The 50 Best Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology

The 50 Best Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology


Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology are offered in two types: the Ph.D. and the Psy.D. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs focus on training students in conducting research and in providing and evaluating clinical services. The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) programs have less emphasis on research and instead provide professional training to prepare graduates to practice clinical psychology.

Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology are research-focused and generally use the scientist-practitioner model of training. Most, but not all, programs are mentor based programs where students are matched with a faculty mentor with similar research interests. In collaboration with faculty, students learn to generate, design, conduct, evaluate, publish, and present psychological research, as well as how to apply this scientific knowledge to the improvement of psychological functioning, and deliver empirically-supported psychological services.

Graduates with their Ph.D. in clinical psychology go on to pursue clinical science research careers in a variety of settings such as colleges and universities, school districts, government agencies, research institutes, medical schools, medical centers and hospitals. Because the Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology emphasize research, these programs are not the best fit for students interested in becoming a private practitioner. The training provided in a Psy.D. program would be a better fit for students interested in pursuing careers in direct service such as through private practice.

Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology are highly selective. Many programs review over 250 applications annually and from that pool interview 25-50 students from which they select and accept only 4-8 graduate students. Students who are accepted into these highly competitive programs are often rewarded with full funding through graduate teaching and research assistantships as well as fellowships and grants that typically cover tuition, provide health insurance, and offer an annual stipend. Choosing a program with a substantial funding package will help students to have more time to dedicate to their education and to graduate with less debt. The programs on this list provide a remarkable source of funding! All of the programs on this list (except for 3 where funding was not available or was not stated) provide some amount of funding for their students.

50 Best Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology