Psychology program ranked best in nation

The University of Southern Mississippi is again recognized on the national stage as its Ph.D. counseling psychology program was ranked first out of other doctoral programs in the country by Korpis.

 Korpis, based in California, analyzed data from similar programs around the United States and found that Southern Miss had a 100 percent pass rate on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, the EPPP. No other school has as high of a success rate.

How does Southern Miss prepare its students so well for the examination? While completing their degrees, students not only have rigorous in-class preparation, but also have extensive opportunities for research and clinical training in outside facilities. Southern Miss also offers specialty training in several areas, including parenting skills, career counseling, anger management and motivational interviewing, according to the Department of Psychology’s website.

Another reason for the success of the program is found in its competitive application process. Only five students are admitted to the Ph.D. counseling psychology program each year, although more than 60 students will apply.

This translates to roughly an eight percent acceptance rate into the program.

Bonnie Nicholson, director of training in the counseling psychology department, said to her knowledge, this is the first time that Southern Miss has been recognized in this way. 

“We’ve been accredited by the American Psychological Association, we’ve been ranked on research productivity, things like that, but this is the first ranking of this particular kind,” Nicholson said. Korpis’ analysis of doctoral programs is unique in the fact that it ranks schools based on the pass rates of the EPPP.

In addition to the department ranked as the top counseling psychology program in the country, Southern Miss’ doctoral program was reaccredited by the American Psychological Association for seven years. This is the longest amount of time that a program can be given accreditation. Southern Miss has held accreditation by the APA since 1979, according to counselingsychology.org.

The Counseling Psychology doctoral degree can be completed at Southern Miss in five to six years. and according to the psychology department’s website, a master’s degree is not required for enrollment in the Ph.D. program. 

Nicholson has been at Southern Miss for 12 years and enjoys working with students and faculty on campus. 

“I think that the department as a whole is very dedicated to graduating bright and confident students,” Nicholson said, a fact that is corroborated by the program’s national recognition.

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