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Getting a Ph.D. in Psychology

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

courses required for 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.

courses required for phd in psychology

Verywell / Evan Polenghi

Ph.D. vs. Psy.D.

Job opportunities, earning a degree, specialty areas, alternatives.

Getting a Ph.D. in psychology can open up a whole new world of career opportunities. For many careers paths in psychology-related career paths, a doctoral degree is necessary to obtain work and certification. A Ph.D. is one option, but it is not the only educational path that's available to reach some of these goals.

A Ph.D., or doctor of philosophy, is one of the highest level degrees you can earn in the field of psychology . If you're considering pursuing a graduate degree, you might be wondering how long it takes to earn a Ph.D. in psychology . Generally, a bachelor's degree takes four years of study. While a master's degree requires an additional two to three years of study beyond the bachelor's, a doctoral degree can take between four to six years of additional graduate study after earning your bachelor's degree.

Recently, a new degree option known as the Psy.D. , or doctor of psychology, has grown in popularity as an alternative to the Ph.D. The type of degree you decide to pursue depends on a variety of factors, including your own interests and your career aspirations.

Before deciding which is right for you, research your options and decide if graduate school in psychology is even the best choice for you. Depending on your career goals, you might need to earn a master's or doctoral degree in psychology in order to practice in your chosen field. In other instances, a degree in a similar subject such as counseling or social work may be more appropriate.

A doctorate in psychology is required if you want to open your own private practice.

If you want to become a licensed psychologist, you must earn either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in clinical or counseling psychology.

In most cases, you will also need a doctorate if you want to teach and conduct research at the college or university level. While there are some opportunities available for people with a master's degree in various specialty fields, such as industrial-organizational psychology and health psychology , those with a doctorate will generally find higher pay, greater job demand, and more opportunity for growth.

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 psychology , but most doctorate programs do not require it.

After you’ve been admitted to a graduate program, it generally takes at least four years to earn a Ph.D. and another year to complete an internship. Once these requirements have been fulfilled, you can take state and national exams to become licensed to practice psychology in the state where you wish to work.

Once you enter the graduate level of psychology, you will need to choose an area of specialization, such as clinical psychology , counseling psychology, health psychology, or cognitive psychology . The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits graduate programs in three areas: clinical, counseling, and school psychology.   If you are interested in going into one of these specialty areas, it's important to choose a school that has received accreditation through the APA.

For many students, the choice may come down to a clinical psychology program versus a counseling psychology program. There are many similarities between these two Ph.D. options, but there are important distinctions that students should consider. Clinical programs may have more of a research focus while counseling programs tend to focus more on professional practice. The path you choose will depend largely on what you plan to do after you complete your degree.

Of course, the Ph.D. in psychology is not the only graduate degree option. The Psy.D. is a doctorate degree option that you might also want to consider. While there are many similarities between these two degrees, traditional Ph.D. programs tend to be more research-oriented while Psy.D. programs are often more practice-oriented.

The Ph.D. option may be your top choice if you want to mix professional practice with teaching and research, while the Psy.D. option may be preferred if you want to open your own private psychology practice.

In the book "An Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology," authors John C. Norcross and Michael A. Sayette suggest that one of the key differences between the two-degree options is that the Ph.D. programs train producers of research while Psy.D. programs train consumers of research. However, professional opportunities for practice are very similar with both degree types.

Research suggests that there are few discernible differences in terms of professional recognition, employment opportunities, or clinical skills between students trained in the Ph.D. or Psy.D. models. One of the few differences is that those with a Ph.D. degree are far more likely to be employed in academic settings and medical schools.

Social work, counseling, education, and the health sciences are other graduate options that you may want to consider if you decide that a doctorate degree is not the best fit for your interests and career goals.

A Word From Verywell

If you are considering a Ph.D. in psychology, spend some time carefully researching your options and thinking about your future goals. A doctoral degree is a major commitment of time, resources, and effort, so it is worth it to take time to consider the right option for your goals. The Ph.D. in psychology can be a great choice if you are interested in being a scientist-practitioner in the field and want to combine doing research with professional practice. It's also great training if you're interested in working at a university where you would teach classes and conduct research on psychological topics.

University of Pennsylvania; School of Arts and Sciences. Information for applicants .

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

U.S. Department of Labor.  Psychologists . Occupational Outlook Handbook .

Norcross JC, Sayette MA. An Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology (2020/2021 ed.) . New York, NY: The Guilford Press; 2020.

Davis SF, Giordano PJ, Licht CA. Your Career in Psychology: Putting Your Graduate Degree to Work . John Wiley & Sons; 2012. doi:10.1002/9781444315929

US Department of Education. Bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by sex of student and discipline division: 2016-17 .

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

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Psychology Graduate Program

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  • Required Courses

Course requirements are completed by achieving a grade of B+ or better. Statistics and proseminar courses should be completed by the end of the second year. All other required courses should be completed by the end of the fourth year.

Social, Developmental, and Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

  • PSY 2010, Contemporary Topics in Psychological Research (Department Proseminar)
  • PSY 1950, Applied Statistical Data Analysis in Psychology I
  • PSY 1952, Applied Statistical Data Analysis in Psychology II
  • 2 out of the following 3 survey courses: PSY 2020, Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Proseminar; PSY 2500, Proseminar in Social Psychology; or PSY 2170, Developmental Proseminar
  • List of courses approved by the CHD *
  • PSY 3555, Instructional Styles in Psychology, required during the first year of teaching

*To petition the CHD for a course not on this list to count toward the elective requirement, email the Graduate Office the course name, course syllabus, and a short justification as to the course’s relevance to psychology and why it should be counted as an elective. The course must be a contentful graduate-level course in order to be considered.  Courses taken prior to joining the PhD program cannot be used to meet elective requirements.

