May 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Counseling Psychology, PsyD

Dr. Nicole Knickmeyer
Chair, Department of Psychological Science and Counseling
Location: Clement Building, Room 205B
Phone:  931-221-7232


Dr. Valerie S. Leake
Program Director, PsyD in Counseling Psychology Program
Location: Clement Building, Room 321A

The PsyD in Counseling Psychology (CPSY) program at Austin Peay State University seeks to prepare highly competent doctoral level generalist practitioners of health service psychology. The program emphasizes the broad and general training of competent health service psychologists who are prepared and qualified to practice in a wide variety of settings. The program has adopted the practitioner-scholar (Vail) training model, which is more common for programs offering the PsyD degree. APSU’s training philosophy adheres to Counseling Psychology’s asset-strength model and its deep appreciation of the sociocultural and systemic contributors to well-being and distress across the lifespan. APSU’s graduates are trained to utilize a holistic perspective in conceptualizing clients’ psychological well-being and distress. This means that graduates of our program will be prepared to consider the complex and interactional biological, intrapsychic, interpersonal, family, and systemic factors that contribute to wellness and distress.

Graduates are trained to employ evidenced-based approaches, to utilize practice-based evidence, and be skilled in feedback informed treatment. Students will be trained to evaluate the individual and contextual factors that may affect therapy and the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. Students will be able to modify interventions based on these individual and contextual factors to improve client outcomes. Strengths-based, holistic, and integrated healthcare models of intervention are emphasized.

Admission to the PsyD in Counseling Psychology is highly selective, with small cohorts of 5-6 students admitted annually. Students will be admitted after earning a M.S./M.A. degree in counseling or counseling psychology or other closely related discipline. Masters-level counselor education programs typically require the completion of 60 credit hours, however other related disciplines may require 48 credit hours, and in some cases as few as 30 credit hours. Students entering with degrees from related disciplines (other than counseling) will likely be required to complete additional credit hours at the masters-level in order to be prepared for the Counseling Psychology (CPSY) PsyD curriculum.

The program is designed for full-time study for 4 years. Students admitted to the program can anticipate that as a result of the required research, clinical practicum hours, and coursework, a commitment comparable to a full-time job will be expected. The CPSY program will require completion of a minimum of 97 Semester Credit Hours (SCH) distributed among Core Courses, required for all students; Concentration courses required in the Serving Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families concentration, and Elective courses. Practicum experiences, a year-long (2000 hour) internship, and a dissertation are required.

Because of the competitive nature of the application process and the small size of cohorts admitted each year, it is suggested that you submit materials as soon as possible. Applications are reviewed beginning December 1:

  • Austin Peay State University Graduate School Application.
  • A letter of interest describing the applicant’s professional and/or research experience, outlining career goals, and demonstrating an understanding of the APSU program and the time commitment (40+ hours per week, year-round, and at least 4 years to degree completion) necessary to successfully complete the PsyD degree.
  • A writing sample that includes the following:
    • Reflective essay that addresses the applicant’s thoughts and understanding regarding the etiology of client distress and the nature of the change process (4-5 pages of double-spaced text; should include at least 4 citations to the professional literature, which are then included in an APA-style reference list).
  • Resume/Curriculum Vita
    • In addition to the standard information regarding applied experience and names/contact information of supervisors at those sites, applicants should provide the approximate number of (a) individual face-to-face counseling hours, (b) group hours, (c) couples/family hours, (d) psychological assessment/evaluation hours, and (e) supervision hours received as part of practicum/internship training and the approximate number of hours in each of these categories received through work experience.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate (including community college) and graduate work.
  • minimum Graduate GPA of 3.5.
  • Three reference forms AND accompanying letters of recommendation, including at least one from a graduate program professor who can comment on the applicant’s academic skills, including ability to pursue doctoral-level training, and at least one from a clinical supervisor who can speak to the applicant’s counseling skills and response to supervision.
    • Personal references are not considered and will not count toward the three required letters.
    • Letter writers are free to provide whatever information they wish but they should also address the following points (which are included in the reference form sent to the references):
      • The applicant’s awareness of and adherence to ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements;
      • The applicant’s ability to complete an academically rigorous doctoral program;
      • The applicant’s style and degree of responsiveness to feedback and/or supervision;
      • Reference forms without a letter will not count toward the three required references


Some University Programs have additional requirements and information included in the Program Handbook.  Program Handbooks, which are incorporated into herein by reference, are available by selecting the following link: Doctor of Psychology