Clinical Psychology Masters Programs with Course Descriptions

A master's degree program in clinical psychology can prepare graduates to enroll in a doctoral program, also getting them ready to assess patients under the care of a licensed psychologist or work in social services.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in clinical psychology provide 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, with an internship sometimes being required.

Prerequisites for master's programs include an accredited bachelor's degree in psychology or required statistics and abnormal psychology coursework as well as an acceptable GPA and GRE score, letters of recommendation, related clinical experience, and a statement of purpose.

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 2014-2024 is expected to grow 20%, 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 BLS, the median salary for these professionals as of May 2015 was $70,580.

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.

Clinical psychology master's programs provide gateways for aspiring psychologists to enroll in a doctoral program, the completion of which is usually required to begin independent practice. The field of clinical psychology is expected to experience very healthy growth during the 2014-2024 decade.

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