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Uniformed Services University


The graduate program in Medical Psychology provides graduate instruction and research training leading to a PhD degree. Students entering the program typically have a background in psychology, biology, or life sciences and pursue research in a field combining psychology with the biomedical sciences. Basic and applied approaches to health psychology and behavioral medicine are emphasized, focusing on the study of psychosocial, psychobiological, and behavioral factors in the etiology, prevention, and treatment of illness, substance abuse, and relationships between physical and mental health. The emphasis of this program is the training of scientists and educators in the fields of health psychology, behavioral medicine, and/or medical psychology. In the medical psychology program, students learn the research skills that they would learn at many graduate programs, but the opportunities to conduct DoD-relevant research, to work directly with servicemembers and their families, and to develop interprofessional and leadership skills sets this program apart from others in the country. Upon graduation, all students will have research skills, uniquely informed through their experiences within a DoD setting. The tracks in the program determine student status (i.e., military or civilian).

Military Track: Graduates in the Medical Psychology-Military Track are trained for research careers in one of the military services. Currently we are not accepting applications for this track (MPM).

Civilian Track: Graduates are trained to be independent researchers in government or civilian academic settings. Only civilians can apply for the Medical Psychology Program-Civilian Track (MPC).




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Program highlights.

Students have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research that spans numerous possibilities: basic science, clinical research, global health, etc. Particular focus areas relevant to military medicine include traumatic brain injury, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, emerging infectious and neglected tropical diseases, combat casualty care, substance abuse, genomics and precision medicine.

Psychology faculty, students and staff engage in a broad range of research focusing on health

The Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology serves the uniformed services and the nation with a worldwide perspective for education, research, policy, service, and consultation. The university’s premier graduate program in psychology is unique in relating these activities to military medicine, disaster medicine, and military readiness.

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Clinical Psychology PhD Program

Why study at Northwestern?

Founded on a scientist-practitioner model, the overall goal of the Clinical Psychology PhD Program is to graduate academic psychologists who are competent, ethical and productive in the science and practice of clinical psychology. Our program emphasizes the integration of science and clinical practice.

Directors' Message   Student Admissions, Outcomes & Other Data Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice

How to Apply

Learn more about the criteria for applying to the program as well as tuition and financial aid.

Our curriculum is structured to maximize clinical, research and ethical training for students.

phd in medical psychology

Meet Our Team

Meet our current students and their faculty mentors. Each student works closely with a faculty member throughout their tenure at Northwestern. Browse the Faculty Mentor list to learn more about their research projects and see who is currently recruiting new students.

Current Students    Faculty Mentors

JD-PhD Program

Northwestern's joint JD-PhD program  is a collaboration between The Graduate School and Northwestern Law. It's designed for applicants who are interested in academic careers examining research topics that are enriched by having both JD and PhD degrees.

Visit the JD-PhD Website

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Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

NSU fin

Small Cohort. Big Career Advantage.

The NSU Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology offers a select group of 10 students per year into a traditional scientist-practitioner training model that’s rigorous in academic scope and fully accredited. We prepare you to thrive at the highest professional level in research, teaching, clinical practice or a combination of roles.

Your wide choice of doctoral research opportunities includes close working mentorships with leaders deeply experienced in your chosen specialization. NSU faculty members are well-known and respected nationwide. Many hold APA and other top association positions and spearhead high-profile national conferences, in addition to their international speaking engagements, breakthrough research and published work.

Seven concentrations within the Ph.D. program ensure you the ability to focus on issues that interest you most.

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APA-CoA Accredited

phd in medical psychology

The College of Psychology's Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Questions related to the accredited status of the program should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Explore Seven Ph.D. Concentrations

The college's doctoral programs are committed to the general training of clinical psychologists. However, we do provide students the option of specializing in one of seven areas.

psychologist speaking with children

Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology Track

Turn young lives and futures around: treat children and adolescents with major emotional and behavioral problems and troubled families.

psychologist with patient

Clinical Forensic Psychology

Welcome to one of the most fascinating psychology specialties. Work with police to prevent and solve crimes or partner with attorneys as an expert witness or jury consultant.

male doctor speaking with patient on couch

Clinical Health Psychology

Apply your expertise to boost patient outcomes and shape public healthcare policy - work in research, clinical practice or within government.

male psych patient with doctor

Long-term Mental Illness

Embrace this emerging specialization: the treatment and evaluation of severely and persistently mentally ill adults and children, and their families.

three young men in group circle

Multicultural Track

As society grows more diverse, those skilled in bridging sharp differences in perspectives and expectations will reach and treat patients more successfully.

doctor comforting patient

Clinical Neuropsychology

From traumatic injuries to learning disabilities, work in the lab, clinical setting or classroom to diagnose and treat brain injuries and illnesses.

female patient sitting with clipboard and pencil

Psychodynamic Psychology

Ease symptoms and improve lives by analyzing patients’ past situations and emotions that shape today’s choices, perceptions and behaviors.

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Request More Details

See a concentration you like? Ask us for more details about any of these programs now.

Unique Clinical Experiences

Unique Clinical Experiences

The unusually broad perspective you’ll gain from your clinical practice experience at the NSU Psychology Services Center provides you a significant career edge. Our 15 on-campus working clinics treat a diverse South Florida population and many international visitors:

Quick Facts

Delivery options.

Held on Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus

Start Dates

The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program is offered once per year, beginning in August. Submit your application by January 8. (Deadline date is January 8. Early deadline date for December Interview Day is Dec 1)

Tuition for the degree program is $1,267 per credit hour.

