Quick Links

PhD in Counselling Psychology details & program outcomes

The following is additional information regarding the PhD in Counselling Psychology program. Click headings to view content.

Our Mission

Counselling psychology is a broad specialization within professional psychology concerned with using psychological principles to enhance and promote the positive growth, well-being, and mental health of individuals, families, groups, and the broader community. Counselling psychologists bring a collaborative, developmental, multicultural, and wellness perspective to their research and practice.

The PhD in Counselling Psychology is a scientist-practitioner program and is currently accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Ordre des psychologues du Québec (OPQ). The program aims to develop professionals who are prepared to:

  1. Contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of counselling psychology.
  2. Practice from a strong evidence base.
  3. Take a leadership role in community, professional and university organizations in counselling psychology.

Graduates of the program may practice in educational, health, community, or university settings and are eligible to join the OPQ.

Our Expectations

The PhD in Counselling Psychology is made up of several elements including

  • course requirements
  • 750 hour practicum
  • training in supervision
  • comprehensive examination
  • dissertation
  • full-year (1600 hour) internship

Our Clinical Training Resources

Some of the training of doctoral students takes place in the McGill Psychoeducational and Counselling Clinic. The Clinic is a teaching and training unit of the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University that provides low cost psychological services to people seeking counselling and psychoeducational assessments. Services are provided by doctoral students as part of their clinical training under the supervision of qualified and licensed professors in the Department. The Director of the Clinic is Dr. Jack De Stefano; he is involved in teaching and training of doctoral students in the program.

In addition, the program maintains strong ties to many community organizations that offer trainees clinical experiences. Doctoral students are strongly encouraged to apply to CPA and APA accredited sites for the pre-doctoral internship. Applications can be made through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).

Our Support Systems

Financial Support
McGill University is committed to helping you finance your education by simplifying the funding process and providing you with funding opportunities for the duration of your graduate studies. We offer our research students the most competitive and generous funding level in Quebec. Our funding, coupled with Montreal's low cost of living, makes graduate studies at McGill a wise educational investment.

There are two main types of funding available to you: McGill funding (financial support distributed by the university) and external funding (grants and fellowships administered by provincial and federal governments or other agencies).

External fellowships are awarded on the basis of merit through a competitive process, and usually range in value between $15,000 and $50,000. We recommend that you apply for external funding as soon as you have decided to pursue graduate studies in order to maximize your funding.

McGill funding includes:

  • Graduate fellowships and scholarships
  • Departmental and faculty awards
  • Stipends from McGill faculty members' research grants or research contracts
  • Teaching assistantships (TA)
  • Research assistantships (RA)

For further information on funding see the Funding Opportunities section of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' website.

Support Services for Students
McGill University has a large range of student services including counselling, health, career planning and tutorial services, help for students with disabilities, and services for international students. For information on the full range of services see Student Services' website.

Our Students

In recent years, we have had between of 35-50 applications per year and have accepted an average of 5-10 students per year.

Our student body is approximately 80% female. Students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, including numerous countries of origin, racial/ethnic identities, sexual orientations, religions, and levels of ability/disability.

Our Graduates at a Glance

A recent survey of the career paths of graduates in the first 5 years after graduation highlighted the following facts:

  • The most frequent career objective was clinical practice (82%), followed by teaching (35%), and an academic career as a university professor (24%).
  • After completing the program, 83% of graduates worked in more than one setting.
  • The most frequent settings in which graduates found employment were in private practice (67%) and in university departments (61%). Other settings included hospitals (44%), university or college counselling centres (33%), schools (17%), community clinics (5%), and other (11%).
  • Graduates assume multiple professional responsibilities. Most have clinical responsibilities; two-thirds of graduates teach, 59% have supervisory responsibilities, 53% do research and administration, and 24% do consultation.

Our Faculty

The following professors are full-time members of the Counselling Psychology Program Faculty and a brief summary of their research interests. Jump to Counselling Psychology Faculty page.

Drapeau, Martin, PhD (UQAM). Associate Professor. Psychotherapy process, psychopathology, and change in therapy.

Fitzpatrick, Marilyn, PhD (McGill) (Director of Training) Associate Professor. Alliance development and emotional processes implicated in psychotherapeutic change.

Körner, Annett, PhD (University Leipzig). Assistant Professor. Psycho-oncology, psychotherapeutic interventions for cancer patients, interpersonal relationships, personality, health psychology.

Sinacore, Ada L., PhD (Columbia University), Associate Professor. Intersections of feminism, multiculturalism, and social justice theory, career psychology, negotiating multiple oppressions, and sexuality and gender, and cultural transitioning of immigrant populations.

Smith, Nathan, PhD (Virginia Commonwealth University) Assistant Professor. Stress and coping, sexual orientation and gender identity, primary and secondary prevention of HIV, and professional and training issues.

Spanierman, Lisa, PhD (University of Missouri–Columbia) Associate Professor. Diversity and multi-culturalism as applied to Counselling Psychology. Types and expressions of racism among Whites, "Costs" of racism and white privilege to Whites, Developing white antiracism attitudes and behaviors, Multicultural competence among white clinicians.

Our Accreditations

The PhD in Counselling Psychology is accredited by:

  • American Psychological Association - Commission on Accreditation
    750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC, USA 20002-4242
    Tel.: 202-336-5979, APA website
  • Canadian Psychological Association
    141 Laurier Ave. W., Suite 702, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1P 5J3
    Tel.: 1-888-472-0657, CPA website
  • Ordre des psychologues du Quebec
    1100 Beaumont, Suite 510, Mt-Royal, QC, Canada H3P 3E5.
    tel. 1-514-738-1881 OPQ website