15 Best Clinical Psychology PhD Programs in 2022 | Cost, Requirements

A career in clinical psychology is one of the most fulfilling careers anyone would want to pursue. This is more rewarding if you enjoy listening to and helping people solve their own problems. To really have a swell time in your career as a clinical psychologist, you’d need to up your game by acquiring a PhD in clinical psychology. So in this article, you’ll discover the best clinical psychology programs you can get.

Meanwhile, find the table of contents below to have a peep into what you’ll find in this article.

So do really take your time to read through this article. We hope it answers most of the questions that you may have.

Why study clinical psychology?

Clinical psychology is unarguably one of the largest specialty areas you can pursue within the scope of psychology. A strong desire to listen and help people be at peace with themselves is the first requirement for having a great career in clinical psychologist.

Basically clinical psychologists are trained to provide clinical services in the research, education, training and health sectors while there maybe others who specialize in other areas such as counseling and school psychology.

Generally, they are trained in mental and emotional health, healthy behaviors and mental disorders and their prevention. They specialize in physical health concerns and help patients manage diabetes or other chronic illnesses.

They apply psychological science in their work in ways that range from helping patients overcome depression or anxiety to better understanding how to manage stress.

You can also find sub-specialties where clinical psychologists specialize in working with the elderly and the challenges of aging, or working with children or college students. The possibilities for a career as a health service psychologist are vast and varied.

Sincerely speaking, it’s a highly practical and solution-oriented specialty for people who want to help others help themselves. So If you are interested in understanding human behavior and you enjoy working with people, a career as a clinical or counseling psychologist may be for you.

There’s a great feeling that comes with helping people find themselves and helping people be at peace with themselves.

What can you do with a Phd in Clinical Psychology?

There are so many career opportunities for you if you acquire a doctorate degree in psychology. Here below are some of the career opportunities that may be available to you if you acquire a Phd in clinical psychology.

Health Psychologists

Health Psychologists are always keen to trends in their field. As a result, they keep up with current developments in their field. They also help patients develop treatment plans according to their goals, challenges, and core values. They help patients deal with various life circumstances or mental health issues.

Case Manager

If you are a Clinical case manager, you’ll be incharge of managing the healthcare of patients placed under your care. You’ll work basically with insurers as well as patients to manage physical and mental health problems. You’ll see to it to help patients manage mental health disorders in conjunction with other healthcare providers like psychiatrists or psychologists. For you to be prominent in this career path, you may need to acquire a PhD in clinical psychology.

Work-place Psychologist

Occupational therapists work with patients who have physical or cognitive disabilities, injuries, or impairments acquired from their work place. Occupational therapists help these people observe their treatment plans to address individual issues and challenges. Some of these professionals practice with a master’s degree, but its better to get a PhD.

Child Psychologist

Graduates who have earned a PhD in clinical psychology will have a range of career options to choose from. Their extensive knowledge of human cognition and behavior make them ideal candidates for jobs that involve assessment and treatment of various behavioral, developmental, and psychological conditions in children.

How hard is it to get into a Clinical Psychology Phd Program?

Sincerely I’ll have to tell you this: getting admission to pursue PhD programs in clinical psychology is very dicey and competitive. You usually have aout 300 students pursuing an opportunity meant for only 10 persons. So if you must start this program, then you must have to prepare yourself well enough.

Moreover, you’ll need to go through a rigorous training to really learn human dynamics so as to be able to relate with people and be able to handle critical cases.

How many years does it take to get a Phd in Clinical Psychology?

How long it will take you to earn your degree largely depends on on a variety of factors which includes the programs you have selected, your educational background and the individual doctorate program in which you have acquired.

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Generally, if you have taken a course in psychology previously and have completed all of the necessary courses, you will be able to finish your PhD sooner than students who have not taken any of those courses before.

It is very important that you be sure of what you want to do with your psychology degree once you’ve completed it. Do you want to teach, or is research more appealing to you? Are you interested in seeing clients, or are you planning to combine your training in psychology with another field, such as law or medicine? An accredited university should be able to provide guidance on whatever your career goals in psychology are.

However, acquiring a PhD in psychology can take you an average of 4 to 6 years to complete.

What Schools offer a Phd in Psychology?

Looking for schools to pursue a Phd in Psychology, here below is the list of best psychology schools you can find. Do take your time to visit the schools.


1. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740. The University of Pennsylvania’s psychology program is the best psychology Ph.D. program. It gives graduates extensive knowledge of researched approaches to the field with the intent that graduates will work primarily in research as research investigators, counselors, and administrators.

This clinical psychology Ph.D. program allows students to spend five years in the program, followed by a one-year internship, which makes it 6 years on average.

Students are expected to receive training and learning in areas like assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy and also become a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science.

The University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The training program is also accredited by the Psychological Science Accreditation System and the American Psychological Association.

2. Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the best universities that offer a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Their clinical psychology program takes about five years to complete. In students’ second and third years, they undergo some kind of assessment and in their fifth year, they undergo a professional clinical internship.

Harvard’s PhD in Clinical Psychology emphasizes on research, particularly in psychopathology.

The university offer courses like Psychotherapy Research, Cultural, Racial, and Ethnic Bases of Behavior, Contemporary topics in Psychopathology, and Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Psychological Disorders. Students are also allowed to do their projects before the dissertation.

The average cost of study in this school is $17,030. Applicants who wish to study here must submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores.

3. John F. Kennedy University

John F. Kennedy University is one of the universities that offer the best clinical psychology PhD programs accredited by the American Psychology Association.

The clinical psychology PhD program in this school takes up to five years of full-time study to complete, with a program cost of $8,500. The psychology PhD graduates are able to apply for state licensure as psychologists in California and find careers as program administrators, clinicians, and assessors.

The PhD students are required to pass three written comprehensive exams, write their dissertation, and complete a 36-credit internship. Their classes include clinical interviewing skills, multicultural awareness in professional psychology, and cognitive-behavioral theory and applications to diverse organizations.

The University is also regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

4. University of Florida

When it comes to the best schools that offer the best psychology PhD programs, the University of Florida in Gainesville is the place to be. The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and their PhD in Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

The College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida offers the best clinical psychology PhD program with courses like clinical assessment across the lifespan, neuropsychology of aging.

They also teach the best methods for the analysis of psychological change. The program can be completed in a duration of about five years with an average program cost of $19,053.

The admission requirements for clinical psychology PhD program includes; A bachelor’s degree and at least two undergraduate or graduate psychology courses. Applicants are also required to submit official transcripts, GRE scores, a resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

5. Stanford University

Stanford University is a prestigious private university that was founded in 1885 by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford, a California senator. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the university is currently ranked No. 5 in the entire nation.

Stanford University is among the prestigious universities that offer the best clinical psychology PhD programs. The program offers five areas of study which include; social psychology, neuroscience, cognitive, affective, and developmental, with an average program cost of $51,354.

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The psychology PhD program from Stanford University prepares students for careers in research and teaching and takes roughly five years to complete.

The admission requirement for industrial psychology PhD program includes; A bachelor’s degree and at least two undergraduate or graduate psychology courses.

Applicants are also required to complete an interview with the admissions committee and submit unofficial transcripts from all postsecondary institutions., GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

6. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Chicago is one of the best in clinical psychology PhD programs. Their psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and also accredited regionally by the Higher Learning Commission.

This clinical psychology PhD program includes five major areas which are; Behavioral cognitive learning, Community and Prevention Research, and Social and personality with an average program cost of $18,456.

The amazing thing about this prestigious university is that the psychology department funds all psychology PhD students for at least their first year of study.

There are certain admission requirements for the organizational psychology PhD program from the University of Illinois. The program requires a master’s thesis by the end of the second year of study and also students are required to create a dissertation proposal by their fourth year and defend the dissertation by the end of their fifth year.

7. Yale University

The Clinical Psychology PhD Program at Yale University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association and has been admitted to membership in the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science.

The University offers one of the best clinical psychology PhD programs which focuses on training for academic and applied research careers. The average program cost of $42,100.

The program offers weekly seminars in clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social/personality psychology.

The degree requirements include three basic level courses, a first-year research paper, dissertation proposal, an essay in the student’s concentration, and a dissertation.

Yale’s PhD in Clinical Psychology program’s main goal is to expose students to a rich, interdisciplinary array of research and scholarly opportunities across fields, both within psychology and outside it.

8. Northwestern University

Northwestern University is an elite private university located in Evanston, Illinois Chicago. It is ranked number eight best psychology school in the United States.

The Northwestern University School of Medicine offers one of the best Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs. The program can be completed within 5 to 6 years with an average program cost of $26,099. During their study, students are expected to complete at least 21 credit hours of coursework, including their exams and dissertation.

Some of the courses taken at Northwestern University include scientific and professional ethics in psychology, diversity in psychological science and practice, life-span developmental psychology, behavioral neuroscience, cognitive and affective psychology, advanced social psychology, psychopathology introduction to psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and advanced research methodology.

Electives include acceptance and commitment therapy, child and adolescent psychotherapy, cognitive and behavioral treatments for depression, forensic psychology and neuropsychology, health psychology, marital and sex therapy, mental health policy, and psychodynamic traditions.

All admitted students will receive a research scholarship (it will become a free program), and also receive a monthly stipend, and health insurance.

9. East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University(ETSU) is a public university in Johnson City. It is one of those elite institutes that offers the best clinical psychology Ph.D. programs in the world. The psychology program at ETSU can be completed within 4 to 5 years.