Degree Completion

NSU’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program is a 5-year curriculum, including a minimum of 118 total credits, successfully passing the Clinical Competency Examination, and completing a one-year internship to be eligible for the degree.

Why Choose NSU?

Why Choose NSU?

Earning Potential

Teaching & research roles, government roles, psychologists, all other.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

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Clinical Psychology PhD Programs Guide Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated December 15, 2022 · 3 Min Read

phd in medical psychology is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

A Ph.D. in clinical psychology opens the door to a variety of career opportunities in a rewarding field. Graduates of these programs make theoretical and hands-on contributions in research positions, professorships, and clinical practice in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and schools. Through experience-based practicum studies, internships, and research-heavy dissertation work, clinical psychology Ph.D. programs prepare students to become leaders in their chosen careers. Read on to learn more about Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology.

Earning a Ph.D. vs. a PsyD

To become a psychologist, prospective students must earn one of two doctoral degrees in psychology . The choice between a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and a Psy.D. in clinical psychology largely depends on the individual's ultimate career goals.

Clinical psychology Ph.D. programs train students to conduct and present psychological research. Graduates can choose from a wide range of career options, including clinical practice and patient care, teaching, research, and medical center practice. Ph.D. admissions are competitive, and schools admit only a fraction of the applications they receive.

Graduates with a Psy.D. in clinical psychology work directly with clients in a variety of clinical settings, as these programs boast a great deal of hands-on experience. Psy.D. programs may admit more students, though funding can be sparse in comparison to the Ph.D. Psy.D. students do not need to complete research-heavy coursework, which can allow them to complete the degree in 4-6 years. Ph.D. students may take longer to finish.

Degree Snapshot

Typical Admission Requirements: GRE scores, interview

Time to Completion: 5-7 years

Average Salary: $94,000

More information on clinical psychology degrees

Online Psychology PhD Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Why Get a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology?

A Ph.D. in psychology presents many personal and professional benefits, including an array of opportunities for rewarding career choices.

Example Curriculum

Degree requirements vary by program, but many clinical psychology Ph.D. programs require students to fulfill the following for graduation:


What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology?

Graduates of clinical psychology Ph.D. programs enjoy a variety of career opportunities , though most become clinical psychologists or researchers. Clinical psychologists may work in medical centers, rehabilitation facilities, or forensics, while researchers may take positions in research centers or as professors at universities.

Salary : $79,010

Where Do Clinical Psychologists Work?

Graduates who wish to practice clinical psychology must apply for licensure in the state they wish to practice. Requirements vary by state, so students should conduct careful research and compile the necessary materials as they proceed through their degree programs.

To qualify for licensure, applicants must hold a doctoral degree in psychology from an APA-accredited program. Students should keep track of all practicum and internship hours, as most states require validating paperwork. Licensing boards may review client lists, treatment types, and other details regarding the supervised internship and practicum experience.

All 50 states require the examination for professional practice in psychology, and students should expect to pay fees upwards of $500 to obtain licensure. Typically, clinical psychologists renew their licenses every two to three years, which may require additional fees and continuing education.

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Find the psychology program that best fits your career plans and budget.

Clinical-Community PhD Program

The clinical psychology ph.d. program.

Our program integrates education and training in traditional clinical psychology with innovations from community psychology. Our core faculty is composed of both clinical and community psychologists, and our adjunct faculty are drawn from accomplished clinicians in practice in the community. The goal of the program is to educate students in the professional application of psychological science and methods to the amelioration of human problems through clinical practice and applied research. In addition to traditional course work, the program offers prospective students supervised experiences in applied service settings such as clinics, schools, public and private mental health agencies.

One of the features of the program is its public service orientation, which prepares students to work with underserved and disadvantaged populations and agencies that serve them. The program teaches students to develop and implement effective preventive and clinical interventions based on individual, group, and community mechanisms of change.

Students can gain expertise in a number of clinical areas including psychological assessment, various cognitive-behavioral approaches to psychotherapy, child-peer interaction, treatment and prevention of depression, self-help groups, and high risk behavior in adolescents. Students are also exposed to theories and practice of consultation, prevention, supervision, and program development and evaluation.

An integration of theory, research, and practice is emphasized. Research and practicum experiences receive intensive individual supervision. Graduates are prepared to pursue professional careers in public or private service organizations and are equipped to enter academic/research settings. The program specifies goals and objectives that are intended to promote the development of academic and clinical competencies.

Our clinical program meets the educational requirements for licensure as a psychologist in the state of Kansas. If you plan to obtain a license or certification in another state or a US territory after graduating from the program, it is highly recommended you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing board before beginning our program to ensure you can obtain a license or certification in that jurisdiction. The website  provides resources for licensure and certification agencies outside of Kansas

Applicants are not required to have an undergraduate degree in psychology, but must have completed courses in general psychology, psychological statistics, and experimental psychology. Applicants also are required to have completed a course in History and Systems of psychology with a  B- or better. Admission to the program requires a minimum GPA of 3.00, three letters of reference, and a career/goals statement. Application materials must be submitted by  December 1st . Please follow the directions for application provided on the Applying for Graduate Study page.

Wichita provides a rich setting for our training program. As a public university, Wichita State has long-established ties to the core leadership of our human service organizations, our medical and educational training facilities, and business. These connections provide excellent resources for outstanding collaborative university-community educational and training experiences. Learn more about Wichita .


