How Long Does It Take To Get a PhD in Psychology?

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

Key Takeaways

  • It typically takes between four to seven years for full time students to get a PhD degree in psychology.
  • It takes part-time students five to seven years to complete a PhD program in psychology.
  • The length of a PhD program varies based on program prerequisites, the type of degree, and whether you attend part or full-time or online or on-campus.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 1.2% of the population have doctoral degrees. The reason? The daunting length of a PhD degree. However, that does not have to be the case for everyone. A PhD in psychology typically depends on the student’s program, education, and schedule. Knowing more about the process can help you plan your studies and career.

A PhD in psychology can brighten your career prospects and direct you toward higher-paying and rewarding career opportunities. To help you get there, we have done research on how long it takes to get a PhD in psychology.

Pyschology books section on a bookstore shelf

How long does it take to get a PhD in psychology?

The time it takes to get a doctorate in psychology varies. It depends on factors like the degree type, your education, and your specific program. Typically, these programs last between four to seven years. Let’s explore how long your PhD degree will take according to your degree type.

PhD in Psychology

PhD programs usually take five to seven years  to finish. They often combine research and clinical training, following a scientist-practitioner model.

Moreover, you might need to do an internship or supervised residency alongside classes. The program typically ends with a big research project or dissertation.

PsyD Degree

PsyD programs generally take four to six years to finish. They aim to teach professionals how to use psychological knowledge to help treat people in real-life situations.

According to the American Psychological Association, PsyD programs focus more on applying psychological science through services.

EdD programs typically span three to five years, focusing on psychology, counseling, or counselor education. They integrate education and psychology themes.

Unlike PhD and PsyD applicants, who often start with a bachelor’s degree, many EdD candidates already possess a related psychology master’s degree . This distinction underscores the varied entry points into doctoral studies. Moreover, it reflects the specialized nature of EdD programs in preparing professionals for roles in education and psychology.

What is the duration of a PhD in psychology for part-time students?

You can earn a PhD in psychology while being a part-time student, says the  American Psychology Association . Both full and part-time students have the same program requirements, part-time students might take five to seven years to finish.

Not all schools accept part-time students, so check with your chosen schools first. Doing the required internship might be tough for part-time students. Part-time internships are less available compared to full-time ones.

The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers offers hundreds of internships, only 17 are for part-time students.

Woman biting her pencil while staring at her laptop screen

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a PhD Program in Psychology

It’s always good to ensure you don’t sign up for a degree that takes longer than you thought. So, before picking a PhD program in Psychology, consider a few things related to how long it takes, such as:

  • Program Rules:  Check what each program needs—like classes, research, and your dissertation. This helps you understand how much time you’ll spend.
  • Program Setup:  See if the program is flexible with class schedules and research options that fit what you want to do.
  • Teacher Support:  Look into how much help teachers give. Their guidance can make a big difference in how quickly you finish.
  • Money Help:  Check if there are ways to get money, like scholarships or assistant jobs. This can ease financial stress and let you focus on studying.
  • Research Focus:  Think about what the program likes to study. This can affect how long your degree takes.
  • Internship Needs:  Check if the program needs you to do internships. This might change how long you’re in school.
  • Success Rates:  Find out how many students finish the program and how long it takes. It gives you an idea of how long you might take.

Which Type of Degree Should You Get?

A doctorate is required to work in certain fields, like licensed clinical or counseling psychology . The American Psychological Association says you often need a doctorate for school psychology or health psychology, too.

While the PhD, PsyD, and EdD are good choices, don’t focus solely on how long they take to finish. Before committing to a doctorate, consider which degree aligns best with your career goals.

Here are some degrees and their objectives to help you understand which program best fits your career preferences.

Conducting Research

A PhD in Psychology is focused on a research-based education model. So, anyone with a PhD in Psychology offers many career choices. For instance, you can go for research, academia, and clinical positions in colleges, government offices, hospitals, and private mental health clinics.

Treating Mental Health Issues

The general focus of a PsyD degree is on a practitioner-based education model. So, individuals who earn a PsyD degree have the choice to teach or conduct research in psychology. Their main job is to offer direct mental health care in applied settings.

Applying Psychology to Help Students

Finally, you can consider a third doctorate option, the EdD or Doctor of Education. This degree is ideal for those interested in school psychology or related educational psychology fields .

Despite the time commitment, obtaining a PhD, PsyD, or EdD can be highly rewarding. According to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , individuals with a doctoral or education specialist degree in clinical, counseling, and school psychology will have the most solid job opportunities.

Woman wearing graduation robes and cap while showing off her red diploma

Can you finish your degree early?

Generally, if your background in psychology is strong and you have finished all of the required prerequisites, you might complete your doctorate sooner. You will be ahead of those who haven’t taken those prerequisite courses.

Planning your degree well also helps you finish the program quickly. So, ensure you have a clear plan for what you want to do with your psychology degree after you’re done. You can teach, research, work with clients, or combine psychology with law or medicine.

If you’re unsure, talk to an advisor at your school. They can guide you, answer your questions, and help you decide what’s best for you.

Student Submitted Questions About PhD’s in Psychology

How hard is it to get a phd in psychology.

Obtaining an accelerated PhD in psychology  demands significant dedication and effort. Graduate students must tackle coursework, pass exams, undergo extensive internships, and conduct experimental dissertation studies. The process entails substantial commitment and perseverance, emphasizing the rigorous nature of doctoral studies in psychology.

Do you need a master’s to get a PhD in psychology?

No, a Master’s degree is not typically required to obtain a PhD in Psychology. Instead, you can apply to universities offering doctoral programs after completing a psychology bachelor’s degree . There are different types of postgraduate degrees in Psychology, such as PhD, PsyD, and EdD, each with its focus and requirements.

How much does a psychologist make?

PhD holders in Psychology can pursue diverse careers in schools, hospitals, and mental health facilities. Examples include Psychologist ($85,330), Counseling and School Psychologist ($ 81,500), and Psychology Professor ($78,810).

Earning a PhD in psychology involves years of study, typically taking three to seven years. If you’re considering a career as a psychologist, research the different program options and the time it takes to complete them.

Regardless of your choice, be prepared for a significant commitment to graduate school to complete your doctorate.

graduate students walking

PhD Admissions

The PhD program in Psychology trains students for careers in research and teaching. In addition to a wide range of courses, the PhD program is characterized by close collaboration between students and their faculty advisors. 

General Information

The Department of Psychology holistically reviews each candidate's complete application to assess the promise of a career in teaching and research. Consideration is based on various factors, including courses taken, grade point average, letters of recommendation, and the statement of purpose. Additionally, the Department of Psychology places considerable emphasis on research training, and admitted students have often been involved in independent research as undergraduate students or post-baccalaureate settings. Although there are no course requirements for admission, all applicants should have sufficient foundational knowledge and research experience to engage in graduate-level coursework and research.

