UWM’s PhD specialization in Counseling Psychology follows a scientist-practitioner model that integrates theory, practice and research to give you the scientific knowledge and skills needed to work with multicultural populations and in diverse settings.

Our PhD students are expected to conduct research and to advance the science of counseling psychology through scholarly inquiry. Our program, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association* through 2029, will prepare you to work as a counseling psychologist in a variety of settings, including universities, hospitals, mental health clinics and private practice.

Note: Due to pending and recent retirements, and funding restrictions that prevent post baccalaureate students from serving as teaching assistants, most faculty will not consider admitting students for 2022 who do not already have a master’s degree.

Counseling Area Statement on Racial Justice

As we prepare to move into the Fall 2020 semester, the counseling area faculty have been reflecting on the past summer marked by the traumatic tragedies of multiple police murders of African American citizens in the U.S., and the resulting public outcry and social justice protests across the country. It has been an extremely challenging time for all of us: feeling overwhelmed, sad, outraged, paralyzed, or even powerless and helpless. With the heat of the protests in our city subsided, while still reeling from everything that has happened we have also been contemplating about critical changes to make moving forward.

First, we feel it is even more important now to reiterate, “Black lives matter,” and express our continuing solidarity in the long-term work to dismantle racial injustice at all levels and contribute to building a system with respect, equity, and support for individuals with all forms of marginalized identities. Second, we want to explicitly recognize the grief and trauma that have been brought to the students in general, and especially students in the BIPOC community. Racial trauma is real, and the past couple of months have made it so conspicuously clear. Third, we also acknowledge that systemic racism and other forms of oppression (heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, etc.) are insidious forces that infiltrate organizations with even the best of intentions.

Our program is not immune to these systemic forces and admittedly have areas that need critical examination and continued improvement. We reemphasize our commitment to looking into our own roles and to creating an anti-racist environment in the program, while also strongly encouraging and inviting students’ input and involvement in this process. Lastly, as mental health professionals, let’s all be reminded of the unique positions we have, in the community and in our schools, to help people, especially our BIPOC community, heal from the racial trauma, to educate the public and facilitate understanding and empathy in the now deeply divided country, and to advocate and strive for a better society where diversity is truly respected, appreciated, and celebrated. We invite you to join us in this life-long journey.

Why Choose Our Program?

  • As Wisconsin’s most diverse university, UWM trains counseling psychologists who are multiculturally competent.
  • In 2013, the Department of Educational Psychology won the American Psychological Association’s prestigious Bersoff Presidential Cultural Award for its success in recruiting and graduating doctoral students from racial/ethnic minorities as well as other countries.
  • We’re located in the state’s economic, cultural and career capital, just 15 minutes from downtown Milwaukee and 90 minutes from Chicago, ensuring ample internship and networking opportunities.
  • Since 2008, 88 percent of our counseling students were matched in internships, compared with the national average of 80 percent. Most years it is 100%.
  • Placement rates for our graduates is 100%.
  • Eighty six percent of our graduates are licensed psychologists in various states.
  • You’ll learn how to apply your scientific knowledge using qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies.
  • You’ll work alongside internationally known faculty as an integral member of their research teams and may have the opportunity to present your work at national conferences.

* Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the  Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Website: American Psychological Association Website

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (PDF)

Application Process

PhD Program
You should plan to apply a year before you intend to start. Be sure to pay careful attention to the program’s specific deadline published on the department website here and the Graduate School’s website here. The application for fall is generally due in early December, and applicants invited for interviews will be notified by early January. Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions by mid-February.

The program requires 3 letters of recommendation. These letters must be submitted through the application’s electronic recommendation feature by the recommenders themselves. Letters uploaded or sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

UWM Graduate School Online Application Form

Admissions FAQ

Educational Psychology PhD Program Applying Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)


We will assign you a temporary advisor when you are admitted to the program. Once you enter the program, you are free to choose a new advisor who will be the chair of your dissertation committee, or continue with your assigned advisor.


If you already have a master’s degree, the program involves three years of coursework, a year of dissertation and a year of internship. If you enter with a bachelor’s degree, you will have an additional year of coursework.

Students are required to take 15 credits of courses towards discipline specific knowledge (psychological foundations), 18 credits of practicum, 13 credits of statistics, 12-18 credits of courses designed to provide profession-wide competencies as a counseling psychologist. (Ethics, Interventions, Advanced Multicultural Counseling, Vocational Psychology, Supervision/Consultation and Research).

In keeping with our scientist-practitioner model, we require all students to participate on a faculty member’s research team for two years, registering for Ed PSYCH 838 for 12 credits. Many students participate on more than one faculty member’s team, and most students stay involved in research for the entire four years that they are on campus.

