision, group and assessments.

Leslie Jones, Clinical Professor; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Play therapy; expressive arts; supervised practice.

Dan Li, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Iowa. Relational dynamics of clinical supervision using innovative, statistical methods; professional development of international counseling students and faculty; well-being of adopted youth.

Natalya Lindo, Associate Professor and Department Chair; Ph.D., Georgia State University. Career development and life planning; counselor supervision; filial therapy; play therapy; teacher-child relationship building.

Agnes Luo, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Technology use in counseling and counselor education, social media identity distress and trauma.

Dee Ray, Professor; Ph.D., University of North Texas. School counseling; play therapy; counselor supervision.

Matthew Lemberger-Truelove, Professor; Ph.D., University of South Carolina. Evidence-based school counseling practice.

LaKaavia Taylor, Senior Lecturer; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Social-emotional competencies of African American children; impact of child-centered play therapy.