The clinical program was re-accredited by the American Psychological Association in 2015 for 7 years.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 First Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002-4242 202.336.5979

The Psychology Training Clinic is based in the psychology department and is a primary site for clinical practicum training. The Clinic has facilities for individual and group research. Clientele served include persons affiliated with WSU and the greater Wichita community. The Clinic Director provides individual and group supervision complemented by supervision by other members of the core program faculty. We also have a number of carefully selected external practicum training sites and additional clinical supervision is provided by adjunct faculty and other on site supervisors. Faculty maintain working relationships with a number of government and community agencies which provide a source for research and supervised clinical and community practica. These agencies which serve the approximately 500,000 people in the Wichita metropolitan area include the public school system, Head Start and Early Head Start, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita and regional hospitals, local and state departments of health and mental health, private clinics, and many not-for-profit social service agencies.

The curriculum is designed to blend the scientist-practitioner and action-researcher models of education and professional activity. It has been designed to provide a sound foundation in core areas of psychology, a broad and general preparation for research and professional practice, and an opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise in areas of interest and relevance to the student’s career.

In addition to the required core curriculum students may take electives within and outside of the Psychology Department. There are many options available for elective educational experiences including the School of Education, School of Health Professionals, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, and the Hugo Wall Center for Urban Studies.

The department does not offer a terminal Master’s degree, nor does it admit students to a Master’s program. After students have successfully completed their Foundation courses, their Research Methods Courses, Pre-doctoral Research, including a Second Year Project (i.e., master’s thesis) and an additional six hours they may make application for receipt of the M.A. degree. See the Psychology Graduate Programs Handbook for additional information about the curriculum as well as residency and degree requirements.

Clinical Psychology PhD

Ph.d. in clinical psychology.

Welcome to the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Clinical Psychology Program was founded in 1947-1948. It was APA-accredited in the first group of programs that were reviewed for accreditation in 1948 and that status has been uninterrupted. Our most recent site visit from the APA occurred in 2021, and we have been accredited until June 2031.

Our program operates according to a scientist-practitioner model. We are, thus, dedicated to training students to generate empirically-based knowledge in clinical psychology and to perform clinical work that is constantly informed by traditional and emerging scholarship in the field. We expect our students to learn to expertly produce, analyze, and discuss scientific material. We also expect our students to become proficient at providing clinical services to a diverse population. And, most importantly, we expect our students to learn to integrate these two goals. As our mission statement in the TC catalog notes, “The driving goal of our Clinical Psychology Program is to provide rigorous training in both contemporary clinical science and clinical assessment and intervention.”

A good deal of the training, especially that related to research, occurs through intensive participation in a research lab directed by a specific faculty mentor. It is this context, through this lab, that students develop their scientific skills and begin presenting their work at professional conferences and publishing in professional journals. Each student, of course, is also part of a cohort of doctoral students with whom they learn, collaborate, and socialize.

In recent years, graduates of our doctoral program have gained employment in tenure-track academic positions, as research scientists in medical schools, and as clinical researchers in a broad range of treatment settings. In addition, many of our graduates practice independently as well as in community settings for under-served populations.

The list of faculty reviewing and potentially accepting applicants for each cycle is listed on the application itself. Please check the application itself or email your Admission Liaison, Ashley Blasland, at  [email protected] for clarification.

Doug Mennin, Ph.D.

Professor, Director of Clinical Training

Research Centers

Dean Hope Center for Educational and Psychological Services

The Dean Hope Center for Educational and Psychological Services (DHCEPS) is an integral part of the teaching and training programs in Clinical, Counseling, School Psychology, Learning Disability and Reading Specialist. The Center works in a two-folded way; first it offers students the opportunity to integrate theoretical coursework with practicum experience within a multidisciplinary setting. This training is foreseen by highly qualified supervisors. Simultaneously, the DHCEPS offers affordable psychological and educational services to individuals, couples, and families residing in the nearby neighborhood of the New York City area. The emphasis is on respecting and working with clients from diverse, multicultural contexts regardless of age, racial and ethnic background, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and religious or cultural affiliations. Additionally, DHCEPS is committed to maintaining a liaison with community-based agencies and organizations such as schools, hospitals, and mental health clinics, among others.

Teachers College Resilience Center for Veterans and Families

The Resilience Center for Veterans & Families pairs groundbreaking research on human emotional resilience with clinical training of therapists to assist veterans and their families as they transition back to civilian life.

A graduate student studies in the TC library using a book and her laptop.

Admissions Information

Doctor of philosophy.

Application Deadlines

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

Requirements from the TC Catalog

View Full Catalog Listing

The Program requires the following:

The completion of 95 points of academic credit during three to four years of residence at the College.

A full-time, twelve-month clinical internship during the fourth or fifth year of study.

An original piece of empirical research, which also serves as a qualifying paper, to be completed during the second year of study.

A passing grade on the certification examination (on Research Methods) during the third year of study.

A Clinical case presentation as well as a research presentation, during the third year, each demonstrating the student’s ability to integrate theory, research, and practice.

A doctoral dissertation, which must be completed no later than the seventh year after matriculation.

During the first year of study, in addition to participating in a research lab, doctoral students typically take the following didactic courses: Ethical and professional issues in clinical psychology (CCPX 5030); Psychological measurement (HUDM 5059); courses on statistics and modeling; Research methods in social psychology (ORLJ 5040); Child psychopathology (CCPX 5034); Adult psychopathology (CCPX 5032); History and systems of psychology (CCPX 6020); and Dynamic psychotherapies (CCPX 5037). Students also take two semesters of psychological testing and diagnostic assessment (CCPX 5330, CCPX 5333) and a course in clinical interviewing (CCPX 5539).