Clinical Science

  • PSY 2010, Contemporary Topics in Psychological Research
  • PSY 3200, Research Seminar in Clinical Science (years 1-3)
  • PSY 2070, Psychometric Theory and Methods
  • PSY 2040, Contemporary Topics in Psychopathology
  • PSY 2050, History of Psychology
  • PSY 2430, Cultural and Individual Diversity
  • PSY 3250, Psychological Testing
  • PSY 2460, Diagnostic Interviewing
  • PSY 2420, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Psychological Disorders
  • PSY 2445, Psychological Treatment Research
  • PSY 3050, Clinical Practicum (six semesters total)
  • PSY 3900, Professional Ethics
  • PSY 3555, Instructional Styles in Psychology, required during the first year of teaching At least one course in each of the following areas: BIOLOGICAL BASES OF BEHAVIOR   - PSY 1202 Modern Neuroanatomy - PSY 1325 The Emotional, Social Brain - PSY 1355 The Adolescent Brain  - PSY 1702 The Emotional Mind - Neurobio 315QC Human Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology COGNITIVE-AFFECTIVE BASES OF BEHAVIOR   - PSY 2400 Cognitive Psychology and Emotional Disorders SOCIAL BASES OF BEHAVIOR   - PSY 2500 Proseminar in Social Psychology -  PSY 3515 Graduate Seminar in Social Psychology

In accordance with American Psychological Association guidelines for the accreditation of clinical psychology programs, clinical students also receive consultation and supervision within the context of clinical practica in psychological assessment and treatment beginning in their second semester of their first year and running through their third year (PSY 3050). Students also attend the twice-monthly Clinical Science “brown bag” speaker series (PSY 3200).

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PhD in Psychology Degree Programs

  • Author: Audrey Stoffle
  • Expert Reviewer: Jonathan Adams, PhD
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The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology degree prepares graduates to practice as licensed clinical psychologists or to work in academia or research. This degree is usually offered at public or private research universities and trains students in research methods, perception, cognition, neuroscience, and behavior. PhDs in Psychology are typically focused on one of the specialties and proficiencies within the field. PhD programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology are more research-focused than Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programs , but both qualify students for licensure in applied psychology . According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are 191 non-profit colleges and universities that offer an advanced degree in clinical psychology (including master’s degrees, PsyDs, and PhDs) in the United States. 1

Table of Contents

  • Reasons to Pursue a PhD in Psychology
  • Program Options

Admission Requirements

  • Core Concepts

Top-Rated PhD in Psychology Programs

  • Select Program Profiles
  • Jobs With a PhD in Psychology Degree

Frequently Asked Questions

Reasons to pursue a phd in psychology degree.

A PhD in Psychology degree represents a significant investment of time and money; therefore, most people who enter PhD programs do so to pursue one of the following career paths:

1. To become licensed practitioners. PhDs in Clinical Psychology prepare graduates to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients in private, hospital, or other settings. All 50 states and Washington DC require a doctoral degree to become a licensed clinical psychologist, and a PhD is one of the primary degrees (in addition to the PsyD and the Doctor of Education (EdD) in some states, for school psychologists) that qualify candidates for clinical licensure.

2. To work in an academic or research setting. PhDs in Psychology equip graduates to work in academic or laboratory settings, where they can conduct research to learn about our most basic human functions and behaviors. If you are interested in becoming a college professor of psychology or a researcher, obtaining a PhD in Psychology may be the best way to begin your journey.

PhD in Psychology Program Options

In PhD in Psychology programs, students take courses in quantitative research theories and methodologies, and conduct research with the supervision of faculty mentors. A PhD in Psychology can take as little as four years to complete if you already have a master’s degree in a related area. If you enter the program with a bachelor’s degree, it usually takes five to seven years to complete. Typically, the degree is offered on campus since there are many hands-on research and teaching requirements.

Some common areas of specialization (also known as concentrations, specialties, or emphases) for PhD in Psychology programs include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • School Psychology

Online Degree Formats

If you need a more flexible study option, an online PhD in Psychology program may be a good option. Keep in mind that the American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit doctoral programs that are fully online; it does, however, accredit some hybrid programs that offer some coursework or content online. If you are choosing an online doctoral program, you should ensure that:

  • The school has been accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
  • Online students have similar access to resources and services as traditional students
  • The faculty teaching online courses are the same or equal to the ones teaching on-campus
  • You will receive assistance in choosing a practicum placement
  • The online program will qualify you for licensure in your state if you are interested in licensure

To read more about getting your psychology degree online, you can visit our Guide to Earning an Online Psychology Degree . While the guide focuses more on earning your bachelor’s degree in psychology online, it also includes some helpful tips for the PhD level.

PhD in Psychology applicants should have an undergraduate degree with in-depth psychology training including laboratory experience, statistics, and research methods. Requirements vary depending on the school, but applicants do not usually need a degree in psychology if all prerequisite courses are met. The minimum grade point average (GPA) for admittance is typically 3.0, but the average GPA of admitted students may be considerably higher due to strong competition for upper-level graduate degree programs. High marks in math and statistics are considered favorable. Some schools require applicants to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, references, and GRE scores (though many schools are waiving this requirement).

