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2020 Top Doctoral Programs in Psychology

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Society relies on qualified mental health professionals like psychologists to help individuals cope with challenges. Professionals who identify as empathetic, observant, focused, and analytical often thrive as psychologists. Students with a master’s degree in a mental health field who enjoy making observations and analyzing human behavior should research doctoral programs in psychology.

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Earning a doctoral degree is one of the final steps toward licensure. Other noteworthy steps toward becoming a psychologist include completing supervised hours and taking a licensing exam. Overall, learners often spend 10-15 years in school and about two years completing supervised hours before practicing.

Psychologists often work during normal business hours. They interview clients in an office or participate in research in a laboratory. Some psychologists start their own practice, while others work for organizations like hospitals or schools.

Choosing the right program can influence an individual’s success in this field. To aid the search, we regularly update this list of the top 10 psychology doctoral programs. We evaluate these schools based on their affordability, graduate retention rate, accreditation status, and graduate success rate. This guide also features information about typical courses in a psychology doctoral program.

Top 10 Doctoral Programs in Psychology 2020

Rank School Location
1 CUNY Graduate School and University Center New York, NY
2 Duke University Durham, NC
3 Florida International University Miami, FL
4 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
5 Georgetown University Washington, DC
6 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
7 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, IN
8 John F. Kennedy University Pleasant Hill, CA
9 Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK
10 Stanford University Stanford, CA

Doctoral Degree in Psychology Overview

Learners who want to study human behavior and determine possible treatments for mental health issues can pursue a Ph.D. in psychology. Psychologists observe clients and patients and interpret how they relate to their environments. They test patterns and theories to predict behaviors.

Psychologists typically do not prescribe medication or conduct treatment sessions. Instead, they communicate their observations to counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists, who prescribe treatments. These professionals rely on psychologists and their strong analytical skills to make sense of behaviors and emotions.

Psychologists gain information through laboratory experiments, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy. They often work in private practice settings, but some work in a healthcare setting where they collaborate with social workers and physicians.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earned a median annual salary of $80,370 in 2019. The BLS projects jobs for psychologists to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028.

To practice, psychologists must complete a psychology doctoral program. Doctoral candidates must complete supervised clinical hours during and after their studies before they can practice on their own. States set their own licensure requirements, including which exam learners must pass and how many supervised hours they must complete.

Once psychologists earn their license, they must complete continuing education hours every two years. Professional organizations often provide continuing education opportunities to their members. Since states maintain different requirements for psychologists, psychologists who move states sometimes need to retake the licensing exam or complete additional supervised hours. However, states with similar licensing requirements often participate in reciprocity agreements.

Common Psychology Courses

Research and Statistical Methods in Psychology

In this course, students learn to interpret psychological data. Learners examine previous studies and analyze them for quality. This course also involves a research project in which students apply scientific methods and psychological principles to test a theory. Ph.D. students can align their research projects with their dissertations.

Analyzing Interpersonal Behavior

This course focuses on the factors that influence communication and actions between two humans, including values, religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, gender, and sexual orientation.

Students attend both traditional lectures and laboratory sessions. During lab hours, students examine hypothetical situations and apply knowledge gleaned during lectures to determine possible resolutions to conflicts.

Experimental Psychology

This course outlines what researchers already know about psychology and identifies which areas need more research. Doctoral students can use this information to determine a possible research topic for their dissertation.

This course combines lab hours with lecture hours. During lectures, students learn about theories and critique previous experimental psychology trials. They apply this knowledge during lab hours to create plans for their own experimental research project.

Abnormal Psychology

In this course, learners discover how to classify and treat abnormal psychology issues. Learners examine schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive, bipolar, and manic depressive disorders and discuss how they commonly appear in behavior.

This course also teaches learners to collaborate with other mental health professionals to help patients achieve success. This course sometimes requires a practicum or supervised experience hours.

