Content | Navigation |

Counselor Education Track

Description and Career Opportunities:

The Counselor Education Doctoral Track at NDSU adheres to the interdisciplinary approach of the College of Human Development and Education and emphasizes the integration of teaching, research, and clinical practice. A major focus of the Counselor Education program is on training students for faculty positions in higher education. Other possible career opportunities include an array of counseling and administrative positions in clinical mental health, higher education, public school and community services.

The need for counselors in the nation remains high. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition, employment for counselors overall is expected to increase by 21 percent through 2016. This number reflects new positions as well as the demand to replace those leaving the field or retiring.

As all areas of study in the College of Human Development and Education, the Counselor Education Doctoral Track focuses on people. Working relationships with faculty are professional, yet personal. Students receive one-to-one attention and mentoring. There are multiple opportunities for teaching and clinical practice, and supervision as well as support for presenting and publishing research.

The program in Counselor Education is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).


Counselor Education Doctoral Track Course Sequence

The Counselor Education Doctoral Track requires 71 credits beyond the Master’s Degree. Ph.D. students have a maximum of ten years to complete their program.

Required Courses offered with the Department (School of Education)
Year Semester Course number and title Credits
Even Years Summer CNED 763 Advanced Testing & Appraisal 3
Odd Years Summer CNED 767 Advanced Group Counseling 3
Every Summer CNED 779 Quantitative & Survey Research 3
Even Years Fall CNED 769 Theory and Practice For Counselor Ed 3
Even Years Fall CNED 794C Practicum 3
Even Years Spring CNED 780 Ethical and Legal Issues in Counselor Education 3
Even Years Spring CNED 787 Professional Issues: Prof Development, Consulting & Publishing 3
Odd Years Fall CNED 771C Education and Supervision in a
Multicultural Society
Odd Years Fall CNED 772 Advanced Counseling Theories 3
Odd Years Spring CNED 770 Counselor Supervision 3
Odd Years Spring CNED 776 Qualitative Research& Program Eval 3
Every Fall/Spring CNED 790 Doctoral Seminar 4
Every Fall/Spring CNED 794 D Internship 3-5
Every Fall/Spring CNED 799 Dissertation 10-15
A variety of elective courses are available to students with the adviser’s approval.
For additional information on course sequencing and requirements, including a Plan of Study Form, go to the Counselor Education Program link located on the School of Education Website (

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS for doctoral degree candidates entering the Human Development and Education Counselor Education Ph.D. Track

To be considered for acceptance, the applicant will be evaluated individually based upon but not limited to the following:

  1. Possess a Master's degree in counseling or a related field. Graduates of CACREP accredited programs receive preference. OR
  2. Possess a Bachelor's degree. Candidates in this category are expected to meet all CACREP requirements for a master's degree within the Doctoral degree program.
  3. Demonstrate an interest in counseling, teaching, research, and professional service.
  4. Express counselor education and supervision career goals.
  5. Be available for an in-depth interview with the Counselor Education faculty at a date and time specified by the faculty.
  6. Must be willing to meet the two-year cohort residency requirements and attend the program full time for those two years.
  7. Where appropriate, complete all international student requirements.
  8. Be willing to discuss personal history within the interview process.
  9. Be willing to sign a disclosure statement regarding activities, which may be deemed inappropriate by professional and/or ethical standards.

Applications are accepted on an on-going basis. Please refer to NDSU Graduate Bulletin for information on making application.


In the Ph.D. Counselor Education Track students must complete a minimum of 21 credits in foundation courses prior to taking the comprehensive exam.  The exam consists of a written and oral process as outlined below.

Application Process:

1.     The student submits an application to take the comprehensive exam to the major advisor.

2.     The adviser considers the student’s readiness for the exam in consultation with the student’s committee.

3.     When approved, the student may move forward with the comprehensive exam process.

Process for Written Exam:

1.     The adviser and student determine written exam date.  The exam must be scheduled for an eight hour period (four hours each day for two days).  The student must take the exam at the counselor education program offices. 

