Doctoral programs in counseling

Are you interested in the latest research in counseling? Do you want to influence your field and the  next generation of counselors?
Whether you want to become a counselor educator or faculty in a higher education institution, pursue a leadership role in the counseling profession, enhance your credentials as a private practitioner, or contribute new knowledge about counseling, Warner’s doctoral programs in counseling will help you achieve your goals.   

We invite you to check out our Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs-approved doctoral programs, and see how you can benefit from the expertise and support of faculty involved in cutting-edge research and innovative education reform projects, while pursuing your specific interests.
We can customize your doctoral program to meet your career goals and interests.

Program Quickview

These counseling PhD and EdD programs featured below have been approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs as meeting the requirements of doctoral-level study in counseling and counselor education.

If you are interested in other Warner doctoral programs, check our related programs.
  • Successful completion of a master’s degree in mental health counseling, school counseling, or a related field in the helping professions (e.g., social work, counseling psychology, creative arts therapy).
  • Preference is given to applicants with:
    • At least two years of relevant practice experience in a counseling-related profession.
    • A license or certification to practice in a counseling-related profession
  • A general understanding of the nature of doctoral work.
  • Career goals consistent with attainment of a doctoral degree in counseling.
  • Ability to articulate potential avenues for dissertation research.
  • Applicants must display dispositions of health and fitness that will foster healing, growth and change in their clients, such as:
    • Capacity for sound clinical and interpersonal judgment.
    • Ability to deal with critique and conflict in a healthy and productive manner.
    • Reliable completion, even under conditions of stress and emotional challenge, of expected clinical and academic responsibilities.
    • Respect for diversity of beliefs, practices, appearances and orientations, and a commitment to, and capacity for self-reflection regarding diversity issues.
    • Ability, even in times of extreme stress, to convey empathy and compassion.
    • Display of sound moral and ethical judgment.
    • The ability to relate to supervisees and students in an ethical, non-exploitive manner that prioritizes their welfare.
Key Program Features:
  • Minimum credits: 96 graduate credits, including doctoral-level internships; some of the credits can be transferred from previous programs (up to 30 credits for PhDs; up to 36 credits for EdDs).
  • Curriculum: Coursework reflects emerging knowledge about mind-body connection, the impact of early life experiences, the effects of chronic stress, role of spirituality, and the importance of employing an integrated diversity of approaches to psychotherapy.
  • Choice of research methods: Benefit from a vast array of research methods courses, and choose from a variety of research methods for your dissertation.
  • Internship opportunities:  Internships are available in an array of settings, including mental health clinics, healthcare facilities and hospitals, human services agencies, drug and alcohol treatment facilities and higher education settings. Interns can choose whether they want to work with children, adolescents and/or adults of various ages.  
  • Research opportunities: Warner faculty work on research and reform projects that provide opportunities for apprenticeships as well as interesting contexts for your dissertation.
  • Flexible: Programs can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, starting in any semester; minimum one year full-time residency requirement for PhD students only.

Doctoral programs in counseling and counselor education

PhD in Education with Concentration in Counseling and Counselor Education (CA4): Prepares graduates for academic positions in universities and other higher education settings, as well as research positions in government agencies or other educational organizations.

EdD with Specialization in Counseling: Prepares and supports experienced counselors for leadership positions in their field, as well as selected higher education faculty positions; can be completed on a part-time basis while maintaining full-time employment.  You can choose among the following options:
  • EdD Accelerated Option (CA9): Dissertation must be completed in the span of one year as part of a cohort, supported by a three-semester dissertation seminar. 
  • EdD Traditional Option (CA3): More flexibility for dissertation and coursework completion.
  • EdD in Mental Health Counseling (CA5): Offers the option of including additional coursework, beyond the 96 credits required for the doctoral degree, that allows matriculated students to become eligible for the New York State mental health counseling license.  Students graduating from this program would be eligible for a New York State limited permit, and would need to complete 3,000 post-graduation supervised practice hours and pass the state examination to become a fully Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
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Opportunities for additional specializations (with additional credits required):
  • Advanced Certificate in Program Evaluation: To strengthen your research skills in planning and conducting evaluations of existing programs.
  • Advanced Certificate in Online Teaching: To be more competitive for positions that may involve teaching online.
  • Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership: Prepares you to work with highly diverse and disadvantaged students in urban settings.
Choosing Between a PhD and an EdD Program … What’s the Difference?
Warner PhD programs are primarily designed to prepare researchers and higher education faculty. Our EdD programs are more appropriate for experienced professionals interested in using research to solve problems of practice, enabling them to pursue leadership positions in educational institutions or to assist them in designing and implementing programs to improve practice in their field.

