We all know that classic scene where someone is talking to their therapist while lying on a sofa.
While therapy, in general, takes many forms other than the classic scene we always envision, that person the main character was most likely talking to was a psychologist. Psychology is the study of one’s mind and behavior. Clinical psychology is a branch that specifically deals with behavior and mental illness. Those who wish to become a licensed clinical psychologist will most likely have to get their Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
College Choice has compiled a huge ranking of the 55 best PhDs of this field in the nation. These rigorous programs are ideal for future leading researchers and practitioners of psychology. Many of these programs have received national recognition for outstanding research and alumni. Keep reading to see which one may be right for you.
Accredited Online College Programs
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
What kind of PhD in clinical psychology should you get?
There are two main advanced degrees you will see out there for Clinical Psychology: a doctor of philosophy (PhD) or a doctor of psychology (PsyD). Although this ranking primarily covers PhD programs, it is important to know the difference as this will impact your future career. While both PhD and PsyD programs require several hours of experience directly in the field, PhD programs heavily emphasize research. Therefore, those who are only interested in direct clinical practice may not wish to get a PhD.
PhD programs are also considered to be more competitive than a PsyD. They tend to require more time, as students generally complete a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation. Which one is right for you? Students should discuss with a faculty member or a career advisor before jumping into this challenging program.
Not ready for a PhD program yet? Check out these online master’s in clinical psychology instead.
How much does a PhD in clinical psychology make?
As of May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary of clinical counseling and school psychologists was $76,990, regardless if they have a PhD or not (it should be noted that the majority of clinical psychologists are required to have one). The top ten percent of these people had a median wage of $129,310. Those with a PhD do significantly make more than those with just a Master’s alone.
However, those just starting out in the field should not expect to be immediately making six figures. It is normal to only have a starting salary of about $55,000. Salary is determined by area, type of institution, and years of experience. For example, those in research and expect to earn a little bit more than those just working for a small clinic. The good news is that the demand for psychologists is on the rise and those with an advanced degree have a number of jobs that they qualify for.
What can you do with a PhD in clinical psychology?
The most common career upon completion of this PhD program is to become a clinical psychologist. These licensed psychologists diagnose and treat various emotional and mental issues. Psychologists will work with patients typically in a hospital, clinic, or another similar health facility. Candidates for this position must be passionate, empathetic, and good listeners.
Clinical psychologists who are research-focused will also work with patients but may do so less personally or less often. These psychologists design studies that may focus on an individual or group more generally for the purpose of understanding people’s behavior and emotions, and to develop new treatments. Thus, while they will definitely work with patients, it may be for the purpose of research. Both types of psychologists are equally important to the field today.
What are the requirements for a PhD in clinical psychology?
A PhD in clinical psychology is a full-time program that will take five to seven years to complete, depending on the school’s requirements. For the first few years, students enroll in coursework that goes over the fundamentals of the field and specialization if applicable. During the coursework, students will undergo a supervised practicum either on-campus or at a local health facility. Practicums generally last a couple of years. Around this time students may also be required to submit a master’s thesis, which can help with the doctoral thesis that must be completed at the end of the program. To graduate, students will participate in a year-long internship at the end.
Although master’s students are welcome to apply, generally applicants enter into the program right after undergraduate studies. Schools look for candidates who have a BA or BS in psychology, with a strong GPA and other outside extracurriculars. Applicants should also submit their Graduate Record Examination test scores and any other supplemental items.
Located in Washington D.C., American University offers more than 160 programs. AU is a student-centered institution that prides itself on community outreach and rigorous academic programs. It is also historically affiliated with the Methodist church. AU’s psychology programs are offered through the College of Arts & Sciences. The Clinical Psychology program is great for those hoping to get experience in a diverse, active city.
American’s Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology is a 72 credit-hour program that can be completed in five or six years. Practicums last three years and gives students plenty of experience working with patients. Other features of the program include:
Full funding: tuition and stipend
Mentorship program with faculty
16-hours per week externship
The required internship before completion of the Ph.D. program can be completed in one or two full calendar years.
Looking for a faith-based institution to earn your degree? Biola University is a private Christian university located in Southern California. It was founded by Lyman Steward in 1908 originally as a bible college. Over the years, there was a push to broaden the curricula to other areas. The university changed its name to Biola in 1981. They have consistently been ranked among the best Christian universities in the nation. The U.S. News & World Report recognized Biola among the top 10 “up and coming” universities in the nation.
Earn your Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology through coursework that combines foundations of psychology and research, in addition to Christian faith principles. This program is a total of 133 credit hours and will take at least five to six years to complete.
Ability to earn an MA after two years
Student-to-faculty ratio of five-to-one
Access to the Institute for Research on Psychology and Spirituality
Due to the faith nature of the coursework, it is fairly easy to minor in Theology and Biblical Studies while pursuing Clinical Psychology.
Bowling Green State University is a public, primarily residential university that offers students a safe place to pursue their goals. Throughout its 1,338-acre campus lies eight colleges. About 6,000 students currently live on campus, where students are encouraged to participate in activities such as sports and clubs. Even doctorate students are engaged with the campus through meaningful research and local internship opportunities. Business Insider ranks BGSU one of the most affordable universities within the nation.
BGSU’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program offers three areas of concentration: Clinical Child Psychology, Health Psychology, and Clinical-Community Psychology. Students can even specialize in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. They will complete additional electives and specific internships and research experiences.
Faculty-student research groups
Regular advisor meetings
Group practicums with five to seven students
Students will complete the practicum at the Psychological Services Center. Clients come from agencies located in the northwest Ohio area. Patients are served for a variety of issues.
California Lutheran University is a private liberal arts school that was founded in the Lutheran tradition. They are one of the 26 schools who are affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Therefore, students are encouraged to practice and apply their faith in their education. However, whether or not students practice faith or not, people from all backgrounds are welcome. Cal Lutheran is located in Thousand Oaks, located between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. This beautiful location allows access to major cities in Southern California.
Following a practitioner-scholar model, Cal Lutheran’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology helps students develop their research and interpersonal skills. As such, training is a huge focus in this program. Students who hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Psychology are eligible to apply.
Three years of practicum
One year of internship
Completion Time: 5 years
Those who do not currently have a Master’s degree will be awarded one after completion of the first two years of the program.
Case Western Reserve University is a private university located in Cleveland, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1826 in the city of Hudson but moved after Cleveland experienced major economic growth in the 20th century. As of fall 2018, CWRU has over 6,600 graduate and professional students enrolled. The Center for Measuring University Performance ranks them among the top 28 private research universities in the country for the number of doctorates they award, endowment, and research support.
The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is an accredited program by the American Psychological Association (APA). There are three tracks to choose from: Adult and Gerontology, Child and Family, and Pediatric. Other highlights of the program include:
Ability to join professional organizations
High rate of authorship among alumni
Four years of research and coursework, with one-year long internship
In 2013, this program was ranked No. 4 in over 150 programs in the academic journal Training and Education in the Professional Psychology.
Located in the heart of Washington D.C., Catholic University of America is a proud private university that follows the Catholic tradition. Its special location in the country’s capital allows students access to all of the historical landmarks. Due to its religious background since its founding by the Catholic bishops of the U.S., students are encouraged to learn more about their faith and apply it in their academics. About 2,600 graduate students are currently enrolled.
CUA’s graduate psychology programs are taught by experienced faculty in small class sizes. Students have access to excellent research centers to prepare for their future careers. The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology seeks to integrate both science and practice.
Focuses: Children, Families, and Cultures
Research apprenticeship program alongside faculty
Internships generally last one year and are about 16 hours per week in a community setting. Internships are especially competitive in cities such as Boston and Washington D.C.
Students enrolled at Drexel University will experience a different kind of education. They will find that they come first, regardless of how many research achievements the university may reach. Drexel was founded by Anthony J. Drexel, a philanthropist who wanted to create an institute of higher education for both men and women in a time where education was on the rise. Today Drexel is a global university with meaningful partnerships around the world.
Drexel’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is a competitive program for those who are equally passionate about research and actual practice. Every year only about 10-12 students are accepted. During the full-time curriculum, a 12-month practicum will take place before their final pre-doctoral internship. Below are the major areas of study:
Clinical Child Psychology
Students are required to participate in teaching activities throughout their time as a Ph.D. student. These activities may be to oversee student seminars, supervise labs, or actually teach as the primary instructor.
Duke University is a prominent private research institution located in Durham, North Carolina. Duke’s roots go back to the old Methodist and Quaker traditions of the country when public education was just emerging. Today Duke is a thriving research center with over 15,000 students. Psychology is, in fact, the No. 5 most popular course of study at the university.
Duke offers a competitive Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. It has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1948. This program is ideal for those who want to practice hands-on learning while pursuing scientific research.
About 4-6 applicants accepted annually
Main topics: Adult Clinical, Child Clinical, and Health Psychology
Mandatory practicum and internship
Past internship sites have included the Duke University Medical Center, Cambridge Hospital, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, as well as the Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
East Tennessee State University was founded in 1911 as a normal school, then became a school specifically for future teachers. It gained university status in 1963. There are over 14,500 students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and 11 colleges. ETSU’s main campus is located in Johnson City, a place with a population of a little over 63,000. The university also operates a few other campuses throughout the state. ETSU values a liberal arts education where people come first.
ETSU offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. This program focuses on rural behavioral health and practice. It emphasizes evidence-based assessment. Other than individual research, students will participate in coursework and field experiences.
Opportunity to shadow psychologists
20-hour weekly practicums
Affiliation with the Behavioral Health and Wellness Clinic
For those who hold an MA degree from another university, as much as 48 credit-hours can be transferred to go towards the Ph.D. program.
What began as a small teacher’s college in 1849 has grown to a large research institution with over 150 graduate programs. Eastern Michigan University is located in Ypsilanti on a campus about 800-acres. There are over 18,000 students enrolled through its five colleges. For the past 16 years, the Princeton Review has ranked EMich among the “Best of the Midwest.” This is due to its amazing programs that prepare students for their careers, and impressive research.
EMich’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program produces licensed clinical psychologists who are able to treat a number of issues. This is a fully supportive program that offers a stipend for the first four years. It will take a total of six years including the internship to complete. There are a total of five emphases to choose from:
Applied Behavior Analysis
There are four practicums: Master’s, doctoral pre-practicum, internal, and external. Several hundred hours must be completed at each stage to get the necessary experience.
Emory University is a private liberal arts school located in Atlanta, Georgia. The school was founded in 1836 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, however, students of all faiths are welcome. Emory is the second-oldest private institution in the state. Since its beginning, Emory has much to be proud of. The Princeton Review ranked Emory No. 1 for having the best quality of life. The U.S. News & World Report also ranked their hospital as the No. 1 best in the state and the city of Atlanta.
