Clinical Psychology Masters Programs with Course Descriptions

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.

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. Master's degree programs in clinical psychology prepare students for a doctoral degree by providing instruction on 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.

  • Program Levels in Clinical Psychology: Master's degree
  • Prerequisites: Accredited bachelor's degree in psychology or with required statistics and abnormal psychology coursework, acceptable GPA and GRE score, letters of recommendation, related clinical experience, statement of purpose
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Other Requirements: Clinical training, internship

Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology

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 psychotherapy and the following:

  • Clinical assessment
  • Group therapy
  • Advanced psychology
  • Personality testing
  • Marital and family systems
  • 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 2012-2022 is expected to grow 11%, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. This is due in part to the increased demand for psychological services 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 2014 was $44.28, which translates to $92,110 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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