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Doctorate Degree in Counselor Education and Supervision

Doctorate Degree in Counselor Education and Supervision

The Doctorate degree in Counseling Education and Supervision offers advanced professional preparation for those intending to become university professors of counseling and advanced-level clinical counselors and/or supervisors. The Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision requires a minimum of 105 semester hours, including a maximum of 30 semester hours from the master’s degree, plus a minimum of 75 additional semester hours. This total includes internship and dissertation hours.

To review information about the doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision, please click on the links below.

  1. Admissions
  2. Faculty Information
  3. Financing your Education
  4. Course Information and Program Resources
  5. Candidacy Exam Information
  6. Licensure and Certification
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

Mission Statement

The doctoral program prepares multiculturally competent counselor educators and supervisors who develop an expertise in the core CACREP competencies of teaching, research, leadership and advocacy, advanced counseling, and supervision. Students enhance their critical thinking through personal and professional growth experiences that promote awareness of self and impact on others. Students involve themselves in appropriate program and professional association activities. Students generate new knowledge and skills that result in meaningful research that promotes social justice in a pluralistic society as well as advances the profession of counselor education and supervision. Preparing professionals with a counselor identity to work as multicultural, ethical counselor educators and supervisors is the program’s highest priority. (passed 12-9-10)

Program Outcomes Report

Last year, there were 4 graduates of Northern Illinois University’s Counselor Education and Supervision program. Of the admitted students, 88% graduate from the program in the expected time period and 100% of those program graduates responding to surveys who are actively seeking jobs are employed.


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post-secondary Accreditation (COPA), has awarded accreditation to the Doctorate degree in Counselor Education and Supervision program at Northern Illinois University. The counseling program at NIU is also accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is approved by the State Department of Public Instruction to certify school counselors in Illinois.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Doctoral Program

About NIU

About Applying to the Doctorate Program in Counselor Education & Supervision

About the Doctorate Program in Counselor Education & Supervision

About the the Counseling Profession

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How do I get to NIU?

There are a variety of routes to take to the NIU DeKalb campus. Please click here to find the best route for you:  http://www.niu.edu/visit/maps/dekalb/index.shtml

Where can I find parking?

Please visit the parking services website by click here: http://www.niu.edu/parking/ There is a visitors parking area that costs $5.00 a day to park. Most places require an NIU parking permit. If you park in these without a proper permit you will be ticketed so be mindful of where you park.

How do I get a financial aid package?

Please visit the NIU financial aid website by clicking here: http://www.niu.edu/fa/

Are graduate assistantships available to students?

Graduate assistantships are available to all full-time students. There are a variety of assistantships available across campus and many in the counseling department. Assistantships provide a monthly stipend and a tuition waiver.

How do I apply to become a graduate assistant?

There is an application that must be filled out in order to become a graduate assistant. Click here http://www.grad.niu.edu/diversity/assistantship.pdf to view the PDF file. It is also recommended that students contact professors in their department and inquire about any openings they have or they know of. Lastly, each spring, Northern Illinois University holds a Graduate Student Recruitment and Placement Weekend where students can meet with professors and explore possible assistantship opportunities. For more information, click here: http://www.niu.edu/stuaff/grad_resources/GSARP/index.shtml

What is the credit hour enrollment minimum for graduate assistant tuition waivers?

Full-time graduate status is generally considered holding a nine credit-hour load each fall and spring semester. However, Graduate Assistants can maintain their tuition waiver status as long as they enroll in 6 to 12 credit hours during fall and spring semesters.

Do most students commute or live on campus?

The student life at Northern Illinois University is very diverse. A majority of the undergraduate population live on campus, while others commute. At the doctoral level, most students commute, several live off-campus in town, and a few live on campus. There are a variety of apartments on and off campus that students can live in. In addition, campus housing is available. Visit the NIU housing page for more information. http://www.niu.edu/housing/

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What is it like to be a commuter student?

The commuter experience is quite diverse, particularly depending on distance from DeKalb, program focus, transportation resources, and other personal life dynamics such as partner status and dependent needs. NIU offers satellite campus resources where students can connect to the NIU network for unique reasons. NIU offers additional computer labs and lounges for commuter students. In addition, the counseling program community works to organize gatherings around the northern Illinois region throughout the year. 

Do I really need to take the GRE?