The goal of Emory’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. is to produce professional psychologists in the field of psychopathology. A core component of the curriculum will consist of human behavior and research methods. Students will also undergo training as teachers as they will undergo a departmental teaching practicum. Other coursework topics include:
History of psychology
Ethics for psychologists
The number of accepted applicants per year depends on the available funds. Students will receive some assistance while they are working as teachers.
Fairleigh Dickinson University is the largest private university within the state of New Jersey, operating multiple campuses and online distance learning degrees. FDU emphasizes a global education–curricula is multicultural and interdisciplinary in nature. In fact, they operate Wroxton College located in England. Students are able to study abroad at the college under a variety of programs. In 2018, FDU was ranked among “America’s Best Colleges” according to Forbes.
This Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program is accredited and a member of the Council of University Directors Clinical Psychology (CUDCP). This full-time program can be completed in five years, with the last year including a year internship. Students will participate in both research and clinical practicum. Previous clinical practica sites include:
American Institute for Cognitive Therapy
Center for Cognitive Behavior Psychotherapy
Columbia-Presbyterian Children’s Hospital
Mt. Sinai Child & Family Support Program
The research practicum that is held during the second and third year will require at least eight to ten hours per week.
Did you know that Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the country? Founded in 1636, Harvard is known as probably the most prestigious university in the U.S., with an undergraduate acceptance rate of under five percent. Students at Harvard have the privilege of being taught by the world’s most renowned faculty. In addition, the university is conveniently located in the beautiful city of Cambridge. Together with the local community, Harvard works to promote arts and culture, sustainability, and the economy.
Harvard’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology emphasizes on research, particularly in psychopathology. It will take about five years to complete. Below are some unique features:
Ability to gain state licensure in the state of Massachusetts
Practical training during second and third year
Projects before dissertation
Students will receive tuition aid, health assistance, and a stipend if needed. A summer research grant may also be offered.
Idaho State University is a beautiful public research university located in Pocatello. Other campuses are located in Idaho Falls, Meridian, and Twin Falls. ISU offers more than 250 programs, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. They are home to the state’s cutting-edge research facilities and the next generation of leaders. ISU is currently classified as a Carnegie doctoral research. They offer Ph.D. programs in the field of Psychology.
The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program was developed with the goal of creating generalist practitioners of the field. Clinicians will have strong research and critical thinking skills. Students will undergo coursework, internship, and research and clinical training. Some sample courses are:
Adult Psychopathology and Treatment
ISU operates a psychology clinic that is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Although this clinic serves students and community members for various issues, this is also a great place for clinical experience.
Did you know that the founding of the Illinois Institute of Technology was inspired by a simple sermon? The founder was so moved by the idea that a mere one million dollars could build a school that could change society, that he donated money that supported the school in its early years. IIT has come a long way since that sermon as the school has become a technology-focused private institution offering programs from the undergraduate to doctorate level. IIT is ranked as a Best Value School by the U.S. News & World Report.
Through the Lewis College of Human Sciences, IIT offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Psychology. The program follows a cognitive-behavioral training model. All coursework and research standards ensure a strong chance of receiving licensure upon graduation.
Rehabilitation Concentration available starting fall 2019
First-year practicum at the Chicago Public School’s Selective Enrollment Program
Multiple student funding opportunities
Examples of training topics include pediatric behavioral medicine, medical psychology, mental health, and family therapy. In the later years of the program, students will be able to have more choice in areas of practice and study.
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Louisiana State University is the state’s premier flagship university. LSU began as the Agricultural & Mechanical College. It officially began offering classes in 1860. Today LSU operates its main campus in the capital city of Baton Rouge but also has campuses in Alexandria, Eunice, and Shreveport. LSU is a highly affordable school, offering more than $300 million annually in financial aid and scholarships. Kiplinger has ranked LSU among the top 100 public colleges in the nation.
Offered through the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program’s curriculum focuses on practice through a scientific lens. All practice is evidence-based and designed to help students understand diversity issues. Below are some sample courses one could take:
Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling and Therapy
Social Basis of Behavior
Certain courses or activities may be waived if the student has already completed an equivalent course or project elsewhere.
Loyola University Chicago is proud to be the city’s Jesuit university. Its education tradition emphasizes the idea of cura personalis, meaning to “care for the whole person.” As such, students are given a holistic degree, learning about their passion while getting chances to explore their faith if they want to. Loyola is home to more than 17,000 enrolled students, with a total alumni of over 85,000. They are listed as among the top 100 colleges in the nation.
Graduates of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. will be able to work in research, academia, or clinical positions. This program is unique in that it offers a specialization in Clinical Child Psychology. About 35 students are currently enrolled in this program taught by nine faculty members. Check out some past internship locations:
Children’s Hospital at Stanford
Children’s Memorial Hospital
Brown Medical School
Students will complete at least 800 hours of a practicum or pre-internship that is supervised. The actual internship takes place in the sixth year for one entire calendar year.
Northwestern University had humble beginnings when nine men who had very little money gathered with the hopes of creating an institute of higher education. The land for the future university was purchased in 1853, and the first building was created in 1855. Today, Northwestern is a nationally-recognized university that places No. 10 in the country. The Feinberg School of Medicine offers its Clinical Psychology programs. The U.S. News & World Report ranks this school No. 19 in its ranking of research-focused medical schools.
Following a scientist-practitioner model, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program is operated through the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. All admitted students receive a research scholarship, stipend, and health insurance. At least 21 credit hours of coursework will be completed, in addition to an exam and dissertation.
