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Next online class starts August 26, 2024

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision



60 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 36 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Leadership in Counselor Education for the next generation of Integrative Counselors

The Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision prepares graduates to work as counselor educators, supervisors, researchers, and practitioners in academic and clinical settings with professional excellence and from a contextualized biblical worldview. This advanced degree in counselor education and supervision enables counselors to shift in identity and skill from clinical practitioners to scholar practitioners, learning the philosophy and skills of teaching and supervision while contributing to the field through advocacy, supervision, leadership, research, and educational instruction. Persons graduating with this doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision will be fully equipped to fulfill God’s purposes as ambassadors of the gospel to burgeoning faith-based and secular graduate counseling programs around the world.

Dr. Seth Scott

Why Choose Columbia International University for this degree program

Columbia International University is unique with its intentionally multi-denominational foundation and deliberate mission focus, providing one of the few PhD in CES from a biblical worldview in the southeast. Drawing from an established and excellent clinical counseling program, the PhD in CES will expand and enhance the reach of counseling training through this train-the-trainer approach in doctoral counselor education.

Overall Benefits of the degree — what you can do with the degree

Counseling addresses issues of identity, meaning, purpose, and belonging, all issues that find their reality within the truth of the gospel and a biblical worldview. This program is uniquely suited to fulfill the mission of CIU within this critical need area by training counselor educators from a biblical worldview to impact the world for Christ as counselor educators in both faith-based and secular counseling programs, as supervisors in clinical settings, as researchers and authors providing insights and integration to address the whole person, and as leaders in the field to promote the focus on the whole person as made in the image of God. Counselor educators are needed, both within our own master of arts in counseling programs, and in hundreds of other faith-based and secular graduate counseling programs around the country and the world. This program has the opportunity to address the mission of God as CIU graduates within this niche in a unique way. Counselor educators are prepared for leadership and impact in clinical counseling, supervision, program evaluation and leadership, research, counseling education, and advocacy for effective change. Through practical experience throughout the program and opportunities for professional practice, PhD students in this program model the program philosophy of head, heart, and hands through excellence in knowledge, character, and skill across the five focal areas in counselor education and supervision.


Featured Faculty

Program Details

Total number of credit hours required for the program: 57 semester hours

  • PhD Residencies (3–4 semester hours, $1,500–2,000 fees)
  • PhD Residency — Year One (Orientation & Integration) — 1 credit, $500 fees
  • PhD Residency — Year Two (Teaching, Supervision, & Research) — 1 credit, $500 fees
  • PhD Residency — Year Three (Clinical & Research Presentations) — 1 credit, $500 fees
  • Optional Fourth Residency (Writing Intensive) — 1 credit, $500 fees

Curricular Requirements (42 semester hours):

  • Professional Orientation, Ethics, & Identity (3)
  • Research Theory, Designs, & Methods (3)
  • Teaching in Counselor Education (3)
  • Quantitative Research Methodology (3)
  • Advanced Counseling Theories (3)
  • Qualitative Research Methodology (3)
  • Clinical Supervision and Consultation (3)
  • Advanced Methodology (3)
  • Teaching Internship (3)
  • Program Evaluation, Leadership, and Publications (3)
  • Advanced Practicum in Clinical Counseling (3)
  • Internship — Across CES Domains (3)
  • Advanced Multicultural Issues (3)
  • Capstone: Counseling & Christian Thought (3)
  • Dissertation (12 semester hours)
  • Proposal Development (3)
  • Dissertation (3)
  • Dissertation (3)
  • Dissertation (3)

The first two years of courses are completed online with one-week residencies required the week after May graduation. Successful completion of the Competency Exam during the third residency and Clinical Supervision and Consultation course during the second year provides for registration in the Advanced Practicum in Clinical Counseling course. Successful completion of four research courses is required to present research during the third residency, enabling advancement to the dissertation proposal in Proposal Development. During the Advanced Research Methodology course, students will seek a qualified faculty mentor as a chair for their dissertation committee and to assist in proceeding toward Proposal Development. When the faculty mentor deems the dissertation to be ready for defense, the candidate defends his/her dissertation before a committee of at least two faculty readers, either internal or external to the university.

