George Washington University Psy.D. Psychology Review

Chartered by an act of Congress in 1821, today George Washington University is the largest institution of higher learning in Washington, D.C. For nearly 25 years, GW has offered a Doctor of Psychology, or Psy.D. degree, in Clinical Psychology. The APA-accredited degree allows students to focus on one of a handful of population groups, and the program’s attached nonprofit mental health clinic gives students a taste of the real world.

Prospective Psy.D. students should learn more about GW’s Psy.D. program before they make their final decisions about where to obtain their degrees.

About the Program

Before we dive into what’s great (and not so great) about GW’s Psy.D. program, let’s check out the vital statistics prospective students should know.


  • Institution type: Private
  • Main campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association
  • First year of program: 1996

Tuition and fees

  • Full-time, in-state tuition: $46,340
  • Full-time, out-of-state tuition: $46,340
  • Per credit-hour tuition for part-time students: NA
  • Institution fees: $484

Student outcomes

  • Median years to completion: 4 (2009-2019)
  • Percentage completing in <5 years: 48% (2018-19 school year)
  • Percentage completing in 7+ years: 3% (2018-19 school year)
  • Degrees conferred, 2010-2020: 284
  • Percentage of students obtaining internships: 92% (2018-19 school year)
  • Percentage of graduates earning professional licensure: 90% (2009-2019)

Degrees & requirements

  • Psy.D. degrees offered: Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology
  • Non-Psy.D. degrees offered: None, but postdoctoral fellowship is available
  • Number of credit hours required: 83


  • Application method: Mostly online, but finalists must attend on-campus interview
  • Application fee: $80, can be waived for some students
  • Admission requirements: GRE general score (except for applicants with J.D., M.A. or Ph.D.); bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology; TOEFL or other test for foreign applicants without existing degrees from U.S. or other English-speaking countries; three letters of recommendation; statement of purpose; on-campus interview
  • Admissions office address: 801 22nd St. NW, Phillips Hall 107, Washington DC 20052
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Biggest Pros

What factors help set the GW Psy.D. program apart from others, whether at similarly sized private universities or public institutions?

The Center Clinic

A community mental health center staffed and operated by students from the GW Professional Psychology Program, The Center Clinic is a nonprofit center that provides both short-term and long-term mental health services in the Washington, D.C. area.

Students train under active, licensed professionals as they offer therapeutic and assessment services in mental health and human behavior to their local neighborhood. For many students, this hands-on experience is a transformative portion of their educational journey.

Reasonable rigor

While all schools are different, GW’s Psy.D. program provides a rigorous education without being so demanding that few students are able to complete their degree in a reasonable amount of time. The hard numbers vary by cohort and academic year, but over the past decade, nearly three-quarters of GW Psy.D. students have completed their degrees in less than five years.

Multiple academic tracks

GW’s program provides an outstanding general training in clinical psychology, but a key feature is the requirement of a specialty, including child and adolescent, adult or assessment. These specializations allow students to hone in on the population group about whom they are most passionate and for whom they believe they can best provide services. Despite a specific population focus, many of the courses are identical between the three tracks, meaning that graduates aren’t necessarily stuck with one job option.

Biggest Cons

What are the leading factors that would direct a prospective Psy.D. student away from GW’s program?


All coursework for the program is based at George Washington’s main campus in the nation’s capital. Not only does that eliminate the program for many students who might be looking for an online education, Washington, D.C. is quite an expensive place to live, so even for students willing to relocate for their education, the city could be too costly.


Though it’s in line with many private institutions, a GW Psy.D. graduate should expect to spend in the neighborhood of $140,000 to obtain their degree. While a Psy.D. degree is designed to be the start of a successful (and ideally well-paying) career, there’s no doubt such a degree from GW will be pricey.

One degree option

It’s true that three academic tracks are available, but all three still lead to only one possible destination — a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. This may be the most broadly applicable Psy.D. degree, but the lack of options, such as Psy.D. degrees in School Psychology or Industrial-Organizational Psychology, will be a turn-off for some students.

The Bottom Line

So how can you decide if this program is right for you? While every learner’s needs and journey are unique, here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide whether the Psy.D. from George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is right for you.

Is the George Washington University Psy.D. Program Right For Me?
I need to take my classes onlinex
I’m interested in clinical psychologyx
I want to focus on a particular population groupx
I’m interested in applied psychologyx
I’m interested in school psychologyx
I’m interested in industrial-organizational psychologyx
I have a very limited budget for a Psy.D. programx
A well-established program is important to mex
I want to work in a real-world mental health clinicx
I want to contribute to cutting-edge research projectsx
I don’t want to take the GREx*
* Students with legal, medical or Ph.D. degrees don’t need to submit a GRE score
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For a typical Psy.D. student, earning a degree that leads to licensure as a practicing psychologist is the driving force in pursuing this degree as opposed to some other degree. To that end, the GW Psy.D. program’s requirement that students participate in the nonprofit mental health clinic that helps actual people with real-world psychological and emotional problems will be very attractive to most Psy.D. students. For those with the means to afford the program, and relocated to the D.C. area (if necessary), there’s no doubt this program can be just the start needed.

This Psy.D program made our Editors’ Choice Best Accredited Psy.D. Programs for 2020.

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