Admission to traditional psychology PhD programs is more competitive than PsyD programs, with reportedly only 11% of applicants being admitted annually (compared to 40% of those applying to PsyD programs). 2 One reason for this selectivity could be because PhD students in psychology programs often depend on limited research assistantships, where schools offer students funding in exchange for research, teaching, or administrative work. In fact, according to a survey by the APA, 80-100% of PhD in Psychology students receive some funding and 60-90% receive full funding (tuition waiver plus stipend). 3 Since more applicants are vying for assistantships than schools have to offer, only a low percentage of applicants are admitted.

Core Concepts and Coursework

In the first three to four years of a psychology graduate degree program, students take courses in theory, research methods, and statistics, depending on the student’s prior experience and degrees. Required courses also include a student’s area of specialization, such as assessment and intervention for clinical psychology, statistical modeling for quantitative psychology, or laboratory skills for neuroscience. The final year of the program is typically devoted to independent research and the final dissertation. Common coursework in a PhD in Psychology program includes:

  • Advanced Statistical Modeling
  • Advances in Neuroscience
  • Affective Science
  • Attitudes and Social Judgement
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Foundations of Cognition
  • Graduate Research Methods
  • Perception and Reality
  • Psychopathology
  • Statistics for Psychology

US News & World Report’s Best Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programs 2020

  • University of California-Los Angeles (#1)
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (#2)
  • Stony Brook University-SUNY (#3 tie)
  • University of California-Berkeley (#3 tie)
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (#5 tie)
  • University of Washington (#5 tie)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison(#5 tie)
  • University of Pennsylvania (#8 tie)
  • University of Pittsburgh (#8 tie)
  • Harvard University (#10 tie)
  • Indiana University-Bloomington (#10 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#10 tie)
  • Temple University (#10 tie)
  • University of Colorado-Boulder (#10 tie)
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (#10 tie)
  • University of Texas-Austin (#10 tie)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (#10 tie) 4

Select PhD in Psychology Programs

Traditional programs.

Stanford University logo

Stanford University

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program at Stanford University is open to students with wide psychology interests as it offers five different specialization areas in Cognitive, Developmental, Affective, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology. Students can also include a minor from another department at Stanford to further specialize their training. The psychology program teaches students the skills and techniques necessary to conduct rigorous and focused psychology research. It requires hands-on learning through the development and completion of a first-year project and a dissertation. Students must achieve at least a “B-” grade in all courses, or they may need to repeat courses. Opportunities to teach classes in undergraduate psychology and statistics are encouraged to prepare students for academic careers. A variety of funding opportunities, such as graduate scholarships, fellowships, and research and teaching assistantships are offered each year to help students pay for the program and gain valuable work experience.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign logo

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in psychology, the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with nine possible concentrations in Attention & Perception; Behavioral Neuroscience; Cognitive Neuroscience; Clinical-Community; Cognitive; Developmental; Industrial-Organizational; Quantitative; and Social-Personality. The degree is designed to prepare students for research and academic careers, with the exception of the clinical/community concentration, which prepares students for practitioner careers and includes an internship in clinical psychology. Students with prior psychology graduate coursework may transfer up to 32 credits toward the doctoral program. All admitted students in good standing are offered financial support in the form of a nine-month, 50%-time research or teaching assistantship, traineeship, or fellowship. Teaching is mandatory in the program, and students must complete at least two semesters of teaching assistance.

University of Michigan logo

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan (U of M) offers a PhD in Psychology with an embedded master’s degree that prepares graduates for either research or clinical careers. The degree takes five years to complete and students can customize their experience based on their chosen area of interest. The program offers six concentrations including Biopsychology; Clinical Science; Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental Psychology; Personality and Social Contexts; and Social Psychology. Joint programs are also offered with social work; education; and women’s and gender studies. Finally, PhD students in Psychology can engage with six affiliated programs including Culture and Cognition, Decision Consortium, the Detroit Initiative, Diversity in Psychology, Intergroup Relations, and the LIFE Course. The school offers an accelerated master’s program for high-achieving undergraduate students, although no stand-alone master’s degree is available. Teaching positions are offered, including the opportunity to design and teach a 400-level undergraduate class for upper-year PhD students, which can be advantageous for those wishing to pursue an academic career.

Hybrid and Online Programs

Fielding Graduate University logo

Fielding Graduate University

Fielding Graduate University offers a PhD in Clinical Psychology that can be completed partially online in a hybrid format. The New Student Orientation (NSO) portion of the program is an online component that lasts one month and includes an introduction to the program. The clinical practicum and clinical internship must be done in person, and training sites are often in your local community. The research and training portion is the final component of the PhD program. Concentrations are offered in Forensic Psychology; Health Psychology; Neuropsychology; and Social Justice and Diversity. To be admitted, students must submit an online application and fee, official transcripts, a Curriculum Vitae (CV), a critical thinking writing sample, and three recommendations. Fielding also offers PhDs in Infant and Early Childhood Development; Clinical Psychology; and Media Psychology.

Michigan State University logo

Michigan State University

The College of Education at Michigan State University’s Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education offers a hybrid Educational Psychology and Educational Technology (EPET) PhD program for students who need flexibility as they pursue their doctoral degrees. Students can choose to emphasize in either Educational Psychology or Educational Technology. Much of the coursework in the EPET PhD program can be completed online in an average of five years. Graduates are trained in how online learning and technology are transforming the educational model. They will be prepared to become leaders in the K-12 school system or colleges and universities. Two integrated hybrid courses are taken each summer starting the first year, and one online course is taken each fall and spring semester for all five years. Hybrid students are encouraged to arrange an annual campus visit at a time that is convenient for their studies. Students enrolled in the Hybrid Mode usually enroll in one to two courses per semester and continue working full-time. Hybrid students may qualify for teaching or research assistantships depending on their schedules and the funding available.

