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The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

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Updated April 19, 2024

The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

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A Ph.D in psychology prepares graduates for careers as licensed psychologists, research psychologists, and psychology professors. Doctoral students examine human behavior, social interactions, and mental health treatments. The degree also incorporates practical training through a supervised internship or practicum, helping students develop the skills needed for careers in psychology.

With a psychology degree , graduates can work many different psychology jobs . For example, psychologists earn a median annual salary of over $92,740, and a doctorate meets the requirements for most careers in this field.

Our list includes the top psychology programs offering some online coursework. It is important to note that while several doctorate in psychology programs offer online courses, there are no fully online psychology doctoral programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Thus, rather than ranking schools, we list these programs alphabetically to help prospective applicants find the program that best matches their needs.

This article also explores the differences between Ph.D. and Psy.D. degrees, common courses and specialization options, and careers for graduates who earn doctorates in psychology.

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The best doctoral psychology programs available online.

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#1 The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

California Southern University

  • Costa Mesa, CA

The doctor of psychology program at California Southern University offers an online option for doctoral students. Degree-seekers benefit from flexible course options through the private institution. Doctoral students conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

The 66-credit doctoral program incorporates advanced psychology coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates spend 1-2 years researching and writing their dissertation. With a doctorate in psychology, professionals work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students pay for the program with federal financial aid, fellowships, and scholarships. Contact the psychology program to learn more about doctoral admission requirements.

California Southern University at a Glance:

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

#2 The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Fielding Graduate University

  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Online + Campus

Doctoral students seeking an online psychology program benefit from the Ph.D. in clinical psychology program at Fielding Graduate University. The private university provides flexible enrollment options to meet the needs of diverse degree-seekers. Doctoral students conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

The doctoral program includes a rigorous curriculum in psychology. Doctoral candidates advance in the program by passing comprehensive exams and writing an original dissertation. Graduates with a doctorate pursue roles in research, academia, and leadership.

Online doctoral students can pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about the application process and start dates.

Fielding Graduate University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 944

Online Master's Programs: 2

Graduate Tuition Rate: $17,292

#3 The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Southern California Seminary

  • El Cajon, CA

The doctor of psychology program at Southern California Seminary offers an online option for doctoral students. At the private university, degree-seekers participate in virtual classrooms to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students work closely with faculty mentors and career advisors.

In the online psychology program, graduate learners complete advanced classes. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates begin working on an original dissertation project. A doctorate in psychology prepares graduates for careers in academia, research, and leadership.

Online doctoral students at the accredited institution qualify for several forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about the enrollment process and start dates.

Southern California Seminary at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 130

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $15,588

#4 The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

  • Chicago, IL

The online Ph.D. in international psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ranks among the best in the field. At the private university, degree-seekers participate in virtual classrooms to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students receive library access, research support, and career services.

During the online program, learners take doctoral courses to earn their degree. The psychology program also requires passing scores on a comprehensive examination and the successful defense of an original dissertation project. With a doctorate in psychology, professionals work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about transfer credit policies, research support, and admission requirements.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at a Glance:

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 4-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $20,610

#5 The Best Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Touro University Worldwide

  • Los Alamitos, CA

The doctor of psychology in human and organizational psychology program at Touro University Worldwide offers an online option for doctoral students. Thanks to a flexible format, the private institution makes it easier to complete a doctorate. Doctoral students benefit from support services like career advising.

The online program requires doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation. As the terminal degree in psychology, the doctoral program trains graduates for roles in academia, research, and industry.

At the accredited institution, online doctoral students qualify for scholarships, federal loans, and other forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about transfer credit policies, research support, and admission requirements.

Touro University Worldwide at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,903

Online Master's Programs: 8

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,000

Best Online Programs - Doctorate in Psychology

Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Ph.D. in Psychology?

Doctoral degrees in psychology cannot be conducted completely online. However, some programs do make some coursework available to learners online, helping them complete their graduate studies from anywhere.

The typical curricula for a Ph.D. in psychology emphasizes research and prepares graduates for academic and research roles. Doctoral students take courses in research design and methods, psychology statistics, and cognitive development. Ph.D. programs also offer specialized coursework in neuroscience and affective science.

A Ph.D. in psychology builds strong research and analytical skills. In addition to coursework, each doctoral student must pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research within their specialization. The degree culminates in an original doctoral dissertation that contributes to the field of psychology. After graduation, professionals with Ph.D. degrees in psychology typically work as psychology professors or researchers.

Earning a Ph.D in psychology typically takes 5-7 years, depending on the program and whether the doctoral student completes an internship. Applicants generally need a master's degree in psychology and a strong GPA to gain admission. Some Ph.D. programs in psychology offer fellowships and other forms of funding for doctoral students.

What Is an Online Psy.D. in Psychology?

As with the online Ph.D. in psychology, an online Psy.D. in psychology refers to a doctorate in psychology program where some but not all coursework is offered online. A Psy.D. degree trains graduates for clinical roles and licensure as psychologists. Common courses include psychology research methods, psychopharmacology, and psychological testing. Doctoral students also examine research in evidence-based practice. Online Psy.D. programs also incorporate supervised internships to strengthen clinical skills.

Within a Psy.D. program, graduate students focus on specialty areas such as counseling psychology, child psychology , or behavioral psychology. After completing coursework requirements and passing a comprehensive examination, doctoral candidates conduct clinical research in their specialization areas. Degree-seekers analyze clinical problems or examine topics based on original research, then write research-based dissertations.

Earning a Psy.D. typically takes 4-6 years for full-time students. Some programs offer accelerated or part-time enrollment options. Applicant often need a master's in psychology to gain admission to a Psy.D. program.

What's the Difference Between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in Psychology?

At the doctoral level, psychology offers Psy.D. and Ph.D. degrees. The two pathways offer different coursework and prepare graduates for different careers.

A Psy.D. emphasizes clinical training for careers in psychology, while a Ph.D. focuses on research and academic training. Licensed psychologists who work directly with patients often hold Psy.D. degrees, while psychology professors typically have Ph.D. degrees. In addition, a Ph.D. typically takes more time than a Psy.D.; while a Psy.D. can take as little as four years, a Ph.D. often requires 5-7 years.

When comparing Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs, prospective psychologists should consider their professional goals. Those seeking research or academic positions may prefer a Ph.D., while those considering careers as licensed psychologists should pursue Psy.D. degrees.

Choosing an Online Doctoral Psychology Program

When choosing a partially online doctoral program, prospective students must weigh several factors. For many, program cost, specialization options, and program length rank among the most important concerns.

Ph.D. and Psy.D. degrees prepare psychologists for different career paths, so applicants should also consider which degree aligns best with their goals. Candidates should also consider enrollment options, course delivery methods, internship options, and tuition discounts when evaluating partially online doctorates in psychology.

By examining these factors, future psychologists can ensure that they find the best fit for their unique needs and career aspirations.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Degree Programs

Prospective applicants should always research program and university accreditation when choosing a partially online doctorate in psychology. Accredited programs follow best practices for educating psychologists, and only graduates of APA-accredited programs qualify for licensure as psychologists. Applicants should also research other state licensure requirements before choosing a program.

What Else Can I Expect From a Doctoral Psychology Program?

Doctoral-level psychology students take courses in areas like counseling psychology, evidence-based practice, human development, and psychopharmacology. These courses build advanced knowledge and skills in psychology. Doctoral students often further specialize their training by choosing concentrations like clinical psych, school psychology, or developmental psychology.

After completing coursework requirements, doctoral candidates must pass examinations and meet any internship requirements. Most programs also require a research-based doctoral dissertation in the candidate's specialization.

Common Courses for an Online Doctorate in Psychology

  • Child and Adolescent Therapy: In this class, psychology students strengthen their counseling and treatment skills for children and adolescents. The coursework emphasizes clinical practice and diagnostic approaches for professionals in clinical, child, counseling, and school psychology.
  • Clinical Supervision and Consultation: Students practice their supervision skills and learn how to oversee less experienced workers in the field. The course also trains psychology graduates for consultation and mediation roles.
  • Community Psychology and Social Justice: The course examines psychology during times of social change. Learners explore social justice in a mental health context and its impact on society more broadly.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Doctoral students examine current research in psychology to identify applications in clinical practice. The course covers topics like evaluating evidence and applying practical research.
  • Intellectual and Personality Testing: Psychology students learn to administer and interpret personality assessments. The course covers the theoretical foundations of personality testing and how to perform clinical diagnoses based on those tests.
  • Psychopharmacology: In this course, doctoral students learn about the human body and its interactions with drugs. The course emphasizes mental health needs, pharmacological approaches to treating mental health issues, and drug abuse and addiction.

Psychology Specializations

  • Collapse All

Clinical Psychology

A clinical psychology specialty emphasizes mental healthcare and research-based practice. Within clinical psychology, doctoral students specialize in demographics, like child psychology and geriatric mental health. The specialty trains learners to apply psychology research in diverse clinical settings.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology examines human growth and development across the lifespan. Doctoral students in this specialty conduct research on childhood development, social and emotional development, and information processing. The specialty prepares graduates for careers in research and academia.

School Psychology

A school psychology specialty emphasizes mental health in young learners. Doctoral students explore learning and behavior, including challenges to academic and social development. These psychologists work with children, families, and schools to help students thrive in education.

Social Psychology

Social psychology examines individual behavior in social settings. This specialty focuses on human interactions and their impact on people's beliefs and feelings. Social psychologists can apply their skills in several settings, including workplaces.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Doctorate in Psychology Program?

No psychology doctorate program is fully online, but earning a partially online doctorate in psychology takes around five years, depending on the program. Many Ph.D. programs require at least five years to complete coursework, research, and a dissertation, and some also require an internship. A Psy.D. program typically takes 4-6 years, including internship requirements.

Some programs offer accelerated or part-time options, which can change degree timelines. Enrollees may also complete coursework faster through a self-paced, asynchronous model, though only online courses are offered asynchronously. Because the length varies, prospective doctoral students should be sure to research prospective programs' requirements and enrollment options before applying.

Psychology Jobs

With a doctorate in psychology, graduates can pursue careers as psychologists and psychology professors. In these career paths, psychologists can conduct research, educate students, and provide clinical services. A psychology doctorate also prepares graduates for supervisory roles, such as healthcare executive.

Other psychology careers include school or educational psychologist, industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologist, and clinical social worker. This section explores common psychology jobs, including the earning potential, licensure requirements, and projected job growth for each career.

Postsecondary Psychology Teachers

Postsecondary psychology teachers, also known as psychology professors, teach at the college level. They educate undergraduate and graduate students on different topics in psychology, including research, behavioral psychology, and human development. In addition to developing syllabi, psychology professors create assignments and exams to assess student learning. These professors also conduct research and publish their work.

A tenure-track psychology professor typically needs a Ph.D., though some colleges hire candidates with Psy.D. degrees to teach clinical psychology or for adjunct positions. Psychology professors may need special licensure, depending on their research and teaching areas.

Median Annual Salary

Projected Growth Rate


Psychologists research behavior and the decision-making process. In specializations like clinical or counseling psychology, they work with individuals and groups managing emotional or behavioral problems. Psychologists also conduct research into human development, identify organizational dynamics, and test neurological responses, often publishing their research.

Most psychologist jobs require a doctorate, though a school psychologist or I/O psychologist may hold only a master's degree. A Psy.D. prepares psychologists for clinical roles and professional licensure. A licensed psychologist typically needs a doctorate, passing scores on a national exam, and supervised professional experience. Psychologists can also pursue specialty certification.

Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and health services managers, also known as healthcare executives, coordinate services in hospitals, medical practices, and other healthcare organizations. They set policy for their units, analyze data on quality, and implement plans to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Healthcare executives also ensure their organizations follow laws and regulations.

With psychology training, healthcare executives can work for community health and behavioral health facilities, including inpatient treatment centers. They also need administrative training in management and budgeting, and medical and health services managers often hold graduate degrees. The career path does not require a professional license.

Psychology Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help doctoral students expand their professional networks and prepare to transition into clinical practice, research roles, or other psychology careers. These organizations offer career resources, scholarships, and professional development support for doctoral candidates. They may also offer discounted student memberships.

APA represents over 122,000 researchers, clinicians, educators, and students in psychology. The association promotes psychology as a discipline, accredits psychology programs, and offers career resources for students. Members can visit the psychology help center for clinical support or read APA publications to stay current with the field. The association also awards scholarships and fellowships.

Since its founding in 1941, ICP has connected psychologists around the world. Members benefit from annual conferences and newsletters, mentorship opportunities, and professional development resources, such as webinars. This organization also offers travel and recognition awards for members.

AASP dates back to 1985 and represents sports and performance psychology professionals. Members work with athletes, business professionals, and military personnel to improve their physical and mental performance. The association offers professional certifications, hosts an annual conference with networking opportunities, and provides webinars and publications to help practitioners stay current in the field. AASP also offers grants and a student center.

Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Psychology Degree

Doctoral programs typically cost tens of thousands in tuition and fees, even when courses are offered partially online. Fortunately, doctoral students qualify for many forms of financial aid to pay for their degrees.

To start, students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which qualifies filers for federal student loans and work-study programs. In addition to federal loans, students can also use private loans to cover costs. Many states also support degree-seekers with grants or scholarships.

Institutional support helps many graduate students earn psychology degrees. Universities often award fellowships, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid to help recruit and retain students. Some doctoral fellowships include tuition waivers and stipends. To learn about the options at your school, check with the student assistance or finance office.

Finally, psychology degree-seekers qualify for scholarships offered by professional associations, private foundations, and private donors. For example, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology offers both scholarships and fellowships. The APA also offers scholarships and fellowships for psychology doctoral students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you become a psychologist with an online degree.

Yes, though there are no accredited psychology doctorates that are available fully online. Instead, programs offer a mix of online and in-person coursework. Psychologists who earn APA-accredited degrees partially online qualify for a professional license in most states. Some career paths, including academia and research, may not require a license.

Are Online Psy.D. Programs APA Accredited?

The APA does not currently accredit any fully online Psy.D. programs. However, the APA does accredit hybrid programs. Always check local state requirements for psychologist licensure before enrolling in a psychology doctoral program to ensure that it meets specifications.

Can You Earn a Doctorate in Psychology Completely Online?

No. As of 2021, the APA — the only agency authorized to accredit psychology doctoral programs — does not accredit any fully online programs.

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Top 5 Best Psychology PhD Programs in 2024

Lisa Marlin

When choosing where to apply, many students want to know which schools have the best psychology PhD programs. There are so many to choose from. That’s what sparked our interest in the subject. We regularly evaluate grad schools, and we use our findings to list the best psychology PhD programs.

Below, we will cover each grad school. We include the location, acceptance rate, and tuition expectations. We also mention why it earned a spot among the top psychology PhD programs this year.

Table of Contents

Best Psychology PhD Programs: Rankings

Psychology entails studying human behavior and its relationship to the processes of the brain. If you have an interest in the field and a passion for research, you could enjoy a successful career by gaining a lucrative PhD  in psychology. With steady job growth in the field and competitive salaries, you will also be set for a rewarding career in more ways than one with psychology PhD programs.

Read on to learn more about the top top psychology doctoral programs and universities, career options, pros and cons, and more.

Cornell University, Graduate School

Cornell University

Psychology PhD (Ithaca)

Cornell University is a private Ivy League land-grant university with seven undergraduate and graduate divisions, each functioning mostly autonomously. The university offers one of the best PhD psychology programs today, which aims to encourage students to contribute to original research and develop the ability to critically analyze subjects in their fields of study based on scientific literature. The program has a practical and experimental focus, with facilities like electrophysiological, chemical, and surgical laboratories and audio-visual studios.

  • Duration: 3 years +
  • Tuition : $29,500
  • Financial aid : Assistantships, Fellowships, External funding
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Founded: 1865

Harvard University, The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Harvard University logo

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology

Harvard University  is one of the world’s most prestigious higher learning institutions. It has the highest endowment levels of any US or Canadian university and offers two doctoral psychology programs in two different tracks. One track includes social psychology, developmental psychology, and CBB (Cognition, Brain, and Behavior), while the other is based mainly on Clinical Science. Note that this department is APA-accredited.