Second Year

During their second year, students’ didactic courses include Brain and behavior (BBS 5068, 5069); Cognition, emotion, and culture (CCPX 5020); Psychotherapy with children (CCPX 5531); Cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal therapies (CCPX 5038); Clinical work with diverse populations (CCPX 5036); and Seminar on life course development (HUDK 6520). In addition, students sign up for a full year of research practicum with a faculty member (culminating in an empirical second- year project), a full-year adult psychodynamic psychotherapy practicum (CCPX 6335), and an additional elective full-year clinical rotation (e.g., on child and adolescent psychotherapy; on neuropsychological assessment).

Third-year didactic courses include Group dynamics: A systems perspective (ORL 5362); and Dissertation seminar (CCPX 7500). There is also a full-year advanced psychodynamic clinical practicum (CCPX 6336) and a one-semester supervision and consultation practicum (CCPX 6333). Most students also elect a full-year family therapy practicum (CCPJ 6363).

Fourth and Fifth Year

Fourth year is typically focused on clinical externship (CCPX 5230) and extensive work on the dissertation. A full-year fourth year psychotherapy practicum (CCPX 6338) is recommended, though not required. Year five is usually spent on a full- year clinical internship (CCPX 6430).

The program allows only 12 points of graduate work from another institution to be transferred. No transfer credits are awarded for practica, workshops, or independent study.

Teachers College, Columbia University 328 Horace Mann

Contact Person: Rebecca Shulevitz

Phone: (212) 678-3267 Fax: (212) 678-8235


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Careers in Clinical Psychology

PhD in Clinical Psychology: What It Is and What You Can Do With It

psychologist reviewing notes

About the PhD in Clinical Psychology

Degree type:.

Master of Arts or Master of Science

Online, classroom, and hybrid

At least 4 years

Total Credits:

Typically between 70 and 80, but varies widely

Aid Eligible:

Yes, for accredited programs

In the field of psychology, clinical psych is a specialization focused on dealing directly with clients, helping them to overcome mental, physical, or behavioral issues. In settings such as a mental health facility or a private practice,  clinical psychologists  work to evaluate, diagnose, and create treatment plans for patients struggling with relationship problems, addiction issues, cognitive disorders, and much more.

Most high-level roles in the field of clinical psychology  require a doctoral degree . In fact, in order to gain a legal license as a psychologist and practice independently, almost every state requires that you hold this level of degree. There are several options for your doctorate in psychology, but of these, the most common is the PhD. How do you pursue this degree and what can you do once you graduate? Below, find answers to these questions and more.

What Is a PhD in Clinical Psychology?

A PhD in clinical psychology is a degree that allows you to work in the highest levels of the field. According to the  American Psychological Association (APA) , PhDs are “intended for students interested in generating new knowledge through scientific research and/or gaining teaching experience. PhD graduate students receive substantial training in research methods and statistics in order to independently produce new scientific knowledge and are often required to produce a dissertation to demonstrate research competency.” That said, PhD students will also be highly trained in applied psychology, working hands-on with patients in public or private settings.

As previously stated, a PhD or other doctoral degree is necessary in most states if you wish to apply for your psychology license. Even if it’s not, most employers will require that you hold a license. This involves completing a set number of supervised clinical hours, often in the thousands, and passing the  Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)  through the  Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) . Many boards also require their own state-specific exam. If you pass all of the necessary tests, you can then  apply for licensure  through your state board.

PhD vs. PsyD degrees

Another increasingly popular option for a doctoral degree is the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). But what exactly is the difference between a  PsyD and PhD ?

Introduced in the 1970s as an alternative for students who were less interested in conducting ongoing research, the PsyD degree was designed for those with more of an interest in providing psychological services to patients and the public. Per the APA, “the focus of PsyD programs is to train students to engage in careers that apply specific knowledge of psychology and deliver empirically based service to individuals, groups, and organizations.”

Both of these degrees can prepare you to get your license and work in many of the same roles within clinical psych. However, if you know for certain that you don’t want to conduct research or teach at a graduate level, a PsyD can put a stronger emphasis on client-facing training. Because of a lesser focus on conducting extensive research, PsyD degrees can also often be earned in a shorter period of time.

Who are PhDs in clinical psychology intended for?

PhDs in clinical psych are typically designed for students who’ve already earned their master’s in the same or a related field. These PhDs are made to train students in multiple facets of the field, including applied psychology, research, and teaching.  Even if you plan on pursuing a career that doesn’t involve research or teaching, holding a PhD can likely open more doors down the road if you change your mind.

Academic Requirements Before Starting a PhD in Clinical Psychology

To apply for clinical psychology PhD programs, you’ll likely need to hold a  master’s degree  in the same or a closely related field. You’ll need a GPA of a least 3.0, though many psychology doctoral programs require up to a 3.5.

Can you get in without a master’s degree?

In some cases, you may be able to enter a PhD program with only a bachelor’s, however your studies will include earning your master’s on your way to getting your PhD. These joint programs allow you to work on your master’s first and, once you’ve reached a certain number of credits, begin simultaneously working toward your doctorate. This option often allows students to cut down on the overall length of time they spend earning the 2 degrees.

Can you apply credits from a master’s degree?

Depending on the program you choose and your prior education, you may have credits that can be applied to your PhD and shorten the amount of time it takes you to earn your degree.

