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Last Updated: April 20, 2021

Getting a Ph.D. in Psychology

A Ph.D. in Psychology (also called a doctorate), is a popular degree sought by those entering the field of clinical psychology, research, or education. It is also often required for prospective students interested in working in the areas of school psychology or health psychology. Oftentimes, students are interested in similar degrees such as a PsyD or EdD Degree.

A general Ph.D. in psychology requires close to 5 to 7 years to complete while other degree programs can range from 3 to 6. For a Ph.D. in psychology, students will complete an internship or a supervised residency, in addition to their regular coursework. Before completing their program, they will also complete a dissertation or an original research project.


Doctorate programs in Psychology are highly competitive, so it is essential that student put forth their best step forward in order to compete with other candidates. Most programs will require official transcripts from undergraduate studies, and they will be looking for students who specialized in majors of psychology or the sciences related to the same.

Students will also have to submit letters of recommendation from former professors and an academic essay arguing their suitability for the program and interest in the field of psychology. For this program, many students will also be asked to interview as part of the admissions process.

Finally, GRE scores are of utmost importance for entrance into a graduate program in Psychology and admissions representatives are looking for students with a comprehensive understanding of both math and verbal sections. However, due to COVID-19, a vast majority of universities have made it strictly optional to have GRE scores.

The same requirements are given for International Students apply to a graduate program in Psychology, with the addition of high scores on the TOEFL.

Top universities for PhD in Psychology

Following are some of the popular universities for Ph.D. in Psychology:

Stanford University

Yale University

Princeton University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cornell University

Financial Aid

Funding for studies is much more likely at the graduate level than the undergraduate level. According to the American Psychological Association, 80 to 100 percent of students in Psychology graduate programs receive some funding. Furthermore, although not all students receive full funding for their program, 60-90 percent do receive full funding plus some stipend for their studies. One of the rewards of studying to earn a doctorate in Psychology is the amount of money available to support a student's studies as the field is a lucrative choice, by always being in high demand.

Career Options after a Ph.D.

Once a student is able to make it through the competitive admissions process, and additionally the 5 to 7 years of school, they are on a path to a great career in any number of fields, for the simple fact that Ph.D. in Psychology is in high demand all over the world. Ph.D. graduates go on to work in mental health and social services, educational and school settings, local, state, and federal government positions, and applied psychology careers.

Popular careers options include:
  1. Social worker
  2. Clinical psychologist
  3. School counselor or educational psychologists
  4. Academic professor
  5. Researcher in a particular field of study
  6. Human Rescores Management
  7. Aiding in Career Counselling
  8. Psychologist in the field of Forensics
  9. A Psychiatrist
  10. Neuropsychologist

Psychology Programs

Admissions / Career

Programs outside US