Jobs with a PhD in Psychology

Psychology PhD graduates need not feel limited to academic careers, as psychology knowledge and skills are valued by businesses, governments, and the nonprofit sectors. Examples of career options for PhD in psych grads include:

  • Academic Researcher
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Independent Consultant
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
  • Laboratory Manager
  • Neuroscientist
  • Policy Advisor
  • School Psychologist
  • User Experience (UX) Researcher

Can I complete a PhD in Psychology part-time?

Yes. Some schools may offer PhD in Psychology programs on a part-time basis, but most students complete the program full-time due to the program’s demanding schedule and additional requirements, such as teaching or working in the labs.

How much can I make with a PhD in Psychology?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical and counseling psychologists earned an average annual salary of $99,640 in May 2021. 5 Postsecondary psychology teachers earned an average annual salary of $88,390. 9 Wages for psychologists vary depending on the work setting and the specialization, with industrial-organizational psychologists earning the highest average salary at $113,320. 6

Projections Central predicts employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists to grow by 10% from 2020 to 2030. 10 Postsecondary psychology teachers are also expected to see high job growth of 10% through 2030. 10 Industrial-organizational and all other psychologists can expect slower growth of around 2% through 2030. 10

How do I become a licensed psychologist?

To become a licensed psychologist, you generally need an APA-accredited doctoral degree, supervised professional experience including a qualifying internship, and a passing score on the Exam for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) . However, licensure requirements vary by state. Students in research-based psychology degree programs do not need to be licensed to conduct research or teach upon graduation. You can read more about licensure in psychology and about how to get licensed in your state on our How to Become a Psychologist page.

Is it worth getting a PhD in Psychology?

If you plan to work in an academic setting, earning a PhD in Psychology will help you gain experience and move into management positions later in your career. Without a PhD, you may still find work as a research assistant but your career growth potential may be limited. Even if you do not plan to work in an academic setting, a PhD in Psychology can help you gain insight and expertise into a particular issue or population. A PhD will also qualify you to become licensed in clinical psychology should you choose to practice in the field.

Do I need to take the GRE Psychology subject test to apply?

While some schools require GRE test scores, it is becoming more common for the GRE score requirement to be waived. Even when GRE scores are required, it is not usually necessary to take the GRE Psychology subject test. Check the requirements of each school where you plan to apply for more information.

What’s the typical salary for a psychology professor?

Postsecondary psychology teachers (professors at colleges, universities, junior colleges, professional schools, and technical schools) earned an annual average wage of $88,390 as of May 2021. 9 You can read more about PhD in Psychology jobs and their respective salaries on our careers page.

References: 1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ 2. American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation 2018 Annual Report Online, Summary Data: Doctoral Programs: https://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/about/research/2018-doctoral-summary.pdf 3. American Psychological Association, Funding Stats: https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2010/01/funding-stats 4. US News & World Report Best Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programs 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/clinical-psychology-rankings 5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Clinical and Counseling Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193033.htm 6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Industrial-Organizational Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm 7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, School Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193034.htm 8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Psychologists, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm 9. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251066.htm 10. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm

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Psychology, PhD

Graduate study in Psychology at Penn emphasizes scholarship and research accomplishment.  The first-year program is divided between courses that introduce various areas of psychology and a focused research experience.  A deep involvement in research continues throughout the graduate program, and is supplemented by participation in seminars, teaching, and general intellectual give-and-take.  Students are admitted into the graduate program as a whole, not into specific subfields. Students and faculty are free to define their fields of interest.  A high level of interaction between students and faculty helps generate both a shared set of interests in the theoretical, historical, and philosophical foundations of psychology and active collaboration in research projects.

The Graduate Group in Psychology is highly distinguished and represents a broad range of work in psychology and includes an APA-approved clinical program. Two regular faculty and two emeritus professors are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and three regular faculty are Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Department also includes past presidents of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and of the Linguistics Society of America.

Many other faculty, graduate students, and former students have received national awards for excellence in research and teaching. We have strong connections with other disciplines at the University. Our members play pivotal roles in two of the most important interdisciplinary areas on campus, the cognitive sciences and the neurosciences, both of which have been fostered by the Department as a matter of policy.

For more information: http://psychology.sas.upenn.edu/graduate

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs .

Required Courses

A total of 20 course units are required for graduation.

By the end of Year 2, you must have taken one in each of the following areas: The Mind, The Brain, The Individual & The Group.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Clinical Program Requirements

The clinical training program, nested in the Department, is intended to prepare students for research/academic careers in Clinical Psychology, Psychopathology, or Personality. Clinical training (in assessment, diagnosis and psychotherapy) is seen as an integral part of the education of highly qualified, creative clinical scientists.  Nevertheless, the principal goal of Penn clinical students is to become expert psychologists, not simply expert clinicians, and the program is designed to support that goal. Our program is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, a coalition of doctoral training programs that emphasize the scientific basis of clinical psychology and is accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. Our membership in the Academy indicates our commitment to empirical research as the basis of theory, assessment, and intervention, and our PCSAS accreditation attests to our success in training clinical students. The program is also accredited by the American Psychological Association. 

For more clinical information:   http://psychology.sas.upenn.edu/training-programs/clinical-training-program . 

Must be approved by Director of Graduate Studies. 

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The PhD program in Psychology trains students at the highest level in one of three specialty areas of psychology: Brain, Behavior, and Cognition (BBC), Developmental Science (DS), and Clinical (C). Upon completion of the PhD, students will be thoroughly prepared for postgraduate training and to eventually assume teaching and/or research positions in academia or industry or to obtain clinical positions. An undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline (e.g., neuroscience) is recommended.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a PhD in Psychology (Brain, Behavior & Cognition) are expected to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of existing theory and research.
  • Develop the ability to conduct sound, independent ethical research.
  • Demonstrate abilities to conduct scholarly and other activities in a professional and ethical manner.
  • Demonstrate teaching abilities.