Can you get in if your master’s isn’t in psychology?

You can find schools that will accept you into a PhD program for clinical psych, however your prior education should still be related in some way to the field. This could involve other subfields within psychology or areas within social sciences, brain studies, human services, and more. It’s likely that you’ll need to pass a psychology exam prior to admission, so advanced knowledge is needed.

Do you need to take the GRE or other standardized tests?

In most cases, you’ll need to get good scores on the GRE and/or other tests determined by your school. You’ll also need to provide personal essays and letters of recommendation, and will most likely need to attend an in-person interview.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD?

In some states, the program you attend must be accredited by the APA if you want to get your license. The APA requires all accredited programs to include at least 3 full-time academic years and a 1-year internship, so the length of your program will always be at least 4 years. Many factors affect the amount of time it takes students to earn a PhD, and some take as long as 8 years to complete their degree.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology Curriculum

Clinical psychology doctoral programs will prepare you to work both hands-on with clients and in research and teaching settings.

What courses are involved?

The courses you take will vary depending on the individual program, however expect to take some variation of the following:

Number of course credits

In general, you can expect a PhD program to be at least 70 credits, though this varies widely between schools. Some students might evaluate a program on a cost-per-credit basis.

Popular concentrations

Within clinical psychology, it’s common for PhD students to tailor their education even further. This involves taking classes that focus on specific concentrations. These may include but aren’t limited to:

Addiction psychology:  Focuses on applying principles of psychology to the treatment of drug, alcohol, emotional, or behavioral addictions, with the goal to reduce or stop medical, interpersonal, and other problems that arise from addiction.

Child psychology:  Involves understanding the psychological needs of children ranging from infants to adolescents, and how the family and other social contexts affect them in the development of their emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and health adaptation.

Counseling psychology:  This more general practice focuses on how people of all ages function in their emotional, social, school, work, and physical lives at different stages, emphasizing the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of both everyday stresses and more severe issues.

Forensic psychology:  Involves melding together knowledge of psychology and the law to identify the mental and emotional state of criminals, victims, police officers, and more, and report this analysis in a way that impacts the outcome of legal cases.

Geropsychology:  Emphasizes the application of psychology methods to specifically address the mental, medical, and functional changes that occur in later life, with the aim being to help this population achieve and maintain maximum well-being.

Group psychology:  Involves working with all kinds of age groups in various different settings to employ the analysis of group dynamics to identify treatment plans that affect the development and well-being of each individual and the group as a whole.

Psychoanalysis:  Unique in its intensive approaches to treatment, this concentration aims to make changes to an individual’s personality, bringing about the awareness of unconscious or negative recurring patterns and promoting optimal healing, functioning, and expression.

Rehabilitation psychology:  Focuses on addressing disabilities in those who have been ill or injured, helping individuals and groups such as sports teams to overcome their physical obstacles and any mental and emotional issues that may arise because of them.

Sleep psychology:  Emphasizes the analysis of normal and disordered sleep in order to address the behavioral, psychological, and physiological factors that impact sleep disorders, as well as develop treatment plans for their negative effects.

Is Fieldwork or a Practicum Required?

Yes. You will take part in a practicum, during which time you’ll begin applying the techniques you’ve learned in class in supervised settings such as mental health centers, hospitals, and universities. This practicum will prepare you for the 1-year clinical internship that’s required of all clinical psychology PhD students. Your internship must be accredited by the APA.

Can You Get a Degree Online?

While it’s certainly possible to earn an online clinical psychology PhD, keep in mind that you’ll still be required to participate in practicums and internships. For this reason, the first few years of your program may be online while the remaining time will largely be in-person.

You may also find a hybrid program that combines both online and on-campus classes. These typically allow you to take most of your courses online while attending in-person classes just 1 or 2 times a week. As with other online programs, you’ll still be expected to undergo practicum and an internship.

How to Pick a Program

Choosing the right program to get your doctorate in clinical psychology can be a daunting experience. While researching schools, ask questions such as:

Career Options with a PhD in Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is a broader field under which many different careers can fall. Many clinical psychologists work in hospitals, mental health facilities, and private practices, while others work in settings such as schools, court systems, or business organizations.  Often, clinical psychologists tailor their degrees to focus on certain problems or patient populations.  Some work with specific demographics like children and adolescents, while others treat issues like disorders, addiction, and trauma.

phd in medical psychology

Couple and family psychologist

Working directly with families and couples , these psychologists help both individuals and groups address things such as relationship issues, behavioral problems, trauma and loss, or other aspects that might be negatively affecting the home.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  marriage and family therapists  earn a median annual salary of $49,880 .

Requirements and certifications

Every state requires marriage and family therapists to be licensed by the  Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards . Requirements vary by state, but you’ll typically be expected to complete somewhere between 1,500 and 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience after you’ve earned your degree. You will then need to pass the Examination in Marital and Family Therapy in order to get your license. In most states, you must renew your license every few years and undergo a set number of continuing education credits.

Beyond holding your license, board certification can be beneficial—but not necessary—when pursuing high-level careers in psychology. The  American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)  offers a Clinical certification, as well as one for Couples and Family specifically.

phd in medical psychology

Organizational psychologist

Organizational psychologists  work with companies to conduct screenings, training sessions, and performance reviews in order to assess employee behavior as well as implement policies and procedures that help these employees best work toward company goals.

The BLS lists the  median salary for an organizational psychologist as $105,310 per year, though data for this type of role is rather limited.