Human Sexuality

In a human sexuality course, learners examine theories and principles that influence human sexuality. This course also teaches students how to serve patients who identify as LGBTQ+ in a counseling setting. Students also critique studies relating to human sexuality and determine ways to apply these findings to the psychology practice. They also discuss the cultural implications of sexual behavior.

Psychology Concentrations

Doctoral students can pursue a concentration to increase their job prospects in a specific psychological field. Common concentrations include counseling psychology, developmental psychology, experimental psychology, forensic psychology, and sports psychology.

 Counseling Psychology

Students who want to help clients overcome issues and achieve psychological well-being should consider pursuing a concentration in counseling psychology. This concentration combines therapy principles with psychological principles. Students learn how traits like sexual orientation and race impact the healing process.

 Developmental Counseling

A developmental counseling concentration teaches students how to help individuals through certain life stages. Courses focus on the biological changes that affect mental health during childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Colleges sometimes offer concentrations for specific developmental stages.

 Experimental Psychology

Experimental psychology deals with the complexities of the human mind that researchers do not fully understand yet. This concentration covers research ethics and how to apply the scientific method to psychological studies. Students in this course learn from historical mistakes and successes and analyze case studies to determine what factors influence outcomes.

 Forensic Psychology

A forensic psychology concentration prepares students to contribute to criminal investigations. This concentration covers how the human mental state can influence illegal actions. Forensic psychology courses also teach students how to collaborate with detectives and lawyers to find motives and perpetrators.

 Sports Psychology

In a sports psychology concentration, courses examine the relationship between mental states and performance. Sports psychologists often work with college or professional athletes.

Some concentrations require an internship or supervised hours in a related clinical setting. Most concentrations require a research project, dissertation, or term paper.

Psychology Requirements

Contacting admissions departments is the best way to learn the current requirements for specific doctoral programs in psychology. Most college and university websites also provide this information. Each program sets unique admission requirements, including standardized tests and minimum GPA thresholds.

Most doctoral programs in psychology feature similar requirements, such as an online form, a fee, official transcripts, an essay or statement of purpose, GRE scores, and recommendation letters.

Admissions committees review completed applications. They often look for minimum GPA and GRE scores. These components can also influence school-sponsored scholarships. Typically, doctoral programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0-3.5 and a minimum GRE score of 290. Certain programs require an in-person interview.

Because some doctoral programs prefer professional experience, students should consider completing an internship during their master’s program. Completing an internship can prepare students to earn competitive research grants or paid work-study positions within the university.

Prospective online students should also note any in-person requirements, such as on-campus weekend intensives. Due to the competitive nature of psychology doctoral programs, most prospective students apply to multiple programs. As such, learners should allocate extra time to completing applications so that they can meet multiple deadlines.

Students who do not earn admission to a doctoral program in psychology on their first try should try again. They can take additional master’s courses to improve their GPA and retake the GRE.

How to Become a Psychologist

  • COMPLETE A BACHELOR’S OR MASTER’S DEGREETo qualify for a doctoral program, applicants need a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. On average, earning a bachelor’s degree takes four years while a master’s degree takes about two years. Some doctoral programs accept bachelor’s degrees in subjects other than psychology, but most require a master’s degree in the field.
    Although certain states do not count supervised hours completed before a doctoral program toward licensure requirements, many bachelor’s and master’s degrees feature a clinical practicum or internship. Distance learners should note these in-person requirements before applying.
  • ENROLL IN A PH.D. PROGRAMSome doctoral programs in psychology only accept a few new learners each year. As such, prospective students should consider applying to multiple programs.
    Students can benefit from attending a school based in the state where they plan on practicing. Most programs tailor their education requirements to match state licensing requirements. For example, licensed psychologists in Texas must complete 3,500 hours of supervised experience, half of which must be completed during their doctoral program. As a result, many doctoral programs based in Texas require 1,750 hours of clinical experience.
  • COMPLETE TRAININGFinishing a psychology doctoral program does not immediately qualify graduates to practice. In Texas, for example, graduates must complete an additional 1,750 hours of supervised experience. The exact number of required hours varies by state.
    This training must take place under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Throughout supervised hours, students work with patients and apply the theories they learned during their studies.
  • BECOME LICENSEDAfter completing training and education requirements, psychologists can earn their license. Each state maintains its own licensure requirements and examination. Prospective psychologists should prepare for this exam by reading through the requirements on their state’s government licensing website.
    Psychologists who want to move their practice to a new state may need to take a new licensing exam or complete additional training hours. However, many states participate in reciprocity agreements.
    Once psychologists earn licensure, they must maintain it through continuing education hours. Each state determines continuing education requirements, but most states require about 40 hours every two years.