Completion Time: 5-6 years on average
Non-psychology majors able to apply if prerequisites taken
Alumni are employed all over the country, with some people holding positions at places such as the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente, Boston VA Medical Center, and the Children’s National Medical Center.
Just looking at the numbers, Ohio State University has several impressive rankings. They are No. 1 out of all public universities within the state and No. 2 for public universities for graduate employability. Other than just its statistics, OSU is known for its public engagement and dedication to academics. Psychology has been a part of OSU’s curriculum since 1879. Since it began to offer PhDs in the field, over 2,000 doctorates have been awarded.
OSU’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program prepares graduates for a variety of careers. This six-year program consists of basic coursework, clinical training, practica, research, and internship. They offer a few specialty tracks in the following:
Which track you choose determines how your research and clinical experience will be.
Accepted students will receive financial assistance throughout the first five years of the program. This includes a stipend, tuition, and fee waivers.
Purdue University’s Psychology programs are offered on their flagship campus located in West Lafayette. Purdue was destined for success after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1862, making the lands available for an institute of higher education. Today Purdue is known for its world breaking research, with many of its alumni making major contributions in areas such as technology, medicine, health, and business. In 2018, Purdue is among the world’s top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rank.
Since 1949, Purdue’s PhD in Clinical Sciences program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association. Graduating professionals will be competent in research and applicable skills necessary for a licensed psychologist. Training will consist of coursework, hands-on experiences, and a dissertation.
First-year guided project
Apprenticeships with faculty
Clinical training under the Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics
Upon graduation, this program’s licensure will be valid in most jurisdictions. About 81 percent of graduates between 2002 and 2010 are licensed in at least one state.
St. John’s University is a private university located in New York City. It follows the Catholic and Vincentian education tradition that balances faith studies with one’s academic goals. Although it remains rooted in the Catholic church, all backgrounds are welcome. Currently, St. John’s operates seven campuses, three of which are within the city. St. John’s is listed as the No. 1 Catholic institution with the highest student-mobility rate according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Upon graduation, students will be able to function as licensed psychologists with a broad understanding of complex psychological issues. Thanks to the scientist-practitioner model, training will be done in general psychology as well as in clinical areas. There are two tracks: General course and Clinical Child Psychology.
Summer clinical practicum two days per week
Training at the St. John’s University Center for Psychological Services
Research starting the first year
A variety of housing options are available to Ph.D. students. Some doctoral fellowships are also awarded to those who qualify.
Saint Louis University is a private Catholic university that follows the Jesuit tradition. SLU was founded in 1818 by Catholic Bishop Louis William DuBourg. Although SLU’s education highly emphasizes faith in academics, students of all backgrounds are welcome. Several interfaith groups are alive on campus, offering students a safe place to learn about different beliefs. SLU’s graduate programs are also among the best in the nation.
Become an expert in the health services side of psychology through SLU’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. There are five areas of emphasis to choose from such as Clinical Child Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, Trauma Psychology, and Sports Psychology. Other program features include:
Training through on-campus Psychological Services Center plus local agencies in St. Louis
Internship opportunities at local medical centers
Fellowships, assistantships, and scholarships available
SLU’s graduate Clinical Psychology program was ranked among the top 100 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report in 2015.
Often called the “Ivy League” school of the West Coast, Stanford University is a prestigious private university that boasts an acceptance rate of under five percent. The university was founded in 1885 by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford, a California senator. Stanford has always valued not only education but community projects. It is estimated that there have been over 6,000 externally sponsored research projects done through Stanford. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Stanford is currently ranked No. 7 in the entire nation.
Stanford offers a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Psychology with two training programs: Adult, or Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The training consists of 20-hours working with patients per week. Other fellowship highlights include:
Research project opportunities
Stipend of $60,000 plus benefits
This program lasts for one year and begins on September 1st of every year. Child Psychology may take up to two years to complete.
Stony Brook University is a public sea- and space-grant research university that is part of the State University of New York system. It was founded in 1957 as a school for teachers, mathematicians, and scientists. Over the years the university experienced tremendous growth under the initial goal of standing “with the finest in the country.” Its location, 60 miles east of Manhattan, allows students to experience the joys of a metropolis, while still enjoying a small college feel at Stony Brook.
Stony Brook University’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is a nationally-recognized program, ranking No. 4 in a 2016 list by the U.S. News & World Report. Graduates will be able to understand issues from an evidence-based perspective. Some highlights of this program are:
Research in laboratory settings
Clinical training and internship program
Externship opportunities available to interested students
Clinical training is done at the Krasner Psychological Center and the Anxiety Disorders Clinic. There are several off-campus locations that students may have access to as well.
Faculty and staff at the University of Albany care about student success. Located in the state’s capital, UAlbany is a thriving research institution that allows students the benefits of learning their passions while benefiting the local community. In fact, Forbes ranked them among their list of America’s Top Colleges. Throughout its 175 years of history, UAlbany has created a culture of engagement through meaningful partnerships. Psychology students of the university have the opportunity to perform training directly in local centers.
Albany’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is a five-year program that follows the Apprentice Junior Colleague Model. This means that students are given apprenticeship training immediately in the early years of the program. They are guided by faculty throughout their coursework, training, and research.
Faculty advisors for future career guidance
Commitment to diversity
Sample Courses: Survey of Social Psychology, Clinical Methods, Research Methods
The predoctoral internship is held at the end of the program for one full calendar year.
