San Diego Doctorate in Psychology Schools | PsyD PhD Psychology

The growing need for licensed clinical, counseling and school psychologists may be a motivator for hitting the books and initiating a search for Doctorate in Psychology Schools. Per the BLS, from 2014 to 2024, the need for psychologists is projected to grow about 19 percent[i] during this time. So, if you are interested in studying the brain and behavior, choosing an on campus PsyD or PhD in Psychology Program may situate you amongst others who are hungry to learn about recent research, put their own spin on a theory or work towards professional licensure.

Doctorate in Psychology Schools

What Should I Look for in Doctorate in Psychology Schools?

Some Doctorate in psychology schools offer a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree instead of the traditional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). To a certain extent, you might put the need to evaluate a university to the side before you have spent some time analyzing which program you are interested in looking for. Should you pursue a PsyD or a PhD? That, as Shakespeare said, is the question. Here are a few guidelines for choosing a Doctorate in Psychology School:

  • PsyD vs. PhD
  • Curriculum
  • Find accredited Doctorate in Psychology Schools
  • Location
  • School extras (acceptance rate, cost, availability of financial aid, admissions)

FACT: In 2014, in terms of workforce degrees, there were 159,317 workers with Doctorate Psychology Degrees and 154,650 workers with Professional Degrees in Psychology[ii]  

About the PsyD Degree

If you are interested in pursuing a potential career that is focused on providing direct psychological counseling services to individuals and groups, you might look for Doctorate in Psychology Schools that offer an on campus PsyD program. A PsyD program is regarded as a professional degree in psychology. PsyD programs focus on providing in-depth study into the scientific principles of psychology as well as therapeutic interventions and skills to ultimately serve future clients and patients.

About the PhD in Psychology

If you are interested in engaging in research that answers questions about the brain and behavior, you may want to search for Doctorate in Psychology schools that offer an on-campus PhD in Psychology. The PhD in Psychology is generally regarded as a research degree. PhD psychology programs place a strong emphasis on producing new knowledge (rather than applying existing knowledge to a specific issue in psychology).

PsyD and PhD: Potential Education Prerequisites

Before choosing a Doctorate in Psychology, prospective students need to have earned a Bachelors degree. Some doctorate programs also require students to have earned a Masters degree in Psychology and they may want to see previous research or a Masters thesis. Many Doctorate in Psychology schools may ask applicants for GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay. This is one reason it may be better to clarify your needs first, then look for a school that offers a program you are excited about and so can write a compelling statement in favor of.

How Long Does it Take To Get a Doctoral Degree in Psychology?

A full-time PhD Psychology student may be able to complete his or her doctoral studies in psychology within approximately 5 to 7 years for a PhD and approximately 4 to 6 years for a PsyD. Program lengths do vary between schools and might be influenced by any number of factors, so best advice is to have a dialogue with your prospective university.

Doctorate in Psychology: Potential Coursework

Doctorate in psychology coursework is likely to take into account the branch of psychology you are studying. Potential course topics might include[iii]:

  • Human behavior and performance,
  • Personality
  • Psychological research methods (setting up experiments)
  • Quantitative Experimental methods (PhD)
  • Application of psychological science to service-delivery (Psy D)
  • Assessment of behavioral disorders
  • Procedures for diagnosis, treatment and evaluation
  • Psychology – ethics and regulations
  • Use of analytical or scientific software

In addition to taking required courses, students complete psychology-related internships, conduct original research, and write a dissertation.

Beyond the PhD or PsyD: Licensure

Those aspiring to counsel patients (use the title of “psychologist”) in a health service or educational setting usually require a license from their state to practice. Licensing laws vary but may be obtained from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Usually requirements for licensing include[iv]:

  • Doctorate in Psychology
  • Internship
  • 1-2 year supervised professional experience
  • Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology

Accreditation for Doctorate in Psychology Schools

In terms of accreditation, the American Psychological Association accredits doctoral programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology, or a combination of two or more of these areas. However, the APA does not accredit programs in other areas of practice such as Industrial/Organizational psychology[v]. If you are interested in studying something other than counseling, clinical or school psychology (for example, neuroscience or cognitive sciences), then you do not need to consider if the program is accredited by the APA’s Commission on Accreditation[vi]. That said, it behooves students to consider a psychology graduate school that has been accredited by a regional agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Per the APA “Graduation from an accredited institution or program does not guarantee employment or licensure for individuals, although being a graduate of an accredited program may facilitate such achievement”[iv] 

I’m Looking for A School in... a Specific Location

Are you interested in looking for a PsyD program in your State? Would you explore an opportunity in another State or Country? Are you searching for a local PhD Psychology program in your home city? Search our directory for Doctorate in Psychology Schools by location. Choose a city, state or country. Location is personal. However, you might want to see what kind of partnerships your prospective school has for supervised practicums or what type of research projects the faculty conducts. Look and feel is important to some as well.  

Why Earn My Doctorate in Psychology on Campus?

Overall, you may have more program options available on campus, and that could translate into finding a fascinating specialty PsyD or PhD program that isn’t available online. Plus, the opportunity to take advantage of a schools’ facilities may be appealing (student support, paid and/or unpaid internships, research mentoring, laboratory facilities and above, all your professors). Use our on-page navigation to select a specialty;

Take the Next Step

You are ready for a fulfilling educational experience and excited not only to learn, but to potentially contribute to the field of psychology. Use our easy navigation not just to locate Doctorate in Psychology Schools, but to initiate a conversation with a school through our ‘request info’ setting. Browse through sponsored listings to find the PsyD or PhD that might prepare you for the next chapter of your professional life today.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[ii] datausa.io/profile/cip/42/ |[iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3031.02 |[iv] apa.org/education/grad/faqs.aspx

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