We accept students with undergraduate degrees and those with both undergraduate and master's degrees. An undergraduate psychology major is not required; the Department welcomes applicants from other academic backgrounds.

Our application portal is now closed for the AY24-25 admissions cycle.  Please consider applying during next year's AY25-26 admissions cycle, which opens on September 15, 2024.

How to Apply

Application and deadline.

Our 2025-26 Admissions application will open on September 15, 2024.

Applications will be due on November 30, 2024

The deadline for letters of recommendation will be  November 30, 2024 . 

Once an applicant submits the recommenders' information, the recommenders will receive an automated email with instructions for submitting the letter. Late letters should be sent directly to psych-admissions [at] stanford.edu (psych-admissions[at]stanford[dot]edu) . Staff will add them to the application file if the review process is still underway. Still, the faculty reviewers are not obligated to re-review files for materials submitted after the deadline.

The status of submitted applications can be viewed by logging in to the   application portal . 

The deadline to apply for the Stanford Psychology Ph.D. program is  November 30, 2024 . 

Applicants who are admitted to the program will matriculate in autumn 2025. 

In addition to the information below, please review the  Graduate Admissions  website prior to starting your application. The Department of Psychology does not have rolling admissions. We admit for the Autumn term only.

Requirements

  • U.S. Bachelor's degree or its  foreign equivalent
  • Statement of Purpose (submitted electronically as part of the graduate application). You will be able to specify three  Psychology Department faculty members , in order of preference, with whom you would like to work. 
  • Three  Letters of Recommendation  (submitted electronically). A maximum of six letters will be accepted.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all universities and colleges you have attended for at least one year must be uploaded to the graduate application. Applicants who reach the interview stage will be asked to provide official transcripts as well; Department staff will reach out to these applicants with instructions for submitting official transcripts. Please do  not  submit official transcripts with your initial application.
  • Required for non-native English speakers: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores, submitted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) electronically to Stanford. 

Application Fee

The fee to apply for graduate study at Stanford is $125. Fee waivers are available for some applicants. Please visit Graduate Admissions for information on applying for an  Application Fee Waiver .

Application Review & Status Check

The Department of Psychology welcomes graduate applications from individuals with a broad range of life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds who would contribute to our community of scholars. The review of applications is holistic and individualized, considering each applicant’s academic record and accomplishments, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays to understand how an applicant’s life experiences have shaped their past and potential contributions to their field.

To check the status or activity of your application, please log into your  application account . You can also send reminders to recommenders who have not yet submitted their letter of recommendation.

Due to limited bandwidth, the Department of Psychology staff will not answer any phone or email queries about application status, including requests to confirm the receipt of official transcripts.

Our faculty will interview prospective students before making final admission decisions. Candidates who progress to the interview round will be informed in January. Interviews are generally conducted in February.

The Department of Psychology recognizes that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June 2023 about the consideration of certain types of demographic information as part of an admission review. All applications submitted during upcoming application cycles will be reviewed in conformance with that decision.

  • Diversity and Engagement in Psychology PhD Programs 
  • Vice Provost for Graduate Education
  • Stanford IDEAL
  • Graduate Application Fee Waiver Information

For More Information

Please see our  list of Frequently Asked Questions  and  psych-admissions [at] stanford.edu (contact us)  should you have additional questions.

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How Long Does it Take to Get a Ph.D. in Psychology?

An interest in helping people can lead many students to seek a career in psychology. But, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some psychological careers require the investment in graduate degrees, such as a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). Undergraduates majoring in psychology need to consider how they wish to pursue their career in psychology. Going into graduate school is highly competitive; the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states that psychology was the sixth most popular doctoral degree program in the country as of the 2009-2010 academic year. Knowing how long, and if one needs a doctorate for a particular niche in psychology is important to know while in undergraduate.

Different Graduate Degrees

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest graduate-level degrees in psychology are a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D). A Ph.D. in Psychology is a research-intensive graduate program.

Most Ph.D. programs last about four to six years. The first few semesters in a Ph.D. program are filled with seminar and research classes. Those classes help a graduate student learn the general field of psychology in small classrooms where communication with fellow students and a professor is crucial. The research classes help train the student on how they must conduct proper research in the field of psychology. The rest of a psychology Ph.D. program is based around research for a dissertation. A dissertation is an original study that a student conducts, writes, and presents and defends in front of faculty. Successfully completing a dissertation earns the student a Ph.D.

A Psy.D., according to the BLS, is similar to a Ph.D., only instead of a dissertation, the student must display their clinical work and examinations as proof of their expertise.

Who Needs Doctoral Degrees?

The BLS states that for psychology careers rooted in research or in the fields of counseling or clinical psychology, a doctorate or Psy.D. degree is needed. Entire psychological graduate programs are often centered on clinical or counseling psychology. In other departments, clinical or counseling psychology may be a concentration, alongside other concentrations like adolescent or developmental psychology. Research work is often found in academia where a graduate student can become a professor who teaches classes to undergraduates and graduates, as well as researches psychological trends.

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat psychological issues in patients and they may have in-depth knowledge on how the brain, nervous system, and the entire body is affected by psychological issues, like depression.

Counseling psychology is a field where the psychologist communicates with a patient about the patient’s emotional, mental, or behavioral problems and advises them on the best methods to help manage their psychological issues.

Benefits of the Ph.D.

Although it may take 4-6 years to complete, a Ph.D. in Psychology or a Psy.D. can help a student become a top researcher in academic psychology or with private firms that hire researchers. In addition, if the student wants to help patients medically or therapeutically with their mental issues, a Ph.D. or Psy.D. is the necessary degree required. It many consume time, but a doctorate degree is worth it if one wants to help people or learn new ways to help people.

Additional Resource: Graduate School Planning and Information

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Psychology?

How long does it take to get a Doctorate in Psychology? That depends on whether you’re looking to earn a PhD or PsyD and whether you want to go full-time or not.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Psychology

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The major differences in time to completion will be whether you’re going part-time or full-time and whether you need to write a dissertation or not.

What Education is Needed to Become a Psychologist?

psychologist listening to a patient during therapy session

Psychologists work closely with individuals to teach them coping skills and provide necessary training to work through mental health issues and other related problems. They often evaluate patients and complete a variety of assessments to give a clear picture of:

  • Cognitive Ability
  • Intellectual Ability
  • Vocational Ability

They are also called upon to diagnose mental health problems. According to Psychology Today , it takes anywhere from four to seven years to complete your Doctorate in Psychology. The time required to complete a traditional or online degree in psychology depends on the educational route you take.

The US Department of Labor Statistics suggests you pursue a doctorate education if you are interested in becoming a psychologist. They go on to explain that you can enter the field with a master’s degree, but to get licensed, you must earn a doctorate. A PhD in this field will usually take longer to complete than a PsyD.

Do You Need a Masters to Get a PhD in Psychology?

Get a PhD in Psychology

There is more than one route to gaining your PhD in Psychology. The typical path does not include a master’s degree.

