Graduate Schools for Clinical Psychology Degree Programs

Clinical psychologists typically must obtain a doctoral degree in order to treat patients. Graduate students may look for programs that offer state-of-the-art clinical research facilities, those that allow faculty to design their own research labs and those that offer space for graduate research.

Individuals looking to study clinical psychology can find numerous schools across the country that offer graduate degrees in the field of study. Since a large part of a graduate student's curriculum is observation and patient interaction, programs that offer research labs with internship opportunities can provide exposure to real-life counseling and research methods.

Ten Universities With Clinical Psychology Degree Programs

The following list is a sample of both private and public schools that offer clinical psychology degree programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $11,220; Out-of-state: $26,322
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $9,143; Out-of-state: $26,354
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $15,207; Out-of-state: $27,255
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $10,728; Out-of-state: $24,054
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private Doctoral $38,700
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private Doctoral $47,590
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $15,023; Out-of-state: $28,213
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $9,029; Out-of-state: $21,120
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $15,844; Out-of-state: $24,508
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Doctoral $3,1068

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Since many programs differ in structure, area of focus, and expertise, it is important to keep the following in mind when considering a program:

  • Students should look for programs accredited by the APA.
  • Because graduate programs are available in different areas, such as research, academia, or professional practice, students should carefully weigh their interests against potential programs.
  • A graduate program's research facilities and the type of research being conducted may play a large part in a student's selection criteria, regardless of professional path.
  • Since many clinical psychology programs offer the support of mentors who will help guide students through their programs, it is important for students to research current faculty members to see if their interests are congruent with the faculty's.

Master's Degree

Master's degree programs in clinical psychology require a minimum of 60 hours, with at least 12 of those devoted to a clinical internship. Courses generally emphasize areas of clinical psychology such as substance abuse treatment, psychotherapy, individual and group treatment, clinical psychopharmacology and abnormal psychology. Graduates of clinical psychology master's degree programs typically do not qualify for licensure, but may find work as psychological research assistants or as industrial-organizational psychologists.

Doctoral Degree

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree program can take four to five years to complete, not including a mandatory one to two year full-time internship. Doctoral programs emphasize various types of research, including experimental and quantitative research. Students enrolled in doctoral programs may choose to concentrate in behavioral, biological, psychoanalytic or cognitive approaches to clinical psychology.

When looking at clinical psychology programs, students should consider their educational and career goals and how they fit in with a particular program's curriculum and faculty. It is important to remember that master's degree programs usually don't prepare students for licensed clinical psychologist careers, so students will likely have to complete a doctoral program in order to become licensed.

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