  • Duration: 5 years
  • Tuition : $50,928 per two years
  • Financial aid : Teaching fellowship, Grants, Stipend
  • Acceptance rate: 5%
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Founded: 1636

Stanford University, Department of Psychology

PhD Program in Psychology

The PhD program in Psychology at Stanford earns high marks for its collaborative spirit between students and faculty advisors. Over the course of this five-year program, students participate in 135 units of research units and coursework. There are several department areas including neuroscience and cognitive psychology . In these fields, students learn and apply trusted research methods.

With an acceptance of only 10-15 new students each year, this is the most selective psychology PhD program in our list. Note that Stanford doesn’t offer a Clinical Psychology program..

  • Duration: 5 years approx.
  • Tuition: See the Financial Aid department
  • Financial aid: Fellowships, Assistantships, scholarships, stipends
  • Acceptance rate: 1-3%
  • Location: Stanford, CA
  • Stanford Psychology Department Founded: 1892
  • Application Portal

University of California, Berkeley, Department of Psychology

Graduate Program in Psychology

The psychology PhD program at Berkeley offers several areas for specialization. Students can focus on clinical science, cognition, neuroscience, developmental psych, and social-personality. Note that they have a useful YouTube video on this grad program. Important for potential clinical PhD students, Berkeley is PCSAS accredited.

Those who choose this program should only apply if they already have laboratory or field research experience. The application process for the Berkeley psychology PhD program should also expect to submit strong recommendation letters and a noteworthy personal statement. Like Stanford’s program, this one is exceptionally competitive.

  • Duration: 5 years with guaranteed funding
  • Tuition: Funded
  • Financial aid: Fellowships, teaching, or research appointments
  • Acceptance rate : 2.5%
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Founded: 1921/1922

University of California Los Angeles, Department of Psychology

UCLA logo

PhD Psychology

UCLA is one of the nine campuses of the prestigious University of California. It is a public land-grant research university and offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. Its PhD psychology program is one of the best PhDs in California , and asks students to expand the existing body of scientific knowledge in the field. It also prepares students to become effective research psychologists and academics. Unlike some other psychology PhDs, this program doesn’t require you to have a master’s degree as a prerequisite.

  • Duration: 6 years approx.
  • Tuition : $16,847 per year ($31,949 for non-residents)
  • Financial aid : Assistantships, Fellowships, Grants, Awards, Stipend
  • Acceptance rate: 14.3%
  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Founded: 1882

Top Psychology Doctoral Programs: Ranking Methodology

To evaluate the best PhD programs, we considered several factors. Our evaluations covered acceptance rate, availability of financial aid, duration, and school prestige. Our top choices include supervised practicum training and give real-world instruction prior to awarding a degree.

Needless to say, we also looked for American Psychological Association (APA) or Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) accreditation. This factor only applied to those schools with a Clinical Psychology program.

We also grouped clinical psychology programs with counseling programs. Note that there are several ways to get a job in the field of psychology. Both clinical and counseling psych degrees rank above average among salaries in the United States.

Should I Get a PhD or a Psy.D.?

Before deciding to proceed with either a PhD or Psy.D., it’s important to understand the differences between each program. A PhD or Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology is focused more on research and statistics . This qualification is most useful in helping you become a research scholar or an academic.

On the other hand, a Psy.D. degree is more practical and prepares you for direct clinical practice. You’re probably best opting for a Psy.D. if you want to work with patients in a clinical setting. While the PhD takes five to seven years to complete excluding an internship, a Psy.D. program typically takes around four to five years including an internship.

Is it worth getting a Ph.D. in psychology?

There are a few common questions about psychology PhD programs, and this is one of the first you should ask. In many cases, the answer depends on the school you plan to attend. Those in Stanford’s psychology PhD program may benefit from the school’s experience if they plan on a career in research or teaching.

Can I make 6 figures with a psychology degree?

Another common question concerns salaries. According to BLS.gov , the median salary for a psychologist in the United States was over $85,000. More specialized jobs in this area pay even better. Industrial-organizational psychologists, for example, have a median pay of more than $139,000. Those who land higher-paying jobs in clinical research roles may have fewer concerns on the overall affordability of a psychology PhD program.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Psychology?

There are a wide variety of roles available for psychologists in clinical, research, educational, social, and industrial settings. Note that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologist jobs are projected to rise by 6% by 2032 (which makes it a faster-than-average growing profession).

Some of the most common career options for a graduate with a PhD in Psychology are:

Psychologist ( $80,754 )

A psychologist uses their knowledge of psychological conditions and disorders to study, diagnose, or treat individuals and groups.

Clinical Psychologist ( $82,703 )

Clinical psychologists evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients in a clinical setting.

Child Psychologist ( $66,149 )

Child psychologists apply specialized psychological knowledge to diagnose and treat children’s mental health, emotional, social, or behavioral problems.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist ( $85,682 )

Industrial-organizational psychologists  study and analyze employee behavior and interactions in the workplace and suggest solutions for improving the organization’s functions.

Psychology Professor ( $89,130 )

Associate professors of psychology may teach students in a university or community college and conduct research.

A PhD in psychology also qualifies you to work as a neuropsychologist ( $94,747 ), research scientist ( $82,882 ), clinical director ( $80,118 ), organizational development manager ( $88,545 ), among other positions.

Admission Requirements for Psychology Doctoral Programs

Most universities require you to have a master’s degree for admission to a doctoral degree in psychology program. However, some universities only require a bachelor’s, including UCLA . You may even have the option to gain a master’s degree alongside your PhD.

Other than this basic requirement, most universities ask for a minimum GPA  of at least 3.0. Some will also look for GRE scores , as well as official academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Pros and Cons of a PhD Program in Psychology

Here are some pros and cons to consider before enrolling in a psychology PhD program.

Better Job Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in psychology are expected to grow by 6% from 2022 to 2032. Given this figure is the average for all occupations, having a PhD in Psychology is likely to lead to even better-paid positions.

Better Salary

The average annual salary for psychologists was $85,330 in 2022 according to the BLS, which is higher than national averages. With a psychology PhD, you shouldn’t struggle to secure a good salary.

Less Job Competition There are certain jobs that have a PhD in Psychology as an essential pre-requisite. Therefore, this qualification will undoubtedly open doors and make you stand out in the job market.

Less Clinical Options

Certain clinical positions prefer candidates with a Psy.D. instead of a PhD, so the former may be a better option if you’d like to pursue a more clinical career path.

Higher Cost of Study

A PhD typically takes longer to complete compared to a Psy.D, resulting in a greater financial commitment in tuition costs each year.

Additional Qualifications Needed For Work

A PhD in Psychology may not be enough alone to work into a role. In many cases, you’ll also need certain licenses and certifications to qualify to work in the industry.

Alternatives to a PhD Psychology Degree

PhD psychology degree holders can embark on a wide range of different careers. In some cases, they can pursue a similar career path with different qualifications.

A few examples include:

If you want to pursue a career in counseling you don’t necessarily need to complete a PhD in Psychology. A Master’s in Counseling can also make you an excellent counselor.

School Psychology

There are a range of graduate programs in education  that can make you eligible to become a school psychologist.

Social Work

Some psychologists choose a career in social work, but an MSW ( M aster’s in Social Work ) will also equip you to pursue a career in this field.

Psychology PhD FAQs

How many years does it take to get a phd in psychology.

Typically, PhD in psychology programs take between four and seven years to complete. This depends on various factors, and students may have the option to complete it faster. There are shorter programs around, especially some online accelerated programs.

Is Getting a PhD in Psychology Worth It?

Getting a PhD in psychology takes time and money, as this degree can take up to seven years to complete. Is it worth the investment? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the bottom 10% salary for any psychology role is around $48,010 and the overall median salary is $85,330. Of course, there are many jobs in the field with much higher salaries.

What PhD Programs Are There For Psychology?

Though doctorate psychology programs have similar fundamentals, some topics vary from program to program. This allows PhD students to specialize in a particular area. The most common concentrations are clinical psychology, behavioral psychology, school psychology, social psychology, school psychology, developmental psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology.

Can I Get a PhD in Psychology Without a Master’s?

Yes, but not from all universities. Most programs ask for a master’s in Psychology as an essential requirement for admission. However, some universities take in students with a bachelor’s degree, as long as they meet other requirements.

How Much Does a Psychology PhD Cost?

The cost of doctorate programs in psychology depends on a range of factors. One important factor is whether you get your degree from a private university or a public one. Additionally, in-state students enjoy lower tuition compared to out-of-state students. Generally, for public universities, the tuition can be roughly between $11,000 and $24,000 per year, while private universities may charge around $34,000. Further, on-campus and online programs have significant differences in tuition and other expenses.

Do All Psychologists Have a PhD?

Many psychologists have a doctorate. However, some organizations also recruit psychologists with master’s degrees for some roles, though most clinical and research psychology positions ask for a PhD. On the other hand, some occupations like industrial-organizational psychologists and psychologists in sports  and athletics typically demand a master’s degree.

Can You Get a PhD in Psychology Online?

Yes. Many universities offer fully online PhD programs in psychology . Some institutions are run purely online and offer only online programs. Note that some of these are for-profit universities and should be evaluated with enormous scrutiny.

Key Takeaways

Although the best psychology PhD programs can lead you to a highly successful career, each one demands significant time and financial commitments . If you want to pursue a PhD in psychology you need to be dedicated and passionate.

Having said that, with the excellent career prospects in this area, you won’t regret pursuing a PhD in psychology! Preparing for a doctoral or graduate degree program application? Check out our article about graduate school scholarships .

Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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The clinical program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System.

Your program will typically be fully funded for five years thanks to stipend grant support and guaranteed teaching fellowships. Tuition support is also available for a six-year program. Funding is also available for research, travel, and conferences. You will have access to the latest technology at FAS Research Computing and the Neuroimaging Facility at the Center for Brain Science.

Examples of student dissertations and theses include “Childhood Anxiety Disorders: Developmental Risk Factors and Predictors of Treatment Response,” “Clarifying the Pathway to Suicide: An Examination of Subtypes of Suicidal Behavior and Their Association with Impulsiveness,” and “A Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Groups.”

Graduates have secured positions in academia at prestigious institutions such as Princeton University, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University. Others have embarked on careers with companies such as Facebook, BetterUp, and Apple.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of Psychology and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies .

Areas of Study

Cognition, Brain, and Behavior | Experimental Psychopathology and Clinical | Developmental | Social Psychology

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of Psychology .

Academic Background

While an undergraduate concentration in psychology is not required, some social science coursework is recommended. Because the program is heavily quantitatively oriented, college-level math and statistics are also advised. Research experience is extremely helpful; successful applicants have often worked for professors, done research projects as part of college courses, written an undergraduate thesis, or volunteered in a psychology research lab.

Please Note: Before making the decision to apply, the program in Psychology suggests checking individual faculty/lab websites or emailing faculty directly to inquire whether they plan to consider applicants for Fall 2024 admission. It’s important to note that while individual faculty members may have every intention of bringing in a new student this year, we cannot guarantee that they will all be able to do so. The total number of offers of admission to be extended by the graduate program is based on applicant preparedness and fit, availability of university advising and support resources, and target class size. Some of these factors are not able to be determined until after the applicant pool has been finalized.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Optional

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Psychology

See list of Psychology faculty


Questions about the program.

PhD Admission FAQ

5 year phd psychology programs

General Information

When is the application due and how do i apply .

NOW CLOSED- The application is due on  November 30, 2023  at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. 

Apply using the  application portal .

How long does it take to get a PhD in Psychology at Stanford?

The PhD program is designed to be completed in five years of full-time study. Actual time will depend on students' prior background, progress, and research requirements. The minimum residency requirement for the PhD degree is 135 units of completed coursework and research units.

What are the requirements for the PhD degree in Psychology?

Please consult the  PhD Requirements page .

What are the different subfields within the graduate program in Psychology?

  • Affective Science
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology

What is the Department's teaching requirement?

PhD students must complete at least five quarters of teaching assistantship (TA) under the supervision of a faculty member. Students are required to attend a TA training workshop in their second year. In addition, students are encouraged to take advantage of department and university teacher training programs. Students for whom English is a second language are expected to acquire sufficient fluency in English. All international students must be approved by  Stanford’s EFS department . 

How many students apply to the Stanford Psychology PhD? How many are admitted? What are the demographics?

Stanford provides public reports with summary data about graduate programs and graduate admissions. Please consult the public dashboards published by Stanford's office of Institutional Research & Decision Support on  doctoral admissions ,  doctoral enrollment and demographics , and  doctoral completion and time-to-degree . 

Is there a standalone Master of Arts program in Psychology?

The Department of Psychology does not offer a terminal Master’s degree program. Current doctoral students within the Department or in another Stanford graduate program may apply to be awarded a Master of Arts in Psychology during the course of their PhD program.

Does your department have a program in Clinical Psychology? Are you accredited by the APA?

No. Our department does not have a program in Clinical Psychology. As such, we are not accredited by the APA.

Do you have any advice about getting into grad school?

The Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences offers an online resource for prospective graduate school applicants:  Guide on Getting Into Grad School . We encourage applicants to take advantage of this resource.

Financial Support

What is the annual cost of attending your program.

All students admitted to the Psychology PhD program receive five years of 12-month funding. Financial support is provided through a combination of fellowship stipend and salary, and assistantship salary and tuition allowance. Information about the cost of attendance and funding options are available from the  Financial Aid Office .

What type of financial support do you offer?

All students admitted to the Psychology PhD program receive five years of 12-month funding. Financial support is provided through a combination of fellowship stipend and salary, and assistantship salary and tuition allowance. Funding is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. Students are encouraged to pursue fellowships offered by the University and by national organizations, such as the National Science Foundation.

Stanford University also offers the  Knight-Hennessy Scholars  program, designed to build a multidisciplinary community of Stanford graduate students dedicated to finding creative solutions to the world's greatest challenges. The program awards up to 100 high-achieving students every year with full funding to pursue graduate education at Stanford, including the PhD in Psychology. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars and separately apply to the Psychology Department. Note that the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program application deadline is in the spring  before  the autumn application cycle.

Do you offer support for the summer months?

Yes, funding is offered for 12 months a year for 5 full years, including 5 summers.

Preparing for Admission

Am i eligible to apply if my undergraduate major is not in psychology.

An undergraduate major in Psychology is not required; applicants from other backgrounds can apply and be admitted. All applicants should have sufficient foundational knowledge and research experience prior to the program to allow them to go straight into graduate-level coursework and conduct research.

My undergraduate degree was completed outside the United States. Is my degree eligible? 

Please refer to the Stanford Graduate Admission Office's table of  minimum level requirements for international academic credentials . These credential requirements are set by the University and nonnegotiable.

If I have prior graduate work, can it be transferred to the PhD program?

No, the Department of Psychology does not allow the transfer of unit credits from your previous program.

How competitive is admission to the PhD program?

Admission to our program is highly competitive. About 10-15 admits enter the program each year and are chosen from a pool of over 600 applicants. These students are selected on the basis of a strong academic background as demonstrated by previous coursework, research experience, and letters of recommendation. Please be assured that the Department reviews each application very carefully and makes decisions on an individual basis.

The Application Process

How do i apply.

Please visit the  PhD Admissions page  for instructions on how to apply to the Psychology PhD Program, graduate application requirements, and the link to the online application. 

Is there an application fee? If so, can I apply for a fee waiver?

The fee to apply for graduate study at Stanford is $125, see  Application Fee . Fee waivers are available for some applicants. Please visit Graduate Admissions for information on applying for an  Application Fee Waiver .

Can I submit another application to a different department within the University?

You may only apply to one degree program per academic year. However, you may apply concurrently to one departmental program and to a professional school program (law, medicine, or business).

I'm interested in the joint JD/PhD in Law and Psychology - how does it work?

Students interested in the JD/Ph.D. joint degree must apply and gain entrance separately to the School of Law and the Psychology Ph.D. program. Additionally, students must secure permission from each degree program to pursue the joint degree. Interest in both degrees should be noted on the student’s admissions applications and may be considered by the admissions committee of each program. Alternatively, an enrolled student in either the Law School or the Psychology department may apply to add the other degree and undertake the joint degree program, preferably during their first year of study. Students participating in the JD/Ph.D. joint degree program are not eligible to transfer and receive credit for a masters, or other degree, towards the Psychology Ph.D.