An optional Organizational and Business Consulting certification can be obtained through an ABPP specialty board.

phd in medical psychology

School psychologist

School psychologists  collaborate with students, teachers, and parents to address issues concerning learning styles, social interactions, and family problems that can impact the level of education a student receives.

According to the BLS, school psychologists working in elementary and secondary schools  earn a median annual wage of $78,780 .

Additional credentials are not necessary, but the ABPP offers both School and Clinical Child certifications.

phd in medical psychology

Forensic psychologist

Working with law enforcement, criminals, judges, lawyers, and others in the legal field,  forensic psychologists  put their skills to use to make a positive impact on the justice system. They might examine defendants involved in criminal cases, develop psychological profiles, report findings to judges and lawyers, and serve as an expert witness in court.

The BLS doesn’t list salary data for forensic psychologists specifically, however  psychologists across all fields  earn a median annual wage of $102,900. Those working with local and state government often earn more.

The ABPP offers an optional certification in Forensic Psychology. Other certifications could be helpful in the field as well. These include Behavior and Cognitive, Counseling, Police and Public Safety, and Psychoanalysis.

phd in medical psychology

Sports psychologist

Sports psychology  is a particularly unique subfield of the industry. Collaborating with athletes, coaches, trainers, they work to keep teams and individuals on the path toward peak performance, physical condition, and mental health.

The BLS doesn’t provide any data for sports psychologists. However, according to Scott Goldman, the director of sports psychology for the University of Arizona,  roles within the athletic department of a college can typically expect to earn  between $60,000 and $80,000 a year . Sports psychologists working in a rehab facility will likely earn less, while those working with national teams could make significantly more.

Requirements and certification

Again, certification is not necessary, but you can opt to become a  Certified Mental Performance Consultant  through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

phd in medical psychology

Psychology professor

Another great way to put your PhD in clinical psychology to work is by pursuing a career as a psychology professor. Working at the postsecondary level, these roles can instruct students on the principles of general psychology or focus on more tailored specializations. Psychology professors often combine teaching with research to produce new knowledge in the field.

According to the BLS,  psychology professors  earn a median annual wage of $77,860 .

You will need to get a teaching certification from your state’s Board of Education. Requirements for this vary, but it typically involves completing an approved teacher preparation, passing a series of exams, and undergoing a background check. Some states require you to renew your license every 2 years, while others allow certification to be valid for up to 5 years.

Financial Aid for PhD Students

According to, the average tuition for a doctorate program in psychology in 2022 is $132,200. Most students offset their tuition fees with teaching assistantships.

That said, in many cases,  psychology PhD programs will waive a student’s tuition and provide a stipend for assisting with teaching or research.  The same study found that 94% of advanced doctorates in public schools and 77% in private schools offer tuition remission for these assistantships. Most schools that don’t fully waive tuition provide at least partial funding.

Fellowships and scholarships are also a great way to fund your education.  These financial awards may be short- or long-term and often come with additional stipends and benefits.

Of course, you can always apply for government-issued loans and grants using the  Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . Loans are also available through banks and other private institutions, but these tend to have much higher interest rates.

Does Clinical Psychology Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?

A number of student loan forgiveness programs are available to psychologists, though you must meet certain criteria. Through the  Public Service Loan Forgiveness  program, it’s possible to relieve direct loans if you’ve made at least 10 years of payments and have secured full-time work in a government or nonprofit agency. Additionally, many states also have their own loan forgiveness programs with their own individual requirements.

Professional Organizations for Clinical Psychology

Becoming a member of a professional organization can provide great opportunities to network, gain new education, and obtain special certification. The APA is the largest organization of psychologists in America. Within the association, there are  54 divisions dedicated to subfields and other topical areas . Some of these that you might consider include:

PhD in Clinical Psychology

At the forefront in clinical psychology.

It takes a unique mindset to be a clinical psychologist. Students at PAU are taught to be science-minded while appreciating the broader role of psychology in alleviating suffering in the world.

If you are a curious student dedicated to using psychology to improve lives, pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at PAU is your next step towards effecting change in the world.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology Program at Palo Alto University is deeply committed to educating well-rounded clinical psychologists capable and competent as both researchers and clinicians.

Rigorous Evidence-Based Curriculum

The PhD program at PAU includes intensive study in five areas: Basic theoretical concepts in psychology, research, psychological evaluation, psychotherapy theory and process, and clinical foundations and field experience.

You will learn to value evidence-based clinical models while maintaining the responsibilities psychologists have to their community, society, and profession.

The goals and key themes of our program:

Every PhD candidate at PAU takes pride in their capability and competence as both researcher and clinician. If you are ready to focus on your future, connect with PAU today.

PAU alumni go on to have successful and rewarding careers as clinical psychologists or in research-focused academics. Still others find their calling in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

Fully Accredited Training

The program of study for the PhD is informed by the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) guidelines for doctoral education in clinical psychology and emphasizes the integration of scientific research and clinical practices.

The PAU PhD in Clinical Psychology program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1988.

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation:

American Psychological Association 750 First Street NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 202-336-5979 [email protected]

Learn more about Licensing and Accreditation @ PAU

Palo Alto Expert Faculty Graphic

The PhD Clinical Psychology program faculty is a talented and highly distinguished group of psychologists from across the globe, with wide-ranging clinical and research specialties.

PhD Area of Emphasis

Your core PhD training at PAU provides broad and general preparation through the integration of scholarship, professional experience, and research with our practitioner-scientist training model.

