Even from 9,900 miles away, Priscilla Shin Hui understands the value of a Doctorate in Professional Counseling from Mississippi College.
A business owner and the mother of two young children in Singapore, Hui wanted to further her studies and hone her skills as a professional counselor, but she wasn’t keen on obtaining a Ph.D.
“I am more of a hands-on practitioner instead of a researcher-type person,” said Hui, who obtained her bachelor’s in counseling from the Singapore University of Social Sciences and her Master of Professional Counseling from the Swinburne University of Technology. After searching the Internet, Mississippi College’s D.P.C. program resonated with her.
“I decided on MC’s program because I loved the idea of doing a capstone project,” Hui said. “I was sold when I saw that it could be 100-percent distance learning, which was extremely helpful in my case. I was juggling many hats at the time and needed something sustainable and practical that allowed me to go at my own pace.
“MC is one of the best and most affordable colleges compared to others. MC’s lecturers are top-notch leaders in the industry, and we are learning so much from them. I truly appreciate the quality and consistency of the school.”
Miriam Jackson-Hamilton didn’t have to rely on the World Wide Web to learn about MC’s Doctorate in Professional Counseling program. While working toward her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Delta State University, some of her classmates told her they were planning to enroll in MC’s online D.P.C. program. The Rolling Fork native decided to follow suit.
“It was attractive to me because it appeared challenging and elite due to the many requirements to be accepted,” said Jackson-Hamilton, who received her D.P.C. from MC in December 2022. “The program is shaping leaders of the field. Many of its students have gone on to take leading roles, open private practices, and advance deeper into the medical side of treatment.
“The syllabus is rigorous enough to keep you on your toes, but also realistic enough to teach things that you will actually use in the field.”
The D.P.C. program’s quality and affordability have now drawn national acclaim. OnlineU, a leading higher education electronic publication, has ranked Mississippi College No. 2 in the U.S. for most affordable online colleges for a doctorate in counseling.
According to Adrian Ramirez, OnlineU outreach specialist, “Our team rated the most affordable programs using manually researched online tuition for 2022-23. We found that MC is a great value for your students.”
The superlative ranking is no surprise to Jacqueline Bell, assistant professor of counseling at MC.
“It shows our students that our faculty is putting forth the effort to make sure they receive a quality education that’s affordable and won’t cause them financial strain,” Bell said. “When they leave the program, we want students to know it was worthwhile, to feel good about what they have accomplished, and to be proud to walk away with a D.P.C. degree from Mississippi College.
“The faculty appreciate that their hard work in the program is being recognized. This ranking is a testament to our wonderful students coming through the program. They show up and do the work, which allows us to produce a record number of graduates each semester. We know the program will get even bigger and better in the years to come.”
MC’s one-of-a-kind D.P.C. program gives candidates an opportunity to develop new skills that apply to their counseling practices in the real world. The online degree is the first clinical doctorate to be developed for professional counselors and psychotherapists. It prepares them for advanced clinical practice and leadership.
The program allows doctoral candidates to choose an area of mental health service in which they are interested – marriage and family counseling, addiction therapy, treatment of eating disorders, etc. – and craft their degree program around that interest. The professional counseling coursework then cultivates professional knowledge and clinical skills in that area of specialization.
“The program is designed specifically for practicing clinicians who have a lot of experience in their field,” Bell said. “The students bring that experience into the classroom. Once they’re finished with the program, they are positioned to compete for supervisory positions within their clinical areas of practice.
“These are full-time practicing professionals; many work at different companies and have private practices, families, and personal lives. They wouldn’t be able to quit their work to attend a brick-and-mortar institution, so the flexibility of our online program is especially beneficial to them.”
The program is a 72-semester-hour clinical doctorate that extends training beyond the entry-level preparation of a 60-semester-hour master’s degree. The D.P.C. prepares master counselors and therapists for professional specialization, community service, and leadership.
Students take four courses during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, respectively, with the flexibility to adjust the academic schedule to accommodate their work and family environment. The curriculum guides students to understand and produce increasingly complex theory, practice, and research work.
Instead of a dissertation, the capstone of the doctoral program is the development of a “Project Demonstrating Excellence,” evidence of advanced clinical skills demonstrated through a clinical case study.
“We make sure the students get elevated rigor and accountability in their classes, even though they are online,” Bell said. “We have face-to-face Zoom sessions throughout the week, so students are able to log in and still feel they are part of the formal, traditional classroom.
“They network with each other and learn from one another. We merge what they’ve learned in the field to elevate their application of critical thinking and problem-solving. The students can feel secure knowing we are using an evidence-based approach to our course setup.”
Whether in the same state or thousands of miles away, counseling professionals can get the most out of the online D.P.C. program. Hui has enjoyed attending Mississippi College so much that she bought MC Choctaws shirts online and wears them in Singapore almost every day.
“I feel proud to represent MC in my country, and I feel proud that I am studying in the program from MC,” she said. “I came into the program focused on personal and professional growth as a counselor, and I am on the right track.
“I believe by the end of the program, I will have grown so much and will be more prepared than ever before to continue building my private practice and helping and serving others in the community who require mental health support.”
Having earned her D.P.C. from MC, Jackson-Hamilton continues to grow her professional practice.
“This program not only gave me knowledge, but it also helped to shape me as a clinician,” she said. “The courses can be emotionally intense, despite being virtual, and the instructors push you to look deep within as you learn to help others and become a leader in the field.
“I have committed myself to private practice. The things I learned in the entrepreneurship class helped me decide what would be most beneficial to start my business. I am using the knowledge I gained to venture down the path of public speaking. I am also considering going to Physician Assistant School to help with the medical management portion of mental health care.”
Hui said counseling professionals could benefit from MC’s program wherever in the world they might practice.
“I would recommend MC’s program because the University lives up to its promise of consistent, professional training. They provide a quality program with rigor. Just because it’s distance learning doesn’t mean it’s any easier – it brings out the best in us.”