Yes, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all applicants to the Counselor Education & Supervision degree program. If you you have recently attained a Master's or Doctoral degree in another field it may be possible to transfer or waive the GRE requirement. Please contact cahc_admissions@niu.edu to see if you qualify. This is rare, thus, all applicants should plan to take the GRE submit original score reports to the Graduate School with the rest of their application.

What prerequisite work must I complete before applying to the program?

In order to be considered for admission into the doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision program, students must have attained a Master's degree in a counseling related field. If acceptable applicants have course deficits as outlined by the CAHE Department based on CACREP standards, they will need to add those additional courses to their doctoral program plan.

When is my application due?

Northern Illinois University offers two different admission periods throughout the academic school year. However, the counseling program only admits doctoral students each fall with an allowance for early summer enrollment, completed applications and materials is due by February 1st.

How can I check the status of my application?

Yes. Log in to MyNIU using your username and password. Then click on Student Admissions, then Application Status. You can also review your counseling program application processing with your Tk20 applicant login at https://ceduniu.tk20.com/campustoolshighered/admissions1.do

What is the PAW?

After all application materials have been received and reviewed, qualified applicants will receive an invitation to attend the Pre-Admission Workshop (PAW). The PAW is a half-day event offered once per year that is required of all applicants to the Doctorate in Counselor education & supervision. Workshop attendees have the opportunity to interact with the counseling faculty, gain more information about the counselor education & supervision, meet students in the program, and interact with other prospective students. At the end of the session, all applicants will meet for lunch and be able to spend time getting to know the counseling faculty and doctoral students.

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When will I find out if I am accepted into the program?

After attending the PAW, students will receive a letter within a few weeks notifying them of acceptance.

What if I have a Master's degree in a different field, can I apply?

If you have a master's degree in a different field and are applying to the doctorate degree program in counselor education, applicants may need to consider additional consultation regarding their career. Please contact cahc_admissions@niu.edu for clarification and consultation.

Will courses that I have taken at another school or in a different doctoral program at NIU transfer to the Counselor Education program?

It is possible that some courses may transfer to the doctorate. in Counselor Education & Supervision program. However, these decisions will not be made until after a student has been accepted into the program.

Will classes I take as a Student-At-Large apply to my graduation requirements if I am later accepted into the Counselor education & supervision at NIU?

Yes. Up to 9 credits of relevant coursework attained as a student-at-large can be applied to graduation requirements after the student is officially accepted to the program. Students should note that ALL coursework required for graduation must be completed within a nine-year period, regardless of whether those courses were taken as a student-at-large or a Doctoral student.

What should I do if I applied to the Graduate School under a different program and now wish to apply to the Counselor Education & Supervision program?

Contact the Graduate School directly to discuss the transfer process (gradsch@niu.edu or 815-753-0395). You can also contact the Counseling admissions office at cahc_admissions@niu.edu or 815-753-5749.

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What is CACREP?

The Doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision program at NIU is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP). CACREP evaluates programs across the nation to see if they have met national standards. Most counselor education positions seek out CACREP graduates for their tenure or clinical director positions. More information on CACREP is available at http://www.cacrep.org/

What are the backgrounds/specialty areas of the Counseling Faculty?

The counseling website includes information about the counselor education & supervision, including information on the Counseling Faculty. Prospective applicants are also encouraged to download the Counselor Education & Supervision Doctoral Student Handbook to obtain more information.

What is the average length of the program?

Students may decide whether they wish to be a full-time or part-time student. For a full-time student, the length of the program is around two and a half years. All students have a six-year time period to complete all coursework and requirements for graduation.

What are the program course requirements?

The doctorate in counselor education and supervision requires a minimum of 105 semester hours, including a maximum of 30 semester hours from the master’s degree plus a minimum of 75 additional semester hours. See the current graduate catalog for additional details.

How do I select my program committee?

After meeting the counseling faculty during the PAW, new student orientation, and enrolling in CAHC 700 students are supported in choosing one program chair from the counseling faculty and two collaborative faculty committee members who help advise and mentor students through their program planning of times and electives cognate. This program committee dissolves once students reach candidate status and doctoral candidates can request the same or new members for their dissertation committee.

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When do I need to complete and submit my program plan?

Doctoral program plans are completed during the first fall semester of program admittance. These are discussed and signed-off by the student and each program committee member (typically in a joint meeting). If a student wishes to change their program plans, the student works with their advising chair to formulate those changes before convening the advising committee for approval of changes..