Students interested in the MPP/Ph.D. joint degree must apply and gain entrance to the Public Policy program’s MPP degree and the Psychology Ph.D. program. Students should note their interest in both degrees on their graduate admissions applications. Additionally, students must secure permission from each degree program to pursue the joint degree

Which faculty are accepting new students this year?

All active faculty are potentially accepting new students each year. In your application, we ask you to list the top 3 faculty you are most interested in working with. Multiple readers will review your application in full regardless of who you list. 

My institution does not report GPAs on a 4.0 grading scale. How should I report my GPA on the application?

Please do not convert your GPA to a 4.0 grading scale. You should enter “0.00” for the GPA and use the “Unconverted GPA” and “Unconverted GPA System” fields instead. A link to detailed instructions for reporting GPA is located near these fields on the application.

I attended multiple undergraduate institutions. In what order should I list them on the application?

The institution where you earned or expect to earn your Bachelor's degree should be listed as "Post-Secondary Institution 1." The remaining institutions don’t have to follow a particular order. List all institutions that were attended for at least one full academic year. Please note that you must submit a transcript for all courses taken towards your undergraduate degree, including those from your nonprimary institutions.

When should I submit my transcripts if my degree will still be in progress at the time of the application deadline?

The most current version of your unofficial transcript must be submitted as part of your electronic application, even if the grades from your fall term are not available. The absence of these grades will have no impact on the review of your application. If you are admitted and enrolled, we will ask you to submit your final transcript showing all grades and proof of degree conferral.

Should I submit official transcripts?

At the time of your initial application, please only submit your unofficial transcripts. Submit the unofficial transcripts as part of your electronic application, per the instructions in the application portal. A short list of applicants who move forward to the next stage of the review process will be contacted with instructions for submitting official transcripts at a later stage. 

It may be helpful to understand the difference.  Unofficial transcripts  are transcripts issued by your college or university directly to you, the student, which you then submit to Stanford for review. Official transcripts  are transcripts issued by your college or university directly to Stanford University, usually by secure electronic transfer and sometimes in hard copy in signed and sealed envelopes. The key difference is that an  official transcript  has never been directly handled by the applicant.

Do you have a minimum GPA score?

We do not require applicants to have a minimum GPA for consideration, and we do not release information about the average GPAs of accepted students. As a guideline, successful applicants typically earn undergraduate cumulative GPAs among the top of their class. However, please keep in mind that admission to our graduate program depends on a combination of factors, and all areas of a student’s application are weighed similarly when applications are reviewed. If our research areas meet your educational goals, we encourage you to submit an application. 

May I contact the faculty directly during the application process?

Applicants are not prohibited from reaching out to faculty directly during the application cycle. However, please understand that our faculty are extremely busy, and it is quite possible that you will receive either a very short response or no response at all. This does not mean the faculty are not interested in your application. All applications will be read and reviewed in full during the formal review process. Note that per Department policy, all faculty are potentially accepting graduate students in any given cycle, so you do not need to contact faculty in advance to see if that specific mentor is accepting students for the coming year.

Can I meet with Department staff either by phone or email before I apply to discuss my application materials or ask general questions about the program?

No, the Department staff do not have meetings with or provide individualized advising for prospective applicants. Please understand that this is a matter of bandwidth and equity. We do not have the ability to offer personalized service to all interested applicants, so we do not offer them at all. By Department policy, our staff do not provide any evaluative feedback on prospective applicants' materials, so please do not contact us with CVs, academic histories, etc to request feedback or ask about odds for acceptance. For support in crafting your application, we recommend that you turn to your existing network of mentors (e.g., your letter writers) and/or the resources offered by your current or prior academic institution(s).


Is the general gre required is the subject gre required.

No, the Stanford Psychology PhD program does not require the general GRE or the subject GRE. We will not be collecting any information related to GRE exam scores on the application. Please do not submit GRE scores to Stanford for our program.

What is the TOEFL exam, and am I required to take it?

The TOEFL is a standardized test of English language proficiency. Per University policy, the TOEFL exam is required for international, non-native English speakers who apply to any Stanford graduate program. 

The TOEFL score requirements are waived for international non-native English speakers who have received a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an institution in the United States or another English-speaking country. Therefore, applicants with these degrees from the U.S., Australia, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) are exempt from taking the TOEFL and do not need to submit the TOEFL waiver request form.

When should I take the TOEFL?

The TOEFL must be taken by the published application deadline. 

What is the minimum TOEFL score required for admission?

Please visit the website of  Stanford's Office of Graduate Admissions  for more information on the University’s minimum requirements.

If my TOEFL score falls below the University’s minimum, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you may still apply. If your TOEFL scores fall below the University's minimum requirements and you are admitted, Stanford may require you to take an English placement exam and/or English classes.

May I submit the IELTS instead of the TOEFL to demonstrate English proficiency?

The IELTS is not accepted at Stanford University; only the TOEFL is accepted to provide proof of proficiency in English.

How do I request a TOEFL exemption or waiver?

For all questions related to TOEFL exemptions or waivers please refer to the website of  Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions . Please note that the central office makes all final decisions regarding TOEFL waivers; the Department of Psychology is not involved in the approval of TOEFL waivers.

How do I check the status of my TOEFL scores?

Log in to your application account. It may take up to two weeks after submitting your application or sending the scores (whichever occurs later) for your official scores to show as received. Processing may be delayed or halted if the name or birthdate on the score report does not exactly match the information on your application.

Why does my TOEFL status show as “Not Applicable” even though I submitted a TOEFL score?

This may be because you listed English as your first language in the application. Please note that “first language” refers to your native language.

Is there a department code for ETS to use in order to send in my scores?

No, there are no individual department code. Use the Stanford University score recipient code  4704  to send your TOEFL scores.

Statements of Purpose

How long should my statement of purpose be.

We strongly recommend that your statement of purpose be around two pages in length.

What should I include in my statement of purpose?

Please consult the Stanford Graduate Admissions  FAQ page  for more information on the Statement of Purpose.

Letters of Recommendation

When are the letters of recommendation due.

The letters of recommendation have the same deadline as the rest of the application. This year, the deadline is  November 30, 2023.

How many recommendations do I need, and who should I ask to be my recommenders?

Applicants need three recommendations from faculty or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. At least one evaluation and letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work.

My recommender will not be able to submit his/her letter by the application deadline. Will my application still be considered?

Letters of recommendation must be submitted by the application deadline. As such, we strongly encourage you to contact your recommenders directly to remind them of our deadline. If your recommender misses the deadline, please contact  psych-admissions [at] stanford.edu (psych-admissions[at]stanford[dot]edu) . Depending on the circumstances, Department staff may collect the letter via email and forward it to the faculty to add to your file. That said, the program expects applicants to do everything possible to ensure that letters are submitted on time via the secure online system.

Can my recommenders submit their letters via email, fax, or postal service?

No. Recommenders must submit their letters via Stanford’s online recommender system.

My recommenders are having technical difficulties with the online letters of recommendation process. Who should they contact?

Should any of your recommenders experience technical difficulties with the online letters of recommendation process, please refer them to our application database provider's letters of recommendation help page or have them submit a Help Request Form directly to our application database provider.

Additional Materials and Updates

I realized i made a mistake on my application and/or uploaded the wrong version of my documents. what do i do.

Depending on the timing and the nature of the error, our staff may be able to correct your application. Please send an email to  psych-admissions [at] stanford.edu (psych-admissions[at]stanford[dot]edu) . Include your full name, a complete description of the error, and attach the correct version of the file (if applicable). The Department reserves the right to decline to update your application after the deadline has passed. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

If you need to change your recommenders, please use the Activity Status Page. Note: The order of recommenders cannot be changed.

May I submit a resume/CV, list of publications, etc. as part of my application?

Applicants are permitted to upload one additional document to the online application, under the “Document Uploads” section.

Is there an interview process? 

Yes, our faculty interview prospective students before making final admission decisions. 

When are the interviews?

The interviews for the current admissions cycle are likely to be in February 2021. We anticipate that all interviews will take place virtually.

When can I expect to find out the decision on my application?

The Department of Psychology aims to issue all offers of admission to PhD degree applicants by the end of March.

I applied in a prior cycle and was not admitted. Can I apply again?

Applicants who applied in prior cycles and were previously not admitted are welcome to reapply if they can demonstrate significant progress made since they last applied. We encourage you to use your Statement of Purpose to explain this progress.

All documents must be resubmitted with a new application. We do not keep records from past applications.

I still have questions!

If you have questions that are not answered on this page or the Stanford Graduate Admissions  FAQ page , please email  psych-admissions [at] stanford.edu (psych-admissions[at]stanford[dot]edu) . If your questions are already covered on this page, your email may not receive a response.

Note that our Department staff are experts on the logistics and administration of the application, but do not answer questions related to research topics or faculty fit. Per Department policy, Department staff will not offer any evaluative feedback on application materials or applicants' academic background. Unfortunately, due to the extremely high volume of inquiries, we cannot provide individual status updates for applicants at any point in the process.

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Clinical Psychology, PsyD

A student smiling in front of a blue clipart backdrop

Get Your PsyD to Become a Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Are you ready to aim for the highest level of learning and leadership in clinical psychology? The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program is an intensive, five-year program that will provide you with extensive knowledge and real-world experience in clinical psychology. You'll work hard and gain the academic knowledge you'll need to move forward toward earning your clinical psychologist license.

No master’s degree or previous graduate work is required for you to apply.

Why Enroll in IUP’s Clinical Psychology PsyD?

With a doctorate in clinical psychology from IUP, you’ll be well equipped to step into a variety of professional roles where you can make a profound impact in others’ lives. Our program follows the local clinical scientist model of training, which serves as a bridge between the science of psychology and the realities of working in a clinical setting.

Earning a doctoral degree means you’re committed to your profession and are ready for your academic journey. But you won’t be alone. With an average of 15 students per year admitted to the Clinical Psychology PsyD program, you'll get all the support you need from faculty, staff, and your own small cohort.

No Master’s Degree Required

You don't need a master’s degree to apply for admission because you’ll earn one along the way. Our doctorate in clinical psychology is typically completed in five years:

  • Four calendar years of full-time enrollment
  • An additional year of a full-time internship

This is a total of at least 99 semester hours of graduate-level course credit.

What You’ll Learn

In addition to a practitioner focus, the Clinical Psychology PsyD gives you broad exposure to a range of skills that will help you to react and adapt to professional psychology’s changing roles and responsibilities.

You’ll receive a solid background in the scientific knowledge of psychology, plus extensive supervision in the development of skills essential for all clinicians, including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychological assessment
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Program evaluation
  • Community outreach

To add real-world meaning to what you’re learning, you’ll also participate in a range of clinical training labs. You will have supervised experiences in:

IUP’s clinical psychology doctoral program is designed to meet the academic requirements of licensure and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The licensure exam and post-doctoral supervised experience are not part of this program.  Consumer information disclosures  that state the PsyD program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure.

Imagine Your Future

In the Clinical Psychology PsyD program, you'll gain skills that will prepare you to work successfully in the field. You'll get experiences in

  • Assessing clients
  • Treating clients
  • Conducting research

Your clinical experience will typically be as part of a health care team in collaboration with other professionals.

When you graduate with a doctorate in clinical psychology from IUP, you will have completed the academic requirements toward licensure in Pennsylvania. You will not be licensed or even license-eligible when you graduate—the licensure exam and the post-doctoral supervised experience are not part of this program.

We’re proud to note that recent Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data shows IUP’s Clinical Psychology PsyD program graduates perform exceptionally well on their licensure exams, indicating the excellent academic and practical background they obtained at IUP.

Psychologists, 2021–31

Annual job growth

Job openings each year

Median annual salary

(as of 2021)

Licensure Rates

Students who graduated between two and 11 years ago (2013–21). 2022 and 2023 graduates are not included as new graduates are not yet eligible for licensure in most states.

Total Number of Graduates

Total Number of Licensed Graduates

Total Number of Unlicensed Graduates

Program Curriculum

IUP’s Clinical Psychology PsyD curriculum builds your knowledge class by class while emphasizing hands-on experiences. It's important to keep in mind that this intensive doctoral degree program goes year-round, for a minimum of five years.

In your first year, you’ll study general topics such as

  • Intervention
  • Psychopathology and personality theory
  • Research methods

Your exposure to clients begins in the first year, too. You’ll provide psychotherapy services to undergraduate volunteers. You’ll also start a series of classes on ethics during your first summer.

Your second-year coursework includes research and diversity issues, to name a few, and your intervention training continues. You’ll begin an internal practicum in our training clinics at the Center for Applied Psychology (CAP). You’ll sit for the Comprehensive Clinical Examination at the end of your second year.

In the third year, you'll typically start an external practicum at a local agency, hospital, or clinic. Your coursework continues, including electives and nonclinical core courses. You’ll take the Clinical Proficiency Examination at the end of your third year.

Between your third and fourth years, most students focus on defending their dissertation proposals. During your fourth year—after you meet the requirements, including having defended your dissertation proposal—you will be eligible to apply for internship. And you’ll continue with coursework and your practicum, and conduct dissertation research.

Your fifth year is typically your predoctoral internship year. This is a full-time, paid clinical training experience.

Practicum Settings

"Practicum" (PSYC 993) is a graduate course in which advanced graduate students enroll in one to three credits per semester and are placed in external health service psychology sites. Students are supervised by a licensed professional psychologist at the site, and a licensed clinical psychologist from our PsyD program provides coordination and oversight.

2022–23 Practicum Sites

  • Allegheny General Hospital/Allegheny Health Network
  • Associates in Behavioral Diagnostics and Treatment
  • Bliss Psychological Services
  • Carnegie Mellon Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Chatham University Counseling Services
  • Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Cognitive Behavioral Institute
  • Community Guidance Center
  • Conemaugh Medical Center - Family Medical Center
  • Coufal & Associates
  • Duquesne University Counseling Services
  • Edwards & Associates
  • Family Counseling Center of Armstrong County
  • IUP Counseling Center
  • Lake Psychological Services
  • Mary Berge and Associates
  • Menta Psychological
  • Neuropsychiatric Associates (IRMC)
  • Pediatric Care Specialists - Behavioral Health Services
  • Pennsylvania State University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Pittsburgh VA Medical Center
  • Torrance State Hospital
  • University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center
  • Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinics (WPIC)/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

Admission Procedures

The Clinical Psychology PsyD is a highly selective program that seeks students with great promise to become excellent clinicians and leaders who will advance the field of clinical psychology.

That means that, while there are minimum requirements to apply, our doctoral psychology students typically have grades and scores well above those minimums.

You must also have demonstrated prior research experience, such as an honor’s project, research practicum, or serving as a research assistant.

In addition, we require that applicants have some clinical exposure to the field through an internship, volunteer work, or, in some cases, a paid position.

The following criteria will be considered in evaluating your application:

  • Overall minimum 3.0 GPA and strong grades in psychology courses.
  • Training in research methodology.
  • Prior clinical experience in practicum, employment, or volunteer work.
  • A personal statement of goals.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Interviews with faculty (in-person or remote) for applicants invited to interview.

You’ll also need a minimum of 18 credits in psychology if you have an undergraduate degree in something other than psychology. Those courses must include abnormal psychology, personality, and research/statistics.

IUP admissions, outcomes, and other data as reported between 2010–11 and 2019–20 academic years are  fully disclosed here .

PsyD Faculty

  • Stephanie Davis
  • William Farrell
  • Jenna Hennessey
  • Laura Knight
  • Mark McGowan
  • William Meil
  • Lisa Newell
  • Margaret Reardon
  • Laurie Roehrich

Predoctoral Internship Helps Shape Your Professional Identity

Your predoctoral clinical psychology internship is an important training experience for developing your professional identity, as well as for refining your clinical skills. The internship provides a methodical, supervised, professional training program in an applied setting.

This required internship is a paid, full-time, 12-month clinical experience. After you receive approval from the training director, you can apply for an internship to APA-accredited sites through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).

