Program Requirements

The program leading to the Ph.D. in Counselor Education involves the successful completion of, at minimum, 72 hours beyond the baccalaureate degree; at least 48 of the hours must be taken at UB. Students may elect to complete their requirements on either a full-time or part-time basis. Part-time students in the program must register for a minimum of 6 hours each semester. A waiver for one semester may be obtained from the program director. Requests must be in writing prior to the semester.

A. Advisement and Communication

Each student has an academic advisor who is assigned at the beginning of his/her program. The incoming student is expected to initiate and maintain regular contact with his/her advisor. During the first or second (for part-time students) year each student must select a research advisor with whom to work. Students should familiarize themselves with the research interests of faculty and attempt to dovetail their own research with those of a faculty member whom they feel would be an appropriate advisor.

A student must request a faculty member to act as his or her research advisor for the doctoral program. This choice is extremely important. In fact, it may be the single most important student decision made in the program. The faculty member must agree to supervise the student’s research. The choice is thus mutual. A student may change advisors after having made the initial choice. Advisement decisions should be made prior to the end of twelve (12 hours) of study. Students must always receive prior approval from the program director for proposed courses, internships, residence plans, and any other choices relating to the Counselor Education Doctoral Program.

B. Comprehensive Examination

Students must successfully complete a comprehensive teaching examination offered in either the fall or spring semester. The exam consists of a written component, in addition to an assessment of your teaching (including a written lesson plan). A 10 page letter of expertise, specifying your theoretical approach to teaching, counseling, and supervision must be submitted 90 days prior to the exam date. This letter should address your readiness to take the comprehensive teaching exam. This exam is typically taken toward the latter part of your program.

C. Research Qualifying Paper

Prior to beginning your dissertation, you are required to propose, conduct, and write up a research project suitable for submission to a professional referred journal. This project will be initiated in the Research Methods course.

During your first semester of full-time study you are expected to apprentice yourself to a faculty member whose research interests are similar to your own. This faculty mentor or sponsor will guide you in your research. During the time you are working on your Research Qualifying Paper, you must register for Research Project Guidance with your mentor. If your proposal involves human subjects, the proposed research plan must be reviewed and certified by the appropriate Institutional Review Board.

You will conduct the research study under the guidance of your advisor. Before you begin collecting data, the faculty advisor must approve the research proposal. You will write a publishable research report based on the results of your study. Your research report will be submitted to a faculty committee for evaluation. The faculty committee will decide to accept, return for revision, or reject the research paper.

It is recommended that you write the research paper with submission to a specific journal in mind. The audience you envision for the research paper should be the editors and readers of this journal, not the faculty committee. The content and structure of the research paper must adhere to the standards described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (sixth edition). It is extremely rare that an article is accepted "as is" for a journal. Usually, minor suggestions are offered by the editorial reviewers. Similarly, only a few qualifying papers are accepted as submitted. Almost all others are accepted with minor revisions. Very few require major revision. Usually, this latter situation is caused by a student's failure to work closely with a mentor. Very few qualifying papers have been completely rejected.

D. Dissertation Guidance

The student forms a committee of three Graduate Faculty Members, develops an approved proposal, conducts the investigation, writes the dissertation, and completes an oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation fulfills three major functions:

  1. It is a work of original research of scholarship which makes a contribution to existing knowledge;
  2. It is an educational experience which demonstrates the candidate's mastery of research methods and tools of the field; and
  3. It demonstrates the student's ability to address a major intellectual problem and arrive at a successful conclusion.

E. Candidacy

After successful completion of most of the coursework and the comprehensive teaching examination, the student can be advanced to doctoral candidacy. The student completes an Application to Candidacy Form (which lists previous and future coursework and is signed by the three dissertation committee members). It is important to note that what is most crucial in the application process is that the candidate has identified the three dissertation committee members and that they sign the form prior to submission.

The form is submitted to the department for approval and forwarded to the Graduate Degrees Committee and then to the UB Graduate School. Once accepted, the student is a bona fide doctoral candidate and upon successful completion of the remaining requirements and the dissertation, will be recommended for degree conferral.