Best Doctoral Programs in Psychology 2020

  • CUNY Graduate School and University Center
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    City University of New York offers a psychology doctorate program with 10 training areas, including basic and applied social psychology, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and health psychology and clinical sciences. The program prepares graduates for careers in teaching, research, and psychology practice.

    The program offers faculty and labs for each of the 10 training areas on eight campuses throughout the CUNY system, including Queens College, Brooklyn College, and John Jay College.

    Prospective students must apply to one area of study within the psychology Ph.D. program at a time. Admission criteria vary by area of study. CUNY is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • Duke University
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, offers a Ph.D. in psychology with five graduate training areas: clinical psychology, social psychology, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, systems and integrative neuroscience, and developmental psychology. Ph.D. candidates work closely with one or two faculty members, following the program's apprenticeship model.

    The program begins in the fall. Duke offers guaranteed full funding to admitted students for at least five academic years. The university's Global Health Institute, Social Science Research Institute, and Center for Child and Family Policy offer research and training opportunities for Ph.D. students in psychology.

    Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and transcripts. The admission committee interviews applicants in early spring. Duke University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Accredited by the American Psychological Association, Florida International University's Ph.D. in psychology focuses on clinical science in child and adolescent psychology. The program gives students advanced knowledge and skills in statistics, research methodology, and theory construction. Students receive training in psychological treatment and assessment techniques for children and adolescents.

    All Ph.D. students receive guaranteed funding, including a stipend and tuition waiver, for four years. The program also encourages students to apply for additional internal and external financial aid.

    Admission requirements include significant research experience, strong letters of recommendation, and a record of academic achievement evidenced by GPA and GRE scores. Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida State University in Tallahassee offers a research-focused Ph.D. in psychology that provides training in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. The clinical psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

    The psychology doctorate program features instruction from internationally renowned faculty who explore questions of the human brain, mind, and behavior. Most students receive financial support, such as tuition waivers and stipends, from fellowships or assistantships.

    Admission requirements include three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, college transcripts, GRE scores, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Most admitted students hold 1-2 years of empirical research experience and an average 3.7 GPA. The program does not require the psychology subject GRE. Florida State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Georgetown University's Ph.D. in psychology emphasizes developmental science. Located in Washington, D.C., the program offers convenient access to some of the world's leading nonprofit and research organizations. Degree requirements include coursework in methodology and statistics, applications of developmental science, and advanced theory. Students also gain practical experience in teaching and writing grants.

    Students can pursue a lifespan cognitive neuroscience or human development and public policy concentration. Both concentrations explore social, biological, familial, cultural, political, and economic contexts. The psychology department also offers a dual degree in psychology and public policy with the McCourt School of Public Policy.

    Application requirements include an academic statement of purpose, official college transcripts, three official recommendations, a resume/CV, GRE scores, and a writing sample. Georgetown University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Harvard University is a private, Ivy League research institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that offers a Ph.D. in psychology. The psychology doctorate program covers four primary areas: social psychology; clinical psychology; developmental psychology; and cognition, brian, and behavior.

    Students can follow one of two paths: common curriculum or clinical science. The common curriculum track focuses on social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and perception. The clinical science path emphasizes clinical psychology research, particularly severe psychopathology. Required courses for both tracks include professional ethics; history of psychology; and cultural, racial, and ethnic bases of behavior. The program takes 4-6 years to complete.

