Prepare yourself for a career supporting individual and community mental health through our programs in psychology and counseling.

The science and practice of mental health services is a growing field, whether your interests lie in research, serving in a school or community service setting, or working one-on-one with individuals,  couples and families. 
Students explore the roots of human behavior and apply that knowledge to help people adopt behaviors and structure environments that will increase their longevity, performance and quality of life. We offer strong and active collaborations with community partners around the Kansas City metropolitan area which help to expand the learning environment. 


Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

We provide students with a fundamental understanding of the field of psychology, including its value as a scientific method for understanding human behavior and solving social and behavioral problems. In addition to a wide selection of classes, there are opportunities for study outside the classroom, both through research experiences that allow collaboration with faculty in the department’s research laboratories, as well as applied internships that connect our students with agencies in our community. Our field practicum/internship class allows students to earn course credit through internships with community agencies.  
An undergraduate degree in psychology can lead to careers in human resources, nonprofit management, mental health services and research. Many students in these programs pursue graduate studies in psychology or counseling. Still more may continue their education by exploring social work, law, education or medicine.

Minor in Psychology

Students with an interest in psychology will find this minor to be quite adaptable. Common majors to pair with the psychology minor include; sociology, criminal justice and criminology, communications studies, health sciences, biology and chemistry.

Master of Arts in Counseling

With an emphasis on individual and cultural diversity and social justice, we prepare students for careers in counseling tailored to their individual interests.  Students find employment in a variety of settings, including colleges, community-based mental health facilities, independent practice, the court system, and PK-12 schools.  Graduates also enter doctoral programs in counseling-related areas. Choose from three different emphasis areas to match your learning experiences to your interests:

  • Couples and Family
  • Mental Health
  • School Counseling

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology

The Counseling Psychology program at UMKC is dedicated to promoting equity, pluralism, and social justice through student training and education, research, and practice.

We are no longer accepting new students into the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. Students interested in being a Health Service Psychologist and studying with our counseling psychology faculty are encouraged to apply to the PhD in Psychology—Clinical Psychology Option. Application information can be found in the section immediately below, i.e., “Ph.D. in Psychology”.

Ph.D. in Psychology

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (August 2022)

PhD Admissions Update for 2023-2024: 
We are planning to accept applications for our PhD program in Clinical Psychology for the 2023-2024 academic year, with an application deadline of January 9, 2023.  See information and instructions that follow.

Admissions and Applications

PLEASE NOTE: We are revising some components of our program and these changes are in progress. Our catalog page is not yet updated so if you navigate to the catalog, you will be taken to a page with OLD INFORMATION. Please disregard the catalog pages (any page where the url starts “…”) for now, and follow the application instructions below.

Our doctorate is designed for applicants with a prior bachelor's or master's level degree. New students are admitted in the fall semester only. Because we receive applications from many more qualified individuals than can be admitted, admission is highly competitive. A disclosure of relevant data for students recently admitted is available on our web page.

All application materials must be received by January 9, 2023 to be considered for admission in Fall 2023. See below for current application procedures.  Our program follows the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology’s Guidelines for Graduate School Offers and Acceptances.

Admission Criteria

The GRE is not required and will not be considered in the admissions process for Fall 2023.

The following are the minimum criteria recommended for admission:

  1. A bachelor's degree in Psychology, Counseling, or related disciplines, or satisfactory completion of prior coursework in Introductory/General Psychology, Experimental Methods/Research Design, and Statistics/Quantitative Methods. Satisfactory completion of prior coursework in at least two of the following areas is also strongly recommended: Psychological Disorders, Personality, Biopsychology, Sensation and Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Motivation, and Social Psychology.
  2. Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or graduate GPA of 3.5. Alternative criteria may be accepted at the discretion of the admissions committee if there is good reason to believe the regular criteria do not adequately portray the student’s potential to do quality work in the doctoral degree. Applicants may provide explanations for circumstances of not meeting the GPA criteria in the online application system.
  3. Demonstrated evidence of interest in psychology research. Our training follows a mentorship model. Therefore, applicants whose research interests are similar to those of our faculty will be given higher consideration. Faculty interests can be accessed through the Department of Psychology and Counseling web page.

    Faculty mentors considering accepting students for Fall ’23 include:
    • Dr. Kym Bennett
    • Dr. Oh-Ryeong Ha
    • Dr. Erin Hambrick
    • Dr. Johanna Nilsson
    • Dr. Melisa Rempfer
    • Dr. Michael Ternes
    • Dr. Laurel Watson
    • Dr. Joah Williams
  4. History of personal conduct consistent with the ability to adhere to high standards of student conduct, as outlined in the UMKC Standard for Student Conduct, and professional conduct as outlined by the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct and state licensure boards.

Because clinical psychology is an empirically-based discipline, our training emphasizes continuous involvement in research and practice. For this reason, students primarily interested in psychotherapy and clinical or counseling practice without a strong interest in the scientific aspect of the scientist/practitioner model would be better served by other programs.

Typically, six students are accepted each year. Applicants are evaluated based on the following dimensions:

  1. Academic potential
  2. Research potential
  3. Interpersonal skills and other indications of potential for clinical work
  4. Professional identity and involvement
  5. Appreciation for individual and cultural diversity
  6. Fit with the program and designated lab

Application Procedures

All application materials must be received by January 9 to be considered for admission in Fall ‘23.

The application process starts with the online UMKC general application for graduate admission.  In the section titled “Enrollment Information”, there is a drop-down menu for “Academic Degree Program”.  If you do not see Psychology/Clinical Psychology listed on the menu, that means our program-specific application materials are not yet ready.  Those materials will be posted as soon as possible (expected by 12/5/22), and you will have to wait to complete the application until they are posted.  In the meantime, please see the additional required materials below.

Application Materials

Official transcripts

      Applicants must submit transcripts from all colleges attended to the online application system.  Unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process; official transcripts will be required prior to enrollment.

Letters of Recommendation

      Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources are required. Letters from academic sources are preferred. Applicants will enter contact information for their references, and referees will receive links to submit their letters online.  Please contact your references now so they are ready to upload their letters when our application system opens.

Statement of purpose

      Applicants must upload a statement of purpose document.  The statement of purpose is expected to be 2-3 pages in length and describe the applicant’s specific research interests, past research and professional experiences, and career goals. Applicants should indicate how our program and mentorship align with their goals. The statement should include information describing interests or experiences in areas related to individual and cultural diversity.

Resume or Vita

      Applicants should include academic achievements (e.g., honors, awards, and scholarships), research achievements (e.g., presentations, publications, and research grants), and professional activities or work experiences (including role, dates, supervisors, and responsibilities).

Research mentor interest

      Our training follows a mentorship model. Within the online application form, applicants should indicate faculty members for preferred research mentors.

Statement about international applicants

      Application instructions and English proficiency requirements for international students are available on the International Student Affairs Office website. International applicants whose native language is not English or not meeting the exemption criteria need to submit official English proficiency test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, DET, GTEC, or GTEC CBT).  


At the School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences there are several different ways to be involved in research, either as a student or a participant. Undergraduate students through doctoral candidates are encouraged to work closely with faculty mentors doing cutting-edge research on topics like infant and child development, the impacts of stress and trauma, aging, social justice advocacy and much more. 

Student Groups

There are several student groups directed at growing the networks and experiences of students interested in counseling and psychology at UMKC. Additionally, UMKC offers a wide variety of student groups. More information is available on RooGroups.

Psi Chi

Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, encourages, stimulates and maintains excellence in scholarship and advances the science of psychology. Membership is open to undergraduate and graduate students making the study of psychology one of their major interests. Membership benefits include;

  • Demonstrate to future employers and graduate schools you were a dedicated student of psychology
  • Enjoy opportunities for networking and further learning with faculty and students with similar interests
  • Get involved on campus

How to join:

  1. Confirm you meet the academic requirements.
  2. Complete the application. (Select University of Missouri – Kansas City as your chapter location.)
  3. Email a copy of your unofficial transcript to the faculty advisor, with “Psi Chi application” in the subject line
  4. Once approved, you will be notified by email. You will then need to bring $70 USD cash, check or a money order (made out to UMKC Psi Chi) to Robin Lehman in Cherry Hall, room 324. This money covers the $55 fee for a lifetime membership in Psi Chi International; the remaining $15 goes into the UMKC account for programming use.
  5. After we receive the money, you will be invited to join the Psi Chi network through RooGroups, and you will need to accept the invitation. Within a few weeks, you will be contacted by the international organization welcoming you as a member and inviting you to an induction ceremony.

Psychology Club

Psychology Club is the sibling organization of Psi Chi. Its goal is to provide enriching social and educational opportunities beyond the classroom within the field of psychology. Whereas Psi Chi events often focus on advancing the science of psychology (which is consistent with its mission), Psychology Club officers have aimed to bring opportunities for practical and applied experiences to students. Also, unlike Psi Chi, Psychology Club membership is free and open to all UMKC students. If you are considering a career in psychology or are just interested in learning more about the field, we encourage you to join Psychology Club. 

Faculty, Staff and Leadership

LaVerne Berkel

Phone Number: 816-235-2444

Kym Bennett

Professor, Director, Undergraduate Psychology Program and Mentoring Office
Phone Number: 816-235-1321

Kathryn Brewer

Visiting Assistant Professor and Interim Director
Phone Number: 816-235-5614

Chris Brown

Professor and Chair
Phone Number: 816-235-2491

Marvalee Collins

Assistant Teaching Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-6368

Diane Filion

Professor and Vice Provost
Phone Number: 816-235-1249

Oh-Ryeong Ha

Associate Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-1321

Erin Hambrick

Associate Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-1321

Robin Lehman

Business Support Specialist II
Phone Number: 816-235-1318

Seung-Lark Lim

Associate Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-1321

Jennifer Lundgren

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Phone Number: 816-235-1107

Jacob Marszalek

Interim Associate Dean
Phone Number: 816-235-2638

Ricardo Marte

Associate Teaching Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-1321

Joan McDowd

Professor and Chair, Minor and Graduate Certificate Advisor and Director and Advisor, Gerontology Programs
Phone Number: 816-235-1321

Nancy Murdock

Professor Emerita
Phone Number: 816-235-2495

Johanna Nilsson

Phone Number: 816-235-2484

Melisa Rempfer

Professor, Clinical Training Director
Phone Number: 816-235-8850

Laurel Watson

Associate Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-2489

Joah Williams

Associate Professor
Phone Number: 816-235-1321