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Counselor Education

Interested in advancing your counseling career into areas such as leadership, advocacy, research, and university teaching?

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The Counselor Education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and is designed to prepare counseling professionals to advance their careers in the education, supervision, and research of counselors.

This program is for 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, or 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. Our program is completely face-to-face; most students enroll on full-time basis, and part-time options are available by advisement.

Click here to view the Counselor Education PhD Brochure

About Counselor Education


The PhD in Counselor Education (CE) program at the University of Tennessee prepares experienced counseling professionals from all parts of the world who wish to advance their careers in the education, supervision, and research relevant to the related fields. Its purpose is to equip those who aspire to counseling-related professions. These professions include, but are not limited to the following: (1) college, university, or community college teaching and research positions in Counselor Education or related fields; (2) supervisory leadership positions in schools, community agencies, state departments of education; (3) counseling positions in student development programs and counseling centers in higher education; (4) private mental health counseling/consultation practice; and/or (5) employee assistance positions.


The faculty will provide:

  • Education and training that prepares doctoral students to be counselor educators and counselor supervisors in schools, agencies, and state departments of education, and private mental health counseling/consultation practice, to name a few;
  • Research opportunities that advance knowledge of the counseling and helping professions, improve counseling practice, and improve counselor education effectiveness;
  • Mentoring relationships with professors, advisors and students to acculturate students as educators in counselor education or related fields; supervisors; counselors; or consultants;
  • Opportunities that facilitate the development of professionals leaders who counsel, supervise, educate, and train individuals in counseling and related fields;
  • A model for promoting social consciousness with a commitment to advocacy within a pluralistic society wherein tolerance is promoted, and the value of diversity is recognized.


  1. Graduates will explore and engage in culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate, ethical, and evidence-informed counseling relationships that prepare them to train master’s level professionals and contribute to the development of counseling theory and practice.
  2. Graduates will provide culturally sensitive, ethical and developmentally appropriate supervisory relationships that promote skills of developing clinicians and provide gatekeeping for the profession.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate, and ethical teaching, assessment, and evaluation methods relevant to educating counselors.
  4. Graduates will comprehend and apply diverse methods for answering research questions relevant to the counseling profession. 
  5. Graduates will be culturally sensitive and ethical advocates and leaders for self, clients, and the counseling profession through interventions, programming, and professional and community engagement.
  6. Graduates will demonstrate professional dispositions including Commitment, Openness, Respect, Integrity, and Self-Awareness.

UT Orange poster containing the Core Values for Counseling Programs Acronym spelled out: Commitment, Humility, Openness, Respect, Integrity, Self-awareness.

An acronym C H O R I S to highlight core values counseling programs and their students hold.


Core CACREP-Accredited Program Faculty

Profile Photo of Dr. Barrio Minton, Professor and Department Head
Casey A. Barrio Minton*

Sharon Bruner

Sharon L. Bruner*
Assistant Professor

Jeff Cochran

Jeff L. Cochran*

Joel Diambra

Joel F. Diambra*
Associate Professor

Melinda Gibbons

Melinda M. Gibbons*

Profile photo of Hyunhee Kim, PhD, newest faculty member of the Department of Educational Psychology & Counseling

Hyunhee Kim, PhD*
Assistant Professor

Headshot Dr. Chris LaFever

Christopher LaFever, PhD*
Assistant Professor of Practice

Laura Wheat

Laura S. Wheat*
Assistant Professor

*Designated as core faculty members for this program.

Counselor Education Handbook 2022-2023

Counselor Education Practicum & Internship Handbook 2022-2023

Information for Potential Applicants

Application Requirements

Complete application packets must be received no later than November 1.

Interviews are held in mid-December, and selection is made by mid-January for students entering the program the following fall term.

We will be hosting two online information sessions for potential applicants. If you are interested in participating in an online information session, please click here PhD Zoom Registration  to make a reservation. Once you sign up, you will receive information about the date and time of the sessions.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for acceptance, the applicant must have:

  • Masters Degree in counseling or closely related field
  • Preference given to those with a 3.5 GPA on any graduate work completed prior to application
  • Fitness for the program, including self-awareness and emotional stability as indicated by references and interview
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of counselor education
  • Potential for leadership and advocacy as indicated by references, publications, presentations, and other professional activities

Desired Background

Individuals entering the program will have completed a master’s degree in counseling or a related master’s degree program which covered the nine areas of concentration required by CACREP (Section II). The nine areas are: Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice, Social and Cultural Diversity, Human Growth and Development, Career Development, Helping Relationships, Group Work, Assessment, Research and Program Evaluation, and Clinical Instruction. Clinical instruction must include a minimum of 700 hours of supervised clinical work (i.e., practicum and internship) during the master’s degree program. Areas not covered in the student’s master’s program or through continuing education must be taken as part of the doctoral program.

Applicants who have post-master’s experience as counselors or in a counseling-related field are preferred. Preference will be given to applicants with certification from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), state-licensed professional counselors (LPC), certified rehabilitation counselors (CRC), and licensed school counselors.

Principles of Admissions Policy & Procedure

Academic performance is not the sole criterion for admission to and continuation in the Counselor Education program. Faculty may find it necessary to evaluate a person’s background to determine his/her likelihood of maintaining standards of professional conduct that are necessary in the discipline. An evaluation may take into consideration current performance as well as past experiences and actions that could affect a student’s ability to perform in a program.