Did you know that Temple University was originally founded as a night school? Since its founding in 1884, the university has become the largest school in the city of Philadelphia. Temple can be recognized for its iconic Temple “T,” and its owl mascot to honor the original night school. Psychology students at Temple are encouraged to not just engage with their courses, but to also meet with other like-minded professionals. Students are able to join various associations and attend conferences.
Upon completion of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. at Temple, students will be able to understand clinical methodologies and apply them in a variety of settings. This rigorous, full-time program has an average completion time of about six years. Other program statistics include:
100% of accepted students receive full tuition remission
Majority participate in accredited internships
92% of graduates from 2005 to 2014 obtained licensure
The U.S. News & World report ranks Temple among the top 100 in the nation for its overall value.
Texas Tech University is a public university in the city of Lubbock, Texas. TTU is the largest institute of higher education in the western two-thirds of the state. Despite its name, TTU offers programs in all disciplines and not just the STEM fields. Since its founding, TTU has won numerous awards and recognition. In particular, TTU has been at the top of rankings for its money value, being ranked the No. 1 Best College for the Money in the Southwest by College Factual.
TTU’s postdoctoral program in Clinical Psychology aims to produce professional psychologists who are able to perform high-level research and are knowledgeable about clinical practices. Students have access to therapy rooms, research labs, and conference rooms. The clinical training features three main areas:
Psychological intervention seminars
During the program, post-doctoral students may have the opportunity to teach or assist in teaching alongside a professor.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham began as a medical college in the late 19th century. The school gained university status in the late 60s after merging with the Birmingham Extension Center. Currently, UAB is the major institution of higher learning in Birmingham, the state’s largest metropolis. Through UAB’s psychology department, students receive real-world applications thanks to its prime location. Due to the increased support of fellowships and scholarships, students can receive their degree without going into debt.
UAB offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a Medical/Clinical Psychology emphasis. This program is operated by the Department of Psychology and the School of Medicine. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, students have the opportunity to learn from various faculty and participate in meaningful hands-on work. Below is a sample of research opportunities:
Center of Aging
Department of Neurology
School of Public Health
Center for Research in Applied Gerontology
First-year full-time students, regardless of residence, pay $0 for tuition. All students receive a 16-month fellowship with a stipend of $26,000 plus tuition.
The University of Arizona is one of the major public research universities within the Southwest region. In 2019 the U.S. News & World Report ranked it among the top 50 public universities within the nation. It is also ranked as a “best buy” school. UA boasts a diverse group of students that are not just from one culture. As such, UA students are awarded an education from different perspectives and opportunities. Currently, the university is putting forth what it calls the 100 percent engagement initiative. That entails students being encouraged to collaborate with mentors and peers in a variety of settings.
Students enrolled in UA’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program are encouraged to not just become amazing practitioners, but also to contribute to the field. This degree is modeled after the clinical science training method. It is also a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science.
Research or teaching assistantships available for up to five years
Emphases: Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, Intervention Research
Housed by the new School of Mind, Brain, and Behavior
Those who are parents are allowed to take graduate college parental leave for up to six weeks.
Known as the Cal Bears, the University of California Berkeley students can be found cheering in sporting events, fighting for political rights, and pursuing meaningful research in their respective fields. Berkeley was founded in 1868 and has experienced several milestones in academia. In fact, many of today’s inventions were founded in part to Berkeley alumni and faculty. The U.S. News and World Report ranks Cal at No. 22 in their National Universities ranking.
UCB offers a Ph.D. in Clinical Science through its Psychology department. This program is a facet of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science. Students will complete four to six years of residency in addition to one year of an internship. Below are some sample courses one could take:
Introduction to Clinical Methods
Professional Development in Clinical Science
Throughout professional development seminars, students meet for two hours to discuss things like ethical standards, confidentiality, and theories of consultation. This will be taken in year two and three.
Located on the West side of the city, the University of California Los Angeles is one of the most prestigious universities in the UC system. Throughout its 100 years of history, greatness has defined UCLA. Not only is the university known for its impressive research centers and world-class faculty, but it is also ranked No. 9 in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings. UCLA’s Ph.D. students can expect rigorous training and unique career opportunities.
Develop the critical thinking skills needed to promote psychological well-being through UCLA’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program. Throughout the six years of the program, students will complete a yearlong internship and at least four years of residency. A dissertation will also be completed.
12-month academic calendar
Accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation and Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System
Required diversity training
This program is made up of coursework, clinical training, and research. Students have access to the many research centers on UCLA’s campus.
The University of Connecticut is a leader in public higher education. Established in 1881, the school has four campuses: Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury. Today UConn is considered among the top 25 best public universities in the country according to the U.S. News & World Report. In 2018, private donations amounted to about $82.4 million, attesting to how impactful the university has been the nearby community.
Students are able to specialize in a variety of topics through UConn’s Clinical Psychology program. On average this program is completed in five to six years, with about ten people being accepted annually. The Department of Physiological Sciences offers several ways for students to get involved, whether it be through club events or more professional gatherings. Check out some of the emphases below:
Child and Adult Neuropsychology
Thanks to the Matlen-Andersen Trauma Training Fund, students can get the experience they need to become future successful psychologists. This fund began in 2015 and offers specific training for patients who have experienced trauma.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign aims to continue to be a world-class institution in research and teaching. Since its founding in 1867, the university has earned its spot as the No. 14 best public university in the nation. It has a whopping enrollment of over 47,000 students. Its location is ideal for those looking to pursue a degree actively working in the community. Urbana-Champaign’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is ideal for those wishing to work in community practices or in academia.
Urbana-Champaign’s Clinical-Community Ph.D. combines patient interaction and intensive research. The program is accredited by many major psychological associations and was the first to be accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System.
