Students aspiring to become licensed clinical psychologists may choose one of two types of doctorate Clinical Psychology Programs: a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology. Earning a doctoral degree is a requisite for licensure and practice in clinical settings.
Admission requirements for both of these doctoral-level Clinical Psychology programs typically include a master's degree in psychology or a closely related field, though some programs may admit students who hold a bachelor's degree. In either case, foundational psychology coursework must be completed prior to doctoral program admission.
Both programs could take 5-7 years post-college to complete and then may require an internship and supervised practice before taking licensing exams.
What is Clinical Psychology?
Clinical psychology is the limb of psychology concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior and psychiatric problems. This field integrates the science of psychology with the management of complex human problems, making it a potentially exciting career choice for people who are looking for a challenging yet rewarding field.
Choosing a Clinical Psychology Doctorate Degree Program: Online or On-Campus
Students will want to consider which Clinical Psychology program format will work with their lifestyle – an online program may be convenient while many students choose a local campus-based program. Use the settings on GradSchools.com search by city, state or country and find your preferred location. You will want to look at the curriculum and consider specializations that might be relevant or the research experience of the faculty. Browse our directory and consider your options to find the Ph.D. or Psy.D. program that is the best fit for your goals and interest.
SEARCH TIP: Look for programs that are APA accredited
Choosing a Clinical Psychology Program: PsyD vs PhD
Students will want to consider their career goals before deciding on the type of clinical psychology doctorate degree to pursue. There are two types of clinical psychology doctorate programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association: the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Both Psy.D. and Ph.D. degree programs in clinical psychology involve lecture-based courses, clinical practical experience and a dissertation project. While PsyD programs commonly emphasize clinical practice; Ph.D. programs are frequently more research-oriented. Nonetheless, students in both PsyD and PhD programs usually engage in clinical practica and internships.
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) Programs
The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology is a practice-based graduate degree program that introduces students to a number of advanced clinical topics in the field. PsyD in Clinical Psychology curriculum usually involves coursework specific to the field and practical, clinical experience. Students take seminar style courses and may study topics such as:
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Neuropsychological assessment
- Group psychotherapy
- Psychotherapy for children
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD) Programs
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology is a research-based graduate degree program