Highlighting the Top Online Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs
The ability to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. in clinical psychology online opens doors for a number of students who need flexibility to pursue a top-level degree. With a wide range of accredited colleges and universities throughout the United States, students can now pursue a hybrid or even fully online degree in clinical psychology. These programs are among the best in the country.
Top 10 Best Online Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs
||Indiana Wesleyan University
||University of Louisiana
||West Virginia University
||Wake Forest University
||Virginia Beach, VA
||California Baptist University
||City University of Seattle
||Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
||Angelo State University
||San Angelo, TX
||Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
||Lock Haven, PA
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Individuals holding a online doctoral degree in clinical psychology from an accredited school have a wide range of options for employment as a professional psychologist. Clinical psychologists work closely with individuals or families to help them overcome obstacles in their life. They will use the highly technical skills acquire through their online training to help their clients lead a better life. With so many schools now offering these degrees online, there is a flexible, online clinical psychology degree program to help all students achieve your goals. The field of psychology is predicted to continue growing in the coming years, therefore more and more skilled clinicians will be needed. As the need for highly skilled mental health professionals grows each and every year, it is a great time to pursue an online degree in clinical psychology.
For more information about how this ranking was developed, please visit the methodology section at the bottom of this ranking.
Ranking Top 30 Graduate Clinical Psychology Online Programs
Indiana Wesleyan University
The online Master of Arts in Counseling and specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit hour licensure track program. The program has been designed to teach students to evaluate and treat individuals, groups, families, and organizations. Students learn about the many areas of overall wellness and mental health, as well as the structures of pathology and how to create successful treatment plans. As the school is a Christian university, faith and the Christian worldview is featured throughout the curriculum.
The online Master of Science in Counseling can be earned via a specialized track in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The goal of this program is to create allow students to learn in a supportive and collaborative environment so they can gather knowledge, attitudes, and skills required in the practice of counseling. Students learn to provide counseling services to individuals range of diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings.
The Master of Science Clinical Rehabilitation online and Mental Health Counseling online graduate program is offered using a hybrid online and on-campus learning format. Students in this program prepare for careers as mental health counselors. Students complete the majority of coursework online and attend on-campus sessions each summer. Graduates are qualified for a range of employment opportunities. They work in settings such as vocational rehabilitation agencies, community rehabilitation programs, Veterans Administration programs, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment facilities or correctional facilities. The program consists of 51 credit hours, with students having the ability to complete 60 hours to meet professional counseling licensing requirements.
Wake Forest University
The comprehensive online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program trains students for service in the counseling profession. Students learn from a rigorous intellectual environment that supports personal and professional development.
Virginia Beach, VA
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online trains students for careers as mental health counselors. The curriculum pairs modern counseling techniques with a strong biblical foundation for a spiritually based training model. The PhD in Counseling and Psychological Studies prepares Christian students for mental health counseling, research, scholarship and psychological science. The degree is designed for internationals students and other students hoping to influence culture in ministry professions outside of formal professional organizations of psychology or counseling.
California Baptist University
The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology at California Baptist is a clinically based program that offers students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge to work in a range of clinical settings. The program was designed for students seeking the theoretical knowledge and clinical experience to work in a range of settings. Students can engage in a curriculum that prepares students for MFT licensure as well as a concentration for the Professional Clinical Counselor (dual licensure option) and a certificated concentration in Forensic Psychology.
City University of Seattle
City University of Seattle's online Master of Arts in Counseling program trains students for work as counselors in the community mental health field. Students interested in the clinical side of the field can earn their Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) specialization. This emphasis includes core coursework in areas including research, theory, human development and ethics. The bulk of the curriculum focuses on experiential clinical mental health. The degree is pursued as part of a cohort group, with training on campus as well as online. The degree can be earned in a two-year intensive, full-time program or a three-year program that is designed for busy working professionals.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
The online Clinical Mental Health program is a diverse community of learners and instructors with the common goal of engaging in research, scholarship, leadership and service. The faculty offers informative and experiential learning opportunities to train students to become efficient clinical practitioners. The departmental mission is to train professional counselors who will provide mental health services to enhance the well-being of families, groups, couples and individuals.
The online applied psychology program is an interdisciplinary clinical program, designed to teach students about the ways psychology can be applied to serious issues facing individuals in modern society. Students will learn how to help clients improve their mental health, have better decision-making capabilities and achieve greater levels of personal success. The curriculum includes an applied component that consists of practical problems that can be addressed by psychologists and ways to create solutions to practical problems. Online students may choose to complete some courses in a traditional classroom setting.
Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is among the growing list of states that allow master's level clinicians to secure a license to work as a mental health counselor. This online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) is a fully online, 60-credit degree program that has been carefully designed to adhere to the requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in Pennsylvania. Graduates of this the program will have completed the academic requirements for licensure and will be prepared to fulfill the remainder of the Pennsylvania state requirements for licensure as a counselor. The program is compliant with many other state licensing codes, and a non-Pennsylvania student may be license eligible in additional states as a professional counselor.
Graduate students with an interest in clinical and counseling psychology will benefit from the online Master of Science in Professional Counseling degree program at Grand Canyon University. Students have the ability to customize their training but pursuing one of the following areas of specialization: Childhood and Adolescent Disorders, Marriage and Family Therapy, Trauma, Forensic Psychology, General Psychology, GeroPsychology, Health Psychology, Human Factors Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Life Coaching.
The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology online degree program provides rigorous training so student can better understand, evaluate and counsel individuals with psychological problems. Students learn to properly use community resources to guide their clients to greater levels of personal success. This 48-hour graduate program includes approved practicum placements to give each student the chance to administer psychological tests and use a range of methods of counseling and psychotherapy. Students who complete all requirements for the program can then apply for their clinical psychology license and go on to work in psychiatric hospitals, prisons, in mental health centers, or with doctoral-level psychologists in private practice.
University of West Alabama
The Master of Science in Experimental Psychology online offers students training in statistics and research methodologies in order to prepare for doctoral level training or entrance into the work force. The program provides students with the foundations of many core areas within the field of psychology. The elective courses allow students to investigate their own interests in the field. The Clinical Psychology option allows students to receive hands on training through practicum experiences as well as an internship placement.
The Master of Arts in Psychology degree program highlights the important theories, research practices, and clinical applications to provide students with broad educational and experiential opportunities to enhance their potential opportunities. The 36-unit program arms students for careers in industrial and organizational psychology, developmental psychology, or general psychology, as well as serving as preparation for doctoral-level training. The General Psychology emphasis provides training in clinical applications of psychological theories.
Fielding Graduate University
Santa Barbara, CA
The online PhD in Clinical Psychology at the Fielding Graduate University is designed for adult students, many of whom have trained or worked in some areas of mental health. The APA-accredited online psychology PhD program uses an innovative "learning model blend," that combines face-to-face learning opportunities with modern digital formats. Students have the option of adding a concentration area to their training in the following innovative areas: Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, Neuropsychology, Parent-Infant Mental Health and Violence Prevention and Control.
Students earning their doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Walden will learn to make diagnoses, assess clients, and create intervention strategies for a range of emotional and behavioral disorders. Graduates are poised for careers as practitioners, researchers, or consultants working in interdisciplinary teams at hospitals, clinics, community mental health centers, and group or private practice settings. Graduation requirements include 163 credits, a 20-credit dissertation, a 12-credit internship, and Academic Year in Residence and PhD residencies (4 four-day sessions).
American Public University System
Charles Town, WV
The online Master of Arts in Psychology program is designed to combine scientific theory with academically relevant research to provide students with the skills they will need to become industry professionals. This fully online degree program highlights aspects relevant to human behavior such as lifespan development, social and cultural diversity, assessment, personality, and psychopathology. The online learning format allows students to interact with both peers and instructors. This psychology was created to prepare students for doctoral or other graduate studies.
Bellevue University's online Master of Science in Clinical Counseling is a 60-credit degree program that requires completion of 100 hours of practicum (40 hours of observation) and 600 hours of clinical internship (40% direct client contact). Online students are responsible to complete these practicum and clinical internship hours under the supervision of a licensed counselor. Students have the ability to complete clinical hours in their home state through an accountability and approval process with Bellevue University's Internship Director.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology online degree program is a 48 credit hour program with a focus on effective mental and behavioral health care for individuals and families. In addition to the core course component, students will complete a research component by completing Psychology Methods and Research Design. They will also participate in a Practicum Component. Regardless of whether students complete courses on campus or online, they have access to all of the on-campus support, resources and facilities.
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) online degree program is designed to offer students a firm foundation in the principles of graduate level mental health counseling. The program can be pursued either on-campus or online and meets the New York State Office of Professions academic requirements for licensure as a licensed mental health counselor. The online format is offered with a fixed sequence of 17 seven-week classes, with no scheduled class times. Students must complete three semesters of practicum and internship for graduation.
Palo Alto University supports a pioneering, highly structured part-time, two-year master's degree program that can be pursued as the framework for an online PhD in Clinical Psychology or as a terminal master's degree. Students in this program have the chance to show to potential application committees that they have the tools to successfully handle doctoral-level work. Upon completion of the master's program, students are ready for doctoral studies or for career advancement in areas requiring social science research understanding.