Two-year supervised practicum
In 2003, this program was awarded the Suinn Minority Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association.
The University of Kansas operates five campuses, with its main one located in Lawrence. KU is the state’s flagship university, producing the most research out of any institution in the state. They are among only 62 schools in the nation who are apart of the Association of American Universities (AAU). Since its founding when the school opened up with only 55 students, KU has grown to over 28,500. The advanced Clinical Psychology program is among the top 25 in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report.
KU’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology was among the first programs in the country to be accredited by the American Psychological Association. This program takes a clinical science approach to training and emphasizes the first-hand experience with patients. Below are some of the things students will be able to do upon graduation:
Make independent contributions to the field
Master all aspects of scientific psychology
Ethically practice clinical psychology
A task requirement is required during the third year of the program. This could be completed via a clinical intervention, literature review, or a project.
The University of Kentucky, or the “Wildcats,” is a public research institution located in Lexington. It is one of the state’s land-grant universities and the largest institute of higher education within Kentucky. UKY is made up of 16 colleges, with many of its programs ranked highly in the nation. Its Department of Psychology and Clinical Psychology Program is ranked in the top 20 for public institutions.
Students of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program can choose to either concentrate in Health Psychology or Neuropsychology. Successful students will possess strong research skills and a willingness to learn clinical skills through practice.
Minimum of three semesters worth of supervised practicum
Completion of Master’s thesis and final dissertation
Sample Courses: Ethics, Psychopathology, Personality Theory
The final internship requirement can be completed through the UK Internship Consortium Program which lasts two and a half years.
The University of Maine offers more than 150 years of history, beginning as a small college focusing on agriculture and mechanic arts. This school officially changed its name to its current one in 1862. UMaine offers over 100 degrees from undergraduate to doctorate level. Its average student-to-faculty ratio is only 16-to-1, giving students the attention they deserve. The university boasts 15 “signature and emerging areas of excellence,” some of which include initiatives towards a more sustainable environment and technological research.
UMaine’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology prepares graduates for careers in academia or practice as licensed psychologists. This program follows the generalist model where coursework covers the basics, along with the opportunity to emphasize in specific subjects. There are two emphases: Clinical Child Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology.
Practicum beginning the summer after the first year
Mentorship throughout the research process
Median Completion Time: 6.6 years
This program was ranked No. 9 out of 233 programs of its kind by the Training and Education Professional Psychology journal.
When people think of the city of Miami, they probably think of beautiful beaches and diverse, vibrant culture. However, the city also offers wonderful research centers! The University of Miami is the city’s main private institute of higher education with over 17,000 students. Annually, UM spends more than $324 million in research. In addition, according to the Economic Impact Report, the university helps contribute a whopping $6 billion to the state’s economy.
UM’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology offers three tracks: adult, child, and health clinical track. Research training follows a “mentor model,” meaning they are paired with a faculty member based on their scholarly interests.
Advanced external practicum during fourth year of program
Research training provided
Sample Courses: Social Psychology, Diversity Issues in Psychology, Structural Equation Modeling
There are various practicum locations that students can choose from, depending on their track. Many of these sites are APA-accredited.
The University of Mississippi, most commonly referred to as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university. Not only is it a nationally-recognized institution, but it is also a place that feels like home for many alumni and members of the community. Ole Miss was chartered in 1844 and was the state’s only university for 110 years. It has set the stage for public education of Mississippi, offering programs from the undergraduate to doctorate level across its 10 colleges and online.
The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program follows behavioral and cognitive-behavioral methods of practice. Upon graduation, students will not only have solid research and practice skills but will also learn professional ethics to be successful.
Full-time assistantships available
Learn assessment and patient therapy through practicum experience
Successful internship placement
Recently approved practicum locations have been the Baptist Children’s Village, Psychological Services Center at the university, and the University Counseling Center. All locations must be APA-accredited in order to get credit.
The University of Missouri St. Louis is the largest public research university in the eastern part of the state. It is proud to be one of the most diverse campuses, with students from all states and 63 countries. UMSL hopes to continue to be a leader in education and research, particularly in the St. Louis metropolitan region. Many of their alumni have gone out into the immediate community as professionals to impact lives through their various passions. Washington Monthly included UMSL in their ranking of the nation’s “Best Colleges for Student Voting.”
Those wishing to become psychotherapists in the future should apply to UMSL’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. This program is proud to foster strong research, training, and awareness of diversity. Check out some program features below:
Ability to gain licensure through the Professional Practice in Psychology exam
Monday Forum for diversity issues
Affiliation with the Center for Trauma Recovery and Children’s Advocacy Center
Graduates of this program have scored generally in the top 15 percent in the nation on the licensure exam.
While many people focus on the cities of Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe when they think of Nevada, Reno is another great place known for its casinos. The University of Nevada Reno is a 21st-century forward-thinking institution. It was the state’s first university. Their Clinical Psychology program has been accredited since 1972 and is a member of the Academy of Clinical Science.
UNR’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is unique in that it focuses on behaviorism. This program follows a cognitive-behavioral model as the foundation for research and practice.
Clinical supervision during the first three years
Practicum training starting the first semester
Sample Courses: Diversity, Stats, Integrated Care
Much of the training takes place at the Psychological Service Center, which is a community-oriented clinic that serves the locals. This is a great opportunity for direct patient contact experience.