When you decide that psychology is your field of choice, you can begin applying to universities who offer doctorates in psychology after you have achieved the bachelor’s degree level. A number of universities offer accelerated psychology degree online programs.

If you do decide you want a master’s degree before moving to the next level, make sure the school you enroll also offers the doctorate that you desire. Many schools do not allow you to transfer credits from a mater’s degree from a different school to their doctorate’s degree program.

PhD in Psychology students studying together

  • A Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, is a degree that is a degree focused on original research . This degree requires you to take an exam to show you have the skills needed to be effective in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this degree program calls for courses on statistics and experimental procedures.
  • A Doctor of Psychology , or PsyD, is a degree fit for those looking to provide services for people who have psychological needs. Participants in this degree may not prefer the research and teaching path.
  • A Doctor of Education or EdD is a degree in education, but it is closely related to the psychology field . Many schools of psychology degrees in the same area as education. With the right qualifications, you can use this degree to allow you to go into the counseling field.
  • An Education Specialist Degree, or the EdS, is an opportunity to advance your learning to a higher level without having the time and cost investment needed for the other degrees. This degree can open doors to careers in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and school psychology.

PhD in Psychology students attending a class in university

Each of these degrees can lead to a lucrative career as a psychologist if you are willing to put in the time and effort it will take.

There is a significant difference between the PsyD and the Ph.D. The Ph.D. requires you to complete a well-researched dissertation and complete a comprehensive exam. This degree is based more on research than clinical areas and can take five to seven years to complete.

The PsyD usually takes four to six years to finish but does not require a dissertation . This degree is more clinical.

Example of PhD Program at Brown University

PhD Program at Brown University

Brown University has four primary requirements that you must meet before to complete the PhD process.

  • You must apply and receive acceptance into the program. Before you apply, make sure you have all the qualifications to be eligible for approval.
  • Most people can expect to spend about three full-time years on the academics needed to complete the program. If you have a master’s degree from Brown University, then two full-time years of academics will be required for the doctorate. Brown does not always accept master’s degree credits earned from another school.
  • After completing the required course work, students at Brown will advance to candidacy to assess if the student can begin the dissertation process. Brown will expect candidates to pass a final assessment in their field of study before being approved to move forward.
  • The last step is writing an original research paper that relates to your field of study. Dissertations can take students one to five years to write. After the dissertation is complete, you can submit it for approval by the Graduate Council.

A PhD can be obtained in any field of study and can help students excel in the career of their choice. All information above comes from Brown University.

Example of PsyD from the University of Colorado Denver

PsyD from the University of Colorado Denver

A PsyD program from The University of Colorado Denver helps students meet the standards needed to complete the State Licenses Exam to become state Board Psychologists. To achieve this degree, you must meet the following requirements:

  • 75 credit hours of coursework
  • Seven credit hours of practice in working in this field
  • Six credit hours of training in a workplace environment
  • Eight credit hours of internship
  • Four capstone project hours

Finally, you will need to pass the School Psychology Praxis exam and a written, comprehensive examination before your program is complete. This information is from the University of Colorado Denver.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology?

psychology student studying in a library

A PhD in psychology is one of the most popular postgraduate degrees. Students who are interested in this field should choose one of the graduate programs in psychology with no GRE requirement .

It generally takes four to six years , after gaining your bachelor’s degree, to complete.

The dissertation is part of the degree process that can take the most time for many students.

How Many Years Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology if You Go Part-Time?

PhD in Psychology students in class

According to the American Psychology Association , you can earn a PhD in Psychology, even if you need to be a part-time student. The requirements of the program are the same for both full and part-time students, but part-time students may have five to seven years to complete the program.

All schools do not allow part-time students in doctorate programs, so be sure to talk with schools you are interested in before you enroll. The required internship for a PhD is one of the difficulties that a part-time student could face. The availability of a part-time internship is not as high as the demand.

The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers have hundreds of internships but only 17 part-time placements .

How Much Does a Psychologist Make?

Psychologist Careers and Salary

There are many types of careers available for those who have a PhD in Psychology. You can find work in places such as schools, hospitals, and Mental Health Facilities.

See the table below for some examples of careers and salary expectations for someone with a PhD in Psychology.

These careers are only a small example of the many occupations offered in this field. All information in this table comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics .

How Long Does It Take to Earn a PhD in Psychology?

PhD in Psychology students studying in library

Gaining a PhD in Psychology can take a full-time student 4-6 years to complete the program. If you go to school part-time, you can complete the program in 5-7 years.

The length to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology or any other specialization is typically four years and is a requirement in order to be considered for a PhD program.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctoral Degree?

The process for most doctoral degrees in any field is very similar. You should complete all academic course work for your area of study and a dissertation.

The process usually takes 4-6 years to complete, but it will depend on your specific program and personal situation.

Accreditation for an Online Psychology Doctorate Degree

Accreditation for an Online Psychology Doctorate Degree

College accreditation is essential to consider when choosing the program best for you. Being accredited shows a school’s doctoral, internship, or postdoctoral residency programs that can provide a high standard of education values.

There are several regional accreditations available for an entire school as well as programmatic accreditation for a Psychology programs. The most well-known programmatic accreditor is the American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association building

When you graduate from an APA accredited school , you should have the skills you need for a career in psychology. You should learn to provide evidence-based clinical service that can help you to better serve in your community with mental health-related issues and much more.

Many facilities in the US required potential applicants to have a degree from an APA accredited program.

Regional Accreditation

Each of the 6 regional bodies accredits schools by reviewing quality assurance and institutional improvement.

They will require the schools to do self-studies and then complete comprehensive evaluations and close monitoring to help the school keep high standards and expectations.

Financial Aid for a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Financial Aid for a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Federal financial aid can provide grants and low-interest loans. Many graduate and postsecondary schools offer scholarships and grants for all levels of education. Eligibility will depend on a student’s financial need, accomplishments, community service. Often, new students are given priority for scholarship opportunities.

There are many other ways to help fund your education. You must be willing to apply and provide all the necessary paperwork to qualify for aid. Here are some places to look to help get assistance in paying for your Doctoral Degree in Psychology.

  • The National Science Foundation
  • The American Psychological Association
  • The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
  • The American Psychological Foundation
  • The International Honor Society for Psychology, Psi Chi

There are often other types of financial aid. You should talk to your school, community agencies, and your current employer to find out more.

Is a PhD in Psychology Worth It? What About a PsyD?

psychologist talking to a girl with her mother during therapy session

Yes, a PhD in Psychology can be worth it for many students. The same goes for a PsyD. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, life, physical, and social science jobs are set to grow at 5% over the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations. Common careers in this field include psychology professor, clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and developmental psychologist.

If you are interested in bettering your career in psychology, gaining more knowledge in your field of study, then a doctorate is worth your efforts. A PhD and a PsyD can help you to become an expert in your area.

Higher education can open many doors for you in your future endeavors and can help you started in the career you have been wanting.