While the required coursework may be similar, these two degree programs have different expectations concerning dissertation study, expertise in research methods, and residency requirements.  Here’s what you can expect:
  • PhD students are expected to focus on only a few specific areas early on so as to become experts in those areas. EdD students, on the other hand, are expected to develop a broad understanding of their own as well as related fields.
  • While both PhD and EdD students take the same foundational research methods courses, PhD students are required to take additional, advanced research methods courses to develop expertise in using a rich array of traditional research methods.
  • PhD dissertations require independent research that will contribute new knowledge to their field, while EdD dissertations may involve a wider array of choices, including: case studies of specific innovations; action research studies to improve specific programs or practices; research- and data-based analysis to inform important decisions; or rigorous evaluations of existing programs.
  • In addition to their dissertation, PhD students are encouraged to engage in research apprenticeships with faculty.
  • EdD students can complete their program part time, while PhD students are required to complete at least one year of residency (i.e., be full time for two consecutive semesters, taking at least 12 credits of coursework each semester, or 9 credits if awarded an assistantship) and are encouraged to complete as much of their program as possible full time.
Contact admissions to speak with a faculty member to better understand which option will best meet your career goals.

Our Approach

Preparing you to be an innovative educational leader and researcher in counseling

The Warner School has adopted a vision for counseling that emphasizes wellness, prevention and the relationship between the health of the body and the health of the mind.

Warner counseling students are grounded in knowledge of human development, with a particular understanding of how environmental factors shape the developmental processes that lead to life-long wellness. Thus, our doctoral programs in counseling are designed to shape students as scholars, educators, and administrators who mold educational and practice settings to emphasize healthy human development using holistic approaches that consider the range of social, cultural, familial and intrapersonal factors that influence wellness.
father and son
Learn More About Warner's Approach to Doctoral Programs
All doctoral programs offered at the Warner School are characterized by the following common principles and goals:
  • Integration of research, theory, and practice: We believe that doctoral candidates should recognize the false dichotomy between theory and practice, as well as the complementary values of basic and applied research. Our graduates will not only gain an excellent understanding of key theories in their field, but will also be able to identify and critically examine the theoretical framework informing research reported in the literature, as well as their own. EdD candidates should also form a solid research and theory base that grounds their leadership in their field of practice.   
  • Interdisciplinarity and collaboration: We encourage doctoral candidates to recognize the need and value of collaborating across fields and constituencies to address complex problems in education.
  • Commitment to social justice: We strengthen our doctoral candidates’ commitment to equity and social justice and for conducting research that is inclusive of all individuals, communities and cultures.
  • In-depth knowledge of area of specialization: Our doctoral candidates develop a broad and solid knowledge of relevant research in their area of specialization, while understanding how that field is connected to others.
  • Research practices: Our doctoral candidates articulate and pursue worthwhile research questions, and are familiar with and able to use a variety of research methodologies relevant to their field of specialization.   
  • Academic writing practices: We prepare our doctoral candidates to effectively communicate research results in scholarly publications, consistent with academic writing expectations.
  • Instructional methods: A diverse array of instructional methods is utilized in our counseling classrooms including: lectures, videos, discussions, and in-class and outside-class experiential activities.

The Warner Advantage

Preparing doctoral students to thrive as counselors

The Warner School creates leaders and researchers who can advance counseling and mental health in a variety of contexts.
  • Become an innovator and a thought leader in your field by engaging with faculty involved in cutting-edge research and being exposed to an innovative curriculum that keeps pace with emerging knowledge in the fields of mental health and human development.
  • Learn from a diversity of experts in counseling to become a dynamic counselor who works at promoting the mental health of a wide variety of people in need of services.
  • Develop strong research skills by taking advantage of a variety of research methods courses and opportunities for research apprenticeships.
  • Network with the best and the brightest educators and future leaders.
  • Small, personalized program allows both flexibility to pursue your interests and opportunities to create strong relationships with faculty.
  • Give your degree even more recognition by leveraging the reputation of a leading research university and national accreditation by CACREP.
  • Draw from the research initiatives at a world-class medical research facility.
  • Broaden your skillset and increase your competitiveness in the job market by adding an advanced certificate for only a few additional credits.

While rigorous, the Warner School can provide a customized, flexible, and affordable program.
  • Go at your own pace by choosing between full-time or part-time options. 
  • Use your electives and choices for core courses to specialize in your area of interest and/or add advanced certificates.
  • Reduce tuition costs by taking advantage of a wide range of competitive full and partial assistantship opportunities.
  • Are you a University of Rochester employee? Make sure you make full use of your tuition benefits.