At ETSU, students are required to do some vital courses which include; Introduction to psychological measurement, Psychopathology, Clinical interviewing techniques, Methods of psychological research, Legal and ethical issues in psychology, Personality and psychotherapy models, Advanced history and systems of psychology.

They are also exposed to deep learning on Psychological assessment-adult, Evidence-based interventions, Advanced behavioral neuroscience, Clinical psychology practicum and seminar, Primary care, Psychopharmacology, Cultural anthropological applications to rural practice, and Diversity in psychological sciences.

10. University of Missouri

The clinical psychology PhD program at University of Missouri is currently involved in research aimed at improving clinical interventions and can be completed within 5 to 6 years.

The university’s Clinical Psychology program provides full funding to students with a monthly stipend and at least $14,000 in their first two years in the program and also during their third year, they will have a professional position that will include tuition and a stipend ranging from $15,000 to $20,000.

Faculty research interests include Developmental psychopathology, Family processes, Sexual decision making, Sexual coercion, Women’s sexual health, and functioning, Depression, Coping with chronic illness, Behavioral medicine, Minority mental health, Multicultural psychology, Multiracial identity development, Minority substance use/misuse, Complex trauma, Co-occurring grief and trauma exposure, Prevention and treatment of anxiety pathology, etc.

If you are looking to diversify your income in school, see our article on 30 Highest Paying Side Hustle Ideas For Students

11. University of Alabama

The School of Medicine and the Department of Psychology at Alabama University offers a PhD in Medical/Clinical Psychology. The school is one of the best in this field.

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Interestingly, students attending University of Alabama are entitled to funding.

The funding is provided to all students accepted into the program, which means that all students will receive a 16-month fellowship with a stipend of $26,000 plus tuition, with the increased support of fellowships and scholarships, students can receive their degree without going into debt.

At the University of Alabama, students learn to provide integrated care in areas like; Behavioral medicine, Health psychology, and Pediatric psychology and the faculty has some interesting areas like Biological factors related to emotion, Cognitive decline and dementia risk factors, Autism spectrum disorders, Behavioral medicine, Parenting and child abuse risk, and human psychological strengths, etc.

12. University of California

The University of California is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868. The university has been listed by numerous major education publications as one of the top 10 universities in the world.

The University of California being one of the best universities in the world offers PhD in Clinical Psychology. Students in this school will complete four to six years of residency in addition to one year of an internship.

Students offering this program will take courses like Introduction to Clinical Methods, Professional Development in Clinical Science, and others.

13. University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina offers one of the best clinical psychology PhD programs. Their PhD program in psychology prepares students for advanced careers in research and teaching with an average program cost of $18,849.

Students are able to acquire training in areas like Clinical psychology, Developmental psychology, Behavioral and integrative neuroscience, Cognitive psychology, Social psychology and Quantitative psychology.

Students studying at the University of North Carolina are expected to conduct research during each year of enrollment, write and pass exams, and also complete their dissertation

There are certain admission requirements for the clinical psychology PhD program from the university. The program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students are also expected to present their academic records, letters of recommendation, relevant experience, test scores, and statement of purpose.

14. Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is a private university located in Cleveland, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1826. The Center for Measuring University Performance ranks them among the top 28 private research universities in the country for the number of doctorates they award.

The University offers a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Interestingly, the psychology program was ranked No. 4 in over 150 programs in the academic journal Training and Education in Professional Psychology. Their Clinical Psychology PhD program is an accredited program by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The Clinical psychology PhD program from the university can be completed within four years of research and coursework, with a one-year long internship, making it five to six years, with an average program cost of $34,973.

The program offers specializations in areas like; Adult and Gerontology, Child and Family, and Pediatrics of which the students are expected to choose from these three major areas.

15. University of South Florida

This university offers one of the best clinical psychology PhD programs, which takes five years to complete. The program comes with an average program cost of $13,699.

Their Clinical Psychology PhD program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists.

Students pursuing this degree are entitled to earn a master’s degree in their first two years and begin PhD coursework in their third year.

The program has four major areas of specialization which include; Organizational consultation, Pediatric school psychology, School-based mental health services, and Intervention.

How many years does it take to get a phd in clinical psychology?

Basically, acquiring a Phd in clinical psyhology should take about 4 to 6 years to complete.

How much does a phd in clinical psychologist make?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical psychologists with a doctoral degree, make as high as $124,000 per year. Payscale reports the average salary for clinical psychologists with a doctoral degree is $76,352, but the salary can go as high as $110,000.

Is getting a phd in clinical psychology worth it?

Pursuing a Phd degree in clinical psychology is indeed worth it. Financially, psychologists make a good living. A senior clinical psychologist at a major medical center will earn as high as $115K with good benefits.


The schools listed here in this article are the top clinical psychology schools that you can find in the country. They offer their programs at different levels; bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. You can pursue any of the programs in any of these schools. You can be sure to get the best of your desired training.


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