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

Psychology Online Degrees

Psychology Online Degrees

Complete Guide to Earning a Doctorate in Psychology

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What is a Doctorate in Psychology?

Doctorate in Psychology

The vast majority of psychology professions that most students dream about as their career will require them to earn their full doctorate in psychology degree. This is the highest level of education that can be obtained in the field of psychology.

Becoming a doctor and having a doctorate degree will enable you to enter any job field you are qualified for. This type of degree is the only one that will enable you to open your own private practice and work on your own as you own boss as a professional psychologist and see your own patients and clients.

What Are the Different Types of Doctorate in Psychology Degrees?

Doctor of philosophy.

Psychology PhD programs are designed so that the main focus is pinpointed heavily on theoretical research. This provides the foundation for theories, research, development, and work in a wide range of fields. A PhD is a good option if you want to eventually practice professionally or if your goal is to teach and conduct research.

Doctor of Psychology

PsyD programs are practice-oriented. This means that their focus is not on research and theory like the PhD program. The focus instead is on real world cases and scenarios, much like what one would see in the counseling office, the work place, or out in the real world. The PsyD would be the best choice if you want to have your own practice and be in business for yourself.

Doctor of Education

EdD programs are quite similar to PhD programs with one major difference. These doctorate programs have an educational approach to all of the theories and they emphasize educational based and educational related research. The EdD is the best choice for someone who wants to work in a school as a psychologist or career counselor or in the field of educational policy development.

How long Will I Have to Study?

The length of time you will spend working on your doctorate in psychology degree is determined by a number of factors, and each one can greatly impact how long or short your study time will be for the doctorate. The type of degree you are pursuing, the work load you can carry each semester, your educational background, family situations, and the specific doctoral program that you are enrolled in all have an impact on how long it will take to earn your doctorate degree in psychology.

In most cases, you must complete 90 to 120 credit hours during your study in order to earn a psychology doctorate. Most take between 4 and 7 years to finish their doctorate degree. Remember that is this in addition to the years spent working on the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

What Types of Courses Will I Take to Earn My Doctorate Degree?

As you chase after your dream of a doctoral degree, you will be taking specialized courses in the area of concentration that you have chosen to follow. This could be behavioral psychology, research, abnormal psychology, or any other branch of psychological study. Even with this focus, most programs will require general classes in standard areas such as behavioral analysis, clinical practice techniques, statistics, and research design. Some, which will be based on the academic research you likely did for any thesis that your master’s degree required.

What Types of Jobs Can I Hope to Secure?

With a doctorate in psychology degree, virtually every job within the field of psychology is open to you. However, a doctorate in psychology does not mean you can only work in psychology based fields. The strong appeal of psychology degrees is that they lend themselves well to working within other fields of study. With this degree, you have a strong basis and understanding of how humans think, feel, and reason. This kind of knowledge can open the doors for rewarding careers in many areas, such as sales, human resources, customer service, market research, advertising, sales, or business management.

What Should I Consider When Deciding on a School?

No matter area you have chosen o focus on or what type of doctorate in psychology degree you are looking at earning, you must make sure that your school’s psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Many states will require your degree to be from an APA-accredited program if you want to earn a professional license, which is required to work as a psychologist in your own office. So making sure your school is APA certified and backed is one of the most important factors you need to keep in mind when determining what school you will go to for your doctorate.

What Are the Doctorate in Psychology Requirements for Admission?

Getting into a doctorate program is tough because space is usually very limited and it is very competitive. Check with the school you want to enroll in and see what their specific requirements are as far as what classes you need to have taken, GPA ranges, and other points that may impact your acceptance. Also look to see what they require in the admissions packet as many will require essays and letters of recommendation with your application.

Professional Licensing Doctorate in Psychology Degree

When studying psychology for a career, it is important to keep in mind that you will need to be licensed in order to open your own practice and have your own clients. Be sure to look and see what your state requires for licensing.

The criteria for licensure can change from year to year and from degree to degree so make sure you check several times to make sure you are on track throughout your degree. You can get in touch with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards or your state’s licensing board for the information you need about the requirements for licensing within your state.

There are no specific licensing requirements for a doctorate in psychology, but most states require psychologists to be licensed in order to practice. In order to be licensed, psychologists must have a doctorate in psychology, complete an internship, and pass the national examination for psychologists.

The professional development and continuing education requirements for psychologists vary by state. Some states require psychologists to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education every year, while others only require that psychologists complete a certain number of hours every few years. Some states also require that psychologists participate in professional development activities, such as attending conferences or taking courses, in order to maintain their licenses.

Doctorate in Psychology Salary

A doctorate in psychology salary can vary depending on many factors, such as geographic location, type of employer, and years of experience. However, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for psychologists is $75,230. This means that half of all psychologists earn more than this amount and half earn less. Salaries at the top of the range may be significantly higher than this amount, while those at the bottom may be lower.

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

Doctor of Psychology Programs

There are many different types of doctorate of psychology programs available. Some focus on research, while others focus on clinical practice. Some programs offer a combination of both. It is important to choose a program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in order to ensure that your degree will be recognized by employers.

Most doctorate in psychology programs take four to seven years to complete. The first two years are typically spent completing coursework, while the remaining years are spent completing a dissertation and conducting research. During your studies, you will take courses in psychological theory, research methods, and statistics. You will also have the opportunity to complete internships and practicums in order to gain real-world experience.

Doctorate in Psychology Jobs

There are many different types of doctorate in psychology jobs available. Some examples include working as a clinical psychologist, research psychologist, or teaching at a university.

Clinical psychologists work with patients to help them deal with mental and emotional disorders. Research psychologists conduct studies to learn more about the human mind and behavior. Teaching at a university allows you to share your knowledge with students who are interested in psychology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation is very important when choosing a psychology program. Make sure the program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA is the gold standard for accreditation in psychology. Other important things to look for in a psychology program are small class sizes, experienced faculty, and a curriculum that is focused on your interests.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether a PhD or a PsyD is better for you. If you are interested in research, then a PhD may be the better choice. If you want to work as a clinical psychologist, then a PsyD may be the better choice. Both degrees will take about four years to complete.

There are many online programs that offer a Ph.D. in psychology. However, not all of these programs are accredited. You will need to make sure that the program you choose is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Some schools that offer online Ph.D. programs in psychology are University of Phoenix, Capella University, and Walden University.

After completing a master’s degree in psychology, it typically takes around four to five years to earn a PhD. This time frame can vary depending on the individual’s research focus, the availability of funding, and other factors. Once earned, a PhD in psychology prepares you for many different career opportunities.

No, PsyD is not the same as MD. PsyD stands for Doctor of Psychology and MD stands for Doctor of Medicine. Both are doctoral degrees, but they are not the same degree.

There is no clear consensus on whether a PsyD is less respected than a PhD. Some experts believe that a PsyD carries more weight in the field of psychology, while others believe that a PhD is generally more respected in academia. Ultimately, the decision of which degree to pursue depends on the type of psychology career an individual want to pursue.