Students graduating with a PhD in Psychology (Clinical) are expected to:

  • Learn to evaluate existing research and theory and to conduct independent clinical research.
  • Develop ability to write grants.
  • Develop the skills and knowledge necessary for communicating with patients, conducting clinical interviews and assessments, and providing treatment.
  • Acquire and apply knowledge of issues of individual and cultural diversity.

Students graduating with a PhD in Psychology (Developmental Science) are expected to:

  • Develop the ability to conduct sound, independent research.
  • Demonstrate abilities to conduct scholarly and other professional activities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional ethical standards.

Course Requirements

Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 16 semester courses (64 credits) of graduate work for the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition and the Developmental Science PhD tracks. A minimum of 20 courses of graduate work (80 credits) is required for the Clinical PhD track. Required courses for all tracks are as follows:

  • GRS PS 711 Statistics in Psychology I
  • GRS PS 712 Statistics in Psychology II

For specific course requirements for each track, please visit our website . Courses are selected in consultation with the major advisor, who may determine that additional work is required.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Qualifying Examinations

PhD candidates must also satisfy a qualifying requirement or pass a qualifying examination in the area of specialization.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in a dissertation representing original research or creative scholarship. A prospectus for the dissertation must be completed and approved by the readers, the Director of Graduate studies, and the Department Chair/Program Director. Candidates must undergo a final oral examination in which they defend their dissertation as valuable contributions to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields of specialization in relation to their dissertation. All portions of the dissertation and final oral examination must be completed as outlined in the GRS General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree .

Research Requirement

Each student must satisfy a research requirement during the first year, which is initiated by the director of the program and the student’s advisor.

Two categories of requirements are necessary for the MA degree en route to all the PhD programs. They should be completed within three years of admission. Specific graduate programs may have their own additional requirements:

  • Courses: A minimum of eight graduate-level courses, including PS 711 Statistics in Psychology I. Students must obtain prior departmental approval for any course they wish to take outside the department or the University. Please contact Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Academic Affairs, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, at [email protected] for additional information.
  • Research Activity: Requirements vary by program. All students are engaged in research beginning in their first year.

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PhD Program

courses required for phd in psychology

The PhD is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in Psychology.

A student typically concentrates in one of several areas within Psychology. Across all areas, the training program emphasizes the development of research competence, and students are encouraged to develop skills and attitudes that are appropriate to a career of continuing research productivity.

Two kinds of experience are necessary for this purpose. One is the learning of substantial amounts of theoretical, empirical, computational and methods information . A number of courses and seminars are provided to assist in this learning, and students are expected to construct a program in consultation with their advisor(s) to obtain this knowledge in the most stimulating and economical fashion.

A second aspect of training is one that cannot be gained from the courses or seminars. This is first-hand knowledge of, and practical experience with, the methods of psychological investigation and study . Therefore, students are expected to spend half of their time on research and to take no more than 10 units of course work per quarter, beginning in the first quarter.

Students achieve competence in unique ways and at different rates. Students and advisors work together to plan a program to accomplish these objectives.

If current students have any questions about the PhD program, please email the Student Services Manager, Dena Zlatunich, at  denamz [at] stanford.edu (denamz[at]stanford[dot]edu) . The current Director of Graduate Studies is Professor Hyo Gwoen.

If you are interested in applying for our PhD program, please carefully review the information on the  PhD Admissions website . Follow-up questions can be directed to the admissions staff at  psych-admissions [at] stanford.edu (psych-admissions[at]stanford[dot]edu) .

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Clinical PhD Curriculum

The clinical psychology program curriculum consists of the general department requirements for the PhD (namely quantitative training), the breadth requirements outlined by the American Psychological Association in 1979 (social aspects of behavior, biological aspects of behavior, cognitive/affective aspects of behavior), and required courses in lifespan developmental psychology, multicultural issues in clinical or counseling psychology, psychopathology, and essentials of assessment and intervention. The following sequence of courses and clinical training is required for students majoring in clinical psychology.

Foundations of the Scientist Practitioner

During Year 1, students will establish the foundations of research methodology, assessment, psychopathology, and multicultural considerations in clinical psychology. Through the design of the first-year experience, students will learn to integrate these domains. Likewise, the completion of Year 1 will have prepared students adequately for completing their thesis, and will have them well trained for conducting other research throughout their career at UWM.

Fall Semester

  • Statistics course #1: Either Educational Psychology 724 (Educational Statistical Methods II) or Public Health 702 (Introduction to Biostatistics)
  • Note: students may also opt to take both Psychology 510 and Psychology 610 in Fall and Spring semesters to satisfy the Statistics course #1 requirement
  • Psych 831: Assessment I
  • Psych 912: Developmental Psychopathology
  • *Psych 814: Multicultural Seminar in Clinical Psychology
  • Psych 802: First-Year Clinical Psychology Practicum (Interviewing, Report Writing, and Assessment Administration Skills)

Spring Semester

  • Statistics Course #2: An advanced statistics course selected in consultation with your advisor (that is not Ed Psych 724, Public Health 702, Psych 510 or Psych 610)
  • Psych 710: Survey of Clinical Research Methods
  • Psych 802: First-Year Clinical Psychology Practicum (Interviewing, Report Writing, and Assessment Administration Skills)
  • Psych 790 or 890: Master’s Research or Graduate Research or Additional Course
  • Vertical Team

*Note about multicultural course requirement: This requirement can be filled either by taking Psychology 814, which is a three credit course spread out over the first four semesters of the program (meets every other week), or Counseling Psychology 715.