    Applicants must submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores. Harvard University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The Ph.D. in psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

  • Indiana University-Bloomington
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Indiana University - Bloomington offers a mentor-based Ph.D. in psychology that examines how the brain-behavior system works. Students can choose from seven specializations: clinical science, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, mechanisms of behavior, molecular and systems neuroscience, and social psychology.

    The psychology department manages 52 research laboratories that focus on clinical and translational science; cognitive, social, and developmental psychology; and cellular, molecular, cognitive, behavioral, systems, and computational neuroscience. The program assigns each new student a faculty mentor who supports their research and academic careers.

    The department receives $10 million in external research funding each year, mostly from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Indiana University - Bloomington is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • John F. Kennedy University
    Location

    Pleasant Hill, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    John F. Kennedy University offers a doctor of clinical psychology accredited by the American Psychology Association. The hands-on program includes fieldwork at a cross-cultural clinical site. Graduates can apply for state licensure as a psychologist in California and find careers as program administrators, clinicians, and assessors.

    The doctorate typically takes five years of full-time study to complete. The 180-credit program requires core courses, electives, and an internship. Classes include multicultural awareness in professional psychology, clinical interviewing skills, and cognitive-behavioral theory and applications to diverse populations. Ph.D. candidates must pass three written comprehensive exams, write a dissertation, and complete a 36-credit internship.

    John F. Kennedy University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

  • Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Stillwater, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Oklahoma State University offers a Ph.D. in psychology that prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and clinical practice. The department offers financial support to Ph.D. candidates through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, traineeships, and fellowships. All students receive an office on campus and access to department equipment.

    Students can focus on clinical psychology, which prepares students to work as scientific clinical psychologists. The experimental program offers concentrations in cognitive, comparative-neurobiology, developmental, and social/personality psychology. OSU's Psychological Services Center offers a variety of research and clinical practice opportunities.

    Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in any field, but students need substantial prior psychology coursework. Recommended prerequisite courses include introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Oklahoma State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Stanford University's psychology department ranks among the top in the nation. The Ph.D. in psychology prepares students for careers in research and teaching and takes approximately five years to complete. The program offers five areas of study: cognitive, developmental, neuroscience, affective, and social psychology.

    Degree requirements include a first-year project, five core courses, a professional seminar, two statistics courses, an oral exam, and a dissertation. Students must spend at least half of their time in the program engaged in research. They must also teach at least five psychology courses.

    Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and unofficial transcripts from all postsecondary institutions. Prospective students must complete an interview with the admissions committee. Stanford University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

  • The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Texas at Austin offers a psychology doctorate program with areas of study in behavioral neuroscience; clinical psychology; cognitive neuroscience; cognitive science; developmental psychology; individual differences and evolutionary psychology; social and personality; and perception, brain, and behavior.

    Students must complete their degree within seven years. Students complete psychology coursework, research, and seminars. Core courses include principles of sensory and behavioral neuroscience, human language processing, and fundamentals of developmental psychology. Students also complete two quantitative courses and an ethics course.

    Prospective students can only apply to one area of study within the psychology Ph.D. program. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, unofficial transcripts, GRE scores, and a CV. The University of Texas at Austin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California - Los Angeles offers a psychology doctorate program with concentrations in areas like behavioral neuroscience, health psychology, social psychology, and clinical psychology. Graduates can work as university instructors, researchers, and psychologists.

    Depending on their concentration, students take core courses on topics like social psychology, research methods, and statistics. Learners also complete a dissertation. Some concentrations require an internship. Students work on research projects with faculty members throughout their time at UCLA.

