Counseling Psychology PhD programs accept less than 12% of the students who apply (APA Graduate Study in Psychology Summary Report, 2017).  Given the extremely competitive nature of doctoral admissions, students often choose to first complete a counseling psychology master’s programs, where they can develop the professional identity and skills needed to be accepted into a counseling psychology doctoral program.

The University of Kentucky’s Master of Science (M.S.) in Education is a two year, 48 credit hour terminal degree program that provides students with the comprehensive, foundational training specifically designed to prepare students to apply for Counseling Psychology PhD programs.  The program is also a great fit for those students who want to further explore the field of Counseling Psychology before making the decision about whether or not to commit to the 5+ years of training that is required to get a PhD in our field.  The program is not designed to prepare students to provide psychological health services in the Commonwealth of Kentucky at the master’s level.

Through courses and supervised practica, students learn the research and psychotherapy skills needed to succeed in advanced doctoral study. Students also receive faculty mentoring and access to Doctoral Preparation Workshops, where students will learn how to strengthen their Curriculum Vitae and compose doctoral program applications.

Your research training will be guided by the program faculty, who are some of the most productive, cited, and awarded scholars in counseling psychology.  Click on the Productivity radar map (Academic Analytics, 2016) to enlarge it and see for yourself:

Counseling Psychology 2014 Radar

To keep class sizes small, we accept a maximum of 12 students each year.  This ensures an excellent master’s-student-to-faculty ratio (5:1 or better), which is an important metric to consider when choosing a master’s program.

The M.S. is full time (twelve credits per semester) program.  To ensure the highest-quality training, students complete the program on-site in Lexington, KY, where they work face to face with faculty.  The program cannot be completed part-time or via online distance learning.

A detailed description of the requirements for the M.S. are fully described in the M.S. Handbook. Students who enter the master’s program have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline (e.g., sociology, pre-med).

Our program endorses the pedagogical principles for Preparing Professional Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public and the Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity. We also embrace the following APA aspirational practice guidelines, among others: Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity, and Intersectionality; Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women; Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults; and Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Sexual Minority Persons; Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People; and Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention with Persons with Disabilities.

Check out our videos, in which we answer students’ questions about Counseling Psychology and our programs and our master’s students answer six questions about their experience with the UK Counseling Psychology M.S. program. If you have questions about the program that you would like to ask a current student, email Grace Haring (

The annual M.S. application deadline is February 1.

Applications for admission are evaluated by the Program Faculty who carefully and comprehensively review the applicant’s application. The Program Faculty carefully considers the entire application of a prospective student and makes decisions based not only on numerical criteria but also on perceived fit with program goals, needs, and values. Therefore, a low score in one area can be off-set by high scores in another area. There is no minimum GRE score requirement; GPA should be >2.75 for undergraduate degrees and >3.00 for any prior graduate degree.  To further maximize the “fit” between applicants and the Program, we conduct a master’s interview day where we host top applicants who meet with program faculty and current students.  Master’s interview day is held each year on a Friday in March (the updated 2021 interview date is: March 12 via Zoom teleconference).  This interview process helps the program faculty and the prospective student to further assess fit. After the interview day, the program faculty meet to review, discuss, and make final decisions about admission offers. Final decisions are made based on student qualifications and student contribution to cultural and individual diversity.