Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

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Updated May 6, 2024

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Licensed psychologists need a doctorate. Learn about the best psychology doctoral programs and how to get a doctorate in psychology.

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The best college for a doctorate in psychology depends on available program specializations, faculty expertise, and your learning preferences. According to the Center for Workforce Studies, universities conferred nearly 7,000 psychology doctorates in 2021. More than a third of those degrees were in the subfield of clinical psychology.

Explore this page to learn about doctorate in psychology schools and how to choose the right program for your academic and career goals.

Popular Online Psychology Doctoral Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Doctor of Psychology Programs

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

Brown University

  • Providence, RI
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Brown University's Ph.D. program in psychology emphasizes the multidisciplinary study of mind, brain, behavior, and language. The curriculum requires six workshops and a research project for first-year students, followed by a preliminary examination, dissertation proposal, and dissertation with a public oral defense. In addition to pursuing research with specific faculty mentors, Ph.D. students complete at least four semesters of teaching assistantships, exposing them to a variety of teaching experiences in introductory lectures, statistics, and lab courses.

The Ph.D. program guarantees five years of financial assistance, including a summer stipend for a fourth summer if the student continues to conduct research over that period.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$60,944
Out-of-state
$60,944
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$60,944
Out-of-state
$60,944
Retention Rate
98%
Acceptance Rate
6%
Students Enrolled
10,696
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

Cornell University

  • Ithaca, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Through a unique field of study structure, the psychology Ph.D. at Cornell University enables students to work independently with faculty members from disciplines across the university, including psychology, neurobiology and behavior, industrial and labor relations, and nutritional science. The graduate field of study in psychology offers three concentrations in behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; perception, cognition, and development; and social and personality psychology.

Admission to the Ph.D. program does not require an undergraduate psychology major or submission of GRE composite scores or GRE psychology subtest scores. However, the program gives preference to applicants who can demonstrate prior research experience and training.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$60,286
Out-of-state
$60,286
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$29,500
Out-of-state
$29,500
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
7%
Students Enrolled
25,893
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

Harvard University

  • Cambridge, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Long recognized among the best graduate psychology programs in the nation, Harvard's Ph.D. in psychology provides highly interdisciplinary training across four research areas: clinical science/experimental psychopathology; developmental psychology; social psychology; and cognition, brain, and behavior.

Although the admission process is selective, the department employs a holistic approach with a commitment to inclusion and diversity. Admissions considered an applicant's grades, GRE scores, and application essays. Applicants should demonstrate prior research experience and focused research interests that are compatible with department faculty.

The Ph.D. is a full-time, on-campus program that most students complete in 5-6 years. The department offers financial assistance through the sixth year.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$51,143
Out-of-state
$51,143
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$50,928
Out-of-state
$52,456
Retention Rate
98%
Acceptance Rate
3%
Students Enrolled
21,609
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

Stanford University

  • Stanford, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Dedicated to training competent researchers, Stanford University's Ph.D. in psychology prepares students to conduct research in at least one of five areas: affective, cognitive, development, neuroscience, or social psychology. 

The curriculum requires students to spend half their time on research, taking no more than 10 units of coursework each quarter. All graduate students work as teaching assistants, including two quarters teaching an introductory undergraduate psychology course or two quarters teaching a core statistics/methodology course. 

Although the holistic admissions approach considers several factors, such as GPA and statements of purpose, the program places considerable emphasis on research. Admitted students have typically completed independent research experience as undergraduates.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$55,473
Out-of-state
$55,473
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$54,315
Out-of-state
$54,315
Retention Rate
98%
Acceptance Rate
4%
Students Enrolled
17,680
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Anaheim

  • Anaheim, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Based on a practical, solutions-oriented approach, the Ph.D. in organizational leadership at The Chicago School in Anaheim integrates psychological and organizational leadership theories and research, preparing graduates for careers in nonprofit and for-profit settings. The curriculum incorporates an emphasis on working adults, covering topics in systems theory, leadership strategies and methodologies, and interpersonal dynamics. Most students complete the program in three years, either in person or online.

Online students complete two on-campus residencies. In the first year, the first residency provides the opportunity for students to meet with their cohort and faculty members. At the close of the second year, students participate in the second residency to complete the required competency exam.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$22,554
Out-of-state
$22,554
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
506
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

University of California-Berkeley

  • Berkeley, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

An international leader in psychological research since 1921, UC-Berkley continues this mission in its psychology Ph.D. program. This STEM-designated program covers six key specialization areas in behavioral and systems neuroscience, clinical science, cognition, cognitive neuroscience, developmental, and social-personality psychology. 

The program encourages applications from students who can demonstrate a strong background in research through coursework in statistics and research methods, special class projects, independent study, and work or volunteer experience in research settings. Once admitted, Ph.D. students receive 10 semesters of financial assistance through a combination of fellowships and graduate assistantships that provide a monthly stipend and cover tuition and registration fees.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,928
Out-of-state
$42,954
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,700
Out-of-state
$26,802
Retention Rate
96%
Acceptance Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
45,569
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
69% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

University of California-Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

As one of 18 doctoral programs in the biosciences, UCLA's psychology Ph.D. degree offers rigorous scientific training preparing graduates for careers in academic and applied settings. The full-time, on-campus program, which spans six years, provides students with the option to specialize in one of eight area emphases: behavioral neuroscience, clinical, cognitive, developmental, health psychology, learning and behavior, quantitative, and social psychology.