Internships for Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

I. purpose and goals.

The purpose of the internship is to provide a systematic program of supervised, professional training in an applied setting. The internship training program is designed to integrate scientific, professional, and ethical knowledge in a way that will permit the student to demonstrate autonomous and responsible functioning as a practicing psychologist. Consistent with the individual's previous graduate education and skill development, the internship experience provides an atmosphere of professional socialization that is necessary for the development of a firm professional identity as well as the enhancement of professional clinical proficiency.

The goals of the internship experience are to increase the student's proficiency in intervention/treatment, assessment/diagnosis, and consultation up to professional practice standards. The internship, therefore, should provide for core experiences in the following areas:

  • Experience with a variety of methods of assessment/ diagnosis across a variety of problems and clinical populations.
  • Experience with a variety of methods of intervention/ treatment across a variety of problems and clinical populations.
  • Experience with culturally/ethnically diverse populations.
  • Application of critical thinking to professional practice.
  • Understanding of professional, legal, and ethical issues relevant to the practice of psychology.
  • Introduction to supervision and management of psychological services.

II. General Policy

The internship occurs following the completion of all didactic and supervised practica in the academic setting. This includes satisfactory performance on the preliminary exams and the research and clinical proficiency evaluations. Ideally, the student should have completed the doctoral project prior to beginning the internship. The National Conference of Internship Training in Psychology (1987) recommends that the predoctoral internship be a full-time, twelve-month experience or the equivalent time spread over two years. Of that time, a minimum of 500 hours of time should be spent in direct patient/client contact. Additionally, a minimum of four hours per week in regularly scheduled, formal, face-to-face supervision is recommended.

Prior to internship, IUP students must have completed a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised practicum with a variety of client populations.

At the time of application for internship, the director of Doctoral Studies must certify that the prospective intern has demonstrated:

  • Interests and goals appropriate to the internship program.
  • The ability to apply assessment/diagnosis and intervention/treatment knowledge under supervision.
  • Ethical and professional conduct.
  • Interpersonal skills appropriate to the practice of psychology.
  • A general knowledge base resulting in completion of the doctoral preliminary exam and the research methods proficiency exam.
  • Research skills resulting in the approval of a doctoral project proposal.

By the time the internship begins, the director of Doctoral Studies must certify that the student has completed all formal graduate coursework, has passed the clinical proficiency evaluation, and has completed the supervised practice (practicum) requirements.

III. Criteria for Internship Settings

All internship plans must be reviewed and approved by the Clinical Training Committee. The student generally applies for an internship at sites approved by the APA, or sites listed by APPIC. If students wish to apply at a site not on these approved lists, the site must meet the criteria adopted by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology.

Internship Placements in Past Years


  • Applewood Centers, Inc.
  • Aspire Health Alliance (South Shore Mental Health)
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center
  • Illinois State University
  • John D. Dingell VA Medical Center
  • National Psych Training Consortium
  • Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • South Texas Veterans Health Care System
  • Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center
  • WellSpan Philhaven CBT


  • Allina Health-Mental Health & Addiction Services
  • Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health
  • Fulton State Hospital
  • Iowa City VA Health Care System
  • Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center
  • Wasatch Behavioral Health
  • Womack Army Medical Center


  • Arkansas Division Behavioral Health Service
  • Buffalo Psychiatric Center
  • Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health
  • Cincinnati VA Medical Center
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Rochester-Psychiatry
  • Utah State Hospital
  • VA Western New York Healthcare System
  • Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surg Ctr/Lackland AFB
  • University Michigan-Counseling & Psych Service


  • Federal Correctional Complex-Petersburg
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  • Michigan State University - CAPS
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  • Milton Hershey School
  • National Psych Training Consortium - Central Springfield, MO
  • University of California - Irvine
  • University of Connecticut Counseling & Mental Health
  • University of Maine
  • University of Rochester - Psychiatry
  • WVU Medicine - University Healthcare


  • Applewood Centers
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  • Geisinger Medical Center
  • Ohio Psychology Internship Consortium
  • Ohio State University Counseling Center
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  • Mid-Ohio Psychological Services
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  • Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids, MI


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  • Torrance State Hospital, Torrance, PA
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Miami, FL
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
  • Wichita Collaborative Psychology, South Central Mental Health Center, Wichita, KS
  • Philhaven Hospital, Mt. Gretna, PA
  • Towson University, Towson, MD
  • Mid-Ohio Psychological Services, Inc., Columbus, OH
  • Henry Ford Health Science Center, Detroit, MI
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA
  • Lebanon VA Medical Center, Lebanon, PA
  • Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison Counseling, Madison, WI


  • Appalachian State University Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Children's Hospital of Michigan
  • Healtheast Care System
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  • Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
  • Pathways Community Health/Compass Health; Heart of America Internship Consortium, Rolla, MO
  • Penn State Counseling Center
  • Talbert House, Cincinnati, OH
  • West Virginia Counseling Center


  • University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT
  • University of Connecticut Counseling Center, Mansfield, CT
  • Southern Arizona Internship, Tucson, AZ
  • Penn State University Counseling Center, State College, PA
  • West Virginia University, Carruth Center, Morgantown, WV (2 interns)
  • Miami University, Oxford, OH
  • SUNY Buffalo Counseling Services, Buffalo, NY
  • Mid-Ohio Psychological Services, Columbus, OH
  • Southeast Human Service Center, Fargo, ND
  • Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH
  • Wright Patterson Medical Center, Wright Patterson AFB, OH
  • Community Healthlink, Worcester, MA
  • Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, Hoffman Estates, IL


  • Temple University, Tuttleman Counseling Services, Philadelphia, PA
  • College of William & Mary Counseling Center, Williamsburg, VA (2 interns)
  • Chicago School Community Leadership Internship Consortium, Chicago, IL University of Texas, Houston Health Science Center, Houston, TX
  • Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, Baltimore, MD
  • VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT
  • Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC


  • Miami VA Medical Center, Miami, FL
  • University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY
  • College of William & Mary Counseling Center, Williamsburg, VA
  • Conemaugh Medical Center, Johnstown, PA
  • Dayton VA Medical Center, Dayton, OH
  • Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology, NE
  • Towson University Counseling Center, Baltimore, MD


  • VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Biloxi, MS
  • West Virginia University, Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services, Morgantown, WV
  • University of Minnesota, University Counseling and Consulting Services, Minneapolis, MN
  • University of Michigan, Counseling and Psychological Services, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Kentucky River Community Care, Inc., Jackson, KY
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  • Central Regional Hospital, Butner, NC
  • Wasatch Mental Health, Provo UT
  • WJB Dorn VA Medical Center, Columbia, SC
  • Canvas Health, Oakdale, MN
  • Valley Mental Health, Salt Lake City, UH
  • Ohio Psychology Internship, Akron OH


  • Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Behavioral Resources and Institute for Neurological Services, Grand Rapids, MI
  • The Watson Institute, Sewickley, PA
  • University of MichiganCounseling and Psychology Center, Ann Arbor, MI
  • University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN


  • Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA (2 interns)
  • American University, Washington, D.C.
  • Broughton Hospital, Morganton, NC
  • Harvard, Beth Israel Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Jamaica Plain, MA
  • Heffner Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, Salisbury, NC (2 interns)
  • Park Place Behavioral Healthcare, Kissimmee, FL
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Salesmanship Club Youth & Family, Dallas, TX
  • Veteran's Affairs Eastern Kansas Healthcare System, Topeka, KS
  • Valley Mental Health, Salt Lake City, UT
  • University of Delaware, Newark, DE
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA



  • Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, Hammonton, NJ
  • College of William and Mary Counseling Center, Williamsburg, VA
  • Emory University Counseling Center, Atlanta, GA
  • Green Chimneys Children's Services, Brewster, NY
  • New Lifestyles, Winchester, VA
  • University of the Pacific Counseling Center, Stockton, CA
  • University of Southern California School of Medicine Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, CA

About the Center for Applied Psychology (CAP)

The Center for Applied Psychology provides psychological services to residents of Indiana County and neighboring communities. These services include:

  • Psychological interventions for various difficulties.
  • Psychological assessments of both adults and children.

As a clinical psychology doctoral student, you will participate in an internal practicum at CAP, providing psychotherapy and psychological assessment under the supervision of licensed psychologists.


The program is accredited as a Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Questions regarding accreditation status should be directed to:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 Phone: 202-336-5979 Email: [email protected]

The program is designed to meet the academic requirements of licensure and to provide the student with the background to immediately assume responsibilities in appropriate professional settings. Graduates of the program have performed well on licensure exams as evidenced by current licensure data .

The PsyD program follows a practitioner or applied model of training of clinical psychologists. Emphasis is placed on professional applications of psychology to a wide variety of human problems. Students receive extensive supervision in the development of skills in interpersonal relations, psychological assessment, psychotherapy, community outreach, and program evaluation and a solid grounding in the scientific knowledge base of psychology.

To ask specific questions, call 724-357-4519 or email Professor Laura Knight, program director, at [email protected] .

For more information of a general nature about the program and graduate study at IUP, see the IUP Graduate Catalog.

Best Psychology Schools

Ranked in 2022, part of Best Social Sciences and Humanities Schools

Studying the intricacies of the

Studying the intricacies of the human experience is central to a psychology program. With a graduate degree, psychologists are able to work in health facilities, schools and the government. These are the top psychology programs. Each school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. Read the methodology »

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Psychology (Ph.D.)

Psychology student giving a presentation

Why pursue a Ph.D. in psychology at UNH?

If you’re interested in taking your academic career one step further with the intent of teaching at the college and university level, our psychology Ph.D. program is for you. You’ll have the option to complete your degree in five years as you develop a broad knowledge of psychology, hone your teaching and communication skills, and perform research in your area of interest. We offer specialization in three areas: brain, behavior and cognition; social/personality; and developmental psychology. Nearly three-quarters of our graduates have gone onto careers in academia.

Program Highlights

Our graduate psychology program has been recognized by the American Psychological Association for Innovation in Graduate Education in Psychology. As a student in the program, you’ll receive a full tuition waiver and stipend for five years (contingent on university funding). You’ll work closely with experienced faculty while conducting research. You’ll also gain significant teaching training through our Practicum and Seminar in the Teaching of Psychology, and teaching experience, first leading an Introduction to Psychology course, then teaching mid-level courses in your area of interest. Many of our students earn a master's degree or cognate in college teaching. Our Preparing Future Faculty Program has been nationally recognized.

Potential career areas

  • College or university faculty

Tracy Young

Contact Information

Curriculum & Requirements

Program description.

The Department of Psychology offers a four- or five-year program of study leading to the doctor of philosophy degree. The basic goal of the program is the development of behavioral scientists who have a broad knowledge of psychology, can teach and communicate effectively, and can carry out sound research in an area of specialization. Although some students seek employment outside academia, the program is oriented toward developing the skills required by the research psychologist who intends to become a college or university teacher.

Specialization Areas The three areas in which a student may specialize are:

  • brain, behavior, and cognition
  • developmental psychology
  • social psychology/personality

Requirements for the Program

Degree requirements.

Depth in a particular area is obtained through participation in advanced seminars and by independent reading and research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Prior to the doctoral dissertation, the student carries out original research that culminates in either a master's thesis or a paper of publishable quality. A master's degree is awarded upon the successful completion of a program approved by the department and dean of the Graduate School. This typically takes place by the end of the second year.

The third year of the program is dedicated to the practicum and seminar in the teaching of psychology in conjunction with the teaching of introductory psychology.

Advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree depends on receiving the master's degree, passing a specialist examination in one of the department's areas of specialization, and identifying a topic for doctoral research. Advancement to candidacy is usually accomplished by the end of a student's fourth year in the program. During the fourth year, students typically begin dissertation research and teach an introductory course in their specialty area. Most students complete the Ph.D. degree in the fifth year.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate mastery of existing theory and research.
  • Develop the ability to conduct sound, independent ethical research.
  • Demonstrate abilities to conduct scholarly and professional activities in an ethical manner.
  • Demonstrate teaching abilities.

Application Requirements & Deadlines

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall : August 15
  • Spring : N/A
  • Summer : N/A
  • Special : N/A

Application fee : $65

Campus : Durham

New England Regional : No

Accelerated Masters Eligible : No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form . This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted , you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts : Please have your institution send the transcript directly to [email protected] . Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts : Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

GRE Optional But Recommended

The GRE scores are optional, though strongly recommended. I f you wish to provide scores please email the scores directly to the department once you have submitted your application online.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  • Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  • Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

Specialization: brain, behavior and cognition.

The Brain, Behavior, and Cognition program offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of cognition and brain function. Its aim is to provide students with the theoretical and methodological skills necessary to conduct independent research and to become productive scholars and teachers in this area. Mentorship comes from nine faculty members in Psychology, and can be enhanced by collaboration with faculty from other departments such as Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Linguistics, and Zoology. The faculty in Brain, Behavior, and Cognition offers a wide range of knowledge and experience analyzing behavior and applying the techniques of traditional experimental psychology, psychophysics, and modern neuroscience to the study of related cognitive, perceptual, biological and neurological mechanisms.

Most graduate students work on research projects that are part of a faculty member's on-going research, but students are encouraged to develop independent lines of research. Currently, faculty members have interests in basic memory processes; reading comprehension; psycholinguistics; language development; physiological mechanisms that underlie certain memory, stress, and mood disorders; psychopharmacology; psychoneuroimmunology; animal learning and behavior; comparative psychology; basic visual processes including spatial and temporal properties of stereopsis illusions, color vision, and physiological optics.

Animal labs include a variety of computer-controlled apparatus for training diverse behavioral tasks. These include a Morris water maze, video tracking system for open field, automated radial arm mazes, swim stress apparatus, chambers for olfactory discrimination and memory, rodent operant chambers for training DM and DNM with retractable levers, avian operant chambers with video displays and touchscreens, serial reaction task chambers, and shuttle boxes. Additional behavioral apparatus include measures of motor function, analgesia, behavioral despair, and fear conditioning. The labs are well-equipped for stereotaxic surgery, histology, light-microscopy and image analysis, intracranial infusion of drugs, neurochemistry and receptor binding studies, assessment of immune function, and stress-controllability programs.

Vision labs are equipped with a four-channel xenon-arc-based Maxwellian view optical system, a computer-based stereo Maxwellian view optical system, and a two-channel rear projection free-view optical system.

Cognitive labs consist of state-of-the-art computers and associated equipment, including eye-tracking technology. The cognitive neuroscience laboratory is equipped with a 64-channel ActiChamp EEG system.

Faculty Researchers

Sergios Charntikov: behavioral neuroscience & addiction Brett Gibson: spatial & categorical learning & memory Jill McGaughy: neurobiology & attention William Wren Stine: stereopsis, motion and mathematical modeling Omer Daglar Tanrikulu: visual perception

Starting in the Fall of 2024, the department will welcome Emily Liquin as Assistant Professor.

Education Ph.D., Psychology, Princeton University M.A., Psychology, Princeton University B.A., Cognitive Science & Psychology, Northwestern University Research Interests

  • Child development
  • Question asking

Her research investigates how humans learn and discover new things, with a particular focus on curiosity, exploration, and question asking. For example, her recent work has asked: How are curiosity, exploration, and question asking shaped by a person’s prior knowledge, experience, and context? And how does information-seeking behavior change between childhood and adulthood? Dr. Liquin takes an interdisciplinary approach to answering these questions, incorporating perspectives and methods from cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, philosophy, and artificial intelligence. Her ultimate goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of how humans play an active role in their own learning—with the potential to inform interventions to improve learning in everyday settings.   Lab Website:  liquin lab.github.io

Specialization: Developmental Psychology

The Developmental Psychology program offers graduate students the opportunity to study social, emotional, cognitive and neuropsychological aspects of human development. Coursework and research in the department touches on development from infancy through old age, and encompasses both theoretical and applied perspectives. Students emerge from the program with a broad knowledge base in developmental psychology and familiarity with diverse methodologies.

Current faculty research interests include cultural and media influences on development, parenting, sexuality, social support, and memory development.