    The university offers research opportunities through the Institute for Social Science Research, Fernald Child Study Center, the Brain Research Institute, and the Neuropsychiatric Institute. The program also works with local clinics, hospitals, and institutes to provide research opportunities and training. The University of California - Los Angeles is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

  • University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida in Gainesville offers a psychology doctorate program that provides general clinical psychology training. Ph.D. candidates can design their own major or choose from four areas of study: clinical child/pediatric psychology; clinical health psychology; neuropsychology, neurorehabilitation, and clinical neuroscience; and cognitive and emotional neuroscience.

    The clinical psychology Ph.D. includes courses like clinical assessment across the lifespan, neuropsychology of aging, and best methods for the analysis of psychological change. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and at least two undergraduate or graduate psychology courses with a grade of "C+" or better. Applicants must submit official transcripts, GRE scores, a resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

    The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). UF's Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

  • University of Illinois at Chicago
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Ph.D. in psychology program that includes five majors: behavioral neuroscience, clinical, cognitive, community and prevention research, and social and personality. Students must also complete a programmatic, student-centered, or special topic minor. The psychology department funds all psychology Ph.D. students for at least their first year of study.

    All students complete a first-year research apprenticeship and a one-year statistics course. The program requires a master's thesis by the end of the second year of study. Ph.D. candidates create a dissertation proposal by their fourth year and defend the dissertation by the end of their fifth year. The department hosts a weekly colloquium that encourages students and faculty to share their research and discuss current issues in the field.

    The University of Illinois at Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

  • University of Iowa
    Location

    Iowa City, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Iowa in Iowa City offers a Ph.D. in psychology that admits students each fall. The program prepares graduates for careers in teaching; research; and other scholarly endeavors in academic, governmental, industrial, and medical settings.

    Students can focus on one of three areas: clinical science, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, or cognition. Students work with a faculty mentor and research advisory committee to create an individualized plan of study that reflects their interests and career goals. All Ph.D. candidates receive advanced training in contemporary psychological techniques and methods and psychological research and theory.

    Applicants must submit unofficial academic transcripts, official GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a CV, and a personal statement. The University of Iowa is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor can choose from six areas of study: biopsychology, clinical science, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, personality and social contexts, or social psychology. The psychology department also participates in three joint programs of study: social work and psychology, women's studies and psychology, and education and psychology.

    The Ph.D. program does not offer a master's degree and requires students to attend full time. The department offers financial support to Ph.D. candidates for five years, including a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a stipend.

    Admission requirements for the competitive program include a bachelor's degree, a strong academic record, GRE scores, college transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City
    Location

    Kansas City, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Missouri - Kansas City offers a psychology doctorate program that allows students to focus on clinical psychology or applied cognitive and brain sciences. Both degree options emphasize research and feature a mentorship model that pairs students with a faculty member who shares their research interests. The clinical psychology Ph.D. is accredited by the American Psychological Association and requires a clinical practicum and internship.

    The psychology department strives to provide 3-4 years of funding to Ph.D. students, which includes a living stipend and tuition waiver in exchange for a teaching or research assistantship. The university also offers fellowship opportunities for psychology graduate students.

    Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, documentation of work experience, official transcripts, and official GRE scores. The admission process also includes a voluntary interview. University of Missouri-Kansas City is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers one of the best doctoral programs in psychology. The Ph.D. in psychology prepares students for advanced careers in research and teaching. The program offers training in six subfields: behavioral and integrative neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, quantitative psychology, and social psychology.

    Courses cover topics like addiction science, advanced family theory and research, and cognitive aging. Students also complete a child and adolescent practicum. Ph.D. candidates must pass written and oral exams and complete a dissertation and oral defense. They must also conduct research during each year of enrollment.

    Admission requirements for the highly competitive program include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. UNC makes admission decisions based on the applicant's academic record, letters of recommendation, relevant experience, test scores, and statement of purpose. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia offers a research-focused Ph.D. in psychology. The department's faculty include past presidents of the American Psychological Association, members of the National Academy of Sciences, and fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The full-time program features first-year coursework, focused research experiences, seminars, teaching requirements, and faculty mentorship.