2.     The adviser (in consultation with other counselor education faculty and doctoral committee faculty) creates between 4-6 questions. The doctoral committee faculty approves the questions.  Topics for the questions include:

  • Counseling Theories
  • Counselor Supervision
  • Research
  • Multicultural Foundations/Diversity
  • Current Issues in Counselor Education
  • Counselor Education Pedagogy
  • Professional School Counseling
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Interdisciplinary Practices in Counseling

Prior to the exam students are informed of the topics covered in their exam, but will not receive the specific questions. Students may bring one page of notes per question, but no other resources.  It is expected that responses to every question are in-depth, well-written and include citations and references germane to the topic.

3.     During the scheduled exam time, student writes responses (using computer set-up in exam room) to questions. There will be no internet access on the computer.

4.     Using a departmental comprehensive grading guide, doctoral committee members read exam and determine if the student passes the written exam.  

If at least three members of the committee vote pass for every question, the student receives a grade of pass and may move to the oral part of the exam.   For any question not evaluated as a pass, the student is given a different question (same topic) and an opportunity to rewrite.  The student and adviser schedule a retest date and time (1 hour per question). The same grading procedures apply for the retest.    

At this point, if at least three members of the committee vote pass, the student moves to the oral examination.   If at least three members of the committee do not vote pass, the student is terminated from the program. 

Process for Oral Examination

Student and adviser schedule a date and time for oral examination with doctoral committee:

1.     During oral examination the committee members may ask the student any follow-up questions related to the written exam or any additional questions not previously asked on the written exam.

2.     Committee members determine the status of the comprehensive exam (pass/fail) notify student and sign appropriate forms. In the event that at least three committee members do not vote to pass the student, an additional oral examination is scheduled.    If the retest is necessary, the adviser (committee chair) is expected to provide the student with an outline of specific expectations for an oral presentation during the examination.  A date and time for the retest is scheduled and the committee meets again with the student.

At this point if at least three members of the committee vote pass, the student moves to dissertation. If at least three members of the committee do not vote pass, the student is terminated from the program.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam, the student is formally admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree and may proceed with the dissertation proposal.  


  1. Academic Background
    It is preferred that applicants will have completed a master's degree in that meets CACREP standards. Those areas not covered in the student's Master's program or through other advanced graduate education must be taken in addition to doctoral study. Students not having an earned Master's degree are expected to meet all CACREP requirements for a master's degree within the Doctoral degree program.
  2. Experience
    Ideally, applicants will have sufficient post-master's experience as helping professionals to prepare them for the demands of Doctoral study. Preference will be given but not limited to National Certified Counselors (NCC's) and/or state Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC's). It is also expected that applicants will have participated in personal growth experiences and continue those processes throughout their degree program.
  3. Competence in helping skills
    Applicants must demonstrate foundation level helping skills at the time of the interview.
  4. Counseling and Supervision Career Goals
    The NDSU Doctoral program in Human Development and Education - Counselor Education limits its training to counselor education, counseling, and supervision. The stated career goals of applicants are reviewed to determine an appropriate match.
  5. Residency/Full Time Program
    The program has a cohort residence requirement of at least two years of full-time study and additional study to complete the degree. This program cannot be completed on a part-time basis (see program outline). Course work will be scheduled in order to facilitate full-time study while the candidate maintains part-time employment. The Counselor Education faculty endorses the concept that education and relevant employment are complementary to achieving the program goals.
  6. International Student Requirements
    In addition to the previously listed requirements, general graduate admission standards for international students require a transcript from the home country. English language proficiency includes a minimum score of 525 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a computer based "TOEFL" score of 193. Information is available from the Office of International Programs at (701) 231-7895.


NDSU Counselor Education

American Counseling Association (ACA)

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP)

North Dakota Counseling Association

Association for Counselor Education and Supervision


Carol Buchholz, Ph.D.

Brenda Hall, Ed.D.

Jill Nelson, Ph.D.

Robert C. Nielsen

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Site Manager:
Published by North Dakota State University

Last Updated: Sunday, December 28, 2014 11:55:06 PM