Prescott Valley, AZ
Northcentral's online Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD) degree program will allow students to gain valuable critical thinking skills while building a knowledge base in psychology. The curriculum outlines the best ways to evaluate individual and social issues, with an emphasis on research methods. Students in this program will become prepared for careers with a focus on applied experiential learning with case studies, scenarios, vignettes and sometimes real-life situations. The program uses a flexible approach, including weekly course starts to fit even the busiest of schedules. The program has no requirement for GRE or GMAT exam scores.
Capella University offers a fully online Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology to prepare students for state licensure eligibility as a clinical psychologist. The program offers doctoral candidates rigorous clinical training grounded in the theories and empirical aspects of psychology. The PsyD program combines online coursework with on-site residencies, in-person fieldwork, examinations as well as an integrative project.
The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology online program provides students with four years of training in clinical psychology (can be completed in three years for Advanced Standing students). The curriculum includes classes in the core areas of the field, clinical applications and research courses. The core curriculum, which is completed during the first two years, provides a framework for the clinical and research courses. The program is designed to meet the educational requirements for the state of California Psychologist license. The program meets the educational requirements for the state of California MFT license and the state of California Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, as long as all fieldwork has been completed in keeping with BBS requirements.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School's online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program trains students for careers providing mental health services in a range of settings. Students learn to work with a range of clients tackling issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, self-esteem, stress, relationship difficulties, and suicidal ideations. By pursuing an online clinical psychology PhD program, students can take advantage of a "transformative educational experience" with a flexible online learning format.
The doctoral training program at Saybrook includes experiential training at residential conferences and mentoring from seasoned faculty members to prepare students for impacting careers of service and leadership. Doctoral candidates learn to balance a holistic view of their clients within a broad social context. The training program is based in "person-centered" and "interpersonal" aspects of psychotherapy. The Ph.D. clinical psychology online program adheres to program requirements for professional licensure in a number of states, however the hybrid online program may not meet year-in-residence requirements of some state professional licensing boards/agencies.
About the Profession of Clinical Psychology
Clinical Psychologists are skilled mental health professional who works directly with clients who are in need of psychiatric treatment. In some cases, clinical psychologists work with the chronically mentally ill who have life-long need for mental health care, including people with diagnoses such as schizophrenia or persistent depression or anxiety. They may also work with individuals or families who do not have a psychiatric diagnosis, but rather need help getting through a difficult time in their life. These professionals work with clients to help them better understand their own thoughts, feeling and emotion in order to change negative thoughts and actions into more pro-social thoughts. This field continues to grow each year and doctoral level psychologists are the most desirable candidates in the field. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between over the next ten years, jobs in the field of clinical psychology will grow by a minimum of twelve percent. Those professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree in clinical psychology are qualified for work in a private practice, rehabilitation facilities, schools, hospital, mental health facilities and many other related areas. Licensure varies from state to state so it is important to know the degree requirements for your own state.
Ranking Methodology – Master’s and Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Online Programs
This ranking list has been created to highlight the 30 top online graduate programs in clinical psychology in the United States. In order to be considered, each school must be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. Factors considered:
Overall Cost of Attendance
One of the major factors considered is the average annual cost of attendance. Data was collected from the College Navigator Tool.
Under $12,000 / $12,001 – $15,00/ $15,001 – $18,000 / $18,001 – $21,000:
5 Points / 3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point
The next consideration was whether or not a school has been granted acknowledgement by a national ranking body. The major source of such national notoriety comes from the US News and World Report and BestColleges.com.
US News and World Report Ranking:
Top 50 / Top 100 / Top 150 / Top 200
5 Points / 3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point
BestColleges.com Best Online School Ranking:
Top 25 / Top 50 / Top 100
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point
In order to be included in this ranking list an appropriate ranking body must regionally accredit each college or university. Those schools that have received additional accreditation are rewarded an additional point.
Each Accreditation: 2 Points
Degree of Online Learning
Those schools that offer training complete online are awarded additional points.
Fully online program: 1 Point
Likelihood of Acceptance
As more and more individuals are pursuing psychology degrees the ability to be accepted to a college program is becoming increasingly competitive. Those schools with higher acceptance rate were given additional points. US News and World Report provided the data for this score.
Acceptance Rates Above 50% / Above 60% / Above 70%
1 Points / 2 Points / 3 Points
Once the points have been tallied the schools are arranged into groups by the amount of points they have earned. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools with the lowest tuition rates.
About the Author
After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor and mother.