Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology

The UMKC Counseling Psychology program, which leads to a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Counseling Psychology, emphasizes multicultural and individual diversity within a scientist-practitioner model. Consistent with the University’s urban mission, the program faculty is committed to preparing health service counseling psychologists to improve the welfare of individuals and communities through scholarship and applied interventions.


Program graduates work in a variety of settings, including two and four-year colleges and universities, university counseling centers, veteran affairs facilities, hospitals, community mental health centers, and private practice. Many also become professional consultants, writers, and scholars.


The Counseling Psychology program will not be accepting applications to the doctoral program for Fall of 2019.


Information for Ph.D. Applicants

Applicants who are typically invited to interview at UMKC have:

  • articulated research interests that are clearly aligned with at least one CEP faculty member at UMKC
  • developmentally appropriate professional, academic, and/or volunteer experiences that speak to their helping skills and emotional maturity
  • professional aspirations that are consistent with the field of Counseling Psychology
  • demonstrated some degree of critical awareness and commitment to individual growth
  • experiences and/or interest in working with people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds


Applicants who are rarely extended an interview often have

  • little to no research experience
  • a primary interest in psychopathology
  • research interests that do not reflect the interests of CEP faculty at UMKC


Common difficulties that prevent applications from being submitted on – time (December 1):

  • Failure to secure three professional references that can sufficiently speak to the applicant’s academic and scholarly potential, professional integrity, personal character, and likelihood for success in a doctoral program at UMKC
  • Failure to provide their professional references with enough time in advance to complete a letter of recommendation and complete the recommendation checklist
  • Failure to send official copies of all undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) transcripts from all university attended to UMKC


Please note: we do not provide feedback to applicants about their application materials or interviews

Degree Requirements

Visit UMKC’s Catalog for admissions and degree requirements.


Visit the Student Resources page for program documents, including course sequences.

Current Students


Sydney Morgan

Sydney is currently a fourth year doctoral student at University of Missouri – Kansas City under the advisement of Dr. Kimberly J. Langrehr where her research interests center on racial-ethnic socialization in transracial and mono racial families.  She is passionate about professional service and serves as APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team’s Southeast Regional Advocacy Coordinator and APAGS Convention Committee member.  She loves coffee, dual monitors, and mornings.  You can reach Sydney at



Mirella J. Flores

Mirella is a fourth-year doctoral student in the UMKC counseling psychology program. Mirella is originally from Peru but grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida. Her research interests focus on the influence of interpersonal violence and discrimination on the mental health of individuals with multiple intersecting marginalized identities, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of transgender people of color and sexual minority people of color.


Pre-dissertation study.

Transgender People of Color’s experiences with sexual objectification: A grounded study.


Potential dissertation

Finding your Pulse: Insidious Trauma and Collective Action Among Sexual Minority Latinx



Sara Aslan

Thus far, my research has focused broadly on trauma/PTSD, objectification theory, eating disorders, and culturally specific coping mechanisms with Women of Color. I have been very fortunate to collaborate on several interesting research projects, both nationally and internationally, that have encompassed these interests. My predissertation research project examined the relationships among sexual objectification, internalization of sociocultural standards of beauty, eating concerns and coping mechanisms in a sample of African American women. With my dissertation research, I am considering the roles of acculturation and acculturative stress in the relationship between sexual objectification, internalization, and disordered eating in a sample of Latina/x women, while also examining religious and spiritual coping as potential moderating variables.



Raquel Craney

Raquel earned her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. She is currently a second year student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Missouri Kansas City and an adviser under Dr. Laurel Watson. Her research interests center around sexual assault, gender, sexuality, and substance abuse. In her free time Raquel enjoys watching live music, trying new restaurants and traveling. 



Luke Allen

Luke Allen (he/him/his) completed his undergrad at Arizona State University earning a BA in Psychology, a BA in Philosophy, and a certification in Ethics. His master’s degree, in Counseling and Guidance, was completed at New Mexico State University. He loves hiking, traveling, reading (psychology, philosophy, ethics, fantasy/sci-fi), podcasts, musicals, red wine (mostly), and tea. His clinical and research interests, broadly, are centered around varying aspects of sexual and gender diversity with an emphasis on transgender youth. His adviser is Dr. Laurel Watson.


Jenna Brownfield (Pronouns: She/her/hers).

I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio and lived in Denver before moving to KC. I am an advisee of Dr. Chris Brown and began the program in Fall 2014. I chose UMKC because there were several faculty I positively connected with during the interview process so it seemed like it would be an excellent fit for me overall. My research interests focus on issues of gender and sexuality, focusing primarily on bisexual identities and transgender identities. For fun I love to incorporate music into my life in a variety of way (listening, dancing, etc.), watch/listen to crime stories or conspiracy theories, and watching hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Christine “Chrisy” Serpe (pronouns: she/her/hers).

I earned my MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College – City University of New York. I have an array of research and clinical interests under the gender/sexuality and forensic psychology umbrellas; including bisexuality, transgender issues, objectification, discrimination, policing, and social justice. For the moment, I am working on a qualitative study examining the sexual objectification experiences of bisexual women and, in collaboration with a research team, currently working on a transgender discrimination scale. I also have an array of non-school related interests including CrossFit, running, swimming, hiking, snowboarding, trying to keep all of my house plants alive, birding, coaching figure skating/hockey on the weekends and experimenting in my kitchen with kombucha and pastry dough. While Kansas City poses some obvious geographical challenges to my outdoorsy lifestyle, I enjoy exploring my neighborhood, drinking the local beer and running (weather permitting). Please contact me if you have any research/clinical inquiries or want to learn more about being a KC transplant (it’s fun here, I promise).