Pablo Chavajay: cultural variations in cognitive development Michelle Leichtman: autobiographical memory, suggestibility Bolivar (Boli) Reyes-Jaquez: morality and social cognition development

Education Ph.D., Psychology, Princeton University M.A., Psychology, Princeton University B.A., Cognitive Science & Psychology, Northwestern University

Research Interests

Specialization: Social Psychology/Personality

The Social/Personality psychology program provides opportunities for graduate students to do research on many topics. Some graduate students work on research problems that are closely related to ongoing faculty research programs, while others develop their own research interests. Students draw on the expertise of the faculty in Developmental, Cognitive, and other areas of psychology within the department, and with faculty in other departments such as Sociology, in addition to the faculty whose primary identification is with Social/Personality Psychology.

April Bailey: bias, gender, natural language processing Ellen Cohn: law, rape/dating violence, race John Mayer: systems framework, emotional intelligence Jolie Wormwood: emotion, social perception, decision making

Teaching Seminar and Practicum

During both semesters of the third year of graduate study, each graduate student has full responsibility for teaching a small section of introductory psychology. The student enrolls simultaneously in the Seminar and Practicum in the Teaching of Psychology. In this setting students receive close supervision from a faculty member who is a specialist in teaching psychology, and they have opportunities to discuss the goals and problems of teaching and to profit from the experiences and suggestions of peers who are also teaching for the first time. Our practicum is a distinctive feature of our program, and it has received national recognition.

Some graduate students also choose to take special training for the Certification in College Teaching, through the UNH Teaching Excellence Program (see also Preparing Future Faculty ).

Most graduate students also teach one or more courses in their area of specialization during their fourth or fifth year in the graduate program. This experience has been very valuable to our graduates when they seek jobs.

Financial Aid

We guarantee funding (an assistantship that provides an academic year stipend, tuition, and health insurance) for five years as long as:

  • the student continues to make timely progress through the program,
  • our graduate program funding is not cut unexpectedly (this has not been an issue in the 50+ years of the program), and
  • the student writes a Dissertation Year Fellowship application during their fourth year (this is required to guarantee the fifth year of funding).

You may wish to visit the Financial Aid section of the Graduate School website for more information about the types of aid available to graduate students.

  • How to Apply

Online Application

To apply to the Psychology Program, you must apply online through the Graduate School . Collect and submit all additional supporting materials in one packet, with the exception of the "Area of Interest Questionnaire," and send to the Graduate School, not to the Psychology Program.

Supporting materials should be sent to the Graduate School at:

UNH Graduate School Thompson Hall 105 Main Street Durham, NH 03824

Area of Interest Questionnaire

In addition to the the Graduate School application, please also fill out the Area of Interest Questionnaire . Once it is complete, please send the Questionnaire by email to Robin Scholefield at [email protected] or by mail to:

Robin Scholefield Psychology Department 468A McConnell Hall Durham, NH 03824

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general Graduate School requirements, applicants must submit current scores (within five years) from the general test of the GRE. The UNH GRE code is 003918.  For more information about the GRE, please visit the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website . To be competitive for admission, applicants typically demonstrate sufficient academic background in psychology to undertake doctoral level work in one or more of the areas of specialization represented in the program. 

There is no formal application deadline.  Review of applications begins January 15 and continues until the incoming class is filled. Fall semester admission only.

PH.D. Alumni roll

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PhD in Clinical Psychology

At the forefront in clinical psychology.

It takes a unique mindset to be a clinical psychologist. Students at PAU are taught to be science-minded while appreciating the broader role of psychology in alleviating suffering in the world.

If you are a curious student dedicated to using psychology to improve lives, pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at PAU is your next step towards effecting change in the world.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology Program at Palo Alto University is deeply committed to educating well-rounded clinical psychologists capable and competent as both researchers and clinicians.

Rigorous Evidence-Based Curriculum

The PhD program at PAU includes intensive study in five areas: Basic theoretical concepts in psychology, research, psychological evaluation, psychotherapy theory and process, and clinical foundations and field experience.

You will learn to value evidence-based clinical models while maintaining the responsibilities psychologists have to their community, society, and profession.

The goals and key themes of our program:

  • To produce students and graduates who are critically reflective and informed consumers and producers of psychological knowledge and associated clinical sciences
  • To produce clinicians with the requisite clinical knowledge, skills, and attitudes to successfully practice as entry PhD-level clinical psychologists in a variety of clinical settings and with a variety of clinical problems.
  • To produce researchers with the requisite scientific knowledge, skills, and attitudes to both consume and generate research.
  • To produce culturally competent clinical psychologists.
  • To produce clinical psychologists whose conduct exemplifies excellence in professionalism and ethics.

Every PhD candidate at PAU takes pride in their capability and competence as both researcher and clinician. If you are ready to focus on your future, connect with PAU today.

PAU alumni go on to have successful and rewarding careers as clinical psychologists or in research-focused academics. Still others find their calling in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

  • With a PhD in Clinical Psychology, you can work in various settings, such as in hospitals and medical centers, community mental health clinics, private practice, and universities.
  • With balanced training for competency as a clinician and as a researcher, you will have the training for clinical work, research, or teaching – or even a combination of all three.
  • PAU areas of emphases enable our students to be board-certified in specialized psychology careers, including Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology.

Fully Accredited Training

The program of study for the PhD is informed by the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) guidelines for doctoral education in clinical psychology and emphasizes the integration of scientific research and clinical practices.

The PAU PhD in Clinical Psychology program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1988.

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation:

American Psychological Association 750 First Street NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 202-336-5979 [email protected] www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Learn more about Licensing and Accreditation @ PAU

APA IRC-26 Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Palo Alto Expert Faculty Graphic

The PhD Clinical Psychology program faculty is a talented and highly distinguished group of psychologists from across the globe, with wide-ranging clinical and research specialties.

PhD Area of Emphasis

Your core PhD training at PAU provides broad and general preparation through the integration of scholarship, professional experience, and research with our practitioner-scientist training model.

We also offer optional specialized training in seven key emphasis areas – all in high demand and focused on building additional knowledge and experience within a focused field of clinical psychology.

Group Graphic for PhD Emphasis

The Diversity and Community Mental Health (DCMH) area of emphasis at PAU gives you specialized knowledge and clinical training to provide psychological services for the public mental health sector.

Forensic Psychology Graphic

The PhD emphasis in Forensic Psychology at PAU trains specialists in the clinical application of psychology to the legal system.

PAU's Health Psychology Emphasis image

PAU’s Health Psychology Area of Emphasis will prepare students with foundational knowledge and skills to conduct cutting-edge assessment, treatment, and consultation in interprofessional care environments.

LGBTQ Psychology Image

At Palo Alto University, we are committed to ensuring that the next generation of clinical psychologists is competent in clinical practice and research with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) populations.

Meditation & Psychology Graphic

The Meditation and Psychology Emphasis in the PhD Clinical Psychology program involves clinical and research training concerning the interplay of mind-body factors in health and well-being.

PhD Image for Neuropsychology Program

The impact of brain function on human behavior is endlessly fascinating – and it’s a great career path for science-minded psychology students.

Pediatric Behavioral Emphasis image

Why choose pediatric behavioral health? It’s life-changing work – and the demand for highly-trained specialists continues to grow.

PhD Trauma Emphasis Image

Combat veterans. Mass casualty events. Domestic violence. Child abuse. The potential long-term – and immediate – psychological costs of trauma exposure can be catastrophic.

As a student at PAU, you will have access to specialized research groups and clinical training opportunities through the Gronowski Center, a community-based psychology training clinic and treatment center dedicated to providing high quality, evidence-based, clinical services to adults, older adults, adolescents, children, and families in the community.

Admission and Graduation Requirements

The PhD Program is a full-time program and requires a minimum of three years in residence. The program is structured to be completed in five years: three years for academic coursework, one year for the dissertation and one year for internship.

Graduation Requirements

The PhD in Clinical Psychology program takes an average of five years to complete and is open to individuals who hold a bachelor's or master's degree and have completed the required prerequisites prior to applying for admission.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology program at PAU requires that candidates complete 150 units of required coursework and 18 elective units for a total of 168 units, which typically takes three years for full-time attendees.

During their final two years of full-time enrollment, students complete other graduation requirements.

Publication and Presentation : Students must make a significant contribution to a peer-reviewed journal article, book chapter, or literary contribution to another scholarly publication.

Milestones : In addition to the Oral Clinical Competency Exam, three written exams on research competency, clinical competency, and assessment competency must be taken. Additionally, students are required to complete a dissertation of 30 minimum units, a 12-unit internship , and at least two years of practicums . 

Clinical Setting Image

Students enrolled in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program are required to complete clinical practicum training.

Provides mentoring and clinical placement services to the PhD Clinical Psychology program students. PhD Clinical Training Faculty provide: Close faculty advising for students applying to practicum and internship Mentoring and intensive professional development advising throughout clinical training. Review of practicum sites for quality assurance

Explore More

Research labs.

All students in the PhD Clinical Psychology Program are required to participate in faculty-led research groups during their second and third years in the program – for 6 consecutive quarters.

You won’t spend all your time in the classroom – you’ll gain direct experience providing supervised therapy while working in a practicum or internship setting.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Each year, the PAU psychology faculty participate in a thorough strategic review of our curriculum, processes, student learning, and student and program outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrolling in a PhD program is a significant life choice – Palo Alto University faculty and staff will answer all your questions before you apply and after you are accepted.

1. Where can I find information on first year student orientation? 

You will receive an email from the PhD program office during the summer before Fall Quarter begins. You may contact  [email protected]  for additional information regarding orientation. 

2. Where can I find the academic calendar?

The Academic Calendar can be found on the  Registrar’s office page.

3. How do I get my PAU email address and access to the PAU Intranet ( https://my.paloaltou.edu/ics/ )? (Access email at gmail.paloaltou.edu)  From the  IT Helpdesk . Contact  [email protected]  with any questions.

4. Where are the classrooms?

At the PAU Allen Calvin Main Campus, Classrooms 1 and 3, and the computer lab, are located on the top floor of Building Three. Classroom 2 is located on the middle floor of Building Three.

At the PAU Los Altos/Gronowski Center Campus, rooms D11A and D11B are on the first floor of the Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Psychology Clinic located at  5150 El Camino Real, Suite 22, Bldg C, Los Altos, California 94022 . 

5. Where do I park for classes?

PAU encourages students to carpool to class as parking availability at the Los Altos/Gronowski and PAU Main Allen Calvin Campus is very limited. Directions to PAU campuses are available on the Locations, Transportation & Parking  web page.

The PhD program at Palo Alto University operates on two main campuses: The  Allen Calvin Campus at 1791 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto  and the Gronowski Center Campus at 1172 Castro Street, Mountain View   

Detailed Driving Directions:

At the Allen Calvin/Main Campus, drive through the gates and up the hilly driveway. There are several different areas for parking, including lower, middle, and upper level areas. You are welcome to park in any of these spaces. On days when there are campus events, parking may be limited. You may also park at the bottom of the driveway or at the nearby Alpine Inn parking lot, but be aware that those areas are not part of the campus and therefore not secure. The campus is in a remote area and there is no public transportation. Please carpool whenever possible.

If you ride a bicycle as your primary mode of transportation, please be extremely cautious when riding on Page Mill Road and Arastradero Road. There are sharp, blind turns, which may be especially dangerous at night or during heavy traffic hours. If you do travel at night, wear reflective clothing and use a light on the front and back of your bicycle. For your safety, always wear a helmet. Please lock and secure your bicycle at the upper parking level, near the cul-de-sac and Building One.

6. What if I have questions?

Please feel free to contact the PhD program or  PAU staff  should you have questions.

April House - PhD Program Manager ( [email protected] )

7. Where can I access basic information about the PhD program?

Please visit the  PhD Program Website . Your most important resource is the PhD Student Handbook. The website also provides links to PhD program forms, information on competency exams, dissertations, important contacts, course schedule archives, grievance procedures, additional program handbooks, and information on TA opportunities.

Other important links related to the PhD program include  the PAU Office of Professional Development and Advising  and  the PAU Institutional Review Board . All of these websites are accessible via  the PAU portal.

8. Who can I talk to about academic support at PAU, curriculum requirements, and program expectations to advance to candidacy?

The PAU Academic Advising Center (PAAC)  is a space where PhD students can  make appointments  to talk to advanced students when they are unsure about any aspect of academic progress at PAU. PAAC aims to support students in thriving academically and professionally throughout the PhD Program. These advanced students assist first year students in many ways, including:

  • Reviewing research group application materials
  • Providing a general overview of the PhD program curriculum
  • Answering questions about academics and research
  • Offering advice on surviving and thriving in grad school

PAAC hours shift each academic quarter. Please visit the website for the most-up-to-date hours.

9. How long will it take to earn my PhD at PAU?

Although the PhD program is designed to be completed within five years of coursework and practica, many students choose to take an additional year to complete their degree. Students must complete their degree within 7 years. The number of years it takes to complete the PhD program will depend on your individual needs and professional goals:

  • Post-graduate career goals
  • Competitiveness of clinical and research training sites
  • Internship asirations and restrictions
  • Practicum placements and performance
  • Research opportunities, dissertation progress, publications and presentations
  • Satisfactory academic progress

The PhD program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and follows their  Benchmark Evaluation System  to assess whether a student has met the competency benchmarks in professional psychology. 

10. How do I register for classes? How do I change my schedule?

For the first year of the PhD program, you are pre-registered for all of your courses based upon the required first-year coursework in the  PhD curriculum . Information about registration can be found at the  Registrar’s Office on the Portal , including  downloadable course schedules , and  academic calendars .

In subsequent years of the program, you will  use the portal for online registration . If you would like to change your schedule, you will need to email the registrar Nora Marquez ( [email protected] ) for further instruction. For additional questions about registration, including wait-listing, sequences, and other concerns, see the PhD Program Handbook. 

11. How do I obtain a copy of my course schedule?

You may always access  your current course schedule on the portal . Additionally, students can request a hard copy in-person from the Registrar’s Office at the PAU Allen Calvin Campus. 

12. Why am I required to attend 8 hours of therapy? Is the cost covered by PAU? How do I find a good therapist on a graduate student budget?

According to the PhD Student Handbook, all PhD students are required to complete 8 hours of individual psychotherapy with a doctoral-level licensed psychologist (PhD, ED, PsyD) or board-eligible psychiatrist prior to registration for the Oral Clinical Competency Exam (which typically occurs in the third year of the program). It is the perspective of PAU that the personal experience of psychotherapy is critical to the ability to work therapeutically with others. The cost of psychotherapy is not covered by PAU and is not part of the financial aid package.

Additional information about this requirement can be located in the PhD Student Handbook. There is an aggregate list of recommended low cost and sliding scale therapists noted under  Student Resources on the portal . You may also want to consult websites such as  Psychology Today  to select the right therapist.

13. How early do I have to decide if I want to complete a PhD  area of emphasis ? 

The first quarter of the first year is a good time to meet with a faculty advisor, as well as other PAU faculty and advanced students, to determine whether an area of emphasis will fit long term professional goals. As the year proceeds, students will have a better idea of their interests and the requirements for completing each area of emphasis. If you are still unsure, schedule an appointment with the PAU Academic Advising Center (PAAC).

14. When are financial aid refund disbursements available?

To receive the status of your financial aid, please visit the portal or email  [email protected] .

PAU Alumni Amanda Harris

PAU alumna Amanda Harris (née Feldman), JD, PhD, a psychologist and attorney representing domestic violence survivors.

Palo Alto University Classroom

NY State Program Code: 04165 HEGIS Code: 2003.00 CIP Code: 42.2801

(106.5 credits)

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at The Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and has been continuously accredited since 04/01/1957 (American Psychological Association, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, Commission on Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202-336-5979; [email protected] ). Full information pertaining to the accreditation status of the Derner School of Psychology PhD Program at Adelphi University is available at the APA’s website, www.apa.org/ed/accreditation .

The Doctor of Philosophy in clinical psychology is a full-time program consisting of 106.5 credits. The doctoral program in clinical psychology prepares students who have a primary career goal of community and clinical practice. This may be combined with an academic or research career.  

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology offers students the opportunity to complete a Child and Family Concentration. The aim of the concentration is to train doctoral students in the delivery of psychological services, under close supervision, to children and their families in a variety of settings including medical centers, hospitals, and community clinics.  As well, the concentration will train doctoral students to produce research that can be applied to important clinical problems that pertain to children and their families.  The total number of credits for graduation is 106.5. All students in the Ph.D. program complete 106.5 credits. 