Counselor Education faculty subscribe to the above statement and have adopted the following specific principles and conditions for admission and retention in the program:

  • Applicants are sought from a variety of groups and cultures within society. Admissions policies and procedures are designed to foster the identification and selection of prospective students who possess the potential for doctoral level work in counseling.
  • Applicants are sought who have demonstrated a commitment to the professions of counseling or counseling-related fields through interest, preparation, experience, and professional leadership.
  • The staffs of cooperating professional agencies, and appropriate professional credentialing bodies are consulted relative to admission policies and procedures.
  • Counselor Education faculty have the sole responsibility for the selection of PhD candidates and have established admission criteria consistent with, and in excess of, those of the University of Tennessee. The faculty will meet early in the spring semester (not later than February 15) to review applications. Students must notify the counselor education faculty in writing of their decision to accept the offer of admission to the program. All newly admitted students must take courses on campus the fall semester following notification of acceptance into the program.
The Counselor Training Clinic provides students with access to free individual and group counseling and is focused on helping students to achieve a greater sense of wellness. Students collaborate with counselors to create and achieve personal goals to increase their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Is the Counselor Education PhD program accredited?
Yes, the program is accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Am I a good fit for the UT Knoxville Counselor Education doctoral program?
This program is designed for experienced counseling professionals with master’s degrees in counseling or counseling-related fields who wish to advance their careers in the education and supervision of counselors. The doctoral program requires course work, internship, and dissertation hours of study beyond the master’s degree. Graduates of the PhD Program in Counselor Education will work toward endorsement for counseling licensure, if licensure has not been received prior to entering the doctoral program. During the program, doctoral students will review the necessary criteria for the license and plan their programs to meet those criteria.

Are two years of post master’s degree counseling related experience required for admission?
Two years post master’s degree counseling experience is preferred, but not required for applicants.

How many students are admitted each year?
The average number of students admitted is 4-7 per year. We allow students to attend part-time or full-time.

How long does it take to finish the program?
Because we take full and part-time students, this varies. The range of time is 3 to 8 years. Eight years is the maximum allowed by the university.

The mean is 4.5, median 4, and mode is 3.5 years.

What about graduate assistantships?
Although we cannot guarantee an assistantship, we have been able to secure assistantships for 100% of our first year students who have requested an assistantship. All second year students who have desired assistantships have been able to secure assistantships either within the department, college, or on campus.  We are proud to say that our students are sought after by other departments and colleges across campus. Our students have secured two of the highest paid assistantships on campus. Many third year students secure assistantships too. However, a number of them prefer not to do an assistantship and focus on finishing the program that year. Students have conducted assistantships in our department, the Medical College, Engineering College, Governor’s School, Career Services Center, Thornton Student Athlete Tutoring Center, Student Success Center, etc.

Do students conduct practicum and internship in the PhD program?
As a CACREP accredited program, you are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of practicum (individual and group clinical counseling type experiences) and 600 hours of internship (divided between supervision, teaching, clinical, and leadership/advocacy). PhD students will supervise master’s degree students in school or clinical mental health counseling programs who are in either practicum or internship. Two semesters of supervision internship are required for all PhD students. PhD students also will teach or co-teach undergraduate or master’s level counseling courses for a minimum of two semesters. In the past, some PhD students have had the opportunity to teach undergraduate level courses for internship and some for pay as a GTA. Clinical and leadership/advocacy internships are collaboratively designed by the student and faculty.

How will I get involved with research while a student there?
Students will be involved in research through several avenues. First, three CE PhD research meetings are conducted each semester. Second, you can seek out involvement with faculty and students already conducting research. Third, faculty often will invite students to participate in research activities. Fourth, you will complete a dissertation which will be very thorough, self-directed with faculty mentoring, research project. This will result in conference presentations and a manuscript submission for publication.

Will I publish and present at conferences while a doctoral student?
You will have opportunities to publish as a main author and co-author. One student published up to sixteen (16) pieces of work while here and another eight (8) (e.g., book chapters, journal articles, etc.), but most students average about 3-4 submissions for publications. Faculty hope that you will publish 3-4 pieces of work while here.

You will also have opportunities to present with faculty and fellow students at international, national, regional, state and local conferences. Faculty members encourage students to present and often co-present their research with students. Students often work and present conference presentations together. One student presented thirty-eight (38) times at conferences while here and another thirty (30) times. Most students average 4-5 conference presentations.

Journal publications and conference presentations give you key experiences you will need to be an attractive applicant if you decide to interview for Counselor Education faculty positions at major research universities.

Can I be admitted to your program if I graduated from a non-CACREP accredited program?

Yes, we admit students from non-CACREP accredited programs. However, students must have completed coursework in the eight core areas (professional orientation and ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; helping relationships; group work; assessment; and research and program evaluation) plus completed a minimum of 700 hours of supervised clinical work prior to beginning doctoral coursework. Any deficits in these areas can be completed during the first semester in the doctoral program.

Financial Aid Information

Includes EPC GA Application form, departmental fellowships/scholarships, and links to other funding sources around UT Knoxville.

CACREP Accreditation Information

In accordance with CACREP (2016) Standards, syllabi for our courses are available for prospective and admitted students to review.  If you would like to preview syllabi for any of our courses, please contact and indicate which syllabi you would like to receive.


Updated 09/15/2022