Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs
Clinical Psychology Programs train students to use a variety of approaches to assist individuals with anything from short-term personal issues to more severe and chronic mental and behavioral conditions.i Courses might cover top methods of assessment and diagnosis, as well as best ways to develop and implement effective treatment plans.
Students might also learn about various emotional, behavioral and psychological disorders. This coursework is often combined with clinical research or internships, allowing students to practically apply their new knowledge outside the classroom.
Some Clinical psychology graduate programs may be designed to prepare students to work directly with patients. Others may focus more heavily on research. Therefore, whether you're interested in providing support as a licensed psychologisti or counselor,iii or pursuing roles in academia,iv attending earning a clinical psychology degree may be great step towards your goals.
What Is Clinical Psychology?
Clinical psychology is a specialty within psychology used to understand various mental and emotional issues throughout a patient's life and provide comprehensive, research backed treatments to address them. Considered by the American Psychological Association (APA) as a psychological “specialty in breadth”, clinical psychology draws from disciplines within and outside of the field of psychology. In fact, it is marked by its comprehensive approach and scope. It is a broad field that applies to people of all ages and backgrounds.ii
Clinical psychology involves the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.i These issues could be short term adjustment problems or more severe psychopathic disorders. Research also plays an important role. This might be into science, knowledge and methods relevant to areas distinct to the field.ii
Choosing Between Clinical Psychology Programs
There are a few factors to keep in mind when deciding between clinical psychology graduate programs. Before beginning your search, you may want to consider the below.
- Your career goals
- Whether you are more interested in academic research or clinical practice
- Location and program format
Your preferred career outcome is important as psychology is a regulated field and licensing laws vary by state and the type of position.i While no degree or career is guaranteed, you may wish to research these requirements to find a program to fill your needs.
This often goes hand in hand with whether you prefer research to practice. Clinical psychology programs can take either path, depending on degree type and program focus. Read program curricula and follow up with schools directly to find a perfect match for you.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most clinical psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience, and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychologyi
Choosing Clinical Psychology Degree Programs
Types of Clinical Psychology Programs
Certificate in Clinical Psychology
Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology
Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology
Online, on-campus, or hybrid
Online, on-campus, or hybrid
Online, on-campus, or hybrid
No (some have options to transfer to a master’s degree program)
M.A. or M.S.
Concentration in clinical psychology
Ph.D. or Psy.D.
Concentration in clinical psychology
1 year of fulltime study
2 years of fulltime study
5-6 years of fulltime study
Students might be able to select a focus within clinical psychology
Potentially: prerequisites, thesis, exam, specialization, residency
Potentially: dissertation, exam, specialization, residency
Clinical Psychologyschools primarily offer masters and doctoral degrees, though graduate certificates may also be available. While each may cover relevant topics in clinical psychology, the requirements, depth of study and goals may vary.
For example, some masters clinical psychology programs require applicants to have earned a Bachelor of Psychology degree, while others may be suitable for students from diverse backgrounds. These students however may be required to take prerequisite courses before enrollment. This may include introductory psychology, experimental psych and statistics.i
Similarly, certain clinical psychology PhD programs accept applicants with a bachelors degree and a major in psychology. Others may require students to have a masters degree.i
Make sure to find out specific details directly from clinical psychology programs that interest you.
Clinical Psychology Masters Programs
Clinical Psychology Masters Programs may offer Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degrees with thesis or non-thesis options. Both programs typically involve a combination of coursework, field work and research.
Some learners use a Clinical Psychology masters degree as a platform to continued education. Others may seek potential career paths other than licensed clinical psychologists.i Usually the thesis option is for those who are planning to earn a doctorate degree. The non-thesis option, on the other hand, could be a great choice for students interested in working in the following careers.
- Industrial-organizational psychologistsi
- Psychological assistant under the supervision of a doctoral psychologisti
- Mental health counselors (requires post degree supervised clinical work and state licensure)iii
- Marriage and family therapists (requires post degree supervised clinical work and state licensure)iii
Typically a Masters in Clinical Psychology degree may be earned with two years of full time study. Applicants often have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, or have taken classes in psychology and statistics. Many schools also request GRE and GPA scores, letters of recommendation and related clinical experience.
However, Clinical Psychology Masters programs each have different requirements and goals. Contact schools directly to learn more.
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programs
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programs may be offered as research-oriented Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or clinical practice-oriented Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology degrees. These differences may be reflected in both the program curriculum and approach to course materials
Aside from a doctorate degree, prospective practicing psychologists must have pre-or post-doctoral supervised experience and internship before they can qualify for state licensure.i Therefore, some programs are designed to help meet this requirement and include practicums and internships.
Clinical Psychology PhD programs may also include a research and dissertation component. Every school is different.
Once all the educational and state criteria for licensure have been met, graduates might pursue the following careers as practicing clinical psychologists.
- Forensic Psychologistsv
- Pediatric Psychologistsv
- Health Psychologistsi
What Might I Study in Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs?
At the masters level, you might expect more variance in curriculum than at the doctoral level. This is because the APA accredits clinical psychology graduate programs at the doctoral and postdoctoral level and therefore articulates some course guidelines.ii
That said, a clinical psychology major might expect to study some the following topics.
- Clinical assessment
- Personality appraisal
- Psychopathology (suicide, violence)
- Clinical psychopharmacology
- Behavior modification
- Therapeutic intervention techniques
- Patient interviewing
- Personalized and group therapy
- Child and adolescent therapy
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy
- Supervised clinical practice
- Ethics, regulations
- Scientific researchii
On-Campus or Online Clinical Psychology Programs?
