Dyson College Breaks Ground with Pace's First Doctor of Philosophy Degree
The Department of Psychology (Pleasantville campus) opens a new chapter in Pace University’s 107-year history; in fall 2013, it will offer a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mental Health Counseling, the first of its kind at Pace and in New York state.
This unique and innovative Ph.D. in Mental Health Counseling program takes the next step in advancing mental health counseling as a profession and as an academic discipline. The program is designed to provide master-level students with advanced professional training, the support needed to produce research and scholarship, and in-depth scholarly training. Graduates of the program will emerge as highly-skilled therapeutic practitioners, researchers, supervisors, mental health counseling professors/educators, or professional representatives of the discipline.
“Dyson College strives to be responsive to student and employer demands and to build high-quality, distinctive programs. We recognized here the tremendous opportunity to do both,” Dr. Nira Herrmann, dean of Dyson College of Arts and Sciences explained.
Mental health counseling is a growing profession, distinct from disciplines such as psychiatry, psychology and social work. It focuses on preventive therapies, marriage and family counseling and career counseling. Data from the Department of Labor shows that job growth in the mental health counseling sector is expected to grow by a whopping 36% from 2010 to 2020 as health insurance companies increasingly cover counseling services and as the population grows overall.
Dr. Paul Griffin, the program’s director, said the department recognized the need for training opportunities beyond the master’s level. Invariably, graduates of Pace’s Master of Science in Counseling program left as highly-trained clinicians, but they wanted more. “Supervision, research, program evaluation and teaching. Those are the areas our master of science students increasingly said they wanted to pursue in their careers and could not do without Ph.D.-level training,” said Dr. Griffin.
Pace University offers an array of professional doctoral degrees; however, the Ph.D. is the university’s first academic doctoral program.
Pace has always taken a leading edge in higher education,” said Dr. Ross Robak, chair and professor of Psychology on the Pleasantville campus. In the early 90s, Pace established itself as an innovator by offering degrees that were, at the time, considered edgy. For example, in 1992 Pace offered a Master of Science degree in Substance Abuse Counseling. Then, it was only the second degree of its kind offered in New York state. (The degree has since been renamed the Master of Science in Counseling.) “Pace was willing to take that risk and with the Ph.D. in Mental Health Counseling, Pace is again saying we’re looking forward.”
Dr. Griffin explained, “We see the Ph.D. program as a flagship moment not just for the department, but also as a huge moment in the history of the University. We are hoping to generate excitement not just amongst ourselves, but amongst the entire Pace community. We are proud to establish the first doctor of philosophy program, but we don’t think of ourselves as the last.”
The Ph.D. program is open to applicants with a master’s degree in mental health counseling or a closely-related field. Ten to 20 students will be accepted per academic year. The program offers teaching, research and administrative assistantships with partial tuition remission.