Colleges with Clinical Psychology Degrees: How to Choose

Clinical psychology involves the assessment and treatment of a large variety of mental problems, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and schizophrenia. Degree programs in this field of study can be highly competitive, with acceptance rates as low as three percent in some cases.

How to Select Colleges for Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology programs are available at 4-year colleges and universities. Some schools offer programs that enable students to specialize in particular areas, such as family and couples counseling or behavioral medicine. Additionally, studies in psychology typically involve a large research component as well as hands-on clinical work through internships and residencies. Many schools have on-site clinics, research labs and affiliations with local mental health facilities and organizations, which allows students opportunities for real world experience. Here are a few important considerations to contemplate when choosing a clinical psychology school:

  • One of the most important factors to consider is if the chosen clinical psychology program is accredited by the APA.
  • Programs that offer cutting-edge facilities and opportunities for research and professional experience may prove to offer students the most benefit.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree or another doctoral degree is usually required to be licensed and work as a clinical psychologist in independent practice (www.bls.gov).

Clinical Psychology Program Overviews

Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology

Coursework covers fundamental and advanced elements of psychology, such as:

  • Cognition
  • Personality
  • Research methods
  • Diversity

Most programs also include courses in assessment and psychotherapy and require clinical internships or field experiences. Students have opportunities to participate in research as well.

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Required coursework includes advanced classes in the biological, social, developmental and cognitive elements of psychology and psychopathology. In addition, programs also offer training in:

  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Ethics

Most programs follow a scientist-practitioner model that integrates research and practical clinical training and experience through required internships and residencies. Students must also complete a dissertation based on original research.

Top 10 Clinical Psychology Schools

College/University Institution Type
University of California-Los Angeles 4-year, Public
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, Public
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 4-year, Public
Stony Brook University 4-year, Public
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 4-year, Public
University of Wisconsin-Madison 4-year, Public
Yale University 4-year, Private
University of Texas - Austin 4-year, Public
University of Virginia 4-year, Public
University of Washington 4-year, Public

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