May 23, 2019  

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Counseling Psychology Graduate Program Rated First in Nation

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s doctoral program in Counseling Psychology tops the rankings of similar programs in the U.S. according to California-based Korpis, a data analytics company.

Korpis builds objective data set websites on academic programs based on information from accredited boards and government/public entities, with the goal of providing potential post-secondary students accurate and reliable information about degree programs in higher education.

The Southern Miss program’s ranking criteria included the 100 percent passing rate of its students taking the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).  The Ph.D. program ranking, which includes more than 60 of the best programs in the country, is found at

Dr. Bonnie Nicholson, associate professor and assistant chair for the Department of Psychology, serves as director of training for the program.

“My colleagues and I are very excited to learn about this ranking and are proud of the successful EPPP examination completion rates of our program graduates," Nicholson said. "We have the entire Psychology Department to thank for contributing to the training and education of our graduate students.”

The Counseling Psychology program was also recently re-accredited for an additional 7 years by the Commission on Accreditation for the American Psychological Association. Seven years is the maximum number of years awarded for accreditation of doctoral programs.

“This is indicative of the hard work done by dedicated faculty, staff, and students. We could not be more proud of their efforts,” said Dr. Joe Olmi, chairman of the Department of Psychology. “The Department, College, and University celebrate this amazing accomplishment.”

The Counseling Psychology Doctoral program is a 5-6 year, full-time degree program. Training is based on the scientist-practitioner training model, with opportunities for research involvement especially in applied, empirically-supported interventions.

Students in the program benefit from strong and involved research mentoring, which prepares its graduates with academic interests by involving them in the publication process and providing opportunities for professional presentation experience, as well as training to become licensed psychologists. Research, teaching, and clinical assistantships are routinely available, which include a monthly stipend, health insurance and tuition waiver.

“This impressive ranking confirms what we have known for quite some time regarding the quality of our Counseling Psychology program,” said Dr. Ann Blackwell, dean of the College of Education and Psychology.  

For more information about the counseling psychology program at Southern Miss, visit