Best Psychology Doctoral (PsyD) Programs and Schools
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.
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.
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.
Popular Schools with Psychology Doctorate Degrees
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 prerequisites 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.
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 PsyD 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 has earning a Psy.D. enhanced your 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.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Fresno, CA||$114,350||Not Reported|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||$106,340||310|
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.
Top 152 Graduate Schools with Psychology Doctorate Programs
- Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
- With FlexPath, you can earn your master’s degree in 12 months and under $11,000*
- 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
*Assumes accelerated pace. Price varies by your pace and transfer credits. Other fees may apply.
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Psychology - General Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Health Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Trauma and Disaster Relief PhD in Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctor of Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Gender Diversity Studies PhD in Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology
Walden UniversityPhD in Psychology - Fast Track (BS Entry) - Teaching PhD in Psychology - Related MS Entry - Educational Psychology PhD in Psychology - BS Entry - Health Psychology PhD in Psychology - Fast Track (MS Entry) - Teaching PhD in Developmental Psychology - MS Entry - General PhD in Psychology - Fast Track (BS Entry) - Social Psychology PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - International Business PhD in Developmental Psychology - MS Entry - Self Design PhD in Psychology - Fast Track (BS Entry) - Educational Psychology PhD in Psychology - BS Entry - Educational Psychology PhD in Psychology - BS Entry - Research PhD in Developmental Psychology - MS Entry - Teaching PhD in Psychology - Fast Track (MS Entry) - Research PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - General Practice PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (MS Entry) - Consulting Psychology PhD in Clinical Psychology - General PhD in Psychology - MS Entry - Self Design PhD in Developmental Psychology - MS Entry - Research PhD in Psychology - BS Entry - Teaching PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (MS Entry) - Human Resource Management PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - Evidence-Based Coaching PhD in Psychology - Related MS Entry - Social Psychology PhD in Developmental Psychology - BS Entry - General PhD in Psychology - Fast Track (MS Entry) - Health Psychology PhD in Psychology - Related MS Entry - Health Psychology
William James CollegeLeadership Psychology, PsyD Clinical Psychology PsyD
Grand Canyon UniversityPh.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance Psychology Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Integrating Technology, Learning, and Psychology
Capella UniversityPhD - Psychology PhD - Developmental Psychology PhD - Behavioral Analysis PhD - Industrial/Organizational Psychology PhD - Advanced Studies in Human Behavior
Nova Southeastern UniversityClinical Psychology, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Psy.D.
University of HartfordClinical Psychology
University of Western StatesDoctor of Education in Sport and Performance Psychology Doctor in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
University of OregonCognitive Psychology - Doctorate School Psychology - Doctorate Clinical Psychology Counseling Psychology Program Social / Personality Psychology - Doctorate Developmental Psychology - Doctorate General Psychology - Doctorate
Carnegie Mellon UniversityOrganizational Behavior and Theory
Leicester UniversityClinical Psychology
University of LouisvilleExperimental Psychology Clinical Psychology
University of Maryland Baltimore CountyApplied Developmental Psychology - Doctorate Psychology, Human Services Neurosciences and Cognitive Sciences
New School, ThePsychoanalytic Studies - Doctorate
Claremont Graduate UniversityApplied Social Psychology - Doctorate Psychology - Doctorate Applied Developmental Psychology - Doctorate Organizational Behavior and Industrial/Organizational Psychology - Doctorate Applied Cognitive Psychology - Doctorate Evaluation and Applied Methods - Doctorate
Marshall UniversityClinical Psychology
University of North DakotaPsychology - Experimental/General Counseling Psychology - Doctorate Psychology-Clinical
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and SciencePsychology - Doctorate
University of Nebraska - LincolnQuantitative, Qualitative, & Psychometric Methods - Doctorate Social - Personality - Doctorate Developmental Psychology Law / Psychology Program Clinical Psychology Cognitive Psychology Psychology - Doctorate Psychological and Cultural Studies
Georgia Southern UniversityPsychology - Doctorate
Brigham Young UniversityPsychology PhD Clinical Psychology Counseling Psychology
Syracuse UniversityClinical Psychology Social Psychology School Psychology Experimental Psychology
Emory UniversityGraduate Program in Clinical Psychology Graduate Program in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology
Northwestern University School of Continuing StudiesPersonality Psychology
Erikson InstituteChild Development
University of PennsylvaniaPsychology
Fordham UniversityPsychology - Doctorate
University of Northern British ColumbiaPsychology
SOURCES: [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