Frequently Asked Questions


On average, how many students are admitted to the doctoral program each year?

The number of students admitted to the doctoral program varies from year to year depending on the overall number of student applicants for that year, as well as faculty workload. However, approximately 5-7 students are admitted to the program per year.

Can students enroll in the Program on a part-time basis?

Students must be enrolled in the Program on a full-time basis throughout their matriculation in the Program.

Can credits from previous graduate work be transferred toward the doctoral degree?

The program does not accept transfer courses to the doctoral program.  You may request a waiver of a course in the doctoral program, if you have already taken the course in a counseling psychology program from a recognized accredited institution.  The Counseling Psychology Program at Howard University will waive up to two (2) courses from a previous, accredited institution with a grade of B or better into the Ph.D. program, dependent on the approval of the Program faculty.  Official transcripts, the course syllabus and a Waiver of Required Courses form (see Appendices, p. 48) must accompany any request for a transfer of credits. If a course is waived, an elective may be required in lieu of the waived course based on the recommendation of the student’s advisory committee to meet the minimum number of credit hours for the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. 

Who do I see about academic advice and guidance?

After an offer of admission by the Graduate School, you will be assigned an academic advisor who will assist you with academic advisement and other matters regarding progress in the doctoral program.  The name of your academic advisor is indicated in your letter of welcome from the HDPES Department Chairperson.  After your enrollment, your advisor will assist you in developing your Program of Study (an academic plan of courses and other requirements). 

How do I get involved in professional activity, and how do I meet other students in Counseling Psychology and other psychology programs?

 The Counseling Psychology Student Association (CSPA) is comprised of doctoral counseling psychology students which allow students to engage in a number of Program activities throughout the year that facilitates cohesion of students as a whole. The CSPA has been active in organizing and sponsoring professional seminars for students to enhance professional growth. CPSA is actively involved in organizing, hosting, and developing the annual National Black Counseling Psychologist Conference, which is usually held in the spring semester, during the month of April.

 There are several student associations on campus and professional associations off campus that welcome student involvement.  Some of the off-campus associations include the Howard University Counseling Psychology Student Association, Kappa Delta Pi (Theta Alpha Chapter), Phi Delta Kappa (Howard University Chapter), the Graduate Student Council, and the School of Education Student Council. Off campus professional associations in the area that welcome student involvement (e.g., the D.C. Counseling Association, the D.C. Psychological Association, the Association of Black Psychologists, the American Counseling Association, and the American Psychological Association) are open to student involvement and membership. Several students during the past few years have attended The Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (SMEP) summer conference.   In addition, each year on campus, lectures and workshops are sponsored by the School of Education, the Psychology Department, professional associations, and various research units of the University in which students have opportunities to become more involved in professional issues and discussions. 

What is the difference between an externship and an internship?

The externship experience is an essential part of students' training and is invaluable to the enhancement of necessary skills as a psychologist. Externship training is graded and sequential, and precedes the culminating internship experience; while placed at an externship site, students are required to enroll in the externship course (HUDE 490), at three distinct practice levels: Externship I, II, and III. During externship, students obtain 20 hours of experience per week during the Fall and Spring semesters of each year. The minimum externship experience requirement is a total of 1800 hours, with 900 hours of direct service experience and 300 hours of supervision. Other recommended extern activities include attending case conferences, writing reports, and maintaining current clinical notes. Students must also be enrolled in the didactic-practica courses (HUDE490) while placed at a clinical training site.

The Counseling Psychology Program requires completion of an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship. The internship is the capstone experience of professional education and training preparatory to the practice of psychology in health and human services. It is the culminating experience in the training of doctoral students in counseling psychology and is an intensive one-year period of supervised practice that follows the completion of all coursework and clinical training (with the exception of dissertation and internship courses).

What is candidacy, and when can I become a doctoral candidate?

Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree.  A student can be admitted to candidacy for the PhD by submitting an admission to candidacy application to the Graduate School with the recommendation of the student’s advisory committee after the student has (a) completed all required course work, (b) is as a student in good standing, (c) passed the comprehensive examination, (d) satisfied the Expository Writing requirement, and (e) secured an approved dissertation proposal.  Successful completion of all these requirements leads to approval to candidacy by the executive committee of the Graduate School.

When can I sign up for dissertation courses?

You are not eligible to enroll in dissertation research (HUDE-509) until you become a doctoral candidate, which includes having an approved dissertation proposal on file.  Nevertheless, you are allowed to develop a research interest and enroll in other research courses that will help you in the preparation of a dissertation proposal (e.g., HUDE 442, 500, 501, and 503).

Who can I contact to receive more information related to Howard University and my field of study?

Howard University


The Graduate School


The School of Education



Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies

202-806-7351 or 202-806-7350

American Psychological Association

750 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20002


Association of Black Psychologists

P.O. Box 55999

Washington, DC 20040-5999


American Counseling Association

5999 Stevenson Avenue

Alexandria, VA 22304


The International Association for Counselling