Best Accredited Psy.D. Degrees

A doctorate in psychology often allows students to explore the connections between how the brain functions and how humans behave and interact with one another. The following is a list of online schools and programs for doctorate of psychology degrees.

Grand Canyon University The PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Grand Canyon University is designed for individuals who work in industry, government positions, and school systems. Courses train students to understand how the human mind works and retains information. The PhD in I/O Psychology program is built for individuals that want to become behavioral specialists in the work place.
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Walden University Walden University offers several specializations in Psychology, including Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Psychology Education, and Psychology Research. The curriculums follow a scholar/practitioner approach that integrates scholarly research with practical experience. The programs include fieldwork and faculty mentoring, along with a dynamic learning environment.
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Northcentral University The PhD in General Psychology from Northcentral University explores principles of psychology in the conducting of research experiments to expand the knowledge of the field. The Phd in I/O Psychology is designed to train industrial psychologists, while the Health Psychology specialty examines the role of the psychologist in the allied health care setting.
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University of the Rockies The University of the Rockies offers several Psychology doctorate programs, including the Psy.D. in Business Psychology, Psy.D. in Executive Coaching, Psy.D. in International Leadership, Psy.D. in Non-Profit Management, Psy.D. in Organizational Diversity, and Psy.D. in Organizational Leadership. These programs focus on applying comprehensive principles and theories towards every day problems.
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Argosy University At Argosy, students interested in applied learning have the opportunity to enroll in the Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology program. The curriculum features courses that focus on the application of research analytics towards the counseling field. This program usually takes three to four years to complete.
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Doctor of Psychology Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a PsyD Degree?
    The Doctor of Psychology degree, abbreviated as PsyD, is a professional doctorate degree, much like an M.D. for doctors or a J.D. for lawyers. Students in PsyD programs are trained to become clinical psychologists who treat mental disorders and provide psychotherapy. This degree was established in the 1970s after widespread debate over whether a PhD in psychology adequately prepared students for clinical practice. All PsyD programs must be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • What are the Admissions Requirements for PsyD Programs?
    Anyone applying to a PsyD program should have a at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant area such as psychology, biology, or sociology. Most programs also expect candidates to have professional work experience related to psychology, especially clinical work. They should have a strong interest in clinical psychology with a plan to practice after receiving the degree. Other admissions requirements include a personal statement, multiple letters of recommendation, a resume, college transcripts, results from a standardized test such as the GRE, and a completed application. After submitting an application, candidates may also have one or more interviews with the program’s admissions committee. Competitive programs will look for high academic performance, professionalism, and integrity in candidates.
  • What Courses Will I Take in a PsyD Program?
    The majority of courses in a PsyD program will be aimed at training students to perform clinical psychotherapy. Classes will cover topics such as the theories of clinical psychology, types of psychological assessments, ethics, and various practicum experiences. Students will usually be required to write a dissertation at the end of the program.
  • How Long Does it take to Complete a PsyD Program?
    The majority of PsyD programs take between four to seven years to complete, due to the extensive amount they must learn and the practical experience involved. After earning a PsyD degree, graduates must complete two years of a supervised internship before they can take licensing exams, although one of those years can be waived if the student has had a prior internship.
  • What Kind of Financial Aid Exists for PsyD Programs?
    Unlike a Ph.D. in Psychology, a PsyD degree program does not usually offer the same kinds of grants and scholarships for research. This is because the program is a professional doctorate degree rather than a research-based one. However, other options exist to help students fund their educations. Some PsyD programs may offer fellowships to students who work as Graduate Assistants at the university, however these fellowships are usually quite competitive. Scholarships may also be awarded by the university to students based on merit or need. Another financial aid option is through federal loans, which students can apply for through their university’s financial aid department. Keep in mind that loans must be paid back once the program is finished.
  • What Kind of Career Can You Have With a PsyD Degree?
    Students usually enter PsyD programs because they plan on practicing clinical psychology. After completing a clinical internship and passing the licensing exams, an individual with a PsyD degree can diagnose and treat mental disorders with the help of various assessments and psychotherapy services. Clinical psychologists work in a number of settings, including hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, government offices, or private practices.

