Clinical Psychology Masters Programs with Course Descriptions

Learn about master's degree programs available in the field of clinical psychology. Discover program prerequisites, required coursework and certification options for graduates. Take a look at employment prospects and salary potential after graduation.

Essential Information

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat psychological problems as well as help people deal with personal issues, such as divorce or the death of a loved one. In order to gain licensure in the profession and work in an individual practice, individuals must often pursue a doctoral degree. However, a master's degree program in clinical psychology can prepare graduates to enroll in a doctoral program. It can also prepare them to assess patients under the care of a licensed psychologist or find a position in social services.

Students enrolled in these 2-year master's degree programs in clinical psychology learn about clinical diagnosis, research methods, psychopathology and the basics of psychological testing. The programs provide intensive hands-on clinical training as well as intense accompanying coursework for the students.

Educational Prerequisites

Potential students need to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, although the degree does not need to be in psychology. If they have a bachelor's degree in a degree other than psychology, students must complete courses in statistics and abnormal psychology before acceptance into the master's degree program. Other admissions factors taken into consideration include grade point average, letters of recommendations, related clinical practice experience, a statement of purpose and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Program Coursework

A master's degree program in clinical psychology combines classroom-based curriculum with clinical research. Before graduation, students must complete a clinical case study project or internship to demonstrate their knowledge on a specific clinical area or issue. Typical coursework for the master's degree program includes:

  • Clinical assessment
  • Group therapy
  • Advanced psychology
  • Personality testing
  • Marital and family systems
  • Psychotherapy
  • Therapy and crisis intervention

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Clinical psychologists find employment in private practices, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists from 2010-2020 is expected to grow 22%, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. This is due in part to the increased demand for psychologist services needed at schools, hospitals, consulting firms and other clinics and centers. As reported by the bureau, the median per-hour rate for clinical psychologists as of May 2012 was $32.53, which translates to $67,650 annually.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates of a master's degree program in clinical psychology can further their education with a Doctor of Psychology or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology. Students enrolled in either program are required to complete a dissertation and internship before graduating. A doctoral degree usually is required to begin work for an independent practice.

The American Board of Clinical Psychology (ABCP), which is a branch of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), certifies clinical psychologists. However, in order to be eligible members must hold a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, complete an internship in professional psychology and have three years of supervised experience in clinical psychology. Potential members must complete an application and undergo an oral examination in which they discuss their assessment skills, psychological knowledge, ethical behavior and commitment to clinical psychology.

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