While admission to the program does not require an undergraduate or master's degree in psychology, applicants should have a strong foundation in the discipline, including statistics, research methods, and lab courses, as well as a solid background in mathematics, biology, and social sciences.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$26,544
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
46,116
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

University of California-San Diego

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Combining training in empirical psychology with interdisciplinary perspectives, the Ph.D. in psychology at UC-San Diego fosters collaborative research opportunities for students to work with faculty in the fields of human development, philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science, and neuroscience. The program provides advanced training in the subfields of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must demonstrate prior research experience and a background in statistics. After completing the first year of the program, students may apply for and receive a master's in psychology. All Ph.D. students receive full financial assistance, including all tuition and fees and at least $31,500 of additional support in the form of tuition assistantships.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,570
Out-of-state
$42,324
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,700
Out-of-state
$26,802
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
24%
Students Enrolled
41,048
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The collegial apprenticeship model used by the Ph.D. program at the University of Florida tailors coursework and faculty support to students' particular research interests. Beginning in the first year of study, students work closely with faculty members to conduct research and pursue courses in their specialization areas. The 90-credit curriculum offers four specializations: behavioral analysis, developmental, neurobehavioral and cognitive sciences, and social psychology.

Most first-year students receive teaching assistantships, a full tuition waiver, and an additional stipend. Students in good standing may renew these awards annually for up to five years. The program does not grant a terminal master's degree, but students admitted to the Ph.D. program with a bachelor's degree typically earn a master of science degree in psychology as they complete requirements for the doctorate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,477
Out-of-state
$25,694
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,770
Out-of-state
$27,335
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
30%
Students Enrolled
55,781
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Psychology Doctoral Degree Programs 2024

University of Virginia-Main Campus

  • Charlottesville, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Anchored in a strong commitment to basic and applied research and teaching, the UVA Ph.D. in psychology offers specializations in clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, quantitative and social psychology, and systems and behavioral neuroscience. While each specialization has distinct admission and degree requirements, they share common core coursework in probability and statistical inference, experimental design, scientific and professional ethics, and seminars on teaching psychology. An add-on concentration in quantitative psychology is available to students in other specializations. 

All students receive a financial aid package that includes tuition and fees, health insurance, and a stipend of $30,000, renewable over five years, contingent on satisfactory academic standing. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$16,547
Out-of-state
$50,518
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,674
Out-of-state
$29,606
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
21%
Students Enrolled
26,005
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Our Ranking Methodology

Psychology.org ranks education programs using data from reputable sources like the U.S. Department of Education. Our vetting process also includes a quality assurance team that assesses datasets for accuracy.

Psychology.org reserves the right to exclude schools without significant data from the rankings to ensure accurate calculations. This ranking is from 2023 [OR OTHER APPLICABLE YEAR]. For more about how Psychology.org evaluates and ranks education programs, read more about our full ranking methodology.

How to Choose a School for a Doctorate in Psychology Program

When narrowing down options for colleges with doctorates in psychology, consider factors like accreditation, faculty, research opportunities, and tuition. The following section explores these considerations in detail.

Program Accreditation

Accreditation indicates that a program has received regular evaluation for compliance with the Standards of Accreditation in Health Service Psychology and prepares graduates for practice, teaching, or research. The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs only. Employers may require or prefer attendance at APA-accredited doctorate in psychology schools. Similarly, your state's licensure board may require an APA-accredited doctoral degree.

More than 400 psychology doctoral programs in the U.S. hold APA accreditation. You might also come across Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System-accredited Ph.D. programs during your research.

Faculty and Research Opportunities

Prospective enrollees in Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs should confirm that their short-listed programs offer the concentrations, specialties, or training areas that align with their academic and professional goals. Admission to selective Ph.D. programs may consider applicants' research interests.

Other things to look for in psychology doctorate programs include faculty mentoring and career development opportunities in your area of interest, such as practicums, internships, assistantships, and conference presentations.

Tuition and Fees

Cost can be an important factor in deciding where to earn your psychology doctoral degree. Students should research their options and determine which programs offer the best value for the cost of attendance.

According to the 2020 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, annual tuition and fees for a doctorate in psychology program is $13,440 and jumps to $34,580 when including personal expenses.

According to 2024 EducationData.org research, nearly 30% of psychology doctoral students surveyed reduced their educational costs through teaching assistantships. Ph.D. programs are more likely than Psy.D. programs to offer full funding, which can include teaching and research assistantships and stipends. Other types of financial aid are available to both Ph.D. and Psy.D. students, as well.

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctoral Psychology Programs and Schools

How many years is a doctorate in psychology?

A doctorate in psychology typically takes 4-8 years to complete beyond a master's degree.

What can you do with a doctorate in psychology?

A doctorate in psychology prepares each student to conduct research, teach at the collegiate level, practice as a licensed psychologist, and consult for businesses or groups.

What's the difference between a Ph.D. and a Psy.D.?

Ph.D. programs train students for careers in research and academia, whereas a Psy.D. program aims to prepare students for applying practical skills within clinical settings.

Is a Ph.D. in psychology worth it?

Depending on personal goals, a Ph.D. in psychology can be well worth the time and dedication required to finish the coursework, practicum, or internship. Graduates of Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs in psychology report earnings of more than $92,000, according to Payscale data from May 2024. Note that the Ph.D. data reflects fewer than 50 respondents.

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