Practical Training During Year 1

Students learn basic interviewing and test administration skills in the first-year practicum. They also participate in a “vertical team.”  Vertical teams  are the method by which we do our “hands on” therapy training. Each vertical team consists of 1-2 first year students (starting in spring semester of Year 1), 1-2 second year students, 2-3 third year students, and a supervising psychologist. Each student has a defined role on the team. Third year students serve as therapists, second year students may conduct psychological assessments as needed, and first year students are asked to observe therapy sessions and learn the empirical basis for intervention with the different cases seen on the team. Each team meets weekly to discuss cases with the supervisor.

Foundations of Clinical Practice and Master’s Research

The curriculum for year two continues to build the clinical foundations for students to become scientist practitioners.  Students will learn about professional ethics, continue to learn about assessment and multicultural considerations, and begin therapy training. During Year 2, students will utilize the research training obtained during Year 1 by completing a master’s thesis.

  • Psych 821: Practicum in Assessment I
  • Psych 712: Professional Ethics and Issues in Clinical Psychology
  • Psych 741: Foundations of Psychotherapy
  • Psych 790: Master’s Research
  • Psych 832: Assessment II
  • Psych 742: Empirically Supported Interventions
  • Psych 845: Practicum in Empirically Supported Interventions

Master’s thesis should be defended by end of the summer.

Practical Training During Year 2

During the second year, students are taught to administer and interpret psychological tests in the assessment practicum. In addition, they may begin to acquire hands on experience in implementing empirically supported interventions. Also, they continue to participate in a vertical team, implementing assessment skills if needed and gaining focused experience related to at least one empirically supported intervention approach.

Integration of Science and Practice of Psychotherapy

The curriculum for this year continues to help students fully implement their scientist practitioner training by implementing their scientist training in a clinical setting.  Practicum in therapy and vertical teams involve treating clients. Teams each have a focus on specific empirically-supported approaches (e.g., Prolonged Exposure, behavioral activation for depression,  CBT for eating disorders in adolescents or adults), but also include other approaches for breadth and as is warranted by the client’s needs. Students also continue building their research program.

  • Psych 842: Practicum in Therapy
  • Ed Psych 640: Human Development
  • Additional Course Slot – may take breadth courses if have not already done so
  • Vertical Teams
  • Additional Course Slot – may take breadth courses if have not already done so

Practical Training During Year 3

Third year students on the vertical teams are responsible for seeing clients in the Department’s Psychology Training Clinic. Students serve as therapists on two therapy teams, one specialized scientifically validated treatment team and one other team, to ensure exposure to different supervision styles and/or therapeutic approaches, with 2-3 cases per team. As part of their third-year practicum, students participate in regular sessions with the Clinic Director (Psych 842). During this time, students complete readings about and discuss models and theories of supervision and consultation.

The specific psychotherapy teams vary slightly from year to year. See the  Psychology Clinic  webpage for more information. In recent years they have included:

  • Adult Anxiety Team (Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PTSD, OCD, and other anxiety disorders)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Eating and Body Image Issues, Anxiety, and Mood Difficulties
  • Cognitive-Behavior Psychotherapy Team for mood and anxiety disorders, family and relationship problems, and health conditions
  • Elimination Disorders Team (empirically-supported intervention for elimination disorders in children in a hospital setting)

Preliminary Exam Requirement

Students can complete the preliminary exam (prelim) requirement either by having a manuscript accepted for publication as first author in a peer-reviewed journal (meeting specific criteria of independence) or by completing a comprehensive critical literature review.  The prelim requirement must be completed by May 15 of the year in which the student applies for internship (typically year 4) before they will be permitted to apply. Students who do not pass the prelim requirement prior to May 15 of their fourth year must submit a Plan of Study for the next year that includes a timeline of program-related activities.

In the fourth year, students develop more advanced and specialized skills as a clinician through community placement and as a researcher by beginning the dissertation.

Community Placement

In the fourth year, students complete a Community Placement by spending 12-16 hours per week working in one of many community agencies under the supervision of external practicum supervisors. See  Community Placements  for descriptions of some of the sites at which our students regularly train. In this year, students can receive more advanced training in Pediatric or Adult Clinical Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, Adult Psychotherapy (OCD, Eating Disorders, PTSD, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders), Pediatric Psychology, Child Clinical Psychology, and other areas of interest based on student preferences. Community agencies that have been involved in the department’s training program include the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (Pediatric Psychology), Roger’s Memorial Hospital (e.g., OCD, Eating Disorders units), the Zablocki VA Medical Center (e.g., PTSD, Post-Deployment, Women, LGBT units), the Center for Behavior Medicine (DBT training), and the Medical College of Wisconsin (e.g., Behavioral Medicine, Adult Neuropsychology, Pediatric Psychology).

  • Psych 811: Community Placement
  • Optional additional courses
  • Psych 990: Doctoral Research
  • Propose Dissertation

Dissertation Research and Applying for Internship

The curriculum for year five allows the student to spend time applying for internship and completing their dissertation.  Students must not only have passed the Preliminary Exam Requirement by May 15 of the year they apply for internship, but they must also have passed their Dissertation Proposal Hearing prior to October 1 of the year they apply for internship.  (Ideally, although it is not a requirement, students should leave for internship with their dissertations completed and successfully defended.)

