The Wright Institute Psy.D. Psychology Review

Psychology is among the most popular fields for those considering pursuing advanced education. While most institutions that offer doctoral degrees in psychology are traditional colleges and universities, for students who seek a more focused experience, The Wright Institute’s sole academic thrust — psychology — will appeal to many prospective students.

What should students know about the APA-accredited Psy.D. offered at Wright and what factors might play into their decisions?

About the Program

Before we dip into the benefits and drawbacks of the program, let’s learn more about the vital statistics of The Wright Institute’s Psy.D. degree program.


  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Main campus: Berkeley, California
  • Accreditation: APA
  • First year of program: 1998

Tuition and fees

  • Full-time, in-state tuition: $37,650
  • Full-time, out-of-state tuition: $37,650
  • Per credit-hour tuition for part-time students: NA
  • Institution fees: $0

Student outcomes

  • Median years to completion: 5 (2009-2019)
  • Percentage completing in <5 years: 57% (2018-19)
  • Percentage completing in 7+ years: 7% (2018-19)
  • Degrees conferred, 2009-2019: 583
  • Percentage of students obtaining internships: 87% (2018-19)
  • Percentage of graduates earning professional licensure: 79% (2009-2019)

Degrees & requirements

  • Psy.D. degrees offered: Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology
  • Non-Psy.D. degrees offered: A. in Counseling
  • Program length: Three academic years, two dissertation/internship years


  • Application method: Online
  • Application fee: $50
  • Admission requirements: Resume; statement of purpose; essay; three letters of recommendation; bachelor’s degree (or pending degree); GPA of at least 3.0 bachelor’s, GPA of at least 3.4 master’s; GRE score; TOEFL score for non-native English speakers
  • Admissions office address: 2728 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
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Biggest Pros

What features and aspects of The Wright Institute’s Psy.D. program make it especially attractive for prospective students?

Dedicated program

The Wright Institute is unique in its singular focus: the study of psychology. With only two degree programs, one a Psy.D. and the other an M.A. in Counseling, The Wright Institute stands out because it does not have dozens of other academic programs that exist alongside the psychology department. That means all resources the institution commands go right back into training practitioners and students of psychology.

Clinical training

Beginning with their first year, Wright students are required to participate in hands-on practical work, and for many students, that means working in one of nearly a dozen clinics and community mental health centers the institution staffs and operates throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Depending on a student’s individual interests and aptitude, that could mean spending time working with children, adults or couples in a cognitive behavioral therapy clinic, or it could mean assisting individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Possible clinical placements the institution operates include:

  • Integrated Health Psychology Training Program (IHPTP)
  • Berkeley Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic
  • The Wright Institute Clinic
  • The Wright Institute Assessment Clinic
  • The Wright Institute Recovery Clinic (WIRC)
  • The Wright Institute School-Based Collaboration (SBC)
  • The Wright Institute Sanctuary Project (WISP)
  • The Counseling Program at Contra Costa High Schools
  • Chabot and Thornhill Elementary Schools

Academic focus areas

It’s not required, but students can expand upon the fixed Psy.D. curriculum by completing a focus area in one of four possible fields — psychodynamics, cognitive behavioral therapy, child assessment or neuropsychological assessment.

Biggest Cons

What factors might make a prospective Psy.D. student unsure about whether The Wright Institute is the best choice for them?

Rigid structure

The Wright Institute’s Psy.D. isn’t based on a credit structure in which students take core classes and then choose some electives that speak to their interests. Rather, coursework is offered within a fixed curriculum. Students who wish to add a focus area must add classes to that roster. While the training they’ll receive is superb, many students will find this method far too restrictive.

Only one degree available

Many schools that offer Psy.D. degrees have diversified their offerings over the years, including counseling, forensic, school or other types of Psy.D. degrees. The Wright Institute’s sole Psy.D. offering is in clinical psychology. While that is perhaps the most versatile Psy.D., the degree could limit professional opportunities for students who are most interested in other, emerging fields of psychology.


A single academic year at Wright will cost in the neighborhood of $40,000, and while this tuition level only lasts three years, by the time a student is ready to complete their internship and practicum, they will have already spent about $120,000. While this is comparable to other Psy.D. programs, it remains an enormous investment that many students won’t be able to handle.

The Bottom Line

How can you be sure The Wright Institute’s Psy.D. program is, well, right for you? Check out this chart to learn more.

Is The Wright Institute 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
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The Wright Institute’s Psy.D. is ideal for students who want a program that has the feel of a specialty institute because that’s exactly what Wright’s program is. A fixed curriculum and singular institutional focus means that students don’t wade through a sea of electives, and the many clinics and mental health facilities the organization staffs puts students into the real-world practice of psychology from Day One of the program.

Wright Institute’s Psy.D program made our Editors’ Choice Best Accredited Psy.D. Programs for 2020.

Learn more today.

Additional Resources