CNED Ph.D. Application Information

Admissions Requirements

Students admitted to the doctoral program must have completed master's level studies that are comparable to CACREP entry-level standards and provide evidence of a knowledge base of a professional counselor. As part of the doctoral program, students can focus on a specialty area of interest including school counseling, mental health counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. Current full-time students generally receive financial assistance in the form of fellowships or graduate assistantships.

NOTE: This program is not offered online. It is only offered in residence at the University Park campus.

Required Application Materials

As part of the online application process, applicants are required to electronically upload copies of transcripts (or equivalent documents for institutions outside the U.S., e.g., degree/study certificates, diplomas, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction). Applicants recommended for admission who accept an offer through the online graduate admission system will be notified by the Graduate School that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an official English translation must also be sent). The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.

**You do not need to provide Penn State transcripts If you have received a degree from Penn State University.

This essay should be no more than one page in length, single-spaced. Describe your professional goals upon completion of a doctorate in Counselor Education. How do you see your professional interests matching with those of the Counselor Education faculty at PSU?

This essay should be no more than two pages in length, single-spaced. This essay provides you with an opportunity to supplement the other information available to the admissions committee relative to your objectives in pursuing doctoral work. The statement should cover:

  • a. Personal information and background relevant to doctoral work in counselor education.

  • b. To the extent that plans are formulated, the kinds of positions you hope to obtain after completing doctoral work.

  • c. The reasons for selecting such positions.

  • d. Strengths and weaknesses and special needs in relation to previous training and future goals.

NOTE: The Career Goals Statement and Autobiographical Statement need to be separate essays as they may be used for possible funding nominations.

GRE Test Results (PSU Institution Code: 2660, Department Code: 3802). The applicant should request GRE scores to be electronically submitted directly to Graduate Enrollment Services at Penn State.  Advanced subject results are optional. The Educational Testing Service can provide information about testing centers and dates, or check the GRE websiteApplications are considered incomplete without official GRE scores. To insure that the scores will reach us in time for consideration of your application, please schedule the exam no later than October 1. Test scores that are more than five (5) years old will not be accepted.


The Counselor Education doctoral program is waiving the requirement for GRE scores for applicants applying in December 2023.

TOEFL Test Scores (if applicable) (PSU Institution Code: 2660, Department Code: 99). International applicants whose first language is not English or who have not received a baccalaureate or master's degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English must submit a TOEFL score of 550 (paper test), a score of 213 (computer-based test), or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section (internet-based test). The applicant should request TOEFL scores to be electronically submitted directly to Graduate Enrollment Services at Penn State.** Applicants may substitute the IELTS with a minimum composite score requirement of 6.5. The applicant should request IELTS scores to be mailed directly to this address:

The Pennsylvania State University
Graduate Enrollment Services
114 Kern Building
University Park, PA 16802

Three letters of recommendation concerning the applicant's academic and professional abilities and potential are required. These letters should address the applicant's ability to meet graduate-level academic challenges and to work in the counseling profession. These letters must be uploaded directly to the Graduate School application by the reference writer who will receive an email from the Graduate School after the applicant enters reference information into the application. No extra forms are required.

Application Deadline

All application materials must be received by December 5th for consideration for the following Fall semester. Please note that we will not review late applications. We will only consider applications completed by December 5th. Applicants will be contacted by the end of December and interviews will be scheduled for mid-January.

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