Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology
The Doctor of Psychology degree (Psy.D.) prepares students to qualify for professional licensure as a psychologist in Washington State. Students are equipped to be culturally competent therapists using empirically tested interventions and to administer, score, and interpret psychological tests and assessments. In addition, the Psy.D. opens doors into the academic community through research and teaching at the college or university level.
Hear From a Professor
Dr. Nikki Johnson, an Associate Professor at Northwest University explains the pillars of our Psy.D. and M.A. degrees in counseling, and why they are different and unique from other programs.
Why Choose Our Doctoral Program?
Licensable Degrees 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 $95,710 in 2016, (source).
Integrate Faith with Learning
Our programs are taught within the framework of a Christian worldview. Students are challenged to incorporate their understanding of faith with academic theory and applied skills.
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.
Our regionally accredited university status meets Washington state licensing requirements for psychologists and 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.
This Doctor Will Heal Hearts
At sixteen years old, Renee St. Jacques wrote in her journal, “I want to be a heart doctor.” Her life would take a different direction—to Corporate America. One day, she asked herself a simple question: What brings me the greatest joy in life? It was then that Renee realized she was created to help the brokenhearted. She enrolled in our Psy.D. program to pursue her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. “I want a career that has an impact on people—one that brings healing and restoration. NU has prepared me to live out God’s call on my life.”
Course Examples by Year:
Year One: Classroom instruction with an emphasis on the scientific foundations of psychology.
- Diversity Issues in Psychology
- Biological Basis of Behavior
Year Two: Classroom instruction and a required cultural immersion experience.
- Research Methods: Design, Ethics, and Data Analysis
- Psychological Assessment I, II, III
- Group Counseling and Cultural Dynamics
Year Three: Classroom instruction, doctoral practicum, dissertation proposal, and clinical qualifying exam.
- Interventions and Practice I, II, III
- Marriage and Family Therapy
Year Four: Classroom instruction, dissertation defense, pre- internship, or advanced practicum.
- Professional Practice Seminar Series
Year Five: Internship.
Total Credits | 119
- 119 semester hours of coursework
- 10 hours of individual psychotherapy—Year One
- Cultural Immersion Experience —Year Two
A hallmark of the Psy.D program is its required international cultural immersion experience in the second year. Psychologists care for people from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Psy.D 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;
- Doctoral Practicum experience which satisfies all program and state requirements.
- Advanced Practicum or Preinternship 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 Psy.D. Student Handbook.
Psy.D. Student Handbook
For an in-depth overview of the program, download a PDF of the Psy.D. Student Handbook.
A Baccalaureate degree of Arts or Science (or an equivalent degree) from an accredited college or university is required to qualify for admission to the program. It is preferred that you have a major in psychology. However, if your degree is not, you must have completed the following prerequisites:
- General Psychology; Theories of Personality or Theories of Psychotherapy; Developmental Theory or Life Span Development, Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology; Statistics or Research Methods (in Behavioral Sciences)
Additional Admissions Requirements Include:
- A 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.
- GRE general test.
- Completion of application.
- Individual and group interview.
Applicants who meet or exceed the above criteria must also exhibit qualities consistent with the ethos of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The cohort model places great responsibility on faculty and students to work together to create a positive, supportive, collaborative learning environment. Students must be committed to personal responsibility, time management, professional ethics, interpersonal integrity, and social justice to be successful in the program. The admissions committee seeks to ascertain each student’s degree of readiness for this type of learning milieu. Ultimately, it is the responsibility and authority of the admissions review board to determine an applicant’s degree of compatibility with the ethos of this program.
- Please submit the completed online application form and the $30 application fee.
- Short Essay Response Questions.
Please provide a typed response to each of the following essay questions. Each response should be approximately 300 words and in double-spaced format:
- Please describe what you have been doing in the past few years in the area of psychology or a related field.
- If you were to obtain a Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology, how do you see yourself using it in the future? Describe what your anticipated scope of practice would be five years after completing the degree.
- As you look to the future, how do you envision yourself creating a healing environment for an increasingly globalized community? For example, you may intend to use your skills overseas or you may desire to serve the refugee community in a local context.
Please request references from three persons qualified to judge your professional expertise, character, and capacity for graduate-level study in each of the following areas:
Please provide a detailed description of your past work experience and any volunteer experience that may be relevant to your success in the Psy.D. program.
- Degree and Transcripts.
- A Baccalaureate degree of Arts or Science (or an equivalent degree) from an accredited college or university is required to qualify for admission to the program. It is preferred that you have a major in psychology. However, if your degree is not, you must have completed the following prerequisites: General Psychology; Theories of Personality or Theories of Psychotherapy; Developmental Theory or Life Span Development, Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology; Statistics or Research Methods (in Behavioral Sciences)
- Send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended directly to Northwest University, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Colleges may charge a transcript request fee.
The general test is required. You must submit a GRE score in order to be considered for admittance.
There are several additional application requirements for international students.
When all of the above materials are received, your application will be reviewed and qualified applicants will participate in an individual and group interview. The group interview is held in February. Following the application deadline and interview process, qualified applications will be considered for admission and the results will be mailed to the applicants shortly thereafter.
Course ListingsView Required Courses
Ready to get started? Begin the admission process now by completing our online application form. Or fill out the Request Info form, and a member of our Admissions team will contact you soon.