Accredited institutions may offer residential (campus), distance-learning (online) and partially online (hybrid) clinical psychology graduate programs. Each has their own potential benefits.
On campus programs may be great for those who prefer to learn in a classroom with other students. This may be especially beneficial in clinical psychology programs, as it is a field based heavily on interpersonal interactions.
Clinical psychology schools may make it easier to participate in simulations and practice various techniques. Plus students may have access to labs for research, libraries and other support services.
Online learning, on the other hand, could provide unparalleled flexibilty. Courses might be accessed when and where is easiest for you, making it a great option for busy adult learners. Some online clinical psychology programs even integrate on campus benefits like digital databases and interactive message boards and chat rooms.
It is important to note, that while coursework may be completely online, some of these programs may require students to perform internships or research in a nearby location. Often clinical psychology schools will either arrange or support students in finding these opportunities. Every school is different, so follow up to learn more.
Hybrid programs may provide a combination of both of the above options, allowing students to access the best of both worlds. Some hybrid programs allow students to mix online and campus classes. Others may rely heavily on online learning, with students visiting campuses for short intensives each semester. Look for the program format that fits your learning style and needs.
Accreditation For Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs
Accreditation for clinical psychology programs is worth understanding. That's because it not only may help you judge the quality of a program, but could be a requirement for pursuing licensure or qualifying for federal loans.
In the United States, accreditation occurs at the institutional and programmatic level. For psychology programs, the APA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the national authority on professional education and training in psychology.vi Their scope is doctoral graduate programs, internship programs, and postdoctoral residency programs.
That said, universities and psychology schools offering masters programs in clinical psychology tend to be regionally accredited. As with anything, stay informed and in tune with your academic and career requirements.
Find Clinical Psychology Programs
Enjoy the study of behavior and brain function? Then your next step is to find a clinical psychology program in line with your ambitions. Review our sponsored program listings to find options that could include Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology; Master of Science in Clinical Psychology; PsyD Doctor of Psychology; PhD Clinical Psychology and more.
You can also sort the list using the menu bar by degree type, learning format or location.
Programs may sound similar. This is why we recommend using the ‘request info’ setting to contact prospective clinical psychology schools. This may help you learn about their unique qualities, location and above all, deadlines for application.
Fill out the simple on page form to contact schools directly and get one step closer to finding a perfect clinical psychology graduate program today!
sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm | [ii] apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/clinical.aspx |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm |[v] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3031.02 |[vi] apa.org/ed/accreditation/about/index.aspx
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.
- Kirkland, WAKirkland, WA
Our PhD degree program in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Psychology is ideal if you are interested in both the practice and the academic study of clinical psychology.
- Kirkland, WA
- Belmont, CABelmont, CA
Notre Dame de Namur University
Notre Dame de Namur University has long been known for the quality of psychology therapy programs leading toward MFT licensure.
- Washington, DCWashington, DC
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The doctor of psychology, Psy.D., is the highest-level degree for those who wish to apply their knowledge as practicing clinicians.
- Washington, DC
- Chicago, IL
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Irvine, CA
- West Hartford, CTWest Hartford, CT
University of Hartford
The Clinical Practices in Psychology program is a full-time program, with a two-year sequence of course work and practicum experiences, leading to the Master of Arts.
- Phoenix, AZPhoenix, AZ
For more than 30 years, Argosy University students have recognized the unique value of our practitioner-based programs in psychology and counseling.
- Atlanta, GA
- Farmers Branch, TX
- Eagan, MN
- Fort Lauderdale, FLFort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University
The primary goal of the Psy.D. program is to offer academic, practicum, internship, and research experience directly relevant to the practitioner, while retaining the important scientific base upon which professional competence and knowledge rest...
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is intended for students wishing to prepare for clinical work and licensing or who wish to go on to a doctoral program and need to demonstrate the development of clinical acumen through their course...
- Huntsville, TXHuntsville, TX
Sam Houston State University
The Master's degree program in clinical psychology program is 45-48 semester hours and is appropriate for students seeking licensure.
- Emporia, KSEmporia, KS
Emporia State University
Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (thesis or non-thesis).
- Costa Mesa, CACosta Mesa, CA
The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology Program equips its students to serve with excellence as Christian mental health professionals by providing rigorous academic training, guided professional development, and integrative faith-based learning i...
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
The EdS degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares professionals who are knowledgeable about cultural influences on human development and who can meet client concerns from diverse cultural perspectives.
- Chicago, IL
- Madison, NJMadison, NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, a CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) accredited program, prepares its graduates for the professional practice of counseling.
- Teaneck, NJ
- 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.
- Rochester, NYRochester, NY
University of Rochester
Our graduate program emphasizes the development of research skills. Typically, students begin research in their first semester by working with a facul...
- Arcata, CAArcata, CA
Humboldt State University
The Psychology Department at HSU offers 2 Master of Arts programs designed to enhance your careers and satisfaction in Psycholog...
- Chester, PAChester, PA
The Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology offers course of studies and supervised experiences leading to the degree of Doctor of Psychology (Psy.
- College Park, MDCollege Park, MD
University of Maryland - College Park
Clinical Psychology at the University of Maryland is a broad, innovative program accredited since 1963 by the American Psychological Association.
- Baton Rouge, LABaton Rouge, LA
Louisiana State University
- West Lafayette, INWest Lafayette, IN
The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology trains students in generating new knowledge in psychology.
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
San Francisco State University
The Clinical Psychology Master's Program at SFSU has been running continually since 1952.