California Psychology PhD & PsyD Programs
Many APA accredited psychology schools offer Doctorate in psychology programs in either a PsyD or PhD in Psychology. Learn more about your options then browse our directory to search for a PsyD or PhD Psychology program that might align with your unique goals and interests.
Why Consider a Doctorate in Psychology Program?
Earning a doctoral degree in psychology may be on your radar if you are interested in pursuing potential careers in academics, consulting, research, and as licensed counseling and clinical psychologists[i]. Psychologists study the human brain, cognitive functions, emotional and social behaviors through various techniques and interventions.
In the U.S.A., a doctoral degree such as the Ph.D., Psy.D., and Ed.D. earned from an APA-accredited program may be translate into eligibility to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology examinations in one’s state.
We asked veteran doctor Nicole Martinez how earning a Psy.D has enhanced her career:
“With my Psy.D. degree, I see patients, and have worked for groups, at treatment facilities, and now see them on my own. I teach online courses to up and coming masters and doctoral students in psychology. I review case files and write reports or testify on cases about patients' mental health history and issues. I also write for a number of publications, which brings me great joy in my ability to share useful information to help a broader audience.”
~Nicole Martinez, Psy.D.Click to Tweet
What are PsyD Programs?
You are searching for a terminal degree program in the field of psychology and see you have options including the PsyD (Doctor of Psychology), the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology, and the Education Specialist degree.[iii] While academically similar, there are differences between these degrees – somewhat like different roads, that prospective doctoral students should clarify before embarking on a doctorate in psychology program.
What is a PsyD Degree?
The Doctor of Psychology, abbreviated ‘PsyD, Psy D, or Psy.D. is an applied, clinically-focused doctorate degree somewhat like an MD in medicine. Earning a PsyD degree typically prepares a graduate to fulfill the educational requirements for state licensure; licensure is a requirement for use of the title “psychologist” in most states.[iv]
What is a PhD in Psychology?
The PhD in Psychology is a research doctoral degree in psychology. Earning a PhD Psychology typically prepares graduates to fulfill the educational requirements for state licensure. That said, those who pursue their PhD in psychology may favor academic research or teaching at the university level rather than clinical practice.
PsyD Programs vs. Psychology PhD Programs
In terms of potentially counseling clients and practicing in a clinical setting, both the Psy D and the PhD Psychology degrees have equal status and function about the same. Ultimately, your decision may boil down to whether you prefer to learn in a hands-on clinical setting or to conduct research.
7 Potential Admission Requirements for PsyD & PhD Psych Programs
The admission requirements for each psychology school and doctor of psychology program may differ. Some schools may choose candidates that they feel ‘fit’ their schools’ mission in terms of clinical and research experiences. You are always advised to check with the requirements of the specific schools on your list. Potential admission requirements may include:
- A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college
- A Master’s degree in psychology, counseling or a mental health field from an accredited university – although sometimes an undergraduate degree may suffice, a master degree might not be needed
- GPA scores (varies)
- GRE scores (varies)
- Letters of recommendation
- Interviews, statement of purpose
- Fulfilled course pre-requisites if applicable
DID YOU KNOW? 5,277 Research Doctorates and 1,444 Professional Doctorates in Psychology were awarded in 2014?[ii]
Average Time to Completion for Psy D, PhD and EdD degrees:
How long does it take to earn a Doctorate in Psychology? Program lengths for PsyD, Psychology PhD and EdD Psychology Programs may vary between schools and depend on whether you pursue your graduate study on a part-time or full-time basis, among other factors.
- Ph.D. Psychology: Ph.D. programs might require at least 5 to 7 years to complete. In addition to regular coursework, you may also be expected to complete an internship or supervised residency. The program typically culminates in completing an original research project or dissertation.
- For a Psy.D. Degree: Most PsyD programs require between 4 to 6 years to complete. PsyD programs typically require a one year internship as part of the doctoral program, as well as a dissertation based on clinical research.
- For an EdD: Degree: Most EdD programs require between 3 to 5 years to complete. It is important to note that many applicants to EdD programs already hold a master's degree in a related field, while applicants to Ph.D. and PsyD programs often begin their program of study with a bachelor's degree.
Types of Doctorate in Psychology Specialty Programs
Whether you choose the PhD in Psychology or the Doctor of Psychology model, there are a variety of APA recognized specialties and proficiencies in psychological practice.
List of PsyD Programs
|Program Name||Formats Available||Degree|
Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology
Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology - Forensic Consulting Online
Doctor of Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Trauma and Disaster Relief
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Health Psychology
Doctor of Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology
Doctor of Psychology - Health and Wellness Psychology Specialization
Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology
Doctor of Education in Sport and Performance Psychology
Online, Hybrid, Campus
“Specialties: defined area of psychological practice which requires advanced knowledge and skills acquired through an organized sequence of education and training”[v].
Browse our PsyD categories and find your specialty areas:
- Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis Programs: Study the science of human behavior, learn how to apply interventions as a potential intervention for individuals with autism;
- Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programs: Study psychopathology, mental health issued and diagnostic interventions;
- Doctorate in Cognitive Psychology Programs: Study the mind, memory, attention, perception, reasoning and language;
- Doctorate in Community Psychology Programs: Study how individuals relate to their communities and the cultural, economic, social, political, environmental and international influences on behavior;
- Doctorate in Developmental Psychology Programs: Study the science of how humans evolve and learn from childhood through their lifespan;
- Doctorate in Forensic Psychology Programs: Study how legal theory, procedures and law intersect with clinical psychiatric diagnosis, clinical issues, practice and ethics;
- Doctorate in Holistic Psychology Programs: Study psychology from an integrative perspective (mind/body/spirit);
- Doctorate in Industrial/Organizational psychology Programs: Study human behavior in the workplace, career development and human performance;
- Doctorate in Social and Personality Psychology Programs: Study human nature and what makes individuals different from one another;
- Doctorate in Sports Psychology Programs: Study sport specific psychological assessment, optimal performance, and counseling techniques for athletes.