We also offer optional specialized training in seven key emphasis areas – all in high demand and focused on building additional knowledge and experience within a focused field of clinical psychology.

Group Graphic for PhD Emphasis

The Diversity and Community Mental Health (DCMH) area of emphasis at PAU gives you specialized knowledge and clinical training to provide psychological services for the public mental health sector.

Forensic Psychology Graphic

The PhD emphasis in Forensic Psychology at PAU trains specialists in the clinical application of psychology to the legal system.

LGBTQ Psychology Image

At Palo Alto University, we are committed to ensuring that the next generation of clinical psychologists is competent in clinical practice and research with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) populations.

Meditation & Psychology Graphic

The Meditation and Psychology Emphasis in the PhD Clinical Psychology program involves clinical and research training concerning the interplay of mind-body factors in health and well-being.

PhD Image for Neuropsychology Program

The impact of brain function on human behavior is endlessly fascinating – and it’s a great career path for science-minded psychology students.

Pediatric Behavioral Emphasis image

Why choose pediatric behavioral health? It’s life-changing work – and the demand for highly-trained specialists continues to grow.

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Combat veterans. Mass casualty events. Domestic violence. Child abuse. The potential long-term – and immediate – psychological costs of trauma exposure can be catastrophic.

Opportunities for PhD in Clinical Psychology Students

As a student at PAU, you will have access to specialized research groups and clinical training opportunities through the Gronowski Center, a community-based psychology training clinic and treatment center dedicated to providing high quality, evidence-based, clinical services to adults, older adults, adolescents, children, and families in the community.

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Admission and Graduation Requirements

Application Deadlines & Checklist

Applications for fall 2022 open in early September 2021.

PAU uses the American Psychological Association’s (APA), Psychology Centralized Application Service (PSYCAS). In preparation for applying, you will need a copy of your transcript(s) available for your review. The PhD program requires the following prerequisites for entry into the PhD in Clinical Psychology program:

The four mentioned courses will help ensure that all incoming students have a smooth and easy transition into graduate school.

The PhD Program is a full-time program and requires a minimum of three years in residence. The program is structured to be completed in five years: three years for academic coursework, one year for the dissertation and one year for internship.

Graduation Requirements

The PhD in Clinical Psychology program takes an average of five years to complete and is open to individuals who hold a bachelor's or master's degree and have completed the required prerequisites prior to applying for admission.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology program at PAU requires that candidates complete 150 units of required coursework and 18 elective units for a total of 168 units, which typically takes three years for full-time attendees.

During their final two years of full-time enrollment, students complete other graduation requirements.

Publication and Presentation : Students must make a significant contribution to a peer-reviewed journal article, book chapter, or literary contribution to another scholarly publication.

Milestones : In addition to the Oral Clinical Competency Exam, three written exams on research competency, clinical competency, and assessment competency must be taken. Additionally, students are required to complete a dissertation of 30 minimum units, a 12-unit internship , and at least two years of practicums .

Clinical Setting Image

Students enrolled in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program are required to complete clinical practicum training.

Provides mentoring and clinical placement services to the PhD Clinical Psychology program students. PhD Clinical Training Faculty provide: Close faculty advising for students applying to practicum and internship Mentoring and intensive professional development advising throughout clinical training. Review of practicum sites for quality assurance

Ayanna Payne, a fourth-year clinical psychology PhD student, was awarded a Diversity Research Award by the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS). Her proposal was for “A mixed-methods analysis of African American men struggles with internalized racism, perceived discrimination, and offending.”

Explore More

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All students in the PhD Clinical Psychology Program are required to participate in faculty-led research groups during their second and third years in the program – for 6 consecutive quarters.

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You won’t spend all your time in the classroom – you’ll gain direct experience providing supervised therapy while working in a practicum or internship setting.

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Each year, the PAU psychology faculty participate in a thorough strategic review of our curriculum, processes, student learning, and student and program outcomes.

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Enrolling in a PhD program is a significant life choice – Palo Alto University faculty and staff will answer all your questions before you apply and after you are accepted.

1. Where can I find information on first year student orientation? 

You will receive an email from the PhD program office during the summer before Fall Quarter begins. You may contact  [email protected]  for additional information regarding orientation. 

2. Where can I find the academic calendar?

The Academic Calendar can be found on the  Registrar’s office page.

3. How do I get my PAU email address and access to the PAU Intranet ( )? (Access email at  From the  IT Helpdesk . Contact  [email protected]  with any questions.

4. Where are the classrooms?

At the PAU Allen Calvin Main Campus, Classrooms 1 and 3, and the computer lab, are located on the top floor of Building Three. Classroom 2 is located on the middle floor of Building Three.

At the PAU Los Altos/Gronowski Center Campus, rooms D11A and D11B are on the first floor of the Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Psychology Clinic located at  5150 El Camino Real, Suite 22, Bldg C, Los Altos, California 94022 . 

5. Where do I park for classes?

PAU encourages students to carpool to class as parking availability at the Los Altos/Gronowski and PAU Main Allen Calvin Campus is very limited. Directions to PAU campuses are available on the  Directions and Location  web page.

The PhD program at Palo Alto University operates on two main campuses: The  Allen Calvin Campus at 1791 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto  and the Los Altos/ Gronowski Center Campus at 5150 El Camino Real in Los Altos .  