All About experience

Your experience will be informed by the many research projects and community initiatives we are engaged in. In addition, you'll benefit from the experience of faculty that include nationally recognized researchers, award-winning authors and accomplished practitioners.

Bridging Counseling and Biological Sciences

Bridging counseling and biological sciences

As a counselor with a background in the biological sciences, professor Kathryn Douthit understands that cutting-edge scientific knowledge has much to offer the practice of counseling. She has authored numerous publications that highlight the positive implications of developments in neuroscience, genetics and endocrinology and its impact on mental health counseling.

Expert in Counseling Theories

Expert in counseling theories

Professor Andre Marquis recently published a ground-breaking book, Understanding Psychopathology: An Integral Exploration, about integral counseling theory – an approach to counseling that combines diverse theoretical approaches resulting in an unparalleled, comprehensive, trans-theoretical biopsychosocial conceptualization of client psychological challenge.

Motivation and Psychotherapy

Motivation and psychotherapy

Faculty member Martin Lynch, a clinical psychologist and Fulbright Fellow with a background in motivation, continues to study how motivation seen through the lens of self-determination theory can be used to inform psychotherapy practices.

Career Opportunities

Doctoral programs that provide the perfect pathway to advance your career

Graduates of our EdD and PhD programs in counseling will be prepared to succeed in an array of roles and careers, including:
  • Working as a faculty member in CACREP-accredited master’s- and doctoral-level programs.
  • Working as a research associate in counseling-related fields, such as public health, nursing, and psychiatry.
  • Working as an administrator in counseling practice settings.
  • Working as a psychotherapist in private practice.
Our doctoral programs in counseling have provided a vehicle for international students interested in building counselor education programs in international settings.
Warner students talking in a circle


Accessible, supportive faculty researchers and accomplished practitioners

Core program faculty

Doug Guiffrida, PhD
(Constructivist counseling supervision; College retention)

Martin Lynch, PhD
(Self-determination theory)

Karen Mackie, PhD
(Creative arts in counseling; Narrative therapy)

Andre Marquis, PhD
(Integral psychotherapy; Psychotherapy integration)

Scott McGuinness, PhD
(Mental Health Counseling, Psychopharmacology, Addictions)

Amanda McLeroy, PhD
(Mental health of college students; Racial and childhood trauma)

Bonnie Rubenstein, EdD
(School counseling; Grief and loss)

Learn about Warner School faculty.


Making it affordable to make a Warner education possible

Many of our full-time doctoral students benefit from full and partial assistantships to support their studies while gaining valuable career experience at the same time. Full assistantships require 15 to 20 hours per week of service during the fall and spring semesters, and provide a full-tuition waiver as well as a stipend. Partial assistantships require five to 10 hours per week of service, and offer tuition reduction and stipends commensurate with hours of service. Contact admissions for more information.

Are You a UR Employee? Inquire about your tuition benefits. If eligible, up to 95% of your tuition costs can be covered depending on your position. Contact the UR benefits office at

Meliora Sign Under a tree


Meliora means 'Ever Better.' To our graduates, it means making a world of difference.

  • Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

    "The growth I’ve realized in myself is something I will be forever grateful for. I’ve learned to question, analyze, think and create in ways I never considered. I’ve changed as an educator and as a person."

    Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

  • Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children

    “When it came time to interview for jobs, it was very easy for me to talk about anything in the field, and that set me apart,” he says. “You name it, and I had at least one experience in it—largely due to Warner.”

    Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children's Zone, New York, NY

  • Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

    “As educators, it’s our job to make sure we’re giving students the knowledge to be successful when they move on in their life….Warner was the best grad school experience I’ve ever had because it prepared me extremely well to jump into my career, and I will forever be grateful for that.”

    Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

  • Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

    “It was more than I expected. Not only what I learned in the program, which I’ve been able to put into practice every day since, but also the connections I was able to make and the relationships I was able to form."

    Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

  • Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

    “I had a very unique situation. I wasn’t going down the typical path of a Warner student, and the school was just so flexible and supportive.”

    Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

  • Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

    "The most important thing I received there was the opportunity to be immersed in the study of education and leadership with very talented people, that think-tank mentality of being surrounded by the best of the best. The intellectual stimulation from both the staff and fellow classmates really did allow me to think about things differently."

    Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

Contact Admissions

The admissions team looks forward to assisting you as you explore graduate education at the Warner School. Please feel free to use the form below to contact us with any questions. You can also email us at or call (585) 275-3950.

Application Deadlines

PhD applications are accepted once a year, and can be applied to from October 17 until December 15. 

The next application deadline for the EdD program is March 01, 2023.

View all application deadlines

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