  • Psych 811: Community Placement (optional)
  • Apply for Internship
  • Internship Interviews
  • Defend Dissertation

Practical Training During Year 5

The program does not require any specific practical experience during the fifth year; however, students are encouraged to remain engaged in clinical activities. Students will often want to round out their experiences with additional work, and often get involved in learning how to provide supervision to more junior students. This supervised supervision experience is a valuable experience to those students choosing to participate. Other students will complete an optional Community Placement, typically one day per week, or conduct research that includes a clinical practice component.

An extramural, APA-approved one-year, pre-doctoral, full-time (2,000 hour) internship is required for the clinical psychology program.

Additional Course Requirements not Tied to Specific Semesters

In addition to the core clinical curriculum detailed within the course plan above, the following courses are required:

  • Cognitive/Affective Aspects of Behavior (Psych 727)
  • Biological Aspects of Behavior (Psych 727 or Psych 854. Psych 727 can satisfy both Cognitive/Affective and Biological Aspects of Behavior requirements)
  • Social Aspects of Behavior (Psych 930 or Ed Psych 833)
  • History of Psychology (Psychology 750). If you have taken History of Psychology as an undergraduate or you have an undergraduate major in psychology you do not need to take Psychology 750.
  • A graduate level course on multicultural issues in clinical or counseling psychology. This can include either Psych 814, which is a three-credit course, but is taught every other week spanning the first four semester in the program, or Counseling Psychology 715
  • A graduate level lifespan developmental course, including coverage of the affective aspects of behavior. Ed Psych 640 is recommended. Fall of Year 3 is when this is typically taken.
  • Cognition and Perception (2 courses)
  • Developmental Psychology (3 courses)
  • Health and Social Psychology (2 courses)
  • Neuroscience (3 courses)
  • Quantitative Methods (2 courses)

School Psychology PhD

Doctor of philosophy in school psychology.

For Fall 2024 admissions, the TC School Psychology programs have retained use of the GRE scores

Faculty use the scores, along with undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, the personal statement, and other materials to perform a holistic review of each applicant. There is no minimum GRE cutoff score for either the EdM or PhD program in School Psychology.

For Fall 2024 admissions, the following faculty members will be reviewing PhD applications from external students (i.e., students not already in our EdM program): Dr. Melissa Collier-Meek [email protected] . Please indicate in your personal statement which of these faculty you are applying to work with.

The Ph.D. program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). For general information about APA accreditation or specific information about the accreditation status of our program contact:

Jacqueline Remondet Wall, Ph.D. Director, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association  750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 (202) 336-5979 /  http://www.apa.org

If you have questions regarding the accreditation of the program by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) contact:

Natalie Politikos, Ph.D. National Association of School Psychologists 4340 East West Highway Suite 402 Bethesda, MD 20814 301-657-4155 / http://www.nasponline.org

Our Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 90 points. Attainment of the doctoral degree prepares students for certification as a school psychologist and licensure as a psychologist. On average, doctoral students should plan on five years of full-time attendance, including summers. This includes three years of coursework, a two-semester externship in the third year, a full-year internship during the fifth year, and a dissertation. The program can be completed in 5.2 years (enter in September of Year 1, graduate in October of Year 5 as internships end on either June 30 or August 31 and the next graduation date is early October) if students begin a program of research early in the program and complete the doctoral certification requirements (research methods examination, theoretical and empirical paper) by the 4th year of the program. Typically, most of the coursework (including practica, fieldwork, and externship) is completed by the end of the third year if the student completes only the one required externship. However, for many years, all students have completed two externships to make themselves more competitive in the APPIC match (one in a clinical setting, one in a public school), extending externship into the 4th year. Some students have chosen to do a third externship if they are specializing in intellectual disabilities/autism or child neuropsychology. The third externship increases competitiveness in the internship match and postdoctoral competition. The 4th and 5th (or 6th) years are devoted to dissertation and internship.

For more detailed information about our program, please download our Student Handbook.

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Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 90
  • Entry Terms: Fall

Certification

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  • NY State Provisional: School Psychology

Application Deadlines

Select programs remain open beyond our standard application deadlines , such as those with an extended deadline or those that are rolling (open until June or July). If your program is rolling or has an extended deadline indicated above, applications are reviewed as they are received and on a space-available basis. We recommend you complete your application as soon as possible as these programs can close earlier if full capacity has been met.

Application Requirements

Requirements from the tc catalog (ay 2023-2024).

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

View Full Catalog Listing

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D., 90 points)

Our American Psychological Association (APA)- and National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)- accredited doctoral program (Ph.D.) requires a minimum of 90 points. Students may have to complete courses in addition to those included in the curriculum if their advisor deems it necessary (e.g., an extra statistics course). Attainment of the doctoral degree prepares students for certification as a school psychologist and licensure as a psychologist. On average, doctoral students should plan on five years of full-time attendance, including summers. This includes three years of coursework, a two-semester externship in the third year, a full-year internship during the fifth year, and a dissertation.