What is the timeline and structure for candidacy exams?

Currently doctoral candidacy exams are typically conducted during the fall and spring semesters. Students wishing to request summer candidacy examination should be aware that their exams are distributed during the summer sessions, and graded at the beginning of the fall semester. Doctoral candidacy exams consisted of four examination questions, ranging from 10 to 15 pages in response length, and completed over a two week examination period. Additional information regarding candidacy examinations are offered during candidacy orientation meetings at the end of each fall and spring semester.

When should I start thinking about dissertation?

We strongly encourage students to stark "thinking" about dissertation when they start thinking about applying for a doctoral program. We expect that each students research aspirations, skill, and goals will be different and develop throughout doctoral program experiences. We have observed that students who are considering how each of their courses and internship experiences are interrelated and connected to their career aspirations feel less anxious entering their dissertation journey. Nevertheless, many students do not formally consider their potential dissertation topic and process until they enroll in CAHC 790.

Will completing this program allow me to become licensed and certified in Illinois?

Because the NIU doctoral program is accredited by CACREP, doctoral students are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and submit application as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. For doctoral students this exam can be taken after they have successfully completed CAHC 750 - Advanced Practicum. Students must apply approximately six months prior to the examination to qualify.

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After completing the program, can I work at NIU?

Counselor education graduates can apply for adjunct, professor, and director positions at NIU post graduation. Typically programs do not consider hiring their own graduates as tenure-track faculty for a period of three to five years after graduation, allowing new professionals to explore other professional cultures and skills in different higher education and professional communities.

What is Advanced Practicum?

Practicum is a supervised 5-hour course (100 clock hours) that includes a hands-on counseling experience in the Community Counseling Training Center. It is an opportunity for students to obtain additional practical experience in an educational setting, while also exploring advanced counseling approaches and advanced client conceptualization skills.

When and where are classes offered?

The doctoral program offers the majority of classes in the evening starting at 4, 6, or 7 p.m. Some elective classes are offered during the day, but in order to adhere to the working population nearly all of the classes are at night or weekend format. Most classes meet one night a week for two hours and forty minutes. A few courses are offered as online classes.

The main site for classes is at the DeKalb campus, but we do offer classes at our Naperville, Hoffman Estates, and Rockford sites as well. Not all classes will be offered off-campus. Please click here: http://www.niu.edu/offcampusacademics/rcc/index.shtml to search for classes offered at the satellite sites.

Can I complete coursework for the program at NIU's satellite sites?

Yes. Some courses may be offered at NIU’s satellite campuses in Naperville, Rockford or Hoffman Estates. However, it is not possible to complete all coursework at satellite sites.

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What is the average weekly time commitment for doctoral studies?

The doctoral student experience is an intense and intensive learning journey. While there is some flexibility between part-time and full-time student status and how individualized program plans are structured, students should expect to devote an average of 4 to 6 hours of outside of class time, per course, per week. Also, some doctoral internship experiences may require 6 to 10 hours of additional time on high flow weeks such as grading for co-teaching, midterm/final evaluations for supervision, and other types of high work-flow periods.

What is the average classroom size?

The maximum number of students allowed in a classroom is twenty-five. However, class size can range from five to twenty-five students depending on the course constructs and learning objectives.

What are the internship requirements for the doctoral program?

Approved internship experiences, comprised of teaching, supervision, research, advanced clinical counseling, and professional leadership is are a required part of the doctoral program. Students enroll in 1 credit hour of internship each semester. The specific division of internship experiences are determined in consultation with the student’s program committee. Additional details can be found in the doctoral student internship manual.

Can I complete my practicum and internship hours at my current school or agency of employment?

Yes. However, you must schedule blocks of at least 3 consecutive hours during which you perform your internship duties. Scheduling one hour of internship at the beginning of your day and two hours at the end of the day, for example, would not be acceptable.

Can I become a school counselor if I'm not already a certified teacher?

Yes. The State of Illinois no longer requires school counselors to hold a teaching certificate. However, students who are specializing in school counseling who do not have an Illinois Teaching Certificate will need to complete an additional 3 courses in order to gain Type 73 School Counselor certification upon completion of the program.

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Can I become a school counselor if I have a Master’s in Clinical Counseling?

Can my counseling work during the doctorate program count toward my LCPC licensure hours?

What are the requirements for becoming an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS)?

Would my work in the NIU doctoral program count toward ACS requirements?

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