What is the Difference Between a PsyD and a PhD in Psychology?

While the traditional doctorate degree, the PhD, has existed since the study of psychology was founded, the PsyD degree has only existed since the 1970s. However, both are doctoral degrees in psychology. So how do the programs differ?

  1. Focus – One of the main differences between the two degrees is their focus. Like other doctorate degrees, the PhD in Psychology emphasizes research, although many students who receive PhD degrees go on to practice rather than perform research after they graduate. On the other hand, the PsyD program was created specifically to train students of psychology for applied work in therapy, just as a J.D. program trains lawyers to practice law.
  2. As a result, the curriculum of a PsyD program teaches students about therapy techniques and gives them opportunities for supervised practicum experiences. PsyD students will be familiar with research methodology and analyzing findings in order to apply them to their work. Students who want a career performing therapy will probably want to consider a PsyD program.

    On the other hand, a PhD program in psychology will be heavily research-based. Students will learn how to understand research and apply it in practice, but most of the curriculum will involve actually performing research. PhD programs in psychology may vary on how much or little they teach students about practice, since the emphasis is on producing knowledge rather than applying it to therapy. Students who want a career in research or academia should consider a PhD program.

  3. Length of Study – Another important thing to consider is the amount of time each program takes to complete. Since PhD programs are research-based, they generally take longer to complete that PsyD programs. Both programs will require students to have a certain amount of coursework and practice, along with a dissertation. The main difference is that a PsyD dissertation may focus on theories or case studies, while a PhD dissertation will require a significant amount of scientific research.
  4. Funding – An advantage to pursuing a research-based program such as a PhD in psychology is that PhD candidates generally receive more funding than those in PsyD programs. Many PhD programs offer research grants for students to work alongside faculty members for a stipend. Since PsyD programs are more focused on applied training, they do not have the same funding opportunities. However, PsyD students may have the possibility of being awarded a teaching fellowship to fund part of their education.

Top PsyD Schools

Baylor University – Waco, TX
Baylor is a private Christian university and is the oldest university in Texas. Baylor established its PsyD program in 1971, making it the second in the U.S. and the program with the longest history of accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). It has ranked in U.S. News’ list of top 100 clinical psychology programs in 2001 and 2005. The program spans four years of intensive training along with a year-long internship. The curriculum covers the core theories of clinical psychology, community practicum experience, research experience and a research-based dissertation.

Rutgers University – New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark, NJ
Rutgers University is comprised of three campuses that began as separate colleges and universities. It is the eighth oldest college in the U.S. and is now the State University of New Jersey. Rutgers offers two PsyD. programs, one in clinical psychology and another in school psychology, along with concentration options in community or multicultural studies. All PsyD. programs at Rutgers emphasize practicum experience within the community.

University of Indianapolis – Indianapolis, IN
Like other PsyD. programs, the program at University of Indianapolis stresses a scholar-practitioner model. The program takes four years to complete with an additional year of internship, but it may be completed in three years if students have previous postgraduate and clinical experience in a related area. Students have the option to choose one of three concentrations: Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, Childhood and Adolescent, or Adult Psychopathology and Psychotherapy.

Widener University – Chester, PA
This private university hosts the nation’s oldest PsyD program, which moved to Widener from Hahnemann University. Students take courses for three years, then fulfill internship requirements in their fourth and fifth years while continuing full-time classes. Widener offers several concentrations, called “curriculum clusters,” to PsyD. students, including psychological therapy fields such as cognitive-behavioral, cross-cultural, family, forensic, group, health, organizational, and psychoanalytic psychology.

Loyola University Maryland – Baltimore, MD
This private university has a Roman Catholic Jesuit affiliation and has ranked highly in a variety of college reviews. Loyola’s PsyD program is especially service-oriented so that graduates are prepared for a career in mental health services. Like many PsyD. programs, it lasts four years with an additional year in a clinical internship. The program trains students based on six goals with additional objectives; these goals cover areas including demeanor, intervention, assessment, supervision, consultation, and research. Students must also fulfill a dissertation requirement.

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