It is important to choose a therapist who is right for you and who you feel comfortable with. There are many different types of therapists with different educational backgrounds and experience. Some therapists have a PhD in psychology and some have a PsyD in clinical psychology. There are also many other types of therapists with different degrees and experience.

The most important thing is that you find a therapist who you feel comfortable talking to and who you feel is helpful. It does not necessarily matter if they have a PhD or PsyD, as long as they are able to help you with your specific needs.

It can be quite difficult to get into a psychology doctorate program as there are usually a limited number of places available. The competition for these places is often fierce and you will need to have excellent grades and a strong personal statement in order to stand out. However, if you are determined to pursue a career in psychology then it is definitely worth considering applying for a doctorate program.

There is no simple answer to the question of whether or not it is worth getting a PhD in Psychology. The field of psychology is vast and varied, and there are many different career paths that one could take with a PhD in Psychology. Some psychologists choose to work in research, while others may choose to work in clinical settings or in other areas such as education or business. There are many different factors to consider when making the decision to pursue a PhD in Psychology, and ultimately the decision comes down to what is best for the individual.

  • American Psychological Association  – For more information about careers in all fields of psychology.
  • Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards  – For more information about state licensing requirements.
  • American Board of Professional Psychology  – For more information about psychology specialty certifications.
  • List of Psychology Organizations – Find a comprehensive list of psychology organizations.
  • Graduate and Postgraduate Education
  • New Research From Psychological Science
  • Bureau of La b or Statistics
  • O*Net Online

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How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

Educational Requirements

Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate degree, degree requirements.

When considering a career in psychology, you will likely wonder how much time it will take to become licensed and what type of degrees you'll need to attain. The answer is not always so cut-and-dry. The amount of time it takes to complete your college education depends largely on your specialty area and career interests.

In most cases, becoming a licensed psychologist can take as little as eight years or as long as 12 years.

If you are considering a career in psychology, it is important to be aware of all of the educational and training requirements it takes to become a licensed psychologist. Take the time to research all of your options and carefully examine your goals before you decide if this is the right career for you.

At a minimum, you will want to earn your undergraduate  degree in psychology  or in a related field such as sociology, education, anthropology, or social work. Then, you will want to decide if you want to earn a doctorate-level degree.

The reason you should make a decision at this point is due to the fact that many programs do not offer a terminal master's degree in psychology. In such cases, you will enroll in a graduate program after earning your bachelor's degree and then spend four to seven years working on your doctorate.

To become a clinical psychologist, you will need an undergraduate degree (four to five years of college) plus a doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school). For this specialty area , most people will spend between eight to 12 years in higher education.

Of course, there are other career options in psychology that do not require as many years of college. For example, you could become a licensed marriage and family therapist  with a master's degree, which would require two to three years of graduate study.

If you decide not to pursue a doctorate at this point, you should start looking at different master's degree programs in psychology or in related fields such as counseling or social work.

You might want to begin by earning your undergraduate degree in psychology, but some people choose to pursue a degree in a related social science field. While it depends upon the requirements of the individual graduate school you attend, some programs also accept students who have undergraduate degrees in a subject unrelated to psychology or social science.

If you have a degree in a different field and want to become a psychologist, you may need to complete a number of prerequisites before you would be accepted into a graduate program.

A master’s degree can be a great way to delve deeper into a specific field of interest. However, a master’s degree is not always necessary. If you are interested in what is known as a terminal master’s degree in a field such as counseling, social work, or school psychology, you can often enter the workforce immediately after earning your degree.

In other cases, you might use your master’s degree as a stepping stone toward a doctorate, or you might choose to forgo a master’s program and go directly into a Ph.D . or Psy.D. program immediately after earning your bachelor’s degree. The path you take depends largely on your career goals as well as the graduate offerings at the school you choose to attend.

The length of your doctoral program depends on many factors, including the specialty area you are pursuing as well as whether or not you already earned a master’s degree. In order to become a licensed psychologist, you will need to earn either a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology).

As with your master's degree, the doctorate degree you pursue really depends on your career goals. If you are interested in a career in research, a Ph.D. might be the best choice. Ph.D. programs place greater emphasis on research, experimental methods, and training graduates to work as scientists.

If you are more interested in starting a private therapy practice, consider a Psy.D. The Psy.D. option tends to be more centered on professional practice and clinical work, preparing graduates to enter careers in mental health.

The American Psychological Association recommends that you enroll in an accredited program. Accreditation provides public notification that an institution or program meets certain standards of quality.

In addition to your doctorate, you will be required to complete a year-long postdoctoral training period before you can be fully licensed to practice in your state.  

Becoming a licensed psychologist working in the field of mental health is certainly not the only career option if you are interested in working in the field of psychology. Licensing requirements for psychologists vary by state and specialty. Careers in forensic or sports psychology, for example, have differing requirements.

Please note that these represent the minimum educational requirements in these fields. Job opportunities and pay are generally greater with advanced training. Learn about different degree options and requirements for various careers in psychology.

  • Social worker : Bachelor's degree (four to five years of undergraduate school)
  • Licensed counselor : Master's degree (two to three years of graduate school)
  • Sports psychologist : Master's degree (two to three years of graduate school)
  • Industrial-organizational psychologist : Master's degree (two to three years of graduate school)
  • School psychologist : Varies by state (generally two to three years of graduate school)
  • Forensic psychologist : Master's degree (two to three years of graduate school, ideally with a doctorate degree)
  • Criminal psychologist : Master's degree (two to three years of graduate school, ideally with a doctoral degree)
  • Clinical psychologist : Doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school)
  • Health psychologist : Doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school)
  • Social psychologist : Doctoral degree (five to seven years of graduate school)
  • Child psychologist : Doctoral degree (five to seven years of graduate school)

A Word From Verywell

Becoming a psychologist requires a substantial commitment of time, but this can be a rewarding and challenging career. Before you decide if becoming a psychologist is the right choice for you, consider your goals and resources as well as some of the potential alternatives. There are many different types of mental health professionals.

You might find that being a psychologist is the perfect choice for you, or you may find that an alternative career path is better suited to your needs. For example, you might also consider becoming a psychiatrist, counselor, physical therapist, or some other career centered on helping people. There are also a number of types of psychologists and each field has its own educational and training requirements.

American Psychological Association. Doctoral degrees in psychology: How are they different, or not so different?

American Psychological Association. Why APA accreditation matters .

American Psychological Association. Postdoctoral fellowships .

Dinos, S, & Tsakopoulou, M. Becoming a Psychologist: Is Psychology the Right Career for You? BPP Learning Media; 2012.

Kuther, TL. The Psychology Major's Handbook . Boston, MA: Cengage Learning; 2016.

U.S. Department of Labor. O*NET Online .