Our program is recognized by the state licensing board, and you will be eligible for licensure as a psychologist once you complete the doctorate and the post-doctoral hours required by the state (2000 hours in Wisconsin) and successfully pass the national licensing exam and state jurisprudence exam.

Counseling Psychology PhD Program Handbook (PDF)

Counseling Psychology Academic Catalog Requirements

Academic Catalog Requirements Sheet

  • Visit the Academic Catalog webpage linked above, then click on the Print Options link in the lower right hand column
  • Click the Download Page (PDF) link
  • Print or save the condensed program requirements document


Stipends for teaching or research assistantships at or above 33 percent time include tuition remission. Stipend salaries vary according to type of assistantship (e.g. teaching, research) and type of student (doctoral, dissertator). For an academic year (9 month) appointment for 2019-20, stipends are $15,000 for 50% time assistantships and $9,900 for 33% time assistantships. The following table indicates the type of support given to each cohort of students for the 2019-20 academic year. Assistantships are allocated based on availability of positions, with priority given to first year students, then second year students, and then third year. Students in the counseling psychology program have successfully applied for assistantships in other schools and colleges After the third year in the program, students are strongly encouraged to seek assistantships through faculty grants or off-campus sources. Learn more about the Graduate School’s current assistantship salary schedules.

Cohort YearFellowshipsAssistantshipsOff-Campus EmploymentUnfunded

Counseling Psychology Student Association

Open to all doctoral students in the Counseling Psychology PhD Program, CPSA focuses on student advocacy, professional development, and socialization/peer-to-peer mentorship. Members are also active at the national level (e.g., ACA, APA, APAGS). We encourage all students to get involved.


Kelsey Autin, PhD, Assistant Professor
University of Florida
Dr. Autin’s research interests include how people find fulfillment in their occupations and how this relates to overall well-being. Within this, she focuses on how people’s identities along with their sociopolitical contexts shape their beliefs about their freedom of work choice and barriers to obtaining decent work.

Nadya A. Fouad, PhD, ABPP, University Distinguished Professor & Mary and Ted Kellner Endowed Chair of Educational Psychology
University of Minnesota
Dr. Fouad’s research interests include cross-cultural vocational assessment, career development, interest measurement, role of race and social class in development, and cross-cultural counseling. Dr. Fouad is board certified in counseling psychology, and a licensed psychologist in the State of Wisconsin.
*Note: Dr. Fouad is not taking on any new doctoral advisees at this time.

Xu Li, PhD, Assistant Professor
University of Maryland, College Park
Dr. Li’s research interests include (1) the process and outcome of individual and group psychotherapy, particularly in cross-cultural and multicultural contexts, (2) the development and training of therapists and the measurement of therapist competency, and (3) the career development and mental health of college students. With a bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences, Dr. Li is keenly interested in exploring the use of advanced and novel quantitative methods in counseling psychology research.

Leah Rouse, PhD, Associate Professor & Electa Quinney Scholar
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Rouse’s research interests include trauma psychology, suicidology, and mental health issues facing corrections, EMS, and military populations, cancer patients, survivors, and their families, and American Indian communities. She works from a qualitative and Indigenous framework in research and practice. Dr. Rouse is board certified in counseling psychology, and a licensed psychologist in the State of Wisconsin.

Stephen R. Wester, PhD, ABPP, Professor
University of Florida
Dr. Wester’s research interests include male gender role conflict, multicultural expressions of masculinity, gender and emotion, counseling men, as well as the training of counseling psychologists and counseling supervision. Dr. Wester is board certified in counseling psychology, as well as a licensed psychologist in the State of Wisconsin.


Kelsey Autin, PhD, Assistant Professor

The general focus of Autin’s research is on how people find fulfillment in their occupations and how this relates to overall well-being. Within this, she focuses on how people’s identities (e.g., gender, racial, social class identities) along with their sociopolitical contexts (e.g., experiences of marginalization, economic circumstances) shape their beliefs about their freedom of work choice and barriers to obtaining decent work (i.e., work in which people are paid adequately and are safe from physical and psychological harm). In turn, Autin looks at mechanisms through which decent work fulfills basic human needs (e.g., needs for financial security, connection with others, and a sense of autonomy) that ultimately lead to fulfillment, life satisfaction, and meaning.

Her work is grounded in the Psychology of Working Theory (PWT; Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016), which places contextual factors as primary predictors of work outcomes. Core to her work is a value of social justice, and she is interested in populations who face significant barriers due to marginalization (e.g., women, people of color, LGB and trans individuals, undocumented immigrants, people from low social class backgrounds).

Autin’s current projects include: an exploration of how social class and access to basic survival needs influences a person’s desire for and experience of meaning at work; development of a measurement tool to assess need fulfillment; guidelines for infusing findings from PWT research into clinical practice; exploration of moderators in the link from marginalization to work volition; and a longitudinal examination of PWT hypotheses among people of color.

