On this page
- Top-Ranked Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs for 2021
- What Are Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs Like?
- How Long Does It Take to Get an Online PhD in Clinical Psychology?
- What Are the Admissions Requirements for Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs?
- How Affordable Are Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs?
- How Should Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs Be Accredited?
- What Can You Do with a PhD in Clinical Psychology?
Back TO TOP
Guide to Clinical Psychology PhD Programs Online
Explore top accredited programs, see what earning your online clinical psychology PhD is really like, and get answers to your key questions.
Last Updated: 12/16/2020
If you want to work as a clinical, counseling, or research psychologist, you need a doctoral psychology degree. Pursuing an online clinical psychology PhD is a convenient way to get the clinical training and academic knowledge required to seek licensure and fill a variety of high-paying positions. Because clinical psychologists require such specialized training, earning your PhD puts you in an elite group of professionals. This guide gives details on everything you need to know about earning a clinical psychology PhD online, including information on top universities, available concentrations, job prospects, admission requirements, and average costs.
Top-Ranked Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs for 2021
Online clinical psychology PhD programs exist in many forms and offer various specializations. Understanding what each program provides is critical and includes considering factors such as accreditation, flexibility, student outcomes, and tuition cost. EduMed gathered data on top programs for 2021, two of which are highlighted below.
What Are Clinical Psychology PhD Programs Online Like?
Clinical psychology online PhD programs combine virtual learning with in-person internships and practicums to build needed skills. Most programs involve several years of online instruction before moving into the supervised experience component.
Programs differ, but topics include cognitive assessments, biological bases of behavior, and psychoanalytic theory and therapy. Learning outcomes include advanced psychological knowledge, critical reading of academic and research studies, evidence-based diagnosis and treatment, and research development and implementation. The following sections detail some of these components.
How Long Does It Take to Finish an Online PhD in Clinical Psychology?
Most PhD in clinical psychology online programs take five and six years to complete. You may be able to transfer previously completed doctoral coursework and graduate earlier. The timeline to earn an online PhD in clinical psychology can vary substantially from student to student and program to program. See below for one program example.
|Year 1, Fall Semester||Adult Psychopathology, Ethics and Legal Issues|
|Year 1, Spring Semester||Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, Diagnostic Interviewing|
|Year 2, Fall Semester||Objective Personality Assessment, Research Design. Defend master’s thesis proposal|
|Year 2, Spring Semester||Behavioral Assessment, Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior. Complete master’s thesis, take comprehensive exams|
|Year 3, Fall Semester||Psychopharmacology, Theories of Measurement. Practicum|
|Year 3, Spring Semester||Consultation and Supervision, Social Aspects of Behavior. Practicum|
|Year 4, Fall Semester||Practicum, Defend dissertation proposal|
|Year 4, Spring Semester||Advanced Professional Development. Apply for internships|
|Year 5, Fall/Spring Semesters||Dissertation defense. Start one-year APA-accredited internship|
What Are the Admissions Requirements for Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs?
Admission requirements for clinical psychology online PhD programs are extensive and competitive since most colleges accept only a few students each year. Some programs are more competitive than others, but all set strict requirements around minimum GPA, GRE scores, and other metrics for comparing applicants.
Each school sets its own requirements. Some require GRE scores, while others don’t. Some look for students with existing psychology coursework and/or work experience, while others welcome students of varied academic and professional backgrounds. Read admission requirements for every school carefully. To begin your analysis, consider the following general requirements.
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school (some require a master’s degree)
- Official transcripts
- Minimum GPA, typically 3.0-3.5
- Prerequisites in psychology and statistics courses
- GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Statement of intent
- Writing sample
- TOEFL or IELTS scores if an international student
How Affordable Are Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs?
Pursuing an online PhD in clinical psychology requires significant time and money. Costs vary substantially based on whether you attend a public or private college, if you can get in-state tuition, and how much funding you secure. Before applying, look closely at the costs involved and funding available. Tuition rates from three colleges are highlighted below to provide a general sense of cost.
|School Name||No. of Credits||Cost/Credit||Total Cost|
|Saybrook University||108 credits||$1,275 per credit||$137,700|
|Fielding University||179 credits||$9,700 per term||$97,000|
|Nova Southeastern University||118 credits||$1,160 per credit||$136,880|
How Should Online Clinical Psychology PhD Programs Be Accredited?
Ensure your online clinical psychology PhD program holds accreditation. Failing to do so can lead to issues getting licensure, either institutional or programmatic, and competing for jobs.
Look for regionally accredited schools rather than national ones, as the former is more rigorous. Most four-year nonprofit schools hold regional accreditation. With programmatic accreditation, check for programs approved by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA acts as a leader in the field and signals completion of a well-rounded program.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Clinical Psychology?
Earning a PhD in clinical psychology qualifies you for fascinating and fulfilling work after graduating. Some positions require licensure; others do not. As you review some options below, consider how they fit into personal and professional goals, such as if you want to work in academia or a clinical setting.
- Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists are the profession many traditionally think of when they consider this degree. These professionals work with clients to provide assessments, diagnose, and create treatment plans that address mental and emotional disorders. They can prescribe medications and may work with clients short- or long-term. Earned median wages was $78,200 in 2019.
- Postsecondary Psychology Teacher
If you want to educate the next generation of psychologists, this role is for you. Psychology faculty work at colleges and universities teaching psychological principles, counseling techniques, research methods, and specialized topics within the discipline. Earned median wage was $76,620 in 2019.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
IO psychologists work both for individual companies and as consultants for a portfolio of clients to improve productivity, identify areas of conflict between employers and employees, enhance employee satisfaction, and develop better training and development programming. Earned median wages was $92,880 in 2019.
- Clinical Research Coordinator
These professionals oversee lab research activities. They ensure compliance with all regulatory and ethical requirements, set clinical and research objectives, manage the various studies taking place, set and manage budgets, and manage support staff. Earned median wage was $129,100 in 2019.
- Clinical Neuropsychologist
Working with patients dealing with neurobehavioral problems, clinical neuropsychologists assess and diagnose issues such as neurodegenerative disorders, seizure disorders, learning disabilities, and traumatic brain issues. They may provide therapy and/or medication or recommend a patient for surgery. Earned median wages was $101,790 in 2019.