Required courses include:

Foundations of psychology including:

  • Biological and social bases of behavior
  • Developmental psychology
  • History and systems of psychology
  • Cognition and affect
  • Diversity and difference

Didactic and experiential training in:

  • Assessment and intervention
  • Relationship skills and cultural competence
  • Professional conduct and ethics
  • Supervision and consultation
  • Research methods and statistics

Extensive clinical field experience accompanies the academic core where students are placed in externships and in our Psychological Services Center accompanied by intensive supervision and case conferences. Completion of a dissertation and a one-year full-time internship is required for the degree. The clinical psychology program has been APA-accredited continuously since 1957. Students who complete the program are eligible to apply for a New York State psychology license.

Adelphi’s clinical psychology doctoral program uses the scholar-practitioner model for its philosophy of training. Accordingly, a clinical psychology program should adhere to the following general principles: the clinical psychologist should have a core of knowledge and training common to all psychologists; the program should be of at least four years’ duration, combining academic and clinical training, including an internship; preparation should be broadly directed toward both research and professional goals rather than simply technical skills; courses should be developed in sequence and be complementary rather than overlapping; the faculty should be neither over-dominated by the academic nor simply practical; continued contact throughout the training with clinical material is necessary, with the range extending from the normal to the abnormal population; a sense of professional responsibility and professional obligation must be instilled; cooperative work with persons of related disciplines is encouraged and sensitivity to the social implications of the psychologists’ activities is essential; and throughout, research issues are to be emphasized. Thus, the program should hold fast to those principles that suggest that the psychologist will be a professional, trained in a scientific tradition. These principles guide the core curricula of the doctoral program to be divided into the following major areas of instruction: foundational psychology, research design and analysis, diagnostic methods, clinical theory and practice, as well as professional ethics and cultural competence. Significant attention is given to the study of psychodynamics, including consideration of the empirical evidence and integration with cognitive-behavioral and humanistic theories of behavior and change.

Doctoral Curriculum

The doctoral curriculum includes foundational , research and clinical courses that meet the requirements of the New York State Department of Education and the American Psychological Association, as well as a structure which provides for content that continues the distinctly Derner tradition. At least two elective courses in CAF.  It is required that at least one elective should focus on intervention with CAF.  The total number of credits for graduation is 106.5. All students in the Ph.D. program complete 106.5 credits.

The Foundational Courses include the following 6 (18 credits): Human Development, Social Bases of Behavior, Biological Bases of Behavior, Cognition & Affect, History & Systems, Individual & Cultural Differences & Identity.

The Research Sequence (4 courses plus 8 practica, 36 credits) includes Research Methods (including Psychometric Theory), Graduate Statistics (including Lab), & Applied Research (including Intervention Evaluation). Students are also required to choose one of the following 2 electives: Advanced Quantitative Analyses (Multivariate Statistics) or Qualitative Methods. Practica include Psychological Research I-IV (cover research ethics), Dissertation Thesis I-III, and Ongoing Dissertation Supervision.

The Clinical Sequence: Assessment & Diagnosis (5 courses plus 4 practica, 21 credits) includes 3 core courses on psychopathology (9 credits): Adult Psychopathology I-II and Child Psychopathology; plus, the following 2 core courses: Diagnostic Testing I: Cognitive/LD (including Lab) and Diagnostic Testing II: Personality (including Lab). (There is also an elective Diagnostic Testing III: Neuropsychology.) Practica consist of Intake & Interviewing Seminar I-II (1.5 credits per, cover DSM & professional conduct) and Clinical Practice I-II: Diagnostic Practicum (1.5 credits per), which are conducted in small group supervision sections on campus (and cover consultation).

The Clinical Sequence: Conceptualization & Intervention (4 courses and 8 practica, 24 credits): includes the following core courses (15 credits): Theory & Practice I-II, Group or Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies. Practica (12 credits) include Clinical Practice III-IV: Psychotherapy Practicum (1.5 credits per), Case Conference I-IV (1.5 credits per, cover professional development), and Concentration Case Seminar I-II (1.5 credits per, cover supervision). Additionally, externship requirements include an 8-hour placement in an inpatient setting during the 2nd year and a 16-hour placement in the 3rd year. Clinic training begins in the 1st year for intake evaluation and in 2nd year for psychotherapy, continuing through the 4th year.

The Clinical Sequence: Electives (6 courses, 18 credits) includes other offerings in psychopathology and practice, in addition to the previously mentioned elective in neuropsychological assessment (Diagnostic Testing III).

“Examining the empirical evidence,” “Understanding individual & cultural differences & identity,” and “Professional ethics & conduct” are themes considered and developed throughout the curriculum (see course syllabi).

Degree Completion Requirement

Four years full-time on campus, including an externship, plus one year full-time internship for clinical psychology. A second year research project and a doctoral level dissertation are required. A written comprehensive exam or an oral comprehensive exam is not required: Rather a portfolio review is used to determine basic competencies.  5-6 years is the average time to completion of the program.

  • PSI (0503) 619 - Human Development Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 620 - Theory & Practice I: Freudian Legacy Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 621 - Adult Psychopathology I: Clinical Conditions Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 625 - Diagnostic Testing I + Lab     Credits:  3.00
  • PSI (0503) 647 - Research Methods in Clinical Psychology Credits: 3.00

Clinical Practicum

  • PSI (0503) 632 - Intake & Interviewing Seminar I: Initial Evaluation Credits: 1.50

Research Practicum

  • PSI (0503) 642 - Psychological Research I Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 738 - Individual & Cultural Differences & Identity Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 626 - Diagnostic Testing II Personality + Lab     Credits:  3.00
  • PSI (0503) 634 - Adult Psychopathology II: Personality Disorders Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 835 - History & Systems of Psychology Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 644 - Graduate Psychological Statistics + Lab     Credits:  3.00
  • PSI (0503) 633 - Intake & Interviewing Seminar II: Professional Conduct & Ethics Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 643 - Psychological Research II Credits: 1.50

Second Year

  • PSI (0503) 645 - Advanced Quantitative Analyses + Lab     Credits: 3.00​
  • PSI (0503) 649 - Qualitative Meth in Clinical Psychology Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 623 - Child Psychopathology Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 730 - Family Therapy Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 731 - Group Dynamics Credits: 3.00

Clinical Practica

  • PSI (0503) 700 - Psychotherapy Case Conference I Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 712 - Clinical Practice I: Diagnostics Credits: 1.50
  • Inpatient externship
  • PSI (0503) 742 - Psychological Research III Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 722 - Theory & Practice II: Relational Tradition Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 723 - Biological Bases of Behavior Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 746 - Applied Research in Clinical Psychology Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 701 - Psychotherapy Case Conference II Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 713 - Clinical Practice II: Diagnostics Credits: 1.50
  • Inpatient Externship
  • PSI (0503) 743 - Psychological Research IV Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 733 - Cognition & Affect Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 809 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapies: Plurality & Integration Credits: 3.00
  • Elective I (Refer to Special Topics courses listed under 0503-820)  Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 812 - Clinical Practice III: Psychotherapy Practicum Credits: 0.75
  • PSI (0503) 800 - Psychotherapy Case Conference III Credits: 1.50
  • Clinic Psychotherapy
  • Outpatient Externship
  • PSI (0503) 817 - Doctoral Thesis Supervision I Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 637 - Social Bases of Behavior, Credits: 3.00
  • PSI (0503) 822 - Supervision Theory & Practice Credits: 3.00
  • Elective II (Refer to Special Topics courses listed under 0503-820)  Credits:  3.00
  • PSI (0503) 813 - Clinical Practice IV: Psychotherapy Practicum Credits: 0.75
  • PSI (0503) 801 - Psychotherapy Case Conference IV Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 818 - Doctoral Thesis Supervision II Credits: 1.50

Fourth Year

● Elective III (Refer to Special Topics courses listed under 0503-820)  Credits:  3.00

● Elective IV (Refer to Special Topics courses listed under 0503-820)  Credits:  3.00

  • PSI (0503) 803 - Concentration Case Conference I Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 819 - Doctoral Thesis Supervision III Credits: 1.50

Dissertation proposal due

● Elective V (Refer to Special Topics courses listed under 0503-820)  Credits:  3.00

● Elective VI (Refer to Special Topics courses listed under 0503-820) Credits : 3.00

  • PSI (0503) 804 - Concentration Case Conference II Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 858 - Doctoral Thesis IV: Dissertation Supervision Credits: 1.50
  • PSI (0503) 814 - Clinical Internship Credits: 0.00
  • PSI (0503) 853 - Ongoing Dissertation Supervision Credits: 0.00
  • PSI (0503) 815 - Clinical Internship Credits: 0.00
  • PSI (0503) 848 - Ongoing Doctoral Thesis Supervision Credits: 1.50

Sixth Year and beyond

  • PSI (0503) 849 - Ongoing Dissertation Supervision Credits: 1.50

Northern Illinois University Department of Psychology College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Graduate Programs

5 year phd psychology programs

We invite you to join us in the graduate study of psychology. We offer programs in six areas:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Cognitive and instructional psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Neuroscience and behavior
  • School psychology
  • Social-industrial/organizational psychology

Our programs integrate basic and applied aspects of psychology. You'll gain an understanding of the theoretical content of your area, as well as the research skills needed to become a competent and creative investigator.

We'll prepare you to succeed in academic settings, as well as in a variety of mental health, educational, physical health and organizational settings. If you focus on clinical, school or industrial/organizational psychology, you'll receive practicum experience to develop your skills in those areas. If you focus on school psychology, you can pursue certification as a school psychologist at the same time.

Approximately 115 students enroll in our programs each year. This includes about 25 students who are either in internships or completing their dissertations while working off campus.

Related Links

  • Application Materials
  • Financial Assistance
  • Graduate Catalog Course Descriptions
  • Graduate Student Manual  (PDF)
  • Research Resources
  • Graduate School Fellowships Page
  • M.A. in Psychology
  • Ph.D. in Psychology

Degrees Offered

Our programs lead to Ph.D. degrees. You'll complete a master's degree with a research thesis as part of your program of study. The exception is school psychology, which offers a master’s +30, as well as the doctoral degree, both of which include professional educator licensure.

Enrollment Requirement

You must be enrolled full time (at least 12 credit hours per semester) throughout your graduate program. We do not offer a part-time option. All classes take place on the DeKalb campus. We do not offer online or night classes.

Financial Support

In general, we'll provide you with financial assistance if you're making satisfactory progress in your program. The support is usually in the form of a research or teaching assistantship, which includes a partial waiver of your tuition costs.

Application Considerations

Your application materials will be reviewed by faculty members in your area of study, not by the department as a whole. You'll be evaluated with respect to your potential to complete a Ph.D. degree (except for applications to the school psychology master’s +30 program).

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted for fall admission only. All application materials must be received by the appropriate deadline below to ensure priority consideration.

Important Notes Regarding Graduate Applications for Fall 2024

If you are applying to begin one of our six graduate programs in fall 2024, please note the following:

  • The graduate record exam (GRE) is not required.
  • Some programs will hold virtual interviews with their top-ranked candidates. For more information on how your program of interest is planning to proceed, please visit their webpage.
  • We are committed to communicating clearly with you. If you have any questions, we recommend emailing the director of your program of interest. You can find their name and email address on the program page.
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive and Instructional Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • School Psychology
  • Social-Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Department of Psychology Psychology-Computer Science Building room 400 815-753-0372

Director of Graduate Studies Kevin Wu, Ph.D [email protected]

Graduate Studies Assistant [email protected]

Admission Questions [email protected]


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 30 best psychology master's programs and how to pick.

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General Education


Regardless of whether you majored in psychology as an undergrad or are just now realizing you have an invested interest in the field, a psychology master's program could be a great fit for you, especially if you're not sure about pursuing a doctorate.

In this guide, we look at what kinds of psychology master's programs are out there and what the point of these programs is in terms of how they help you build a career. Moreover, we'll present you with a list of the best psychology master's programs for various kinds of psychology.

What's the Point of a Master's in Psychology?

What is the overall purpose of entering a psychology master's program and earning an advanced degree in psychology?

For one, many people choose to get a master's degree in psychology to learn more about a specific subfield or type of psychology. Whereas a bachelor's degree program in psych mostly provides you with a broad overview of the field, a master's degree program lets you concentrate on the particular area of psychology that interests you most.

The area you're interested in will likely vary depending on what kind of job you're hoping to get after you earn your degree (and also whether you want to continue on to get a doctorate ).

Here are some examples of the types of psychology you could study in a graduate program:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Industrial-organizational psychology
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Counseling psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Behavioral psychology
  • General psychology

Secondly, a master's degree in psychology can be useful because many jobs in the field require or strongly prefer people with a master's degree. In short, a master's degree has the potential to advance your career.

Most counseling and therapy jobs, for example, require a master's degree in psychology, therapy, counseling, social work, or a related field. Therefore, by getting a master's degree, you're not only deepening your knowledge of a particular area of psych but also expanding your job prospects.

The chart below shows a variety of psychology-related jobs for master's degree holders and what kinds of salaries and job growth rates you can expect for them. All jobs listed require at least a bachelor's degree (typically in psychology), with some requiring a master's degree in psychology or a related field.

For each job, we give you its 2021 median annual salary and employment growth rate for 2020-2030. Jobs are listed in order of highest salary to lowest. All data is from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to the BLS, the current average employment growth rate is 10%, so any job with a percentage higher than this means that it's growing faster than average.

In general, an advanced degree will increase your earning potential. Even for jobs that only require a bachelor's degree, a master's degree could help you stand apart from other applicants and give you a better chance of nabbing a higher salary for that position.

But what if you want to become an actual psychologist?


Can You Become a Psychologist With Just a Master's Degree?

You might have noticed that the chart above doesn't include the job "psychologist" in it. This isn't a mistake—the reality is that in order to become a practicing psychologist, you will need to earn either a PhD in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). In other words, a master's degree, though impressive, simply won't cut it if your dream is to work full-time as a licensed psychologist.

I should clarify here that a psychologist differs from a therapist. Psychologists hold a doctorate and often work with psychiatrists to diagnose and treat disorders; they can also conduct research or offer therapy. By contrast, therapists can hold either a master's degree or doctorate and solely offer therapy services to support and guide patients. The word "therapist" is a broader term that encompasses not only psychologists who offer therapy services, but also counselors, life coaches, and social workers.

According to the BLS, the majority of research, clinical, and counseling psychologists are required to have a doctoral degree . That said, a master's degree could be sufficient for jobs as a school psychologist or an industrial-organizational psychologist.

In addition to a PhD or PsyD, you'll usually need to have a psychologist license. This applies to most jobs that include the title "psychologist." (Note that although therapists must be licensed as well, their license requirements differ from those required to become a psychologist.)

To get licensed as a psychologist, you'll typically need to have done the following:

  • Earned a PhD in Psychology or a PsyD
  • Passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Completed an internship
  • Accumulated one to two years of supervised professional experience

Exact licensure requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your own state's policies and procedures to see what you must do to become a licensed psychologist.

Though not typically required by states, certain jobs might require psychologists to obtain board certification in a particular area of psychology, too.

Here are some examples of jobs you could get with a doctorate in psychology (ordered from highest median salary to lowest):


Best Psychology Master's Programs: Notes on Rankings

Before we take a look at our list of the best psychology master's programs, it's important that we are aware of the current state of these types of programs.

Because a doctorate is required to become a psychologist—the overarching goal of many people studying psychology— there aren't many terminal psychology master's programs in the US.

Indeed, most psychologists earn a master's in psychology on the way to their doctorate (students normally get an MA/MS in Psychology along the way to the PhD or PsyD after a couple of years of study). This means that it can be somewhat difficult to find psychology master's degree programs that are not part of doctoral programs.

Therefore, we've looked mostly at master's degree programs in fields related to psychology, such as social work, counseling, and therapy. These degrees range from a Master of Social Work (MSW), to an MA, to other specialized types of professional master's degrees.

For each category of master's degree, we'll be introducing you to our top four to five choices (unranked), which we have determined based primarily on the following criteria:

  • Prestige of both the program and overall school
  • Ranking of the program by online lists and websites, such as US News
  • Array of concentrations, classes, and online options offered
  • Whether the program has an internship and/or practicum component
  • Quality and reputation of faculty

Now then, it's time to look at our picks for the best psychology master's programs!

