May 30, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Counselor Education Major, PhD


The doctoral major in counselor education at the University of Tennessee is designed to prepare experienced counseling professionals to advance their careers in the education, supervision, and research of counselors. The doctoral program is for those students who have completed a master’s degree in counseling or counseling-related fields who aspire to careers in areas such as college, university, or community college teaching positions in counselor education or related fields; supervisory positions in schools, community agencies, state departments of education; counseling positions in student development programs and counseling centers in higher education; and/or private mental health counseling/consultation practice employee assistance programs. The major requires advanced course work, practicum, internship, and dissertation hours of study beyond the master’s degree. Students in the PhD major in counselor education can work toward endorsement for counseling licensure, if licensure has not been received prior to entering the doctoral program.

Campus Code


Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures


  • Doctoral program admissions criteria include the following (a) academic aptitude for doctoral-level study, (b), previous professional experience, counseling preferred, (c) dispositions consistent with professional practice, including self-awareness, (d) oral and written communication skills, and (e) Potential for scholarship, professional leadership, and advocacy.
  • Following a written application addressing admissions criteria, select candidates will be invited to participate in an on-campus interview.
  • Preference is given to students
    • with a 3.50 GPA on any graduate coursework completed prior to application.
    • who score equal to or higher than the 70th percentile on the verbal area and the 50th percentile on the quantitative area of the GRE, based on the norms that were in effect when the test was taken, and a 4.5 on the analytic writing subtest.
  • In addition, general graduate admission standards for international students require a transcript from the home country indicating an equivalent of the University of Tennessee grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Official results of TOEFL must be submitted. A minimum score of 550 on the paper test or 80 on the Internet-based Test typically with a score of 20 on each of the sections of the test (reading, listening, writing, and speaking), and scores on the GRE that meet the admission requirements are preferred.

Credit Hours Required


73 graduate credit hours

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • Residence Requirement: Graduate students must complete two consecutive semesters of 9 credit hours to satisfy the residence requirement. Students can meet this requirement by registering for 2 consecutive semesters of dissertation credit hours (COUN 600).
  • Comprehensive Exams: Students must take and pass a written comprehensive examination portfolio prior to admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The portfolio assesses competence in the five CACREP core areas (i.e., counseling, leadership and advocacy, supervision, teaching, and research). The portfolio combines learning artifacts from the program with written essays administered during the last semester of coursework. Students submit their entire portfolio to an examination committee and engage in an oral exam after review. Students may receive a pass, conditional pass, or fail. If a student fails any exam question, CE faculty will form a committee to create a formal remediation plan. Remediation must be completed before the student can retake the failed areas and the retake date must be approved by the committee. Students who have not passed all five sections after the second attempt will be dismissed from the program.
  • Dissertation Proposal and Defense: Doctoral candidates work closely with their dissertation chair to complete a dissertation proposal. A candidate will present the proposal to the dissertation committee, and once approved by all committee members, will begin work on the dissertation research. With the chair’s approval, the candidate will schedule an oral defense for the dissertation. During the dissertation defense, the candidate will present the work completed for the dissertation, which will be reviewed by the dissertation committee.