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Clinical Psychology

Program Description

Just the Facts

Clinical Psychology. A program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of clinical psychology, involving the analysis, diagnosis, and clinical treatment of psychological disorders and behavioral pathologies. Includes instruction in clinical assessment and diagnosis, personality appraisal, psychopathology, clinical psychopharmacology, behavior modification, therapeutic intervention skills, patient interviewing, personalized and group therapy, child and adolescent therapy, cognitive and behavioral therapy, supervised clinical practice, ethical standards, and applicable regulations.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

They may learn several theories and write long essays. But students in clinical psychology programs know that without an internship, their education would be incomplete.

Clinical psychology grads will be able to assess people to find out if they are suffering from various mental or behavioral problems. These problems could range from depression to serious mental and behavioral problems.

Generally, clinical psychology is offered at the graduate level. Most programs are at the doctorate level.

The American Psychological Association accredits graduate clinical psychology programs. Check its website for a list of accredited universities.

"We get about 150 applications a year," says Irv Binik. He is a member of a clinical psychology faculty. His school offers a joint master's and doctoral program in clinical psychology. "We take eight to 10 students, so the competition is very tough."

A bachelor's degree in psychology with relevant clinical psychology courses will help you stand out.

Binik says if you have a bachelor's degree in a field other than psychology, you may still be able to get into the graduate program. But it's best if your degree is in a related field, such as biology or even computer science.

All graduate clinical psychology applicants will need to show excellent marks and excellent letters of recommendation.

Rod Martin is the clinical program director at a university. He says applicants must have above-average grades and a strong interest in research. They also need a desire to help people with psychological problems.

"We also look for people who have good interpersonal skills and who are well-adjusted psychologically," he says.

Undergraduate courses might include psychological statistics, human behavior and intelligence and child development.

In graduate school, clinical psychology students may take courses in diagnostic methods, psychological theories, advanced statistics, development and language and health psychology.

Clinical psychology programs generally include a practicum (internship). It could be in a general hospital, psychiatric hospital or rehabilitation center.

David Renjilian is an associate professor of psychology at Marywood University in Pennsylvania. He says many students are unaware of the scientific nature of clinical psychology. It's important that they concentrate on math and science in high school, he says.

He adds that virtually any extracurricular activity can provide students with valuable experience.

"Simply participating in a team sport or playing in the marching band can teach students quite a bit about human behavior, group process and conflict resolution."

To work as a clinical psychologist, you will need to be licensed. You'll have to pass the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards' exams and meet other state requirements.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see Psychologists

Scholarly Psychology Resources on the Web
This page will get you information to fuel your studies

The Social Psychology Network
A sites devoted to psychological research and teaching

Clinical Psychology Links
Links related to a variety of clinical problems, therapy, mental health organizations and more


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