Detailed Driving Directions:

At the Allen Calvin/Main Campus, drive through the gates and up the hilly driveway. There are several different areas for parking, including lower, middle, and upper level areas. You are welcome to park in any of these spaces. On days when there are campus events, parking may be limited. You may also park at the bottom of the driveway or at the nearby Alpine Inn parking lot, but be aware that those areas are not part of the campus and therefore not secure. The campus is in a remote area and there is no public transportation. Please carpool whenever possible.

If you ride a bicycle as your primary mode of transportation, please be extremely cautious when riding on Page Mill Road and Arastradero Road. There are sharp, blind turns, which may be especially dangerous at night or during heavy traffic hours. If you do travel at night, wear reflective clothing and use a light on the front and back of your bicycle. For your safety, always wear a helmet. Please lock and secure your bicycle at the upper parking level, near the cul-de-sac and Building One.

At the Los Altos/Gronowski Center Campus, enter through one of three entrances on El Camino Real or Rengstorff Avenue. Please park behind the main entrance or near the side entrances. Do not park in the smaller front entrance parking lot, as these spaces are reserved for visitors and Gronowski Center clientele. PAU students, faculty, and staff share this parking lot with other building occupants, so please be courteous and respectful while on campus grounds. As a general rule of thumb, please lock your doors and do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

6. What if I have questions?

Please feel free to contact the PhD program or  PAU staff  should you have questions.

April House - PhD Program Manager ( [email protected] )

7. Where can I access basic information about the PhD program?

Please visit the  PhD Program Website . Your most important resource is the PhD Student Handbook. The website also provides links to PhD program forms, information on competency exams, dissertations, important contacts, course schedule archives, grievance procedures, additional program handbooks, and information on TA opportunities.

Other important links related to the PhD program include  the PAU Office of Professional Development and Advising  and  the PAU Institutional Review Board . All of these websites are accessible via  the PAU portal.

8. Who can I talk to about academic support at PAU, curriculum requirements, and program expectations to advance to candidacy?

The PAU Academic Advising Center (PAAC)  is a space where PhD students can  make appointments  to talk to advanced students when they are unsure about any aspect of academic progress at PAU. PAAC aims to support students in thriving academically and professionally throughout the PhD Program. These advanced students assist first year students in many ways, including:

PAAC hours shift each academic quarter. Please visit the website for the most-up-to-date hours.

9. How long will it take to earn my PhD at PAU?

Although the PhD program is designed to be completed within five years of coursework and practica, many students choose to take an additional year to complete their degree. Students must complete their degree within 7 years. The number of years it takes to complete the PhD program will depend on your individual needs and professional goals:

The PhD program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and follows their  Benchmark Evaluation System  to assess whether a student has met the competency benchmarks in professional psychology. 

10. How do I register for classes? How do I change my schedule?

For the first year of the PhD program, you are pre-registered for all of your courses based upon the required first-year coursework in the  PhD curriculum . Information about registration can be found at the  Registrar’s Office on the Portal , including  downloadable course schedules , and  academic calendars .

In subsequent years of the program, you will  use the portal for online registration . If you would like to change your schedule, you will need to email the registrar Nora Marquez ( [email protected] ) for further instruction. For additional questions about registration, including wait-listing, sequences, and other concerns, see the PhD Program Handbook. 

11. How do I obtain a copy of my course schedule?

You may always access  your current course schedule on the portal . Additionally, students can request a hard copy in-person from the Registrar’s Office at the PAU Allen Calvin Campus. 

12. Why am I required to attend 8 hours of therapy? Is the cost covered by PAU? How do I find a good therapist on a graduate student budget?

According to the PhD Student Handbook, all PhD students are required to complete 8 hours of individual psychotherapy with a doctoral-level licensed psychologist (PhD, ED, PsyD) or board-eligible psychiatrist prior to registration for the Oral Clinical Competency Exam (which typically occurs in the third year of the program). It is the perspective of PAU that the personal experience of psychotherapy is critical to the ability to work therapeutically with others. The cost of psychotherapy is not covered by PAU and is not part of the financial aid package.

Additional information about this requirement can be located in the PhD Student Handbook. There is an aggregate list of recommended low cost and sliding scale therapists noted under  Student Resources on the portal . You may also want to consult websites such as  Psychology Today  to select the right therapist.

13. How early do I have to decide if I want to complete a PhD  area of emphasis ? 

The first quarter of the first year is a good time to meet with a faculty advisor, as well as other PAU faculty and advanced students, to determine whether an area of emphasis will fit long term professional goals. As the year proceeds, students will have a better idea of their interests and the requirements for completing each area of emphasis. If you are still unsure, schedule an appointment with the PAU Academic Advising Center (PAAC).

14. When are financial aid refund disbursements available?

To receive the status of your financial aid, please visit the portal or email  [email protected] .

PAU Alumni Amanda Harris

PAU alumna Amanda Harris (née Feldman), JD, PhD, a psychologist and attorney representing domestic violence survivors.

PhD Webinar

Research Labs

Palo Alto University Classroom

Bringing the PAU community together to improve diversity on campus. Faculty, students, and staff joined forces across programs and branches to implement projects serving the Latinx/Hispanic community within PAU and the surrounding community.

PSYCAS offers an online centralized application portal for you to apply to master’s and doctoral programs across the discipline of psychology.

PAU’s doctoral programs have been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)


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Questions?  Contact Admissions (650) 417-2039 [email protected]

PSYCAS offers an online centralized application portal for you to apply to master’s and doctoral programs across the discipline of psychology. Apply on PSYCAS Contact Financial Aid for Assistance


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