The Comprehensive Guide to a Psy.D. Degree

image descriptionThe purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive resource for students who are earning their Psy.D degree. This degree is a bit different than the Ph.D. in psychology in that the degree holder will usually enter directly into a clinical psychology career. The Ph.D. holder often is more interested in a research or teaching career. Interested visitors can learn about the top Psy.D programs according to a number of rating systems. You also can read extensive student reviews, learn about scholarships, student guides, and also career-related information for earning a Psy.D degree. Students also can request free information about Psy.D programs and universities. We appreciate you visiting this site, and please do get in touch with us if we can help you.

Editors’ Choice Best Psy.D. Programs for 2020

Our mission at is to foster a social community for clinical psychologists around the world in which to educate, inform and share. As part of that mission, we set out to rank the best PsyD programs in the United States and share that information with you, our community.

To do this, we surveyed dozens of our members currently searching for a PsyD program on what they consider to be important decision-making factors. Based on the survey results, we focused on four key metrics to determine the best programs: affordability, completion time, degrees conferred and internship placement.

To determine our rankings, we evaluated over 80 APA accredited programs and assigned points based on each metric.

See all 50 Best APA Accredited Psy.D. Programs

RankUniversity NameStateAverage CompletionTuition Cost
1George Washington UniversityDC4$44,800
2Alliant International University--Los AngelesCA4$48,200
3Alliant International University--FresnoCA4$38,560
4Palo Alto UniversityCA4.9$50,451
5The Wright InstituteCA5$37,650
6Alliant International University--San Francisco BayCA4.9$40,970
7University of DenverCO4.9$65,856
8Alliant International University--SacramentoCA4.6$36,150
9The Chicago School of Professional Psychology--ChicagoIL5$53,613
10Nova Southeastern UniversityFL5$45,390
11Widener UniversityPA5$34,246
12Philadelphia College of Osteopathic MedicinePA5$37,913
13Yeshiva UniversityNY5$38,320
14Midwestern UniversityAZ4$36,220
15Adler University - ChicagoIL5$49,980
16Chaminade University--ArgosyHI5$38,384
17Pacific University--OregonOR5$36,644
18Yeshiva UniversityNY5$35,750
19Pace UniversityNY5$39,928
20Azusa Pacific UniversityCA5$42,510
21The Chicago School of Professional Psychology--IrvineCA5$52,220
22University of St. ThomasMN4$26,200
23Wheaton CollegeIL5$40,660
24Pepperdine UniversityCA5$64,200
25Midwestern UniversityIL5$32,547

See all 50 Best APA Accredited Psy.D. Programs

Best Psy.D Schools According to Professors

These are the highest-ranked Psy.D programs:

  1. Rutgers University
  2. PGSP/Stanford University Consortium
  3. Baylor University
  4. Loyola University Maryland
  5. Virginia Consortium
  6. Pepperdine University
  7. Long Island University
  8. Yeshiva University
  9. Xavier University
  10. University of Hartford

Online Psy.D. & Ph.D. in Psychology Specializations

If you are thinking about obtaining your doctorate in this growing profession, you may want to consider these exciting psychology concentrations:

Psy.D Degrees Overview

A Psy.D degree stands for Doctor of Philosophy, and shares similarities with the related Ph.D. degree in psychology. The Psy.D degree first was created in the late 60s, as a response to what some saw as limits of the value of a scientist-practitioner model that was common in the Ph.D. as the time in the field.

Graduates of a Psy.D program have been trained in particular to work as clinical psychologists in many settings. Overall, there is a focus on clinical work and less on research. Whether you choose a Psy.D degree or a Ph.D. degree, it is very selective to be admitted, and some can be even harder to get into than medical school. Some psychologists work primarily as researchers, others work primarily as practitioners, and many do both. Indeed, one of psychology’s most important characteristics is its coupling of science and practice.

The American Psychological Association has compiled descriptions of some of the main areas you can pursue a degree in psychology. Here’s a list of the most common specialties:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Cognitive and perceptual psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Environmental psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Industrial/organizational psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • School psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Sports Psychology

Reasons to Earn a Psy.D Degree

Earning a PsyD degree is an excellent way to help both the community and the individual, while also earning a very respectable salary. Many Psy.D and Ph.D.s in psychology can earn well over $100,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the top 10% earn about $110,000 per year. That source also states that jobs should increase by 12% by 2020.

Psy.D Course Requirements

Earning a Psy.D degree is a serious commitment, and takes at least four years to complete full time. Some programs take five years, with the 5th year usually consisting of a full-time clinical internship.

Psy.D Educational Prerequisites

Typically, a Psy.D degree program requires a master’s degree in psychology or a related field to apply. However, there are exceptions, including in the top 10 programs listed above. Some programs only require a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a certain number of prerequisites in the psychology field.

Most programs also require GRE General Test scores, although not every program requires Psychology Subject Test scores.

Psy.D Curriculum

The exact courses you must take will depend upon the program, but general classes include ones like these:

  • Psychological Assessment
  • Psychopathology
  • Group and Organizational Dynamics
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Life Span Human Development
  • Empirical Research
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Ethics and Professional Issues
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Career Outlook for Psy.D Graduates

As mentioned above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth as a whole for psychologists will be 12% by 2022. There should be higher demand for clinical and counseling psychologists with the highest level of education, particularly in the healthcare industry.

Psy.D Salary

The median salary for all psychologists is $69,200, according to BLS. However, the top 10% who usually have a PsyD or PhD degree in Psychology can make at least $110,000 per year. See PsyD salary outlook here.

Additional Resources for Psy.D Students

Psy.D Grants and Fellowships

Any Psy.D or Ph.D. program can be quite expensive, so it is natural wonder about ways to pay most or even all of your expenses through grants or fellowships. Some of the best ways include:

  • Nongovernmental research grants  – There are all kinds of grants in research that are available to both Psy.D and Ph.D. students in psychology. There are many scientific organizations that may offer grants and awards based upon your scientific research.
  • Government fellowships – There often are fellowships that are open to psychology doctoral students who conduct research in areas that pertain to government. Some of these organizations include the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.