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Ph.D. Counselor Education & Supervision

Serve, Train, and Educate the Next Generation of Counselors
With the Townsend Institute’s Ph.D. Counselor Education & Supervision Program

This doctoral program is for licensed professionals in the mental health field and does not lead to licensing.
If you are seeking licensure, we invite you to explore our M.A. in Counseling program.

Equip healers for impactful change

The Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision from the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine brings together expert faculty and fellows to empower you to counsel, teach, serve, and advocate for others at the highest level - all in a personal and flexible online format.

Through a biblically-informed perspective, you will demonstrate advanced skills, knowledge, and professional dispositions in the five core doctoral domains set forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP): Counseling, Supervision, Teaching, Research & Scholarship, Leadership & Advocacy.


Accessible: Online + 2 In-Person Residencies


Affordable: $795 Cost Per Unit

WASC | Senior College and University Commission

Accredited: WSCUC Accredited


Accelerated: 3-4 Year Program

Program Highlights

  • Be equipped as a leader in the field of counseling
  • Learn to counsel, teach, and serve at the highest level
  • Personally learn from Dr. John Townsend
  • Engage with world-class Christian thought leaders

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Our dedicated admissions counselors are here to help.

Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas
Our graduates will create research in the counseling field and become thought leaders all across the country, contributing to the research base in our profession.

Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas
Dean, Townsend Institute

Female student on her computer

Join us LIVE!

Experience a new kind of relational education. Join us online LIVE and hear from our faculty, academic advisors, current students, and alumni about their experience in the Townsend Institute.

  • Ask Dr. John Townsend your questions about the Institute and our offerings
  • Learn how our counseling and leadership programs can advance your career
  • Connect with other prospective students exploring our programs
  • Become eligible for scholarships and other prizes by participating in our info session

Founded by best-selling author and leading Christian thought leader Dr. John Townsend, the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine brings together Christians from all across the country and across all walks of life. For years, Dr. Townsend, along with the Institute’s Fellows and faculty, have been transforming lives. Now you too have the opportunity to learn from master practitioners with decades of real world experience.

Through the core, research, and fieldwork components of the curriculum, you will engage with scholarly research, integrated learning, ethical leadership, effective communication, reflective practice, and community engagement applicable to your clinical supervision and expertise. A total of 60 units are required for completion of the program.

The Core Courses consist of 30.5 units of courses. Students complete 15 units of Research Courses and 2.5 units of Research Seminars that take place concurrently with the coursework, and allow you to meet with your dissertation chair to begin developing your dissertation.


The practicum and internship experiences (Field Experience) are an integral part of your Ph.D. program. Following CACREP standards, a total of 700 hours must be fulfilled.


Only 2 face-to-face residencies are required throughout the program – one of which will be fulfilled during our popular 4-day Kickoff Conference with Dr. Townsend at our Concordia University Irvine campus in Orange County, CA. Your 700 hours of fieldwork will consist of both practicum and internship experiences and can be completed wherever you live and work.


Finally, the Dissertation (12 units) is the culminating project of the doctoral program. Under the guidance of a dissertation chair and committee members, you will prepare original research in the field of counseling with a primary emphasis in at least one of the five core content areas of Counselor Education & Supervision. Dissertation research involves implementation of the dissertation research design, collection and analysis of data, and reporting and discussion of research findings. Dissertation research culminates in the successful completion of the dissertation and dissertation oral defense.


Core Courses

  • CES 700: Doctoral Studies Orientation in Counselor Education and Supervision (.5 Units)
  • CES 701: Professional Orientation, Ethics, and Identity for Counselor Educators (3 Units)
  • CES 702: Instruction in Counselor Education and Supervision (3 Units)
  • CES 703: Advanced Counseling and Career Theories (3 Units)
  • CES 704: Counselor Supervision: Theories, Techniques, and Technology (3 Units)
  • CES 706: Leadership, Consultation, and Program Evaluation in Counselor Education (3 Units)
  • CES 707: Advanced Multicultural Issues in Counselor Education and Supervision (3 Units)


  • CES 740: Counselor Education and Supervision Practicum (3 Units)
  • CES 741: Counselor Education and Supervision Internship I (3 Units)
  • CES 742: Counselor Education and Supervision Internship II (3 Units)

Research Requirements

  • CES 750: Advanced Research Theory, Methods, and Design I (3 Units)
  • CES 751: Statistical Analysis for Counselor Education (3 Units)
  • CES 752: Advanced Research Theory, Methods, and Design II (3 Units)
  • CES 753: Qualitative Research Design and Analysis for Leaders in Counselor Education (3 Units)
  • CES 754: Advanced Quantitative Research and Statistics in Counselor Education (3 Units)
    CES 755: Advanced Qualitative Research in Counselor Education (3 Units)