Additional requirements of the program:

Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of all classes with a grade of B or higher.
  • Successful completion of a dissertation proposal prepared under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
  • Successful oral defense of a dissertation that is an original work of academic research (at least 80,000 words) before a committee of at least two internal and/or external faculty readers with program director joining the defense when two external readers are present.
  • Affirmation of the CIU doctrinal statement.
  • Successful completion of all requirements within eight years from matriculation.
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts from a licensure-track, 48-hour (minimum) master’s degree in counseling or a related field such as psychology or social work. Those with less than 48 hours or non-CACREP accredited degrees may have to take additional coursework as a prerequisite to admission or concurrently with their first year in the program.
  • Minimum cumulative 3.5 GPA
  • 3 references (1 Professional, 1 Academic, and 1 Church Leader)
  • Resume/CV
  • Essay
  • Research proposal
  • Have at least one year of experience in a mental health field (highly desirable).
  • Master’s thesis or a major research paper (at least 10,000 words) provided from a prior degree or coordinated during the application process
  • Interview with admissions committee 
  • Students are required to attend 3-one-week residencies each summer throughout their program of study with an optional fourth writing intensive residency the final summer of dissertation

Accreditation and Accolades

SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)
ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education)

What Can I Do With This Degree?

  • Counselor educators in doctoral, masters and bachelor degree programs
  • Clinical directors and administrators in agencies, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations
  • Researchers and authors in counseling and social science fields  
  • Clinical supervisors in counseling settings
  • Social advocacy and program evaluation in administration or consultation

Top FAQs

Do I need to have a Master’s in Counseling to pursue this program?

Yes, admission requirements include holding a licensure-track, 48-hour (minimum) master’s degree in counseling or a significantly related field such as psychology or social work from a regionally accredited institution. Those with less than 48 hours or non-CACREP accredited degrees may have to take additional coursework as a prerequisite to admission or concurrently with their first year in the program.

Do I need to be a licensed counselor for this program?

A license is not required, but is highly recommended along with existing clinical practice experience to increase opportunities for practice and engagement during additional internship hours required throughout the program.

What are the residency requirements?

Students are required to attend 3-one-week residencies each summer throughout their program of study with an optional fourth writing intensive residency the final summer of dissertation. The remaining 54 credits of the program are delivered through online instruction.

How many classes do I take at a time to finish in three years?

The program is designed for two classes each semester (six credits) of year-round instruction. The dissertation is intended to be completed within one year, but may take longer than that with students required to maintain enrollment until the dissertation is complete.

How many hours a week will be expected in this program?

Six credits a semester (two classes) is full-time in this program. While the program is intended for professionals working full-time in the field of counseling, students should plan to spend twenty hours a week on average in reading, research, and assignments.

How much does this program cost?

The PhD in CES is a 57-credit program. The program costs $625 per credit hour and a $500 residency fee for each of the three required residencies plus technology fees each semester while enrolled, the total program cost is just under $40,000 when completed in three years.

Is the program CACREP-accredited?

CACREP requires programs to graduate one round of students before application for accreditation with accepted CACREP-accreditation retroactively applied to program graduates. With this PhD in CES program launching Fall 2023, application for CACREP can begin Fall 2026. The PhD in CES is accredited with SACSCOC and ABHE.

Why a PhD in CES?

With over 60 (and growing) CACREP-accredited faith-based graduate schools providing master’s-level training for future counselors, biblically grounded, integrative counselor educators prepared for clinical and academic excellence are in high demand. Clinical counseling programs need faculty with PhD in CES degrees and this degree, as well as this specific program, fills this present and growing critical need.


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