    Students must complete 20 credits of coursework focused on the brain, the mind, the individual, and the group. Ph.D. candidates can choose a clinical or non-clinical track. The non-clinical program takes 4-5 years to complete, while clinical students spend five years in the program, followed by a one-year clinical internship.

    The clinical training program prepares students for academic and research careers in personality, psychopathology, and clinical psychology. Students receive training in assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy. The University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of South Florida in Tampa offers one of the best doctoral programs in psychology. The Ph.D. in school psychology typically takes five years to complete. Students earn a master's degree in their first two years and begin Ph.D. coursework in their third year.

    The program offers specializations in areas like organizational consultation, pediatric school psychology, school-based mental health services, and intervention. Learners can also design their own specialization.

    Students must meet program requirements in research competencies, psychological foundations, consultation/intervention/problem-solving, and professional practice. The curriculum includes courses like biological bases of behavior, advanced behavioral interventions, and research design. The Ph.D. also requires a dissertation and an internship.

    The University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Ph.D. in school psychology is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists.

  • University of Utah
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Utah's Ph.D. in psychology emphasizes collaborative research, with psychology faculty and students frequently working with other departments, such as medicine and computer science. The program automatically considers all Ph.D. students for funding opportunities when they apply.

    Psychology students choose from four concentrations: clinical psychology, social psychology, cognition and neural science, and developmental psychology. Although students choose one concentration, they can easily move between concentrations to pursue research interests. The program also offers cross-area interests in developmental psychopathology, sexuality, and biological bases of behavior.

    Admission requirements include a personal statement, CV, unofficial transcripts from all prior postsecondary institutions, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Clinical psychology applicants who lack a psychology bachelor's or master's degree must also take the GRE advanced subject test. The University of Utah is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  • University of Virginia
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Virginia's psychology doctorate program includes specializations in clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, community psychology, developmental psychology, quantitative psychology, social psychology, and systems and behavioral neuroscience. Each specialization features its own application and graduation requirements.

    UVA offers all students an annual stipend, full tuition waiver, and health insurance coverage for five years. The psychology department also encourages Ph.D. candidates to pursue additional financial aid opportunities, such as grants and fellowships.

    The admission committee evaluates candidates using a holistic review process, strongly considering prior research experience and program fit. Applicants must submit a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and unofficial transcripts. The University of Virginia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Washington's mentor-based psychology doctorate program prepares students for research and teaching careers. Learners study under the guidance of one or more mentor faculty members with similar scholarly interests. The program typically takes 5-7 years to complete.

    UW's Ph.D. in psychology offers the following subdisciplines: animal behavior, behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, child clinical psychology, cognition and perception, developmental psychology, social and personality, and quantitative psychology. The program also offers a diversity science specialization, quantitative minor, and data science option.

    Applicants do not need a prior degree in psychology, but some prior psychology coursework is desirable. The University of Washington is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Wisconsin - Madison offers a psychology doctorate program with six concentrations: biological psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, perception, and social and personality. Students can also create their own concentration. All doctoral students must complete a minor.

    The psychology Ph.D. program offers research and learning opportunities with other departments; training programs; and institutes, including the Institute on Aging, Health Emotions Center, and Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center.

    The competitive program admits less than 10% of applicants each year. Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, a minimum GRE score of 310, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. The program highly values applicants with undergraduate research experience. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • Yale University
    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private Ivy League university founded in 1701, Yale University offers a Ph.D. in psychology that focuses on training for academic and applied research careers and emphasizes the historical and theoretical contexts of psychology.

    The competitive psychology doctorate program enrolls 15 new students each year. Yale limits specific requirements for the degree, allowing each student to receive training that aligns with their career goals and interests. Degree requirements include three basic-level courses, a first-year research paper, a pre-dissertation research project, an essay in the student's concentration, and a dissertation.

    The program offers weekly seminars in clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social/personality psychology. Yale University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

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