Research Seminars

  • CES 771: Research Seminar I (.25 Units)
  • CES 771A: Research Seminar I (Continued) (.25 Units)
  • CES 772: Research Seminar II (.25 Units)
  • CES 772A: Research Seminar II (Continued) (.25 Units)
  • CES 773: Research Seminar III (.25 Units)
  • CES 773A: Research Seminar III (Continued) (.25 Units)
  • CES 774: Research Seminar IV (.25 Units)
  • CES 774A: Research Seminar IV (Continued) (.25 Units)
  • CES 774B: Research Seminar IV (Continued) (.25 Units)
  • CES 775: Research Seminar V (.25 Units)

Dissertation Seminars

  • CES 781: Dissertation (4 Units)
  • CES 782: Dissertation (4 Units)
  • CES 791: Dissertation (4 Units)

Extensions (as needed)

  • CES 792: Dissertation (1 Unit)

Optional Electives

  • CES 705: Advanced Social Emotional Skills for Counselors and Special Educators (3 Unit)
  • CES 724: Spiritual Formation and Issues in Integration (3 Unit)
  • CES 725: Models and Application of Trauma Informed Practice (3 Unit)

For course descriptions, please see the Academic Catalog.

Doctoral residencies provide students an opportunity to meet with faculty, administrators, and industry professionals as they deepen their skills and knowledge of the profession of counselor education. Doctoral students will also connect with their cohort to continue building professional relationships. During each Residency, students will engage in relevant work to show skills in the five core areas (counseling, supervision, teaching, research, leadership, and advocacy) with faculty, peers, and students in other programs offered at Concordia University Irvine and the Townsend Institute.

Learn directly from our core faculty of experienced Christian professionals, while also enjoying access to the renowned Townsend Institute Fellows.

Your experience in the Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision will be guided by core faculty in the Townsend Institute who are experienced professionals and faithful to the university’s mission of learning, service, and leadership.

The Townsend Institute is housed within Concordia University Irvine, a private, Lutheran university. Located in Southern California, Concordia serves over 4,000 students annually, on campus and online. Centered by a Christian worldview, and guided by the Great Commission, Concordia is home to a thoughtful and caring community of learners.

The Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision serves learners whose goals are to become educators, supervisors, clinician-administrators, researchers, scholars, and/or leader-advocates in the field of mental health counseling.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions related to Counselor Education & Supervision are expected to grow at rates higher than the projected growth rates for all occupations in California and nationally through 2026. Furthermore, individuals in professions related to Counselor Education & Supervision experience both higher-than-average salaries and lower-than-average unemployment rates on both California and national standards. The bottom line? Earning your terminal degree in Counselor Education & Supervision affords you favorable job and salary outcomes throughout the course of your career.

Additionally, if your career desires include teaching, changes in the industry now require all hires in faculty positions to be from a program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) – the “Gold Standard” in the field of counseling. Building on the strengths of the Townsend Institute's CACREP-accredited M.A. Counseling: Clinical Mental Health, our Ph.D. program has been developed to align with CACREP standards in order to pursue accreditation and allow you full access to hiring opportunities open to such a doctorate degree.

Applications for the Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision can be submitted online.

Application Requirements

  • An application with nonrefundable application fee of $50
  • Student Success Fee: $50
  • Master's degree in Counseling or closely related field
    • Preferred: Master’s degree in Counseling from CACREP accredited program
    • If Master’s degree is not CACREP accredited, additional coursework may be required
    • If Master’s degree is in a related field, additional coursework will be required
  • Transcripts from all graduate-level coursework
  • GRE (within past 5 years)
  • Resume/CV
  • Copy of clinical license (or indication of licensure status or eligibility)
  • Letter of intent and statement of goals commensurate with obtaining a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Scholarly writing sample related to the field of counseling: Must demonstrate appropriate APA format to include citations of research. No more than 10 pages. May be a previous paper from earlier masters’ work, but should be updated to include research from the past 5 years)
  • 2 Letters of Professional Reference (with accompanying Reference form).
  • Submission of video demonstration of applicant’s clinical skills (20-30 min. Must not be an actual client)
  • Interview with program faculty

Apply Now

Concordia campus from French Hill Dr. Townsend and students in front of Grimm Hall

Start your application today.

Take your next step toward creating the career, and the life, you’ve been waiting for.

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