Psychology (PsyD): Doctoral Degree

A Psy.D. program and a Ph.D. in psychology program have similar elements, but the emphasis of each program is different. Many accredited schools offer Psy.D. studies. Explore common coursework requirements for these programs and take a look at the job outlook for this field. Schools offering Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What's the Difference Between a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology and a Psy.D.?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the two programs can contain many of the same elements ( A rule of thumb difference between the two is that a program leading to a Ph.D. in Psychology emphasizes research, while a program leading to a Psy.D. emphasizes practice. In addition, while Ph.D. programs always contain a dissertation requirement, such is not the case with all Psy.D. programs.

Ph.D. and Psy.D. Differences Ph.D. in psychology emphasizes research, Psy.D. emphasizes practice
Degree Prerequisites Bachelor's degree and/or master's degree, letters of recommendation, GRE scores
Common Courses Group psychotherapy, career counseling, clinical psychology, cultural diversity, social psychology
Job Outlook (2016-2026)14% growth (for psychologists)*
Median Salary (2018)$79,010(for psychologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Some Program Specifics?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a doctorate in psychology can take five years of full-time study ( In some cases, however, you may be allowed seven years to complete all requirements. Programs can consist of as many as 128 credits.

Typical courses you might find in a doctoral program can include methods and analysis, group psychotherapy, career counseling, clinical psychology, cognitive theory, cultural diversity and social psychology. Through your choice of elective courses, you may have the opportunity to select a concentration, such as counseling psychology, school psychology, industrial-organizational psychology or clinical psychology.

You'll generally be required to participate in a number of clinical practicums, in addition to an internship that can last an entire year. Depending on school policy, a Psy.D. program may also mandate a dissertation and a comprehensive examination.

Because of the large amount of hands-on instruction called for, programs delivered entirely online are nonexistent, and online courses are quite rare. In addition to practicums and internships, there may also be a number of in-residence sessions required, which can last a few days. Only didactic courses are available in online form.

How Can I Find a Suitable Program?

The National Center for Education Statistics lists nearly 400 schools that offer programs leading to advanced degrees in psychology. However, there are a couple of other sources that might provide you with more focused leads.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) maintains an online listing of schools that offer approved and nationally recognized graduate programs in school psychology ( The APA also maintains an online list of schools that offer accredited doctoral programs in professional psychology. In addition, the APA offers an online listing, by state, of accredited internship programs in professional psychology.

Depending on the school, you may qualify for admission to a Psy.D. program with an appropriate, accredited bachelor's or master's degree. You may be able to apply to a Psy.D. program and get accepted while you're enrolled in a master's degree program. Additionally, most schools require letters of recommendation and an acceptable GRE score.

What Is the Occupational Outlook?

The BLS projected that employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists would increase 14% from 2016-2026. Employment for industrial-organizational psychologists was predicted to grow 8%, while that for all other types of psychologists was projected to increase 11%, over the same time period.

In May 2018, the BLS determined the median annual wage for clinical, counseling and school psychologists to be $76,990. Industrial-organizational psychologists came in at $97,260. The median annual salary for all other types of psychologists was reported as $100,770.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral

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  • University of Memphis

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    • Tennessee: Memphis
  • Yale University

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    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • Western New England University

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    • Massachusetts: Springfield
  • West Virginia University

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    • West Virginia: Morgantown
  • Washington University in St Louis

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    • Missouri: Saint Louis
  • University of Nevada

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    • Nevada: Las Vegas
  • University of Toledo

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    • Ohio: Toledo