Advisor: Dr. Chris Brown


Amy Maragos (Pronouns:She/her/hers).

I returned to school after working as an accountant and completed my maters in counseling and guidance from UMKC in May 2016.  My faculty advisor is Dr. Chris Brown and my research interests broadly include trauma, PTSD, and post-traumatic growth, as well as identity development, and attachment in adult relationships.  I have lived in Kansas City most of my life however; I spent a significant portion of time living in New York City during childhood and adolescence.  In my spare time I enjoy practicing yoga, traveling, cooking, going on walks, writing, and spending time with my family.  My clinical population of interest includes late adolescence and emerging adults.

Advisor: Dr. Chris Brown


Richa Khanna

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. After obtaining my undergraduate degree in psychology from Pune, India in 2007, I completed my Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2009 from Mumbai. It was my 2 year experience as a psychologist at AscendPsychology, Mumbai that sparked the realization that working as a Counseling Psychologist was better aligned with my personal and professional values. As a master’s level psychologist, I had the opportunity to provide career counseling to school and college students which I found it incredibly fulfilling. However, over time, I craved the abundant professional and self-exploration opportunities that a doctoral degree could bring. This was the turning point in my career that inspired me to move to the United States to pursue a doctorate in counseling psychology!

Based on our programs focus on multicultural competence and social justice advocacy, I have come to realize my responsibility as an advocate for social justice who addresses evident inequalities within society, with a research focus on biases against women. My research interests broadly include flow, spirituality, positive psychology, prevention of sexual violence, and feminist issues. For my pre-dissertation research, I studied the relationships among Dispositional Flow, Spiritual Intelligence and Life Satisfaction. My dissertation is focused on studying a Feminist Identity model among women of color.  Email:

Advisor: Dr. Jacob Marszalek



David Gwinn:

I completed my B.A. in Psychology at the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!), and I recently received my M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Texas at Tyler this past summer. I am from Dallas, TX, so I am deciding whether Dallas or Kansas City has better BBQ (I do miss Tex-Mex though). Contrary to most Texans, my favorite sport is hockey. I am a huge Dallas Stars fan, and I have played hockey since I was eight. Along with hockey, I consider myself relatively active in athletic events and enjoy team activities. I am very extroverted and love meeting new people. My research interests lie in flow, positive psychology, assertiveness training, and athletic identity. My advisor is Dr. Jake Marszalek and we are exchanging ideas about how to measure flow through physiological markers and manipulating environments that can induce flow for others. If you have any questions about the program from a student’s perspective, feel free to email me at



Rebekah (Beki) Lee started the PhD program in Fall of 2014 after completing her masters at UMKC in counseling and Guidance.  Beki currently work as a compliance officer and member of the Institutional Review Board at UMKC.  Beki’s research interests are largely focused around re-entry issues of individuals who have been previously incarcerated and those with felony convictions; specifically career-development of individuals with felony convictions.  Beki’s pre-dissertation focused on the relations between stigma associated with felony convictions and career barriers perceived by those individuals who receive felony convictions.  Beki is also a Co-founder and board member of KC Outreach Inc., a non-profit organization established to reduce recidivism and provide a pathway for those to re-enter society successfully.  When she’s not working or studying, Beki enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Beki can be contacted at:

Advisor: Dr. Chris Brown


Ramy Bassioni:

Ramy is a second year doctoral student at UMKC under the advisement of Dr. Kimberly Langrehr. Ramy earned his M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Baltimore. His interests lie in multicultralism, specially within the Muslim community. His pre-dissertation project will study the relationship between perceived discrimination and well-being among Muslim-Americans. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports and movies, listening to music, swimming, traveling, and experiencing the outdoors. You can reach Ramy at


Kaylor Caldwell:

Kaylor is a second year doctoral student in the UMKC counseling psychology program.  Kaylor is from Omaha, Nebraska and earned her B.A. in Psychology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests centered around African Americans, perceived racism, and coping mechanisms.

Advisor: Dr. LaVerne Berkel


What Makes Us Exceptional
  • Comprehensive curriculum provides students with intense and in-depth training in both science and practice. Students learn from their first semester, to design, conduct, and evaluate research relevant to Counseling Psychologists.
  • Participate in faculty-guided research teams focusing on multicultural and international issues in a variety of areas including – For more see Faculty Interests and Research
    • Sexual objectification
    • Social justice advocacy
    • Domestic violence
    • Vulnerable populations – examples: LBGTQ, African American and immigrants/ refugees
    • Transracial adoption issues throughout the lifespan
    • Motivational theories in psychology and education
    • Family systems theory
  • A great urban location with a wide range of practicum opportunities
  • Paid assistantships and other financial opportunities are available to our students
  • Accredited by the American Psychological Association
  • Diverse, supportive faculty who are active in the field and who are committed to diversity and social justice
  • Special training in interprofessional care
  • Our Own Student Training Facility – Community Counseling and Assessment Services (CCAS)

The Ph.D. degree program in counseling psychology has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association since 1985. If you have questions about our program’s accreditation status, please contact:


Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979