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Get Your Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology – Everything You Need to Know in 2024

What’s in this guide, at a glance, why get a phd in clinical psychology, entry requirements for a clinical psychology phd program, what’s covered in a clinical psychology phd program, how much does a phd in clinical psychology cost, program funding and financial support, program duration and flexibility, location and access to clinical populations, program curriculum and specializations, internship placement and post-graduation outcomes, what jobs can you do with a phd in clinical psychology, how much can you earn with a phd in clinical psychology.

By PsychologyJobs.com Staff Writer

A PhD in  clinical psychology  is an advanced academic degree that delves into the scientific study, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders and behavioral conditions. This rigorous program is designed to prepare graduates for careers in research, teaching, and direct clinical practice. Through the blend of coursework, research, and hands-on clinical training, students are equipped with comprehensive knowledge and skills necessary to become leaders in the field of psychology.

Typically, a PhD in clinical psychology takes between 4 to 7 years to complete, with the variation in duration often depending on the specific requirements of the program, the nature of the student’s research, and the requisite clinical training hours. Most programs include a combination of classroom-based learning, research projects culminating in a dissertation, and applied clinical experience through internships or  practicums .

The curriculum for a PhD in clinical psychology encompasses a wide range of topics. Core areas of study usually include foundations of clinical psychology, research methods, psychopathology, psychological assessment, and various psychotherapy and counseling techniques. Additionally, students often delve into specialized subjects such as  neuropsychology ,  forensic psychology ,  child psychology  and health psychology. This comprehensive training ensures that graduates are well-prepared to address diverse psychological needs across different populations and settings.

There are a multitude of reasons why students pursue a PhD in clinical psychology, here are a few key reasons to consider it:

Demand for Clinical Psychologists

The demand for  clinical psychologists  has been steadily rising, reflecting the growing awareness and acceptance of mental health services in the general population. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of 2019), the employment of psychologists is projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to the greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies. With a PhD in clinical psychology, individuals are well-equipped to meet this increasing demand, providing essential services and contributing to the overall well-being of the community.

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

Opportunity for Specialization and Higher Earnings

Pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology opens doors to various specializations, such as neuropsychology, child psychology, or forensic psychology. Specialized psychologists often have the potential for higher earnings compared to their generalist counterparts. For instance, according to a 2019 salary survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), doctoral-level clinical psychologists with a specialization (like neuropsychologists) reported median salaries that were approximately 40% higher than those without a specialization. A PhD program allows for deep dives into specific areas of interest, enhancing expertise and potentially boosting earning potential.

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

Leadership Opportunities and Policy Influence

One of the often-overlooked advantages of a PhD in clinical psychology is the doors it opens to leadership roles within organizations and the potential to influence public policy. The intensive training and deep expertise gained from such a doctoral program position graduates as thought leaders in the field of mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, psychologists with doctoral degrees often find themselves in positions where they can shape policy, both within healthcare institutions and at regional or national levels. Their informed perspectives are invaluable in advisory roles, committees, or when collaborating with governments to create mental health programs, ensuring that psychological services are both effective and accessible. A PhD not only amplifies their voice but also underscores the weight of their expertise in these pivotal roles.

how long does take to get a phd in psychology

  • Bachelor’s Degree : Typically in psychology or a related field, though some programs may accept applicants from other disciplines if they’ve completed prerequisite courses.
  • Master’s Degree : Some programs prefer or require a  master’s degree  in psychology or a related field, while others will accept students directly from a  bachelor’s program .
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) : Many programs have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0.
  • Letters of Recommendation : Typically from professors, researchers, or professionals familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or clinical work.
  • Background Check : Given the nature of clinical work, some programs might require a background check before final admission.

A PhD in clinical psychology is designed to train students in both the science and practice of psychology. The curriculum typically covers a wide array of topics to ensure that graduates are well-rounded and competent researchers, educators, and clinicians. Here’s an overview of the subjects often covered:

  • Foundations of Clinical Psychology : This introduces students to the history, theories, and key concepts of the field.
  • Research Methods and Statistics : Comprehensive training in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, along with advanced statistical techniques, ensuring students can design and analyze research effectively.
  • Psychopathology : Study of various psychological disorders, understanding their origins, classifications, and manifestations across the lifespan.
  • Psychological Assessment : Techniques and tools used for clinical assessments, including intelligence testing, personality assessment, and neuropsychological testing.
  • Psychotherapy and Intervention : Training in therapeutic modalities and techniques, from cognitive-behavioral therapy to psychodynamic approaches, ensuring students can provide evidence-based treatments.
  • Professional Ethics and Issues : Examination of the ethical guidelines and professional standards in the practice of clinical psychology.
  • Biological Bases of Behavior : Understanding the neurobiological and physiological processes underpinning behavior, emotion, and cognition.
  • Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior : Exploring how cognitive processes and emotions shape human behavior.
  • Social Bases of Behavior : Understanding social interactions, group dynamics, and broader societal and cultural factors that influence psychology.
  • Human Development : Insights into psychological development from infancy to old age.
  • Diversity and Multicultural Psychology : Training to ensure culturally competent care, addressing the unique psychological needs of diverse populations.

Here’s a sample curriculum for a PhD program in clinical psychology:

  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Theory and Practice
  • Research Methods in Psychology I
  • Psychological Statistics I
  • Clinical Practicum I
  • Psychopathology I
  • Psychological Assessment I: Cognitive and Intellectual Assessment
  • Research Methods in Psychology II
  • Psychological Statistics II
  • Clinical Practicum II

Second Year

  • Psychopathology II
  • Psychological Assessment II: Personality Assessment
  • Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Clinical Practicum III
  • Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Therapies
  • Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods
  • Professional Ethics in Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Practicum IV
  • Neuropsychological Assessment
  • Multicultural Psychology and Diversity Issues in Treatment
  • Social Bases of Behavior
  • Health Psychology
  • Clinical Practicum V
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
  • Advanced Clinical Seminar (e.g., trauma therapy or substance abuse treatment)
  • Supervision and Consultation in Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Practicum VI

Fourth Year

  • Family and Couples Therapy
  • Advanced Research Seminar I
  • Clinical Psychopharmacology (for some programs)
  • Elective Course (e.g., School Psychology, Military Psychology, etc.)
  • Dissertation Proposal Development
  • Advanced Research Seminar II
  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Elective Course (e.g., Geriatric Psychology, Positive Psychology, etc.)
  • Dissertation Research
  • Predoctoral Internship (typically a full-year, full-time commitment)
  • Dissertation Completion and Defense

The cost of pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology varies significantly based on the type of institution and residency status.

Generally, private universities tend to have higher tuition rates, ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. Public universities, on the other hand, offer different rates for in-state and out-of-state residents; in-state tuition can range between $10,000 to $30,000 per year, while out-of-state students might pay between $25,000 to $50,000 annually. These figures don’t account for other costs like fees, books, and living expenses.