Nadya A. Fouad, PhD, ABPP, University Distinguished Professor & Mary and Ted Kellner Endowed Chair of Educational Psychology

1. Applications and extensions of the Social Cognitive Career Theory. Fouad has been particularly interested in the math and science applications of the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). Most recently, she and her colleague Romila Singh have worked on three projects funded by the National Science Foundation that have examined reasons for persistence and departure from engineering, incorporating SCCT with Turnover Theory. The first project, Stemming the Tide, is available here. They have continued that research in a second study with male engineers (NSFGears) to both describe male engineers’ experiences and to compare men and women engineers. Along with Edward Levitas, they recently obtained a third NSF grant to examine the role of gender and race with engineering teams. You can learn more about this project by visiting their joint research page here.

2. Cross-cultural interest assessment: Fouad is interested in examining the role of race and ethnicity in vocational interests. Interestingly, she has found over the years that race/ethnicity has a much smaller effect size influencing interests than do gender. Most interventions have focused on ways to promote racial/ethnic minority individuals’ interests in math and science careers, but findings suggest that research and interventions need to examine environmental factors and barriers to math/science career choices.

3. Contextual issues in career development. A third area of research relates broadly to contextual issues in career counseling and career development. Rosie Bingham and Dr. Fouad have developed a model (Fouad & Bingham, 1995) that explicitly incorporates culture into career counseling. Fouad also conducted a meta-analysis of the role of race/ethnicity in career decision making and choice with her colleague Angela Byars-Winston (Fouad & Byars-Winston, 2005). They documented that race/ethnicity plays a much stronger role in career expectations than it does in aspirations.

Also, building on a qualitative study investigating the construction of the meaning of career for Asian Americans, Fouad and her students have examined the influences of family expectations on career decisions. They developed a Family Influence Scale (Fouad et al., 2010) that is helping them to explore the role of family expectations and supports across cultures (including Korea, India, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, and Israel).

4. Competence. The final area of Fouad’s research may be roughly classified as “professional issues.” She has been involved for the past 15 years in helping to clarify benchmarks in trainees’ attaining competence as psychologists. More information on benchmarks tools are available on the APA Education Directorate website.

Current Research Projects

Fouad has a very active research team with 14 students working on projects that focus primarily on topics related to career development and/or cultural competence. Team projects are developed to help meet students’ research goals. Projects often lead to publication in peer-reviewed academic journals. Many students on the team have also submitted proposals to present at the APA Annual Convention.

This is a partial list of research questions Dr. Fouad’s team is currently investigating:

  • Academic transitions for student veterans
  • Perceptions of opportunity for ethnic and racial minorities
  • Meaningfulness for hospital employees involved in direct patient care
  • Sources of outcome expectations for students engaged in career exploration
  • Literature review of women’s career development

Stephen R. Wester, PhD, ABPP, Professor

His area of research involves the psychology of men and masculinity, specifically the degree to which society socializes men into gender roles that, while appropriate in one setting, may be inappropriate in another setting. Most recently this has involved exploring how men of color, as well as men in specific vocational contexts, navigate their gender roles, as well as the degree to which specific variables may either mediate or moderate any predictive relationship between male gender role subscription and outcomes such as psychological distress or help seeking behaviors for all men.

Wester also researches gender differences in emotionality, the degree to which counselors reinforce stereotyped gender behaviors, and the ethical and professional issues involved in the training of counseling psychologists.

In 2006, Stephen R. Wester was awarded the title Researcher of the Year by the American Psychological Association’s Division 51 (the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity) and he was recently named Fellow by that same division.

Current Research/Projects

Wester’s research team is currently working on three lines of inquiry, in addition to several smaller projects. First, they are working to overcome men’s socialized reluctance to seek counseling through the use of role induction techniques. They began, and are continuing with, the use of role induction in career counseling, and are in the process of designing role inductions to be used in psychotherapy. Second, the team is working to understand how male gender role socialization affects the choices made by specific groups of men to seek (or not seek) psychological help. Specifically, they are looking at the role played by stigma, and its impact on help-seeking behaviors of men in multiple contexts. Third, the exploration of multicultural masculinity continues. Smaller projects include a short form of the Gender Role Conflict Scale, as well as an overall psychometric exploration of the Gender Role Conflict Scale with populations of color.

Stephen Wester's research team.


Professional Development & Future Employment

The Graduate School provides a range of resources for student professional development on its website.

Counseling Psychology Alumni

Counseling Psychology Student Association (CPSA) is creating an alumni directory to strengthen our alumni network for research, referrals, and collaboration. For more information or to view the directory, visit the Counseling Psychology Alumni webpage.