The University of New Mexico operates a beautiful 600-acre campus in the city of Albuquerque. Many of the buildings feature architecture with Pueblo influences as a way of honoring the local culture. UNM is the state’s flagship institution and a primarily Hispanic-Serving Institution. Diversity is important to UNM, as are initiatives focusing on inclusion and cultural awareness. UNM’s graduate schools were also ranked among the best in 2018 by the U.S. News & World Report.
Dive into a variety of research topics through UNM’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program. All training integrates both science and practice. Successful applicants will already possess strong research skills. Below are the following emphases available:
The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. It is also undergoing review for additional accreditation.
The University of North Carolina Greensboro was built thanks to the dedicated citizens of the city who wanted an institution of higher education. The school was officially established in 1891 and opened the following year. Currently, over 20,000 students are enrolled in programs from the undergraduate to the doctorate level. UNCG is recognized as both a “doctoral university with higher-research activity” and a school with great community engagement. It hopes to continue to remain a leader in service and learner-centered research.
Students of UNC’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program will become skilled scientists and psychologists. Every year about 15 students are accepted into this program. It can be completed in five or six years, plus one year of an internship.
Regular and advanced practica
Completion of a 2,000-hour internship upon finishing required coursework
Offers the Graduate Psychology Education Program (GPEP) Training grant
Once students complete the necessary requirements for an MA, they will be awarded that degree.
The University of North Dakota was founded before the state itself was even born. Its 550-acre campus is located in Grand Forks with over 13,000 enrolled students. UND’s mascot is a “Fighting Hawk,” symbolizing the university’s goal of always striving to rise above adversity. It is estimated that UND contributes about $300 million to the state’s economy and creates about 1,500 jobs campus-wide. UND’s Psychology programs are offered through the College of Arts & Sciences, a school with a strong liberal arts background.
Become a leader in research for mental and other psychological issues through UND’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. This program can be completed in four to six years and is a total of 92 credit hours.
Four years of practicum + internship
Master’s thesis + Ph.D. dissertation
This program has produced the most Native American/First Nations Ph.D.’s out of any other APA-accredited program.
The University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740 in thanks to the visions of the prominent evangelist George Whitefield and founding father Benjamin Franklin. These men wanted to train future leaders of the country, and thus envisioned a school that could aid in doing so. Thus, the modern university was born in West Philadelphia. UPenn is defined by excellence, affordability, diversity, and innovation. By 2020 the university hopes to continue to be a global leader in academia and social change.
Join a highly distinguished group of scholars by enrolling in UPenn’s Psychology Ph.D. program. Faculty are members of notable psychology associations and boards, and play a huge role in guiding students throughout their research. Clinical training makes up a bulk of the Ph.D. Here is what students can expect:
Learn assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy
Become a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science
Sample courses: Psychodiagnostic Testing, Developmental, Ethics, and Professional Standards
Although the official degree will not say “Clinical Psychology,” the practical training prepares students for work as a clinical psychologist.
Considered among the most prestigious private institutions within the state and country, the University of Southern California is filled with dedicated faculty and staff. Known as the Trojans, USC started as a small school when the city of Los Angeles was just a frontier town. The school officially opened in 1880 to a class of only 53 students. Today there are over 44,000 enrolled students, many of whom actively take advantage of all the great opportunities LA has to offer. USC is ranked No. 22 in the nation overall by the U.S. News & World Report.
With the goal of producing advanced professionals, USC’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program offers a unique approach to the field. This degree follows a life-span approach to research and practical application, meaning issues ranging from childhood to older adults. Its prime location in Los Angeles offers students several opportunities for advancement.
There is a dual degree available allowing one to work towards a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. This is great for dedicated students who can handle coursework in both areas simultaneously.
Nicknamed “the U,” the University of Utah is the state’s flagship university located in Salt Lake City. Innovation is one key feature found on campus. The U offers on-campus research center and ecosystem partnerships. In particular, they are known for helping to create several successful startup companies. Currently, the U serves more than 31,000 students both at the undergraduate and graduate level in a beautiful community. Best Places ranked Salt Lake City as the #5 healthiest U.S. City in the country.
This Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program is proud to be ranked in the top 50 of its kind according to the U.S. News & World Report. Following a clinical science model, both research and practice are equally emphasized. There are three specialty tracks one can choose from:
Clinical Health and Behavioral Medicine
Clinical Child and Family
In addition to having an advisor throughout the entire program, students will also have a supervisory committee to guide them throughout the Master’s thesis and dissertation.
The University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It not only has been rated as having great value but is also the No. 3 public university in the country in a 2018 ranking done by the U.S. News & World Report. In particular, Virginia is known for its amazing health centers and operates the No. 1 hospital in the state. Their renown medical facilities offer great opportunities for advanced clinical psychologists interested in working directly with patients.
Specialize in both Clinical and School Psychology through this Ph.D. program. Upon graduation, students will have completed the necessary work to receive the Licensed Clinical Psychologist certification in order to work in state schools. Other benefits of this program are:
Two tracks: clinical-school and general clinical
Accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)
Five to seven students accepted annually
Ninety-seven percent of graduates become licensed psychologists following this program.
What makes the University of Washington different? Its vibrant community and dedication to research and teaching is something to be proud of. In fact, UW is ranked No. 14 in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities – an amazing accomplishment! Although UW’s main campus is located in Seattle, they also operate campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. Seattle is a major city in the U.S. for research, technology, and civic engagement. Eager students ready to live in this beautiful city should schedule a visit to the campus.
Combine professional and scientific training through UW’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Although this program still teaches some clinical practice, it is primarily for future researchers. Therefore, this may not be ideal for those wishing only to pursue a career in the working field.
