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Best Clinical Psychology Grad Programs in California

Finding the right online or on-campus clinical psychology program at the graduate level in California can feel overwhelming. This guide was designed to help you identify top quality programs, explore funding options, and better understand the various types of degrees available and what they’re for. Read on to learn more.

Author: Michael Hoffman
Editor: STEPS Staff

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This guide provides a comprehensive overview of graduate-level clinical psychology degree and certificate programs offered throughout California, whether you’re interested in conducting research in Los Angeles or working with clients in San Jose. You’ll find valuable information on the various types of degrees and certificates available at both public and private universities, along with our top school recommendations. In addition, you’ll gain insight into online clinical psychology programs, the significance of program accreditation, sources for funding your education, and much more. Read on to begin your journey towards obtaining a high-quality clinical psychology credential in California and embark on a fulfilling career in the realm of mental and behavioral health.

2024 Rankings: Best Clinical Psychology Programs in California

Here are three of the leading institutions in California that provide clinical psychology programs. Our choices are based on several vital program features, such as accreditation, affordability, comprehensive curriculum, flexible course options, and access to faculty and student support services. Understanding what the finest programs provide will help you identify a quality program. These highlights also provide a sneak peek of our upcoming complete rankings of California clinical psychology programs, so remember to revisit to learn more.


Alliant International University (AIU)

AIU is a private university with its main campus in San Diego and several satellite campuses throughout the state. AIU offers several options for students interested in clinical psychology, most notably two doctoral degree programs. The PhD in Clinical Psychology is designed for students seeking a career focused primarily on research or academics. The program is available on four California AIU campuses: Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. AIU’s PsyD in clinical psychology prepares graduates for careers in direct clinical practice. The PsyD program is available on five AIU campuses in the state: Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco. Each campus offers its own unique selection of emphasis areas within its PhD and PsyD programs that allow students to further tailor their studies to meet their own professional interests. All AIU clinical psychology programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association and prepare graduates for professional licensure in California and most other states.

Additional clinical psychology degrees in California include a postdoctoral MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology that qualifies licensed psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications in state and federal jurisdictions where they have prescriptive authority. AIU also offers a Doctoral Respecialization Certificate in Clinical Psychology for individuals with a doctorate in another area of psychology seeking to respecialize in clinical psychology and become license-eligible psychologists. Both the MS and certificate programs are available online.


California Lutheran University

Cal Lutheran offers two graduate clinical psychology programs in California, starting with its Master of Science of Clinical Psychology. The MS program emphasizes practical research and clinical skills to prepare graduates for direct employment related to program evaluation or measurement of clinical outcomes in healthcare settings. This clinical psychology degree in California is also designed for students intending to continue their studies to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology or a closely related field. The 37- to 40-credit program is available on Cal Lutheran’s campuses in Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village. Both full