The Best Psychology Master's Programs, by Category

Since there aren't that many terminal psychology master's programs (programs that don't require or expect you to continue on to get a doctoral degree), this list will mostly consist of programs that offer master's degrees in fields strongly tied to psychology.

Here are the seven categories we'll be looking at (feel free to click the link to jump straight to that category):

Social Work

Marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling/educational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology.


The field of social work is largely connected to psychology, especially counseling and therapy, in that it's all about improving the lives of people and people within certain communities. Typically, social work master's degree programs lead to a Master of Social Work (MSW).

University of Michigan —Ann Arbor, MI

Ranked #1 by US News and many other top social work programs lists, U-M's MSW program offers many areas of specialization, including aging in families and society, children and youth in families, and community and social systems.

Many students attend U-M's MSW program to jump-start their careers as school social workers, juvenile justice workers, case managers, community organizers, or geriatric specialists.

The school offers 550 fieldwork locations so students can gain real-life experience and training. U-M also has made available several scholarships, such as the Geriatric Scholarship Program and the Child Welfare Scholarship.

Washington University in St. Louis —St. Louis, MO

Another top-ranked social work program based at the Brown School, WUSTL's MSW offers the opportunity to perform groundbreaking research with renowned faculty to create sustainable impact.

Nine concentrations are available, including mental health; American Indian and Alaska Native; children, youth, and families; health; and violence and injury prevention. WUSTL has connections with more than 500 organizations around the world for students to complete their practicum.

University of Chicago —Chicago, IL

If you'd prefer a more flexible approach to social work, UChicago's social work master's degree program might be a good fit for you. Equivalent to an MSW, the MA in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration provides students with a broader foundation that combines research, theory, practical experience, and policy development.

Two concentrations are available: Clinical and Social Administration. In addition, students can take advantage of a handful of study abroad opportunities in India, China, and Hong Kong. (Note: due to COVID-19 restrictions, the study abroad programs in China and Hong Kong are currently on hold.) 

Columbia University —New York, NY

Home to the first social work school in the US, Columbia has a highly ranked MSW program . This rigorous program combines theory and practice to help students become leading professionals in the field of social work.

Four method concentrations are available across seven fields of practice, which are as follows:

  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Family, Youth, and Children's Services
  • Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities
  • International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees
  • School-Based and School-Linked Services
  • World of Work

Columbia's MSW is also available entirely online (for specific fields of practice) —perfect for those who aren't based in New York or who'd prefer the flexibility of an online program.

University of California, Berkeley —Berkeley, CA

Established in 1944, UC Berkeley's Master of Social Welfare (MSW) program is known for producing top-quality social work professionals who are able to work in multiple practice areas and assume a variety of leadership roles.

There are three specializations students can choose from:

  • Strengthening Children, Youth, and Families
  • Strengthening Organizations and Communities
  • Advancing Health and Well-being across the Adult Lifespan

Although UC Berkeley doesn't offer an online version of its MSW program, students have the option of earning their MSW degree concurrently with either a Master of Public Health or a Master of Public Policy. Working professionals or other students who can’t attend a full-time degree program can pursue the FlexMSW option as well. FlexMSW Advanced program allows students to complete the degree in one year; the FlexMSW Extended program allows students to extend the degree timeline over the course of three years.


These next master's programs specialize in marriage and family therapy, and offer degrees and practical experiences so you can become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in the state where you earn your degree.

Note that although many of these programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), MFT programs are not required to have this accreditation.

Northwestern University —Evanston, IL

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Northwestern is a joint initiative between The Graduate School and the Family Institute at Northwestern—which boasts an impressive 40-year history of researching and teaching marriage and family therapy.

This COAMFTE-accredited program uses a 21st-century approach called Integrative Systemic Therapy. Students study topics such as intimate relations, treatment models, and methods of systems therapy; do an intensive clinical internship; and conduct at least 500 hours of therapy.

Brigham Young University —Provo, UT

Students can earn an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy in BYU's COAMFTE-accredited program, which aims to prepare students to pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards .

The aim of the program is to help students develop theoretical, research, and clinical competence, as well as the ability to understand cultural diversity. Students have the option to pursue either a research track (mainly for those intending to go on to doctoral study) or a clinical track.

The program is quite competitive, with a mere 20% acceptance rate.

University of San Diego —San Diego, CA

USD offers a highly regarded MA in Marital and Family Therapy program that is accredited by both COAMFTE and the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California .

This two-year program has a unique "biopsychosocial, systems approach" that focuses on how relationships influence our day-to-day lives. Class topics include human diversity, couples and sex therapy, ethical and legal issues in family therapy, and family violence.

Students enroll in a practicum for three semesters wherein they accumulate 500 hours of direct supervised contact with clients by working for a community agency.

Pepperdine University —Malibu, CA

At Pepperdine, students can get an MA in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy .

This program, which offers more than 130 clinical practicum sites, prepares students to become a licensed marriage and family therapist or a licensed professional clinical counselor in the state of California.

Classes teach students about human sexuality and intimacy, mental health systems, multicultural counseling, and preparing for the practicum.


The following master's programs in psychology focus on providing counseling services to people with psychiatric disabilities and/or problems with substance abuse and addiction (as opposed to rehabilitation counseling or career counseling, for example).

Many mental health counseling master's programs are accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) and/or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

New York University —New York, NY

NYU, a consistently top-ranked private university, offers an MPCAC-accredited MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness program . In this program, students must complete a 600-hour internship and a 100-hour practicum over a 12-week period.

This program is available both on-campus and online , the latter of which lets you choose from among three start dates (January, June, or September). The online version also gives students the chance to visit NYU for three to four days of networking and hands-on training.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill —Chapel Hill, NC

UNC's Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling master's program is a unique, highly regarded program that combines two types of counseling and is also accredited by CACREP.

This program specifically aims to prepare students to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in North Carolina. In 2021, 100% passed the CRC exam on their first attempt, and the job placement rate of CRMH graduates who were actively seeking employment after graduation is 98% for the past five years.

Students can choose to concentrate on developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, or both.

At the famed Columbia Teachers College, students can earn an MEd in Mental Health Counseling . Strengths of the program include its focus on cultural diversity and social justice, its commitment to experiential training, and its emphasis on providing students with adequate opportunities to conduct research.

Many graduates of the program go on to work in educational and health settings such as schools, colleges, hospitals, and clinics.

University of Wisconsin–Madison —Madison, WI

UW Madison's highly ranked MS in Counseling program is available through the Department of Counseling Psychology. Mandatory core courses include Abnormal Behavior and Psychopathology, Social and Cultural Foundations, Counseling Theories, and Crisis and Trauma Counseling. Students must complete a year-long practicum and also have the option to do a master's thesis.


These next counseling psychology master's programs are all about helping students in school settings. School counselors assist students with personal, social, and career development; they also offer guidance to students with academic problems.

Most school counselors work in schools (primary and secondary), though some instead work at community centers or youth centers. Like the mental health counseling programs above, many school counseling programs have been accredited by CACREP.

Vanderbilt University —Nashville, TN

Ranked #3 by US News in educational psychology programs, Vanderbilt offers a fantastic school counseling master's program: the MEd in Human Development Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling (the other emphasis available is Clinical Mental Health Counseling).

Some of the program's biggest benefits are its small classes and the option to complete the school counseling track entirely online . Both tracks are accredited by CACREP.

What's more, over the past decade, 100% of school counseling students secured employment within four months of graduation.

University of Texas at Austin —Austin, TX

One of the nation's most renowned public universities, UT offers top-ranked MEd in Counselor Education and MA in School Psychology programs (the latter of which is geared toward those who ultimately plan to get a doctorate).

Two tracks are available for the MEd program: School Counseling (counseling students in K-12), and Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs (which focuses on roles within colleges and universities). This program option emphasizes the importance of diversity training and lets students supplement their studies so they can eventually become an LPC.

Meanwhile, the highly competitive MA program prepares you to become a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology in Texas.

University of Maryland —College Park, MD

UMD's MEd in School Counseling is a high-quality psychology master's program that is currently ranked #7 by US News on its list of the best educational psychology schools.

Here, students learn how to work with diverse student populations, with special emphasis on the importance of social justice and inclusivity. Students must also complete a 100-hour practicum in addition to two 300-hour internships in urban public school systems. Courses cover research methods, school counseling, and special education, among other topics.

Ohio State University —Columbus, OH

Ranked #4 for school counseling programs and #12 for educational psych programs , OSU offers two reputable psychology master's programs: an MA in Educational Psychology and an MA in Counselor Education .

In the former, students can study alongside doctoral students and take advantage of the program's partnership with the Learning Technologies program to learn more about the intersection between psychology and technology.

The latter, which is CACREP-accredited, trains students to become professional counselors and to work at places such as public schools, community agencies, and health-care facilities.


Rehabilitation counseling is a type of counseling in which you work with people who have physical, emotional, mental, and/or developmental disabilities to help them achieve and maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle and career.

Many of the following master's programs in rehabilitation counseling are accredited by CACREP.

Michigan State University —East Lansing, MI

MSU's MA in Rehabilitation Counseling program is currently ranked #1 by US News .

In this CACREP-accredited program, students study disability management, ethical practices, and the social and psychological side of disabilities. Additionally, students must complete a practicum and internship. Evening classes are available to accommodate a range of schedules.

Upon completion of this program, graduates may sit for the national CRC exam and are eligible to apply for Limited Licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Michigan.

Tied for the #1 spot with MSU for best rehabilitation counseling graduate programs, UW Madison offers a top-ranked MS in Rehabilitation Counseling program through the school's Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.

In this program, which has been accredited by CACREP, students learn how to improve the quality of life for people with psychiatric and physical disabilities, alcohol/substance abuse problems, and learning disabilities.

Notably, UW Stout (another branch of the University of Wisconsin system) offers an online MS in Rehabilitation Counseling program that was ranked #4 in the country by US News . This part-time online master's program lasts three years and is geared toward those with at least two years of related work experience.

George Washington University —Washington, DC

GW's MA in Rehabilitation Counseling program is available both on-campus and online and is currently ranked #3 by US News on its list of best rehabilitation counseling programs.

This CACREP-accredited program consists of intensive coursework as well as an internship and practicum. One of the program's unique traits is the breadth of counseling theories and practices it covers, from multicultural counseling to the medical aspects of disabilities.

Furthermore, GW has a special mentorship program wherein current master's students are paired with graduates.

University of Alabama —Tuscaloosa, AL

UA offers a renowned, CACREP-accredited MA in Rehabilitation Counseling . In this wholly online program, students get to watch live class lectures and take classes in career development, ethics, research methods, life-span development, and psychopathology. Additionally, both an internship and practicum are required.

Several scholarships are available through UA's College of Continuing Studies.

University of Massachusetts Boston —Boston, MA

Through UMassOnline, the renowned distance-learning platform created by the UMass schools, including UMass Boston, students can earn an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling , which is ranked #15 by US News .

This CACREP-accredited, 60-credit program begins in the summertime and uses the cohort model wherein all students take the same program of study. Although all the classes are delivered online, students are required to be on-campus for two weeks in July to complete two mandatory clinical courses during their first summer of study.


Clinical psychology focuses on the science behind mental illness and disability. Although clinical psychology master's programs are usually far harder to find than doctoral programs, there are some terminal ones available.

Be aware that these master's programs do not lead to licensure as a psychologist (though they could prepare you for licensure as a therapist or counselor), as you'll generally need a doctorate to become a practicing clinical psychologist.

Note: For a list of the best clinical psychology doctoral programs, check out this one by US News .

Northwestern is known for its doctoral clinical psychology program, for which it's currently ranked #27 by US News , but it also offers a renowned master's program in clinical psychology .

This program is designed mainly for those who aren't decided about getting a doctorate in clinical psychology and who want to learn more about clinical psychology through an academic lens. As such, the program does not lead to licensure for clinical practice as a psychologist, nor does it include the clinical training required for clinical practice.

Classwork is mostly the same as that completed by the clinical psychology PhD students. Master's students must also participate in a Research Lab Experience for at least 10 hours a week and finish a capstone project under the guidance of a research mentor.

Ivy League member Columbia offers an esteemed MA in Psychology in Education program , which is geared toward students interested in clinical psychology and mental health occupations. It’s also designed to give students the academic preparation needed to apply to doctoral programs in psychology, though the master’s program is not a funnel into a specific PhD program.

Although the program doesn't prepare students to become a professionally licensed psychologist, it does serve those who wish to work in the field of mental health and psychology more broadly.

Students in the program are mentored by clinical psychology PhD students and can choose from among eleven concentrations:

  • Child & Family
  • Clinical Psychology & Technology
  • Community Psychology & Integrated Health Services
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Global Mental Health & Trauma
  • Neuropsychology
  • Psychotherapy 
  • Research Methods
  • Sexuality, Women & Gender
  • Spirituality & Mind/Body Practices

Ranked #33 by US News for its doctoral clinical psychology program, UMD also offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Clinical Psychological Science . This program primarily targets those who are interested in clinical psychology but aren't sure where to begin or don't know whether a doctorate is the right path.

The MPS emphasizes the study of empirical scientific research in clinical psychology. Classes, which can be taken in the evenings, include Basic Foundations of Clinical Interventions, Research Methods in Clinical Psychology, and Child Psychopathology.

Boston University —Boston, MA

Tied for the #27 spot on US News with UMD for its doctoral program in clinical psychology, BU has an MA in Psychology program wherein you can specialize in clinical psychology specifically.

This master's program is rigorous, lasting only one year, and offers courses on a multitude of topics, such as behavioral medicine, social oppression, child therapy, and social anxiety. Students have the opportunity to work directly with a faculty member on a Directed Study project as well.


Industrial-organizational psychology—also known as I/O psychology—is an applied discipline in the field of psychology that involves using psychological principles to improve workplace settings, encourage efficiency, and foster teamwork.

While most I/O programs are doctoral ones, there's still a number of master's programs available around the country, mostly at state and tech schools.

Note: For a list of the best I/O psychology doctoral programs, check out the rankings by US News .

At NYU, students can enroll in the MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program to learn about critical topics, such as work motivation, personnel selection, training in organizations, etc.

Based in NYU's eminent Department of Psychology, the I/O psych master's program offers small class sizes and provides students with a foundation in research, practice, and theory so they can pursue jobs in client interaction and solution development for corporate environments.

Students can choose from among six specializations:

  • Management consulting
  • Leading and managing change
  • Executive coaching
  • Conflict and negotiation
  • Quality of work life
  • Diversity and culture

Middle Tennessee State University —Murfreesboro, TN

Although MTSU isn't as well known as some of the other colleges on this list, it's home to the #4 I/O psych master's program , as ranked in 2018 by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). This makes MTSU an excellent choice for I/O psychology students.

This program emphasizes the real-world application of skills and knowledge through a required internship. Students must also complete several applied projects with local businesses.

Many graduates have gone on to work for large companies and corporations, including Walmart, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Target.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis —Indianapolis, IN

IUPUI's MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program is well liked among students and a solid choice for I/O studies, especially if you're more interested in the organizational aspect.

Cohorts are small—around three students each year —ensuring that all master's students get tons of individualized attention and guidance. Students learn about the core content areas of I/O psychology and are required to write a thesis and conduct research with the assistance of faculty members. The program also offers the option to take part in a summer internship.

Several scholarships are available to MS students at IUPUI.

Florida Institute of Technology —Melbourne, FL

The MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Florida Tech is ranked #10 by SIOP and is famed for the strength of its faculty and mentoring.

The program utilizes a team-based research approach in small-sized classes, allowing students to conduct critical research with faculty members and their peers. MS students also have the option to participate in a 300-hour practicum in order to gain real-world experience.

Moreover, the program offers a concentration in international I/O psychology for students who hope to work in international business settings.

Recap: The Best Psychology Master's Programs

When it comes to psychology master's programs, at a first glance, it might not seem that there are that many programs available to those not seeking a doctorate.

But the truth is that there are a ton of quality, prestigious psychology master's programs out there —you just have to know what type of psychology you want to study and what kind of career you're hoping to get out of your degree.

