Counseling Psychology and Special Education
Counseling Psychology and Special Education
Department Information: 
340 MCKB
801-422-3857
diane_hancock@byu.edu

The Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education prepares educators and professionals who work with individuals, small groups, and organizations/systems. The programs offered in the department all pursue at least two common goals. The first is to help individuals enhance the quality of their lives through meaningful personal, educational, and career development. A second common goal is to assist people in overcoming barriers to learning and to experience success and happiness in life.  These barriers include unsupportive environments and individuals' difficulties in thinking, learning, making decisions, relating to others, understanding the impact of their behavior, and so forth.

Faculty implement a scientist-practitioner model through which students and faculty enhance learning through research and inquiry. Further, in dealing with those whom they serve, students apply the principles learned from research evidence. Since their work is often highly personal, it is essential that students possess and develop integrity, using professional standards of ethical conduct. They must also develop the knowledge and skills essential to promote positive change in individuals struggling with important aspects of their lives. The settings in which graduates typically serve include public and private schools, colleges, and universities.

Each program assists students in planning individual course work, receiving supervised practical experience, and obtaining appropriate credentials (certification and licensure).

Three degrees are offered through the Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education: Special Education—MS; School Psychology—EdS; and Counseling Psychology—PhD.

The average number of students admitted varies by program as follows:


Special Education 6 every year


School Psychology 12 every year


Counseling Psychology 6 every year

Chair:  Lane Fischer
Counseling Psychology Graduate Coordinator:  Aaron P. Jackson
School Psychology Graduate Coordinator:  Ellie L. Young
Special Education Graduate Coordinator:  Blake Hansen

Resources & Opportunity: 

Computer Laboratories. Computer laboratories provide graduate students access to the university’s computers, enabling students to use several programs, such as SPSS and SAS, to analyze research data. These terminals also permit access to the Internet, library databases, etc. Wireless connections are also available in many locations on campus.

Graduate Student Project and Research Laboratory. Space is provided for graduate students who are working with faculty on research, evaluation, and development projects.

Study Areas. Graduate study areas are available in the CPSE Graduate Lab, the McKay School of Education Technology Education Computing Lab, and the Harold B. Lee Library.

For a more detailed description of the graduate program requirements, view the department Web page.

Financial Assistance: 

Graduate Assistantships. Graduate assistantships include working with selected faculty members on research projects, curriculum development, and other assignments for 5 to 20 hours per week. Several other organizations on campus, such as the Counseling and Psychological Services, often request students to serve as graduate assistants.

CPSE Partial-Tuition Scholarships. Applications are awarded on the basis of scholarship and financial need. Contact the department secretary for application forms, deadlines, and additional information about departmental financial assistance.

MSE Scholarships. A small number of modest, specific-interest scholarships are also available. Students may apply through the CPSE department.

University Financial Aid and Scholarships. Other sources of financial aid are available to students through the Financial Aid Office, A-41 ASB, Provo, UT 84602-1009. International students can contact the International Students Services Office at internationalservices.byu.edu, then select the "Scholarship" link.

BYU Graduate Studies offers several sources for support such as Graduate Mentoring Awards and Graduate Student Research Fellowship Awards.