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Doctor of Philosophy in Professional Counseling

Offered through the Amridge University School of Human Services, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Professional Counseling is a 60-semester hour rigorous research-oriented program beyond the Master’s degree.  The number of hours required for the completion of this doctorate will depend on the number of graduate hours the student has already taken before entering the program.

The PhD program is not designed to prepare individuals for professional licensure.  It is assumed that the applicant has already completed the coursework required for professional licensure.  If the applicant wishes to obtain professional licensure, additional courses may be required.

The distinctive components in this program will be the emphasis on traditional and non-traditional extended learning delivery systems.  Broadly put, upon completion of either program, the student will have an advanced degree with both therapeutic expertise and scholarship.

Students will complete intensive studies in theories of counseling, human development, problems with abuse and addiction, cultural diversity, and research.  Courses offered in these programs will be taught partly from traditional class settings and will be partly delivered online over the Internet.

Upon completion of the Program the graduates will be able to:

  1. Customize a comprehensive plan to appropriately address academic, research, and professional goals.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods and statistical skills.
  3. Create a research plan that demonstrates the ability to (1) apply advanced knowledge of Professional Counseling theories and/or techniques in a professional setting to address a need in an ethical manner, (2) conduct scholarly research, and (3) present findings in accordance with the American Psychology Association (APA) guidelines.
  4. Evaluate selected theories, theorists, principles, and techniques of counseling and their application to professional counseling settings.
  5. Create appropriate treatment plans and/or intervening strategies based on foundational counseling theories and client circumstances.
  6. Develop auxiliary professional skills required to run a successful practice or classroom.

These outcomes are assessed through completion of the courses work, completion of the comprehensive examination, and completion of the dissertation.  

Time Normally Required to Complete the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Professional Counseling may be completed in four years attending full-time.  A student may take the courses on a part-time or full-time basis.  This estimate includes coursework and the writing and acceptance of the dissertation.

Graduation Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Professional Counseling

To receive a PhD Degree in Professional Counseling from Amridge University, the student must:

  1. Complete the degree courses as specified within and in accordance with the individualized degree evaluation provided to the Amridge University student during the admissions process.  The individualized degree evaluation will be completed and given to the student as soon as copies of all pertinent college and university transcripts are received by the admissions office.  A minimum of 45 semester hours for the PhD Degree must be earned at Amridge University;
  2. Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0;
  3. Pass the respective Qualifying Examination as specified within this publication;
  4. Be awarded candidacy status in the PhD Degree Program;
  5. Satisfactorily complete a dissertation that convinces the Dissertation Committee of student’s superior knowledge within the student’s program area.  The student must achieve candidacy status prior to enrolling in a dissertation module.  The dissertation must make an original contribution to knowledge and demonstrate the student’s ability to articulate material to others.  The student has the responsibility to make all changes recommended by the Dissertation Committee and submit an amended and approved copy to the Registrar;
  6. Complete an Amridge University Degree Completion Application.  The properly completed and signed application must be submitted no later than the first day of classes of the semester prior to the semester the student plans to graduate. Following this schedule permits the University to conduct a full audit of the respective student’s records at make sure that all courses, programs, and respective graduation requirements have been met;
  7. Dissertation Module IV serves as a Program Exit Examination.  The student must receive a passing grade in the Dissertation Module IV in order to graduate;
  8. Final defense:
    •  The student must defend, and receive a passing grade for their doctoral dissertation before their Dissertation Committee, the dean of the  School of Human services, and other faculty. This defense will take place in Montgomery at a time set by the Dissertation Committee.
    •  The student must comply with all requirements for submission of the completed dissertation to the Amridge University Head Librarian.
  9. Be current on all tuition and fees owed to the University

The Course Requirements of 60 semester credit hours for the degree program Doctor of Philosophy in Professional Counseling consists of program specific courses.

Required Courses Sem. Hrs.

The Course Requirements of 60 semester credit hours for the degree program Doctor of Philosophy in Professional Counseling consists of program specific courses (48 semester hours), a Qualifying Examination (0 semester hours), and Dissertation courses (12 semester hours).

Required Courses for the Doctor of Philosophy in Professional Counseling 
FD 9301 Foundations and Advanced Scholarly Writing for Doctoral Study
DT 9306 Synthesis of Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories
DT 9309 Applied Adult Development
DT 9312 Relational Sexual Therapy
DT 9315 Strategies to Reduce Marriage and Family Dysfunction
DT 9318 Systemic Interventions in Abusive Relationships
DT 9321 Analysis of Substance Abuse Interventions
DT 9324 Systems of Relational and Intrapsychic Diagnosis
DT 9327 Consultation with Larger Systems
DT 9330 Medical Family Therapy
DT 9332 Counseling for Change
DT 9336 Quality Practice and Fiscal Systems (For students who plan to practice.)
-OR- DT 9337 Teaching Practicum (For students who plan to teach.)


RS 9320 Research Methodology
RS 9321 Qualitative Research Methods
RS 9322 Quantitative Research Methods
RS 9323 Advanced Quantitative Design and Analysis OR
RS 9324 Advanced Qualitative Design and Analysis







Total Required Hours for Doctoral Degree 48
Qualifying Examination for the Doctor of Philosophy in
Professional Counseling 
RC 9030 Qualifying Examination for Doctor of Philosophy in
Professional Counseling
Total Qualifying Examination Hours for Doctoral Degree 0
Research Dissertation Modules for the Doctor of Philosophy in
Professional Counseling
RC 9301 Research Dissertation in Counseling Module 1
RC 9302 Research Dissertation in Counseling Module 2
RC 9303 Research Dissertation in Counseling Module 3
RC 9304 Research Dissertation in Counseling Module 4
Total Research Dissertation Module Hours for Doctoral Degree 12
Total Hours for Doctoral Degree 60

Employment Setting:

  • Universities
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Private Practice

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