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Applicants to Carlow University's Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Counseling Psychology program must possess a master's degree in psychology, counseling, or a closely related field (such as social work).

The master’s degree must have been granted by a regionally-accredited institution in higher education. Master’s degrees are considered closely related if they include coursework in the following areas:

  • Human growth and lifespan development
  • Social & cultural foundations or diversity training for helping professionals
  • Helping relationships or counseling skills and techniques, counseling or personality theory
  • Abnormal psychology or psychopathology
  • Group counseling
  • Research methods (statistics and quantitative methods)
  • Psychological assessment, appraisal, or tests and measurements
  • Counseling practicum and internship

Applicants who have a deficit in one or more of the areas listed above, and who otherwise would qualify for entrance into the program, may be considered for admission with the understanding that the deficit must be remedied during the first year of the doctoral program. If an applicant has too many prerequisite deficits, Carlow may need to defer application for admittance to the following year while the student completes the necessary coursework.

Preference will be given to applicants with strong academic credentials and relevant experience as a helping professional. Applicants who are finalists for admission will be invited to campus for a personal interview with representatives from the department in mid to late February of each year.

Transfer Credit

Students may transfer up to eighteen (18) doctoral level credits into the program. Transfer credits are considered on a course-by-course basis and are subject to review by core program faculty. In the event that a course falls outside of the expertise of core faculty, the course may be evaluated by non-core faculty with appropriate specialized training. In order to have credit evaluated for transfer, students must provide a copy of the course syllabus, a transcript reflecting the course and the grade earned (must be a B or higher), and in instances where further clarification is necessary, copies of required textbooks or other required readings for the course may be requested. Evaluation is based on an analysis of the course description, learning objectives, readings, assignments and methods of assessment. Please note that practicum credits may not be transferred.


Note:  The PsyD Program utilizes a cohort model. Therefore, students can only start the program in the fall semester. There are no spring or summer start dates.

The following is required for application to the PsyD program in Counseling Psychology:

  • Completed online application form
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (uploaded through the online application)
  • Two essays (uploaded through the online application)
    • Personal Essay - is autobiographical in nature and focuses on the applicant’s developmental history, cultural background and experiences, and explains the applicant’s reasons for pursuing doctoral studies in counseling psychology (3-6 pages of double-spaced text)
    • Reflective Essay - addresses the applicant’s thoughts and understanding regarding the etiology of client distress and the nature of the change process (2-3 pages of double-spaced text).
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test. The GRE Psychology subject test is not required, though students that are applying that have a less commonly related graduate degree may include these test results as a support for their application. Use Carlow's school code, 2421, to submit your GRE scores directly through the testing agency.
  • Official transcripts from the institution where you obtained your bachelor’s degree, as well as from any institution where you completed graduate courses or programs. Official transcripts should be sent by the institution(s) directly to Graduate Admissions and arrive in sealed envelopes or via email.
  • Three letters of recommendation with reference forms from professionals (i.e., academics and practitioners) who can address the applicant's suitability for doctoral study. Letters are to be typed and submitted on applicable letterhead. (Note: Personal references are not considered.) It is in the applicant's best interest to submit letters from those that have doctoral degrees. Still, it is expected that some letters from practitioners may be best addressed by those with Master's degrees in a clinical field that have supervised the applicant.
    • You will be asked to supply the names and contact information for your three recommenders as part of the online application process. An email will be generated to those individuals to complete an online reference form and upload a letter of recommendation.

Supporting documentation not uploaded through the application (e.g. official transcripts, GRE General Test scores) should be submitted to:

Graduate Admissions
Carlow University
3333 Fifth Avenue 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


The Office of Graduate Admissions ensures that applicant files are complete. Complete files are forwarded to the PsyD Program Chair. Applicant information is put into a database within the program and files are made available for program faculty to review and evaluate (using a standardized form). Faculty then meet as a group to discuss applicants.

The following criteria are used to evaluate the extent to which students are a good match with the program: 

  1. Academic area in which master's degree was earned (e.g., counseling, psychology, social work, etc.) 
  2. Undergraduate GPA 
  3. Graduate GPA 
  4. Combined score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 
  5. Writing (Analytical) score on the GRE 
  6. Clinical experience 
  7. Research experience 
  8. Letters of recommendation 
  9. Personal essays 

Graduate GPA, personal essays, and clinical experience tend to be weighted more heavily in this evaluative process, but the review committee examines all aspects of an applicant from a holistic perspective. Offers are extended to the most qualified applicants until a cohort comprised of eight students is reached. In the event that there are not enough qualified applicants then the program will have a cohort of fewer than eight students.