Doctoral Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology
Prospective clinical psychologists are required to earn doctoral degrees in order to gain licensure and practice in clinical settings. Students can pursue either a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology.
Both Psy.D. and Ph.D. degree programs in clinical psychology involve traditional lecture-based courses, clinical experiences and a dissertation project. Psy.D. programs usually emphasize clinical practice, while Ph.D. programs are frequently more research-oriented.
- Program Level for Clinical Psychology: Doctoral degree
- Field of Study: Students can pursue either a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology.
- Prerequisites: Admission requirements for both of these programs often include a master's degree in psychology or a closely related field, though some programs will admit students who only hold a bachelor's degree. In either case, foundational psychology coursework must be completed prior to doctoral program admission.
- Other Requirements: Students in both Psy.D. and Ph.D. degree programs usually engage in clinical practica and internships.
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology is a practice-based graduate degree program that introduces students to a number of advanced clinical topics in the field. The curriculum of a Psy.D. in clinical psychology usually involves coursework specific to the field and practical, clinical experience. Students take seminar style courses and may study some of the topics listed below.
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Neuropsychological assessment
- Group psychotherapy
- Psychotherapy for children
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology is a research-based graduate degree program that introduces students to a wide range of advanced theoretical topics in the field. The curriculum of clinical psychology Ph.D. programs emphasizes the scientific study of psychology, including related theories and methodologies. Students in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program may study some of the following topics:
- Clinical research methods
- Theoretical aspects of clinical psychology
- Clinical psychology and statistics
- Psychodynamic psychology
Popular Career Options
Graduates of Psy.D. degree programs may work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals or community health centers. Graduates in clinical psychology may be qualified to pursue some of the clinical careers listed below.
- Forensic psychology
- Health psychology
Graduates of a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology may be qualified for a variety of clinical and academic careers. Most graduates pursue scholarly or researched-based careers, such as the following:
- College psychology professor
- Psychology statistician
- Substance abuse therapist
- Pediatric psychologist
Continuing Education Information
Ph.D. graduates may choose to further specialize in a particular area of the field, such as technologies in psychology or childhood psychopathology. Specializing involves additional study and possible certification.