UW-Madison Education Building detail


The University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Counseling Psychology is an APA-accredited and internationally renowned training program for counselors and counseling psychologists. The department offers graduate-level degrees to a carefully selected group of students each year. Graduates of these programs have gone on to highly divergent careers, which include academic instruction, research, and clinical practice as well as consulting and industry positions.

Academic programs offered by the department strive to integrate into each and every course aspects of multiculturalism and diversity. The faculty and graduate students of the department are committed to continual self-reflection with respect to how their individual attitudes, beliefs and cultural-influences affect their work with clients or patients. Courses in the department frequently make space for review and analysis of the perspectives of other cultures and how those perspectives are generated from particular worldviews. 

The department continually strives to deliver its broad expertise and ongoing research findings to individuals around the world through its continually evolving network of outreach activities and partnerships. Faculty and students frequently support and organize social justice conferences and strive to promote equality in all facets of society. 

In 2007, the department opened an independent counseling psychology training clinic that provides low-cost and multilingual services to individuals in need while using state-of-the-art digital recording equipment to train future psychotherapy providers.

History of the Department

The areas of study known as counseling and guidance, counselor education and counseling psychology have a lengthy history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In the 1920s, Dr. Alanson Edgerton developed the first courses in counseling and guidance that focused predominantly on career exploration and decision-making. The breadth and depth of these initial courses were expanded through the 1940s by Dr. John W. M. Rothney. With the passage of the National Defense Education Act in 1958, federal resources were brought to bear to provide for the expansion of programs designed to train and educate professional counselors.  At this time there was also a rapid expansion of employment opportunities for doctoral-level counselors in social service organizations, government agencies (especially the Veteran’s Administration) as well as business and industry.

In 1964, the Department of Counseling and Behavioral Studies was created, with Dr. Gail F. Farwell as chair.  Areas of study offered in this new department included counseling and guidance, rehabilitation counseling, and special education. 1968 brought additional administrative changes that resulted in the creation of the Department of Counseling and Guidance, chaired by Dr. R. Wray Strowig. These changes separated the new department from the Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education departments and refined the focus of the department’s research and training.

The 70s, 80s, and 90s were marked by the constant production of significant research and the recruitment of nationally recognized and established faculty members. The doctoral program received provisional accreditation in 1985 from the American Psychological association, followed by full accreditation in 1988. Then, after the APA had approved a Counseling Psychology doctoral program in 1993, the department became known as the Department of Counseling Psychology. As the field of counseling psychology began to acknowledge the importance of diversity issues and cultural background in the provision of mental health services, the department began to embrace and pioneer the development of this area. The department is still recognized as a national leader in multicultural training and research. 

In 2007 the department opened an independent counseling psychology training clinic that offers low-cost and multilingual therapy services to individuals and families in need. This clinic, outfitted with the latest in digital recording equipment provides unparalleled training and practice opportunities for graduate students in the department and enables the department to reach out to underserved populations.

In 2010 the department returned to the newly remodeled Education Building on historic Bascom Hill. The new facility provides substantially enhanced technology capabilities, creature comforts and research opportunities for faculty and students alike while preserving our landmark building.

Non-Discrimination Statement

In conformance with applicable federal and state laws and with university policy, the Department of Counseling Psychology does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, creed, sex, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity expression, marital or parental status, pregnancy, handicap, political affiliation, or veteran’s status with regard to treatment of students, admissions decisions, student evaluations, or decisions about student access to departmental resources including funding. (Note however that an individual who is deemed ineligible to participate in required field or clinical experiences based on the results of his or her criminal background check may not be able to complete the requirements for the program.) Inquiries concerning this policy may be directed to any faculty member, including the department chair and the department Harrassment/AARC representative, to the School of Education Equity and Diversity Committee, or to the university’s Office for Equity and Diversity.