Are Online Psy D Programs Available?
Earning a Doctorate in Psychology takes time and many students are juggling work and family too! If you are wondering how to manage your time – study, research, career, family – an online PsyD might be perfect for you!. There are many online PsyD programs available but it is worth a search to find out if these programs meet your needs.
How Important is APA Accreditation for Psychology PhD Programs?
Very. Especially if you are aiming for an American Board of Professional Psychology. Why? To attain board certification by the ABPP one of the requirements is that an individual has earned “A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology which at the time the degree was granted was accredited by the APA, CPA, or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria[vi].”
Who is the APA? The APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) is recognized by both the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as the national accrediting authority for professional education and training in psychology.
What is the Scope of APA Accreditation? The APA accredits doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling, school psychology and combination programs, internships, postdoctoral residency programs in traditional and specialty areas of psychology.
Find APA-Accredited PsyD, PhD, EdD Psychology Programs
Choose a Doctorate in Psychology Specialty. Filter by format. Browse sponsored listings – they may be for the Psy.D., PhD or EdD psychology. You have the tools to decide which one aligns with your goals and personality. Request info from prospective universities – the green bar on screen. Take the next step today.
[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[ii] datausa.io/profile/cip/42/ |[iii] [i] |[iv] [i] |[v] apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/index.aspx |[vi] abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3290
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
The PhD in Psychology degree with a specialization in Industrial Organizational Psychology will prepare you to assume leadersh...
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School’s Ph.D. in International Psychology attracts passionate world learners who want to make an impact in an increasingly diverse and global society.
- Los Angeles, CA
- Irvine, CA
- San Diego, CA
California Southern University
CalSouthern’s PsyD is an applied, clinically focused degree that emphasizes the practical knowledge and skills required to be an effective therapist or counselor.
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
University of San Francisco
At the University of San Francisco, PsyD students are trained to translate thought to action, through practice-oriented training that emphasizes the mental, emotional and physical health needs of underserved communities.
John F Kennedy University
For individuals interested in sport psychology and in working in a clinical setting and/or using clinical psychology skills in working with clients, John F. Kennedy University is pleased to offer an innovative program that enables individuals to work to...
- Pleasant Hill, CA
- El Cajon, CAEl Cajon, CA
Southern California Seminary
SCS is a private institution of higher education dedicated to teaching from the inerrant Word of God. Here you will learn about God from His book - the Bible. As a ministry of Shadow Mountain Community Church, under the leadership of Dr. David Jeremiah,...
- El Cajon, CA
- San Diego, CASan Diego, CA
Huron International University
An applied program designed for the working adult, our Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology meets the educational requirements for licensure by the California Board of Psychology. We offer competitive tuition rates, highly qualified instructors and small classe...
- San Diego, CA
- Chatsworth, CAChatsworth, CA
Phillips Graduate University
Phillips Graduate University's Organizational Management and Consulting (OMC) Program is designed to enhance the personal and professional skills of consultants, managers, and leaders.
- Carpinteria, CACarpinteria, CA
Pacifica Graduate Institute
A program preparing students for licensure, providing faculty mentorship, and creating community in the cohort...
- Carpinteria, CA
- Carpinteria, CA
- Sacramento, CASacramento, CA
Professional School of Psychology
PSP is approved by the State of California. PSP is not engaged in distance or online learning. PSP does not send out information packets without a personal interview, or at least a telephone interview, to ensure goodness of fit.
- Berkeley, CABerkeley, CA
The Wright Institute teaches the scientific knowledge base of clinical psychology, and enriches that learning by exploring the meanings of students' o...
- La Verne, CALa Verne, CA
University of La Verne
The core mission of the program is to train scholar-practitioners who think critically & practice ethically and compassionately.
- Irvine, CAIrvine, CA
University of California, Irvine
The Department of Psychology & Social Behavior offers a broadly oriented graduate degree program that leads to the Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Beha...
San Diego University For Integrative Studies
Recognizing the need to provide the best educational experience in conjunction with thelatest technology, SDUIS is among the first universities in the country to offer degrees andcertificate programs via the Internet.Course work over the Internet all...
- San Diego, CA
Touro University Worldwide
Students enrolled in the doctorate-level program gain an understanding of applied psychology and research applications through...
- Claremont, CAClaremont, CA
Claremont Graduate University
In recent years, the increasing worldwide recognition of the value of accountability and professionalism has created an intense demand for high quality graduate education in Evaluation and Applied Methods. Building on more than 30 years experience and t...
- Claremont, CA
- Santa Barbara, CASanta Barbara, CA
Fielding Graduate University
PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development
The PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development is a multidisciplinary program that addresses a child’s development, individual differences, and relationships.
- Santa Barbara, CA
- Loma Linda, CALoma Linda, CA
Loma Linda University
- Stanford, CAStanford, CA
Ph.D. only, no master's program.
- Alameda, CAAlameda, CA
In our Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program, our central goal is to prepare you to become a competent, valuable contributor to the field of professional psychology.
- Fresno, CAFresno, CA
Alliant International University
Help advance the field of clinical psychology with the PhD in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional...
- Fresno, CA
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Irvine, CA
- Los Angeles, CA