It’s worth noting that many Clinical Psychology PhD programs provide financial support, often in the form of fellowships, research, or teaching assistantships, which can cover tuition and offer stipends.

What to look for in a PhD program

It can be overwhelming with so many PhD programs out there and so many factors to consider. Choosing a program in clinical psychology is a significant decision that will impact the trajectory of your career. Here are a few key ways to compare programs/institutions:

Fully funded programs, which include tuition waivers and stipends, can drastically reduce student debt and allow students to focus on their studies.The National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates found that over 75% of research doctorate recipients in psychology reported no education-related debt, largely due to funding availability in their programs.

The length of a program and its ability to accommodate part-time students or offer flexible schedules can be vital, especially for those balancing work, family, or other commitments.

According to the APA, the median time to complete a doctorate in psychology has been around 7 years. However, some programs, especially those designed for working professionals, might offer accelerated tracks or part-time options, which can affect this duration.

Being in a location that provides access to diverse clinical populations or specific groups that align with a student’s research interests can be invaluable for hands-on training and research.

A report from the APA emphasized the importance of diversity in clinical training. Programs located in urban settings or areas with diverse communities can offer broader exposure and experience in multicultural clinical practice, which is essential for a comprehensive education in clinical psychology.

The curriculum and available specializations should align with a student’s career and research interests.

In a survey by the APA, PhD recipients emphasized the importance of finding a program that matched their specific interests, as this played a crucial role in their eventual job satisfaction and career trajectory.

High-quality internship placements and positive post-graduation outcomes can significantly influence a graduate’s early career.

The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) provides data on internship match rates. Programs with high match rates to APA-accredited internships often signal strong training and preparation.

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist : This is perhaps the most direct application of the degree. Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They might work with specific populations, such as children, the elderly, or individuals with severe mental illness.
  • Licensed professional counselor : an LPC is a mental health professional trained to provide therapy and counseling services to individuals, couples, and groups for a variety of emotional and psychological challenges.
  • Mental Health Counselor :  provide counseling and therapy services to individuals and groups with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.
  • School Psychologist :  work in K-12 schools to provide counseling and support services to students, including academic guidance, behavioral interventions, and emotional support.
  • Professor : A PhD graduate can work in academia, conducting research on various psychological topics and teaching undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Forensic Psychologist : Working at the intersection of psychology and the legal system, forensic psychologists might assess defendants’ competency, provide expert testimony, or evaluate the risk of reoffending. Although you might instead consider a  PhD in forensic psychology .
  • Neuropsychologist:  diagnose and treat cognitive and behavioral disorders related to brain function, such as traumatic brain injury and dementia.
  • Health Psychologist : Focusing on how psychological factors affect health and illness, these professionals might work in hospitals, clinics, or public health settings to improve patient outcomes.
  • Director of Clinical Services : Those with a blend of clinical expertise and administrative skills might oversee clinical services at hospitals, clinics, or mental health centers
  • Research Psychologist :  conduct research on a variety of topics related to human behavior and mental health, including developmental psychology, social psychology, and cognitive psychology.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist : work with organizations to improve productivity and employee well-being through programs such as employee selection, training, and development.
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist : $91,677
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) : $65,000
  • Mental Health Counselor : $60,000
  • School Psychologist : $90,000
  • Professor (Psychology) : $80,370
  • Forensic Psychologist : $101,000
  • Neuropsychologist : $79,820
  • Health Psychologist: $100,000
  • Director of Clinical Services: $120,000
  • Research Psychologist : $79,000
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist : $112,690

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How long does it take to become a psychologist?

February 20, 2019

The Path to Becoming a Psychologist

The time it takes to become a psychologist depends largely on your specialty area, career interest, and previous level of education.

The  Bureau of Labor Statistics  describes the road that a future psychologist may travel.

Here’s our take on the possible path to becoming a psychologist:

Bachelor’s Degree (4-5 years, time may vary)

First, you will need a bachelor’s degree, either in  psychology  or another field of study. A bachelor’s degree is typically four years, however the time may vary depending on the individual and institution.

Applicants to doctoral programs in psychology often have a wide variety of backgrounds with degrees in fields as varied as social work, English, biology, and even IT. A bachelor’s in psychology, however, can provide you with a solid foundation in human learning, emotions, and behaviors.

After the bachelor’s degree, you will need a master’s degree.

FlexPath lets you finish the degree you started, with a bachelor’s in psychology in 16 months for $15,000.*

*Based on fastest 25 percent of students. Your program length and cost will vary by transfer credits, the per-session cost, and how quickly you complete courses. Books, supplies, and other fees apply.

Master’s Degree (up to 4 years, time may vary)

A  master’s degree  can typically be completed in two to three years, however the time can vary depending on numerous factors including program, previous credits, etc.

No matter your undergraduate specialty, pursuing a master’s degree will give you a broad introduction to the field of psychology. During your master’s studies, you’ll also have an opportunity to choose electives that focus on particular interests or subfields.

The type of doctoral degree you choose, clinical or research focused, will depend on your career goals.

With FlexPath, you can earn your master’s in psychology in 14 months for $14,000.*

Doctoral Degree (7-8 years, time may vary)

According to the  National Science Foundation , graduates typically earn their research psychology PhD degrees 7 to 8 years after starting their graduate program. Clinical psychology programs have different requirements and time to complete may vary.

Licensure requirements vary, but all states require that psychologists complete doctoral-level work in order to obtain a license for practice. You may choose to earn a  Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)  or  Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology,  depending on whether you want a career in practice (PsyD) or in research (PhD), or some combination of the two. The PsyD is a professional degree and focuses more on practice and clinical work. The PhD places more emphasis on experimental methods and research. For both PsyD and PhD degrees, employment settings to explore include   schools and colleges, health care systems, government, and social service agencies.

Explore Capella University’s doctoral degree programs in psychology.

Initial Work Experience

To be granted a license to practice psychology, most prospective psychologists must have pre-or post-doctoral supervised experience (typically 1-2 years of professional experience). The specific requirements, including the number of clinical hours varies by state.  Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists

This work is the final step in a long journey that can lead to a career as a licensed psychologist working with diverse populations in a variety of work settings.

Considering a career in psychology? Learn more about Capella’s bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree offerings in psychology.

Capella University psychology degrees are not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement.

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COMMENTS

  1. How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology?

    The answer can vary depending on your program, educational background, and academic schedule. In general, most PhD psychology programs take anywhere from five to seven years to complete. Learning more about what it takes to get a doctorate in psychology can help you better plan your educational and career journey.

  2. Getting a Ph.D. in Psychology

    In order to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, you need to first begin by earning your bachelor's degree. While earning your undergraduate degree in psychology can be helpful, students with bachelor's degrees in other subjects can also apply their knowledge to psychology Ph.D. programs. Some students in doctorate programs may have a master's degree in ...

