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Clinical & Counseling Psychology Advising Track

Potential Career Paths

  • Clinical Psychologist (M.A., M.S., Ph.D., & Psy.D.)
  • Counseling Psychologist (M.A., M.S., & Ph.D.)
  • Clinical Research Assistant (B.A. or B.S.)

Graduate Training

With the exception of obtaining a position as a clinical research assistant, a graduate degree is necessary to be a clinical or counseling psychologist. There are many options for graduate degrees in clinical and counseling psychology, ranging from master's (M.A. or M.S.) to doctorate degrees (Ph.D. or Psy.D.). The type of degree needed depends on a student’s career goals.

The purpose of the clinical and counseling psychology track is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of psychology while preparing students for graduate school in clinical or counseling psychology.

Action Steps for Students

To learn more about clinical and counseling psychology, here is what students can do:

  1. VisitDivision 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.
  2. Visit Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) of the APA.
  3. Read “Getting In: A Step-By-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology” published by the American Psychological Association.
  4. Schedule a meeting with a clinical and/ or counseling psychologist to learn more about the profession.
  5. Visit the Department of Psychology’s Advising and Resource Center, where there are many resources available to students interested in clinical and counseling psychology.

What is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychologists assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These disorders can range from short-term issues, such as child misbehavior, to chronic conditions, such as schizophrenia. Some clinical psychologists specialize in the treatment of a specific problem, such as eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression. Further, many clinical psychologists focus on treating specific populations, such as children, ethnic minorities, couples, or the elderly. However, many clinical psychologists, especially those who are more practice-oriented, focus more broadly in terms of the problems they treat and populations with whom they work.

There are a variety of career paths one may choose within clinical psychology. Although most people think that clinical psychologists only conduct therapy, many clinical psychologists conduct research or function as consultants, supervisors, or administrators. Clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings, including academic institutions and healthcare settings such as clinics, hospitals, community mental health centers, and in private practice.

What is Counseling Psychology?

Counseling psychology is similar to clinical psychology. Graduates of doctoral- level clinical and counseling psychology programs generally are eligible for the same professional positions. In general, the difference is that counseling psychology focuses more on life-span issues such as career development and adjustment, and less severe psychological disorders, such as depression.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in clinical or counseling psychology should be sure to work with an adviser to develop an academic plan that is tailored to their interests. The plan should lead to the completion of coursework that is useful for admission to a graduate program in clinical or counseling psychology.

University and College Requirements

In addition to the suggestions for the child development track, be sure to complete all other university and college requirements, including the foreign language requirement.

The center staff recommend beginning the foreign language requirement in the first year. NOTE: Students may begin with a class higher than 1110 depending on foreign language placement test results. It is possible to place out of the foreign language requirement. Therefore, it is recommended that students take the placement test for any foreign language completed in high school.

Required Courses in Psychology

The following courses are highly recommended for students planning on pursuing a graduate degree in clinical and counseling psychology:

  • PSY 2720 Psychology of Personality (3)
  • PSY 3110 Advanced Statistics (4)
  • PSY 3120 Tests & Measurement (3)
  • PSY 3410 Behavioral Genetics & Individual Differences (3)
  • PSY 3420 Adulthood & Aging (3)
  • PSY 3430 Disorders of Childhood (3)
  • PSY 3710 Intro to Clinical & Counseling (3)
  • PSY 4010 History & Systems of Psychology (3)

Additional Recommended Courses

Below are additional courses outside of the Psychology Department that may be relevant to those interested in clinical and counseling psychology. Students who intend to go to graduate school in clinical or counseling psychology are encouraged to complete courses in Biological Sciences.

  • SW 1000 Intro to Social Work & Social Welfare (3)
  • SW 3233 Counseling Older Adults (3)
  • SW 3273 Mental Health & Social Work (3)
  • SW 3701 Dynamics of Human Behavior (3)
  • SOC 2200 Intro to the Family (3)
  • SOC 3650 Sociology of Mental Illness (3)
  • CFS 2700 Intimate and Family Relationships (3)
  • CFS 3601 Human Sexualities (3)
  • COMS 2060 Communication in Interpersonal Relationships (4)

Note: Be sure to check prerequisites for all coursework.

Honors Program in Psychology

Students interested in graduate school in clinical or counseling psychology are strongly encouraged to complete the Honor’s Program in Psychology if requirements are met. More information about the Honor’s Program in Psychology is available on the website or by discussing it with your academic adviser.

Fieldwork and Research in Psychology

It is highly recommended that students interested in clinical or counseling psychology participate in research in a psychology lab and engage in fieldwork in settings related to the student’s particular area of interest.

Recommended Minors & Certificates

There are several different Minors and Certificates that are related to the field of clinical and counseling psychology. A student should discuss with an adviser which minor is most conducive to his or her career goals and plans for graduate school.


  • Biological Sciences
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Social Services
  • Sociology


  • Diversity Studies
  • Gerontology
  • Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies