Data and Ranking Methodology

Data Sources

Our website relies heavily on published surveys, exam scores, and other school and career data collected through several sources including the following organizations and governmental agencies:

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)

Ph.D. & Psy.D. Ranking Methodology

cp_badge_topAs a part of our mission, we feel that providing students additional information on counseling psychology graduate programs allows them to make a more informed decision in choosing the right program for them. Therefore, we decided to collect and analyze all the data available for Ph.D. & Psy.D. counseling/clinical psychology programs and in turn display this information in a form of rankings.

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) administers the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) which is used by state boards of psychology as a part of the process in granting licensure.  As is the case, EPPP pass rates provide one of the best ways to determine how well students are prepared for a career in professional counseling, and that is why we have chosen to rank them based on this metric.

The ranking methodology started with collecting the EPPP pass rates of the most recent ASPPB report (2007-2012). Once data was retrieved, the programs with the following  were filtered out:

  • Non-U.S. counseling psychology programs
  • Programs with less than 10 graduates over the reporting period
  • New programs which do not have pass rate data for the reported period

After filtering out non-ranked programs, the ranking procedure is as follows:

  1. Schools with the highest pass rates were ranked higher
  2. In cases where more than one program had the same pass rate, the program with the higher number of students over the reported period would rank higher
  3. In cases where more than one program had the same pass rate and the same number of students over the reported period, the overall performance on exam was analyzed. This included calculating the overall percent correct answers over all content areas/rubics. See the content areas table below for more details.

The content areas that make up the EPPP exam are listed below. The following list features the new version (post 2011) of the content areas with the changes to the distribution of how much each area adds to the overall make-up of the exam. This table was reproduced from:

Content Area Percent of Exam

Biological Bases of Behavior

Knowledge of biological and neural bases of behavior, psychopharmacology, and methodologies supporting this body of knowledge.


Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior

Knowledge of cognition & its neural bases, theories & empirical bases of learning, memory, motivation, affect, emotion, & executive function, & factors that influence cognitive performance and/or emotional experience & their interaction.


Social and Multicultural Bases of Behavior

Knowledge of intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, & intergroup processes and dynamics, theories of personality, & issues in diversity.


Growth and Lifespan Development

Knowledge of development across the full life span, atypical patterns of development, and the protective and risk factors that influence developmental trajectories of individuals.


Assessment and Diagnosis

Knowledge of psychometrics, assessment models and instruments, assessment methods for initial status of and change by individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations/systems, and diagnostic classification systems and their limitations.


Treatment, Intervention, Prevention, and Supervision

Knowledge of individual, couple, family, group, organizational, or community interventions for specific problems/disorders in diverse populations, intervention and prevention theories, best practices and practice guidelines, consultation and supervision models, and evidence supporting efficacy and effectiveness of interventions.


Research Methods and Statistics

Knowledge of research design, methodology, and program evaluation, instrument selection and validation, statistical models, assumptions, and procedures, and dissemination methods.


Ethical, Legal, Professional Issues

Knowledge of codes of ethics, professional standards for practice, legal mandates and restrictions, guidelines for ethical decision-making, and professional training and supervision.


Comments or Questions

It is important to note that we believe there is far more factors in choosing the right counseling or clinical psychology program than simply looking at EPPP pass rates and our rankings. However, we feel that this information is one of many important factors that should be considered when trying to find the right program.

Please send comments or questions via our contact us form.

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