  3. PhD Admission FAQ

    How long does it take to get a PhD in Psychology at Stanford? The PhD program is designed to be completed in five years of full-time study. Actual time will depend on students' prior background, progress, and research requirements. The minimum residency requirement for the PhD degree is 135 units of completed coursework and research units.

  4. Doctorate in Psychology (Ph.D. and Psy.D.) Program Guide

    September Payscale data for 2023 reports the average salary for graduates with a Psy.D. as $92,000. This is considerably higher than the 2023 national median salary of $48,060, and for many psychologists, the financial and emotional rewards justify the cost and time spent in a doctorate of psychology program.

  5. Doctorate in Psychology (Ph.D. and Psy.D.)

    On the other hand, clinical, counseling and school psychologists with PHDs tend to earn around $81,000 per year. The highest paying psychology careers can average up to $167,000, so studying a PHD in psychology will be worth it in the long run when it comes to career prospects.

  6. How Long Does It Take To Get a PhD in Psychology?

    It typically takes between four to seven years for full time students to get a PhD degree in psychology. It takes part-time students five to seven years to complete a PhD program in psychology. The length of a PhD program varies based on program prerequisites, the type of degree, and whether you attend part or full-time or online or on-campus.

  7. PhD Admissions

    The deadline to apply for the Stanford Psychology Ph.D. program is November 30, 2024 . Applicants who are admitted to the program will matriculate in autumn 2025. In addition to the information below, please review the Graduate Admissions website prior to starting your application. The Department of Psychology does not have rolling admissions.

  8. PDF What are the steps to a Clinical Psychology PhD?

    3 What you can do as an undergraduate to learn and prepare for a Clinical Psychology PhD: Guide by Year of College (assuming Years 1 - 4) Opening Note: While this guide is broken into Years 1-4, these tips apply more broadly to any college experience (including non-traditional paths).

  9. How Long Does it Take to Get a Ph.D. in Psychology?

    Although it may take 4-6 years to complete, a Ph.D. in Psychology or a Psy.D. can help a student become a top researcher in academic psychology or with private firms that hire researchers. In addition, if the student wants to help patients medically or therapeutically with their mental issues, a Ph.D. or Psy.D. is the necessary degree required.

  10. FAQ for Applicants

    Does the Psychology Department offer a master's degree? No, we do not offer a terminal master's degree in psychology, though students admitted to the PhD program can earn a master's along the way. How long does the program take? Some students find four years is sufficient to complete the program, although most take five and a few take six ...

  11. Best Clinical Psychology PhD Programs

    Psy.D.s generally take less time to complete than academia-focused Ph.D.s. How long does it take to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology? Ph.D. programs can take 5-8 years to finish, including residencies and dissertations, while Psy.D. students usually complete their coursework, internships, and a thesis in 4-6 years.

  12. How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Psychology?

    Gaining a PhD in Psychology can take a full-time student 4-6 years to complete the program. If you go to school part-time, you can complete the program in 5-7 years. The length to get a bachelor's degree in psychology or any other specialization is typically four years and is a requirement in order to be considered for a PhD program.

  13. How long does it take to earn a research doctorate in psychology?

    Graduates who earned psychology research doctorates in the 2013-14 academic year completed their degrees seven years after starting graduate school, on average, and 8.3 years after completing their bachelor's degrees. 1 That's a shorter time than many other disciplines. 2 Across all disciplines, graduates completed their doctorates 7.3 years after starting graduate school, and 8.8 years after ...

  14. Complete Guide to Earning a Doctorate in Psychology

    In most cases, you must complete 90 to 120 credit hours during your study in order to earn a psychology doctorate. Most take between 4 and 7 years to finish their doctorate degree. Remember that is this in addition to the years spent working on the Bachelor's and Master's degrees.

  15. Reasons to Earn a PhD in General Psychology?

    How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology? Your PhD in psychology can take between 4 and 8 years to complete, with about 4-6 years being the average. For APA accreditation, programs must provide at least 3 full-time academic years and a 1-year internship. The number of credits required for graduation varies significantly by program ...

  16. How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist?

    In most cases, becoming a licensed psychologist can take as little as eight years or as long as 12 years. If you are considering a career in psychology, it is important to be aware of all of the educational and training requirements it takes to become a licensed psychologist. Take the time to research all of your options and carefully examine ...

  17. How Long Does It Take To Get a PhD?

    A PhD program typically takes four to seven years, but a variety of factors can impact that timeline. A PhD, or doctorate degree, is the highest degree you can earn in certain disciplines, such as psychology, engineering, education, and mathematics. As a result, it often takes longer to earn than it does for a bachelor's or master's degree.

  18. Doctorate in Psychology (PhD, PsyD, EdD)

    How long does it take to get a PhD in Psychology? On average, it will take anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete a PhD in psychology. Following the completion of your degree, you may also be required to complete a 1- to 2-year supervised internship program to qualify for state licensing. Doctorate of Psychology - PsyD in Psychology

  19. Get Your Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

    A PhD in clinical psychology is a research-based doctoral degree that prepares students to conduct independent research, provide clinical services, and teach psychology. The program typically takes 5-7 years to complete and includes coursework in a variety of areas, such as theories of personality and psychopathology, assessment and diagnosis ...

  20. Guide to the PhD in Counseling Psychology

    For most schools, yes. Many PhD programs require the GRE and want to see either a minimum score or a score that falls in an upper percentile range. Top psychology grad schools report average scores of around 160 out of 170 on both the Verbal and Quantitative sections, and around a 5 out of 6 on Analytical Writing.

  21. PhD in Psychology

    Gain a deep understanding of the many facets of psychology and expand your opportunities in spaces where knowledge of how people think, learn and behave can make a difference. Earn a PhD in Psychology, General Psychology from Capella University. Whether you're looking to teach, lead, or consult, you'll have the flexibility to focus on ...

  22. How long does it take to become a psychologist?

    A bachelor's in psychology, however, can provide you with a solid foundation in human learning, emotions, and behaviors. After the bachelor's degree, you will need a master's degree. FlexPath lets you finish the degree you started, with a bachelor's in psychology in 16 months for $15,000.*. *Based on fastest 25 percent of students.

  23. Becoming a Doctor of Psychology: How Long Does It Take To Get a PsyD?

    Complete a PsyD program. A PsyD program typically takes 4 to 5 years to complete. It includes a combination of coursework, practical training, and, in some cases, the completion of a doctoral dissertation. The length may vary depending on the specific program and any potential time extensions for research or clinical training.

  24. How Long Does it Take to Get a Master's Degree?

    National University does not require master's program applicants to take either the GRE or GMAT, provided they have a GPA over 2.5. If you do have to take either of these tests, the good news is that you can take the GRE or GMAT at any time, scheduling them in advance with a local testing center. Request transcripts.

  25. Evaluating MCMC samplers

    The challenge here is that early iterations often take longer, especially when we're running Nuts from default starting points. So, if you run for a really long time, the time per effective sample size will do down. This maybe will be less of a problem going forward, if we're routinely using Pathfinder to get started.