Over 40 practicum training sites throughout Seattle
Tracks: General Clinical and Child Clinical
Emphasizes ethnic and cultural diversity
Several graduates have been successful in receiving external grants, making speaker presentations at professional conferences, and writing publications.
Known as one of America’s top research institutions, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee continues to impact the community and state through its findings. In fact, UWM’s research is recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The city of Milwaukee is a beautiful place located along Lake Michigan. Various festivals, events, and old city vibes contribute to this city’s charm. About 27,000 students are enrolled through UWM’s 195 degrees.
A scientist-practitioner program in nature, students of UWM’s Ph.D. in Psychology: Clinical Psychology degree is ideal for future researchers. The program is currently a member of The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science. Key features are:
Located near the Rocky Mountains, the University of Wyoming is proud of its heritage and traditions of the West. Students enrolled at UWYO not only experience all of the amazing outdoor opportunities that the state has to offer but also are taught by esteemed faculty in small classes. Known as the Cowboys, UWYO’s mascot and logo are easily recognizable and reminiscent of the wild west. UWYO is proud to have the largest scholarship endowment for study abroad programs in the country.
Throughout UWYO’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, students will be able to research areas of passion. Some areas include psychotherapy and psychopathology. This program can be for future practicing psychologists as well as those just in research.
Clinical assessment and therapy sessions
Ability to join graduate associations such as the Wyoming Psychological Association
Master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation
All graduates will receive a full assistantship, with a stipend of the amount of about $16,785. Students must pay for their own room and board, school supplies, and the technology fee.
Those who are enrolled at the Virginia Commonwealth University are proud to be considered a Ram. VCU’s amazing sports team, dedicated research, and community engagement is something to be envious of. VCU was founded more than 175 years ago in 1838 as a medical college. It has been a college of many firsts. For example, it was the first place to do organ transplants within the state. Of course, VCU has branched out in many fields other than health since its inception. Several graduate programs are nationally ranked within the country.
VCU’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program began in 1971. About 50 to 55 students are currently enrolled, with a total of 285 alumni since the program’s founding. There are two concentrations, either in Child/Adolescent or Behavioral Medicine.
Practicum team assignments
12-20 hours per week at practicum sites beginning in the fourth year
Can enter with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
There are a variety of clinical opportunities within the program, with the most common being child pediatrics, anxiety clinic, or primary care psychology clinic.
Located in the heart of Detroit, Wayne State University is the place to study if you are looking for an exciting student career. Wayne State is known for its excellence in teaching, groundbreaking research, and local student opportunities. Its yearly research expenditure totals more than $221 million, making up the majority of the state’s Center for World University Rankings search. Wayne State is also among the safest campuses in the country. They list them in the top eight universities in the entire world.
Wayne State’s graduates of the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology are leaders in clinical issues, taking a scientific approach to assessing and problem-solving. Students learn what it means to be a psychologist, then a clinical psychologist, and lastly a clinical psychologist with expertise in a specific area.
Residency plus an internship
Addition of a formal master’s thesis
Students can expect to spend at least 60 hours per week studying, pursuing research, and engaging in other activities related to the program.
West Virginia University is R1 doctoral university that operates its main campus in the city of Morgantown. It also has other colleges and divisions in Beckley, Keyser, Charleston, and Martinsburg. Since its founding, WVU has had many achievements. Other than its programs being among the top of its kind, WVU has produced many winners of prestigious scholarships. In 2017, The Center for World University Rankings ranked the university among the top 1.5% in the world.
Through WVU’s Ph.D. in Clinical and Clinical Child Psychology, students are trained in the Boulder model where they learn to be both a researcher and a practitioner. This program meets state licensure requirements in most places. Students are able to emphasize in particular areas, such as:
Mental health and aging
All accepted students are given a graduate assistantship that waives the tuition fee, plus a nine-month stipend of $16,500.
Western Michigan University prepares students for a successful future – with a high job placement rate and high national ranking, it is evident that UMich puts students first. They describe themselves as learner-centered, meaning that all members of the community are encouraged to help students become lifelong learners. Many of UMich’s programs and research are ranked nationally. For instance, their psychology faculty are recognized for their research at the Autism Center of Excellence.
Throughout the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, students will engage in research, hands-on practice, and teaching. The curriculum follows a scientist-practitioner model and is composed of a total of 95 credit hours. Additional program requirements are:
Completion Time: 6 years
500-hour post-masters practicum
2000-hour pre-doctoral internship
Students may have the chance to join the Psi Chi or the National Honor Society in Psychology.
William James College actually has its roots in the field of psychology, ever since the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology adopted the new, current name. William James curriculum combines psychological practice with solid research skills. The famous psychologist who the school is named after was one of the most influential people in the 19th century. Today William James is proud to be the No. 2 school for best social-service jobs, which includes licensed clinical psychologists.
William James offers a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology where students will have the chance to work one-on-one with patients. The goal of this program is to teach students professional methods of treatment. This is a five-year program with many fieldwork experiences.
Focus on applied clinical skills
About 100 students enrolled
Concentrations: Neuropsychology, Forensic Psychology, Geropsychology, Clinical Health Psychology, Children & Families of Adversity & Resilience
The pass rate for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, also known as the EPPP, is 82.76%.
Online College Resources
Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.
An online master of education is an advanced degree that prepares educators for roles in K-12 school administration, student counseling, curriculum design, and instruction. According to Georgetown University's , individuals...