Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology
The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree enables students to qualify for professional licensure as a psychologist in Washington State. Graduates are equipped to be culturally competent therapists, diagnosticians, and evaluators. In addition, the PsyD Program prepares emerging psychologists for research or teaching at the college or university level.
Virtual Information Session
Join us for a PsyD information session:
Northwest University’s doctoral program in Counseling Psychology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA)*, effective 10/28/18.
Making a Place in the World
Auston Ellis found himself with little direction following his undergraduate degree. After being recruited to work with young children suffering trauma, he learned what true happiness looks like in the face of life’s obstacles. His subsequent pursuit of pediatric psychology at NU’s PsyD program has spanned many life milestones—marriage, a medical diagnosis, and the birth of his son. Throughout, PsyD professors encouraged him to find his unique style as an emerging psychologist, within a professional community that has become family. “My cohort and professors have walked every step of the way with me and will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The mission of the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program is to prepare students as counseling psychologists equipped to serve others’ needs in a globally relevant and socially conscious manner. Using the practitioner-scholar model, this applied program trains students to be skilled practitioners who engage in evidence-based and theory-informed practice. With a unique focus on service to the global community, a commitment to social justice, and a Christian worldview, we strive to equip our graduates to serve others with compassion and excellence.
The three aims of the PsyD program are as follows:
- To produce graduates who have obtained the necessary skills and abilities needed for providing professional psychological and counseling services.
- To develop scholars with the ability to critically analyze scientific research and to conduct psychological research.
- To develop graduates with knowledge of the fundamental theories and scientific foundations of psychology.
The PsyD Program is designed to help students meet the competencies essential for achieving its three aims. At the completion of the program, the successful PsyD doctoral student will be equipped professionally in the following ways:
- With the necessary skills and abilities needed for providing professional psychological and counseling services as demonstrated in program competencies 1-6:
- Competency 1a Students display integrity and honesty.
- Competency 1b Students display professional communication.
- Competency 1c Students display professional conduct.
- Competency 1d Students display personal responsibility.
- Competency 2a Students demonstrate knowledge of ethical and legal standards of professional psychology.
- Competency 2b Students demonstrate compliance with ethical and legal standards of professional psychology.
- Competency 2c Students understand the importance of self-care.
- Competency 3a Students demonstrate self-reflection.
- Competency 3b Students demonstrate awareness of their impact on others.
- Competency 3c Students demonstrate empathy.
- Competency 3d Students demonstrate the ability to form therapeutic alliances.
- Competency 4a Students demonstrate proper administration and scoring of psychological assessments.
- Competency 4b Students demonstrate the ability to accurately interpret psychological assessments.
- Competency 4c Students demonstrate the ability to report the results of psychological assessments.
- Competency 5a Students demonstrate clinical skills in psychotherapeutic interventions.
- Competency 5b Students demonstrate the ability to diagnose psychopathology.
- Competency 5c Students demonstrate skills in case conceptualization.
- Competency 5d Students demonstrate the ability to develop a treatment plan.
- Competency 5e Students will demonstrate the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and the flexibility needed to make adjustments based on evaluation results.
- Competency 6a Students demonstrate respect for those of other cultures and backgrounds.
- Competency 6b Students are able to identify personal and social barriers faced by clients.
- Competency 6c Students show capability in advocating for clients at the individual, institutional and public level.
- Scholarship with the ability to critically analyze and evaluate scientific literature, and to conduct psychological research as demonstrated in program competencies 7-8.
- Competency 7a Students demonstrate knowledge of various research methodologies.
- Competency 7b Students show knowledge of research ethics.
- Competency 7c Students show the ability to analyze research quality and meaningfulness to the field of professional psychology.
- Competency 8a Students demonstrate skill in designing an effective and ethical research study.
- Competency 8b Students demonstrate the ability to implement a research study and collect data.
- Competency 8c Students demonstrate the ability to analyze data and interpret data.
- Competency 8d Students demonstrate the ability to report the results of data analysis and disseminate research findings.
- An understanding of the knowledge of the fundamental theories and scientific foundations of psychology as demonstrated in program competencies 9-10.
- Competency 9a Students demonstrate knowledge of the scientific bases of human behavior.
- Competency 9b Students display knowledge about human development.
- Competency 9c Students show knowledge about the history of psychology and counseling.
- Competency 9d Students demonstrate proficiency in understanding psychometrics.
- Competency 10a Students exhibit knowledge about theories of personality.
- Competency 10b Students demonstrate the ability to articulate theories of interventions.
- Competency 10c Students display knowledge of systems of psychology.
Dr. Nikki Johnson, an Assistant Professor at Northwest University explains the pillars of our PsyD and MA degrees in counseling, and why they are different and unique from other programs.
Why Choose Our Doctoral Program?
Licensable Degree for the State of Washington
Graduate knowing that you can become a fully licensed psychologist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage for psychologists was $101,790 in 2019, (source).
Integrate Faith with Learning
Our programs are taught within the framework of a Christian worldview. Psy.D. students also take one theology course titled “Faith Integration with Psychology” to encourage them to think deeply about their own beliefs about the nature of humans in light of contemporary issues in the field of psychology.
Our professors draw from their academic studies and real-world professional experiences to provide students with the tools and skills they’ll need to be successful in counseling and psychology.
Learn to Treat the Whole Person
We teach you how to engage your clientele from a holistic approach: biologically, psychologically, spiritually, and culturally. The result is even greater effectiveness as a counselor or psychologist.
Accredited at the Highest Level
The APA Commission on Accreditation is recognized by both the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as the national accrediting authority for professional education and training in psychology, (source).
Our regionally accredited university status represents the highest level accreditation offered by the Department of Education.
Local and Global Immersion Experiences
You will deepen your skills and understanding by participating in local and international immersion experiences. These experiences will not only equip you for your career, they have also proven to be life-changing.
Learn Within a Diverse Cohort
Learn with other students who share your interests and your goals. It’s a supportive environment of peers who will encourage you, challenge you, and become a fundamental part of your professional network once you graduate.
The PsyD program at Northwest University provided a safe place for me to learn and grow and gain a strong foundation of doctorate-level knowledge to later become licensed and specialize in the areas I am most passionate about.
–Dr. Renee St. Jacques
- 119 semester hours of coursework
- 10 hours of individual psychotherapy (out-of-pocket expense)—Year One
- Cultural Immersion Experience—Year Two
A hallmark of the PsyD program is its required international cultural immersion experience in the second year. Psychologists care for people from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The PsyD curriculum prepares students through study, clinical experience, and interaction with culture specialists to work in diverse global contexts. In addition, students are required to participate in a 10-14 day cultural immersion experience. Sites may vary from year to year, and include such places as India, Turkey, China, El Salvador, or Uganda.
- Qualifying Examination—Year Three
- Doctoral Dissertation: There are options for a focused dissertation that is comprised primarily of one of the following:
- Quantitative research;
- Qualitative research;
The process will include a dissertation proposal, proposal defense, and dissertation defense to the respective dissertation committee. It is also required that the student formulate and deliver a presentation of the dissertation (e.g., publication, speaking engagement, formal report to a clinic or other agency).
As participants in the larger academy, we seek to contribute to psychological science through our scholarship and, in turn, build knowledge that has impact on the world and society. Our faculty have built a policy about this research which can be found on the PsyD Clinical Training and Research page.
- Doctoral Practicum experience which satisfies all program and state requirements.
- Advanced Practicum or Pre-internship experience which satisfies all program and state requirements.
- Internship experience which satisfies all program and state requirements.
- All requirements as noted in the Clinical Training Sequence section of the PsyD Student Handbook.