Although you can't become a licensed, practicing psychologist with just a master's degree, you can enter related fields and work as a licensed counselor, therapist, or social worker.

To recap, here are the best psychology master's programs for each category above:

  • University of Michigan
  • UC Berkeley
  • Northwestern
  • University of San Diego
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • University of Alabama
  • UMass Boston
  • Middle Tennessee State
  • Florida Tech

We hope this list will be useful as you search for the best psychology master's program for you!


What's Next?

Are you planning to take the AP Psych exam? Get tips and review what you need to know with our ultimate AP Psych study guide . For study materials, check out our picks for the best AP Psych prep books and get access to free official and unofficial practice tests .

Not sure if a master's degree is the right move for you? Then take a look at our in-depth guide on what grad school is and how to determine whether you should go .

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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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10 Best Online PsyD Programs – Accredited & Affordable [2024 Ultimate Guide]

Your guide to accredited Online PsyD Programs in 2024. Compare PsyD vs. PhD & get the answers you need: APA accreditation, Scholarships, and no GRE.

best online psyd programs

Interested in taking your passion for psychology or counseling to the next level with an accredited online PsyD program?

  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is an applied doctorate with a clinical focus
  • PsyD emphasizes therapy and counseling

If you’re considering a career in clinical psychology as a counselor, social worker, psychiatrist, or forensic psychologist, then a PsyD program may be a great option for you.

Related Guide: 40 Psychology Graduate Programs without GRE Requirements

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

10 Best PsyD Programs Online

The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally or nationally accredited and offer PsyD programs online or in a hybrid format.

1. Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University offers students a Doctor of Psychology program , in large part to respond to a need in the state of Alaska for more higher-level training programs.

The curriculum culminates in a dissertation on a topic of personal interest and passion. This online psychology degree program design meets the educational requirements for licensure as a psychologist in Alaska.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? None
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • A program designed to help working professionals pursue doctorate despite restraints of traditional programs.
  • Hands-on experience through the required internship lets students apply newly gained knowledge and theory.
  • Deep understanding of evidence-based practices and how to use them in clinical settings.

Alaska Pacific University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

2. Alliant International University

Alliant International University provides students the opportunity to pursue a Doctor of Psychology in Educational Psychology. Course design mixes online and in-person components for an interactive, flexible learning environment. This program also ends with a final project in an area of professional and personal passion.

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Education Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? PPS credential in school psychology

Expected Outcomes

  • Advanced skills in education psychology, in areas such as law, ethics and equity, psychopharmacology, multicultural counseling, and consultation.
  • Ability to conduct research in applied settings.
  • Career paths include: Educational Psychologist, Social Worker , Policy-Maker

Alliant International University is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

3. Capella University

Capella University offers students a Doctor of Psychology with a Clinical Psychology Specialization. The program centers on creating a combination of online coursework and in-person experiences to optimize the learning environment. Residencies and internships work to enhance the skills students learn in other coursework. A dissertation concludes the curriculum, but at Capella, dissertation mentors offer support and guidance during this process.

The Doctor of Psychology program at Capella offers numerous opportunities to begin preparing students for licensure. Residencies, practicums, and internships all offer places for students to apply their skills in the real world. In addition, Capella offers a support team to guide current students and alumni through the clinical psychology licensing process.

  • Focus or Specialization? Yes
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s and Master’s
  • Ability to provide effective psychological interventions to clients after careful assessment of needs.
  • Select, administer, and interpret proper psychological tests.
  • Career paths include: Clinical Psychology, Clinical Manager, Clinical Therapist

Capella University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

4. Meridian University

Meridian University offers students a Doctor of Psychology focused on Clinical Psychology. At some point during the program, students are required to have experience in personal therapy.

Core, clinical psychology and research-based courses all lead to a solid foundation for professional practice. This program also meets the educational requirements for licensure in California. It also meets the requirements for the California Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), following additional fieldwork.

  • Focus or Specialization? Clinical Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s or Master’s
  • Develop professional leadership abilities and engage fully with the profession.
  • Use appropriate psychological assessments based on knowledge of clients’ personal and cultural differences.

Meridian University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

5. Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University offers a PsyD in School Psychology. The program is designed to provide students with comprehensive training to prepare them for licensure and careers in diverse psychological settings. This hybrid program combines online learning with classes delivered in a hybrid-weekend model, offering flexibility for working professionals or those balancing other commitments.

The curriculum seeks to teach how to support the educational and emotional needs of students in school settings. It emphasizes diagnosing and treating mental illnesses among children and adolescents and promoting positive mental health and academic success within schools.

  • Focus or Specialization? School Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s degree, minimum GPA, specific coursework in psychology
  • Mastery of diagnostic techniques for assessing student’s psychological needs
  • Preparedness for licensure exams
  • Skills to support mental well-being and promote academic success within school settings
  • Understanding of effective intervention strategies and consultation practices

Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

6. Southern California Seminary

Southern California Seminary ‘s online PsyD Non-Licensure program combines psychology with Christian faith to prepare students for non-clinical roles.

The curriculum covers biblical integration, counseling techniques, and research methodology education and culminates in a dissertation. It is designed to teach how to apply psychological principles in ministry, educational, and organizational settings.

  • Focus or Specialization? No
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution.
  • Integrates Christian principles with psychology for support in mental health and spiritual well-being
  • Prepares for roles in education, ministry, or leadership with a focus on ethical practices and research

Southern California Seminary is nationally accredited by the Transitional Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

7. Touro University

Touro University offers students a Doctor Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology. This program is specifically designed to help professionals learn the skills and obtain the tools necessary for their individual fields. The programs culminate in a dissertation designed alongside experienced faculty.

  • Focus or Specialization? Human and Organizational Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s; Cumulative GPA of 3.4
  • Implement evidence-based solutions in the chosen profession using new skills and tools.
  • Technology and learning opportunities to further professional skills.

Touro University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

8. University of Arizona Global Campus

The University of Arizona Global Campus offers students a Doctor Psychology (PsyD) through online study.

You can choose from one of the following specializations: Criminology and Justice Studies, Educational Leadership, Health and Wellness Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, or Sport and Performance Psychology.

  • Focus or Specialization? Six offered
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s; Cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Offers 6 to 9 week online courses
  • Wide-range of specializations available

The University of Arizona is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

9. Walden University

Walden University offers students a Doctor of Psychology program in Behavioral Health Leadership. The curriculum focuses on the skills and tools necessary to improve the quality of behavioral health and mental health services. Courses integrate case studies as interactive learning tools to help students apply the skills they learn to real-world issues. Two separate residencies also shape this program: an in-person consulting skills retreat and a virtual doctoral project residency, which aids the completion of a capstone course.

  • Focus or Specialization? Choose from specializations in Teaching, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Health Psychology, Public Health, Healthcare Management, or International Practice
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s; Cumulative GPA 3.0; 3+ years professional and/or academic experience (preferred)
  • Gain skills in areas necessary for licensed and practicing behavioral health professionals, including leadership, management, financial management and procurement, instruction and training, and program evaluation.
  • Gain skills necessary to seek leadership or management positions in public or private organizations.
  • Career paths include: Behavioral Health Leader, Administrator, Project Manager.

Walden is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

10. William James College

William James College offers a Doctor of Psychology in Leadership Psychology. The program is primarily online. Three 4 day intensive on-campus residencies in Newton, MA are required each year. These provide an opportunity to work and engage with classmates and leaders in the field.

The curriculum explores how people function as leaders and followers to gain a better understanding of what makes a great leader. The program also requires 900 hours of supervised field training, which is comprised of 600 hours of practicum experience and a 300 hour internship. Help is given to find a placement that meets career interests and goals.

  • Focus or Specialization? 4 program-specific and 5 college-wide concentrations offered
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from accredited institutions
  • Gain skills needed to take on executive leadership roles
  • Learn how to be a leader and improve team performance
  • Potential career paths include Leadership Psychologist, Chief Human Resource Officer, Organizational Psychologist, Chief Administrative Officer, Strategic HR Partner, and Organizational Development Strategist.

William James College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology

Choosing between a PsyD and an online PhD psychology can be a tough choice. Ultimately, you have to decide which option offers you the most flexibility.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a PsyD vs PhD in Psychology .

PsyD vs PhD

What is the difference between a PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology?

It’s easy to confuse a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology.

The Psy.D. is practice-oriented.

If your end goal is to be a clinical psychologist working directly with patients, this may be the best path for you. Your coursework can help prepare you to apply advanced research in a therapeutic setting.

Ph.D. in Psychology

The Doctor of Philosophy is research-oriented.

If your plan is to enrich the field of psychology through scholarly research and publication, or by becoming an educator, pursuing a Ph.D. may be the best match for you. That being said, Ph.D. holders can also be clinical psychologists. It’s not either/or… it can be both.

Let’s compare the two programs head-to-head:

It is important to note, though, that PsyD graduates can cross over and pursue careers in research or teaching.

Online PhD in Psychology Programs:

  • Online PhD in Psychology (multiple concentrations available)
  • Online PhD in Developmental Psychology (multiple concentrations available)
  • Online PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology (multiple concentrations available)

There is some academic crossover, but career goals tend to differ.

Top Psychology Careers & Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , the median salary for psychologists was $80,370.

  • Psychiatrist
  • Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Behavioral Health Director
  • Clinical Director
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Child Psychologist
  • Executive Director of a Nonprofit
  • Professor, Higher Education
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • School Psychologist

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career field is projected to grow 3% over the next 10 years, as fast as the average rate of all occupations.

The outlook is best for those who have a doctorate in an applied specialty or concentration.

Getting a Doctorate in Psychology

Doctorate in Psychology program

Courses in a doctorate in psychology program focus on assessment and intervention, both through theory and practice.

Doctor of Psychology programs are usually heavily focused on real-world practice. Expect to have a mixture of coursework, clinical practicum, research, and internships.

Some examples of PsyD curriculum you may take include:

  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Adult Psychopathology
  • Professional Ethics
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Systems of Psychology
  • Lifespan Development
  • Advanced Biological Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Multicultural Perspectives in Human Behavior
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Advanced Research Methods and Statistics

If your college allows you to choose an area of concentration, you will also take unique classes relevant to that subject.

Most PsyD programs help prepare you for the licensure process. Licensure requirements vary by state, so be sure to do your homework if a clinical practice is your goal.

Currently, there are no PsyD online programs that are APA-accredited. However, reputable universities align their curriculum with APA standards to help prepare you for clinical psychologist licensure in a number of states.

What are the admission requirements?

When applying to an online Doctoral of Psychology program, you will likely need the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Minimum GPA scores (varies by the college)
  • GRE scores (not always required)
  • College Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Other assessments as determined by the college (interviews, essay, etc.)

The scores and assessments will vary by education program, so be sure to check with the college you are interested in to see their specific admission requirements.

How long does it take to finish a PsyD?

The length of the program will depend on many factors, including your educational background, the exact program you have chosen, how many courses you are able to take at a time, and your career aspirations.

Generally speaking, though, it usually takes about 4 to 5 years to complete a PsyD program, especially a PsyD Clinical Psychology. When it comes to clinical counseling, there are additional criteria that must be met.

Are online programs accredited?

Doctorate in Psychology programs accreditation

Yes. Psychology online programs from reputable schools have the same accreditation requirements as their campus-based counterparts.

In the U.S., there are six regional accrediting associations, each named after the region in which it operates.

They are as follows:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCA)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSAC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

It’s very important that you earn your degree from an accredited school, for two reasons. First, earning your doctorate will likely require a lot of time and money. You want to make sure you are investing in a quality program. Second, in order to become licensed to practice, you will need to have completed an accredited program.

What is a PsyD?

Students often ask, What is a PsyD Degree? A PsyD is a Doctor of Psychology program, meaning you will earn a doctorate in the field of psychology. This professional degree covers both Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology .

While the PsyD program does include a number of research-based courses, the primary focus is on clinical practice and hands-on experience. You will likely become a consumer of research – applying advanced knowledge to help care for patients – rather than a creator of research.

In contrast, a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, like the one offered by Saybrook University, is more research-focused.

Are There Any APA Accredited PsyD Programs Online?

Accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) is considered the ultimate “stamp of approval” in the field – the “gold standard.” In fact, in some states, students must have a degree from an APA-accredited program in order to become licensed psychologists.

But the criteria by which the APA evaluates and accredits online (and hybrid) programs are still being fine-tuned. According to the APA website , there is no online-only doctor of psychology programs that are APA-accredited at this time.

Certainly, though, there are APA programs that include online courses and can work around a busy schedule. Be sure to look for the program that is the best fit for your needs. And of course, if your goal is to become licensed, be sure to check with the licensing body in the state in which you plan to practice to see what the specific requirements are.

How much does a Doctor of Psychology cost?

Doctor of Psychology cost

A doctorate can be pricey, but there are affordable options. Especially when you factor in scholarships, grants, and payment plan options.

Tuition costs may vary by tens of thousands of dollars from one school to the next. So, it’s a good idea to compare costs. We’ve also found that there are discounts to be had. For example, a number of universities offer more affordable tuition rates for those who have served in the military.

According to data collected in a recent American Psychological Association (APA) study , the median cost to earn your doctorate in Clinical Psychology from a public institution was just under $11,000 for in-state residents, and about $24,000 for out-of-state residents. At private institutions, tuition was just under $34,000.

Does a PsyD require a dissertation?

Sometimes. While a dissertation is a standard requirement at the end of most doctoral programs, there are some programs that can be completed without dissertations .

Are there any schools offering the PsyD with no GRE requirement?

Many schools do require PsyD applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, but not all.

You can find this information, along with other admission requirements, on each program’s website.

Are there any fully online Doctor of Psychology programs?

There are only a few fully online programs. Due to the nature of the field, it’s imperative that you also get hands-on, in-person experience. This will require clinical hours.

This experience may be referred to as a residency, practicum or internship, and will take place at a hospital, clinic, school, community agency or organization in your local area.

Are there PsyD programs without a master’s requirement?

You will need to earn your master’s, like a master’s in psychology online , before beginning your PsyD program.

Even if a school were to admit you to the PsyD program without your master’s, it would not save you time. You would still need to earn those masters level credits before beginning the PsyD curriculum and you wouldn’t have the benefit of a master’s credential while working on your doctorate.

It may be worth noting that a growing number of universities offer on-campus and online dual masters and PsyD programs , which may allow you to work on both degrees at the same time.

Can I teach with a PsyD?

Yes, you can teach with a PsyD. The PsyD program is specifically designed for students who plan to go into clinical psychology, working directly with patients, but you will be qualified to pursue other career avenues, including teaching. In fact, the PsyD program at Walden offers an optional specialization in teaching.

Can I get a Doctor of Psychology in Forensics?

At the moment, no schools offer a PsyD in Forensics. But if you’re interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice or forensics, Walden offers a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology online.

Studying forensics can help you explore the bridge between the criminal justice system and psychology.

Doctorate in Psychology Program Details

doctorate in PysD programs

Many PysD programs allow students to choose an area of concentration, which will become their area of expertise and help them transition into their specific career.

Some examples of PsyD concentrations and fields of specialization include:

  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Behavioral Health Leadership
  • Child Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Couple or Family Therapy
  • Mental Illness
  • Social Work

Check with the school you are interested in to see which concentration areas they offer.

What financial aid is available for PsyD students?

financial aid for PsyD students

There are quite a few resources when it comes to financial aid for your PsyD!

First, most graduate schools, including many PsyD and master’s programs, offer scholarships. They are awarded based on financial need, academic merit, community involvement, minority status and other factors. To find out what scholarships are available at the school(s) you are considering, check the website or contact the financial aid office.

Second, look for grants, scholarships and other awards offered by state psychological associations. To find an association in your state, visit this APA directory . You may need to join the association to apply, but the fees are generally minimal (or free!) and the organization may provide other learning or networking opportunities.

Finally, the APA is an excellent resource for financial aid. They provide a searchable directory of scholarships, fellowships and other aid for students of all levels, including PsyD students.

Taking the next step

APA accredited PsyD programs online

If you are able to invest the time and money, a PsyD can open a lot of doors for you!

This program can be an excellent alternative to earning a doctor of philosophy that can help you to focus on hands-on training and move quickly into a career in clinical psychology.

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