Suggested Sequence of Courses by Year and Semester

Fall (12 credits)

HBSK5320(3) Individual Psychological Testing I*

HBSK4025(3) Professional and Ethical Functions of School Psychologists

HBSK4073(3) Childhood Disorders*

HUDM4122(3) Probability and Statistical Inference (most semesters)

HBSK657_(0) Research Practicum

Spring (15 credits)

HBSK5321(3) Individual Psychological Testing II*

HBSK5378(3) Practicum in Psychoeducational Assessment of School Subject Difficulties*

HBSK5050(3) Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions for Youth

HBSK6380(3) Practicum in Psychoeducational Assessment with Culturally Diverse Students

HBSE 4015(3)  Applied Behavior Analysis I

Summer (6 credits)

HUDM5122(3) Applied Regression Analysis (most semesters)

ORL5362(3)    Group Dynamics: A Systems Perspective (most semesters)

Second Year

Fall (13 credits)

ORLJ5040(3)   Research Methods in Social Psychology

HBSK5280(4)   Fieldwork in School Psychological Services

HBSK6584(3)   Seminar: School Psychology Consultation

HBSK6382(3)   Advanced Practicum in Psychoeducational Interventions in Schools

HBSK657_(0)   Research Practicum

Spring (18 credits)

HBSK5031(3) Family as the Context for Child Development

HBSK5280(4) Fieldwork in School Psychological Services

HBSK 6362(3) Group Work with Children & Adolescents

HBSK 4030 (3)   Multicultural Issues in School Psychology

BBS 5069 (2)  Brain and behavior I

Summer (8 credits)

HUDM5059(3) Psychological Measurement

HUDM5123(3) Linear Models and Experimental Design

BBS 5069 (1)   Brain and behavior II

Fall (5 credits)

HBSK5271(2)  Supervised Externship in Psychoeducational Practice (Section 1)

HBSK657_(0)  Research Practicum

HUDK6520(3) Seminar in Lifespan Developmental Psychology (offered every other year)

HBSK4074(3)   Development of Reading Comprehension

Spring (6 credits)

HBSK5096(3)  Psychology of Memory: Cognitive and Affective Bases

HBSK5273(1)  Supervised Experience in Supervision

HBSK 6383 (3)    Neuropsychological Assessment of Children and Adults

HBSK657_(0)  Research Practicum: 

Summer (3 credits)

CCPX6020(3) History and Systems of Psychology

Fourth Year

Fall (4 credits)

ORLJ5540 (3) Pro-seminar in Social Psychology

HBSK7503(1) Dissertation Seminar**

HBSK5271(0) Supervised Externship in Psychoeducational Practice (Section 2)

Spring (0 credits)

HBSK8902(0) Dissertation Advisement

HBSK6480(0)  School Psychology Internship

PLEASE NOTE

The following courses, which are included in a fall or spring semester in the suggested sequence can be taken in the summer. However, before deciding to take any of the following in the summer, please consult with your advisor.

1. HUDM4122, Probability and Statistical Inference (most semesters)

2. HBSK4074, Development of Reading Comprehension

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Phone: (212) 678-3942

Email: schoolpsychology@tc.columbia.edu

College of Education

  • Graduate Program

Educational Psychology - M.Ed.

Program overview.

Educational Psychology is an academic program in the Department of Educational Psychology, Leadership, & Counseling. The program equips students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. Additionally, students learn to apply quantitative and qualitative research skills in a manner that promotes educational improvement while valuing individual differences. Thus, educational psychology attracts students from various educational and professional backgrounds including education, psychology, human sciences, business, sports sciences, and health sciences.

Request More Information

Program work within Educational Psychology is developed and guided by a strong conceptual framework, the standards from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), guidelines from the American Psychological Association (APA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the sound professional judgment of an experienced and caring faculty.

The master's program is designed to provide students with content knowledge that facilitates the application of research in educational psychology to educational settings. Teachers are especially encouraged to select the applied master's degree plan that is designed to prepare highly effective, culturally sensitive educators.

Degrees Offered

M.Ed., offered as a face-to-face or hybrid program.

Career Opportunities With This Degree

Most graduates teach in colleges or universities or are in positions conducting research.

Application Materials

College Transcripts – Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded to the Graduate School application . Information on submitting official transcripts will be provided to you by the Graduate School. Grade reports or unofficial transcripts from university web portals will not be accepted. Please redact the Social Security Number anywhere it appears on your transcript. If documents are written in a language other than English, a copy of a complete and official English translation must be provided with the original language records.

Required Supplemental Application Materials

GRE Scores, Resume, Three Professional Recommendations, Academic Writing Sample, Response to Applicant Statement Prompt. Download a comprehensive list of requirements.

Application Process

Please visit the Graduate Application Process for more information on how to apply.

This program requires official GRE scores. Scores must no more than 5 years old at the time of application. Official GRE scores must be sent from Educational Testing Services (ETS) to the Texas Tech Graduate School. To register for the examination please visit the GRE Testing website . Texas Tech University's code is 6827.

  • Due to ongoing accessibility concerns, the Graduate School has suspended GRE test score requirements for applications through at least Summer 2025. For more information, please contact the Graduate School .

Semester in which the program can be started

It is recommended that students start in the fall but applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Estimated Hours to Completion

45 credit hours

Allowable Transfer Hours

6 credit hours if completed in the last 7 years with a grade of B or better.

Financial Aid

TTU Graduate School and COE scholarships, research assistantships, student loans

To be competitive for funding support, the recommended deadline for Fall is December 1 st . However, applications received at other times will be reviewed.

Tuition & Fees

Use the Student Business Services Tuition Estimator to estimate your costs.

Chance Webb Academic Advisor/Admissions Office of Graduate Admissions & Enrollment [email protected] 806-834-6768

Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics

Educational psychology and foundations, school psychology.

  • Delivery : Face-to-Face or Hybrid
  • Hours to Completion: 45
  • Now accepting applications for: All Semesters
  • Maximum Transfer Hours: 6

Contact TTU

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    Wang, Joy, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Educational Psychology, Leadership, & Counseling [email protected] 806-834-4624. Delivery: Face-to-Face or Hybrid. Hours to Completion: 45. Now accepting applications for: All Semesters. Maximum Transfer Hours: 6. Educational Psychology Masters program at Texas Tech University College of Education.

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    While the majority of college students in the United States used to take between four and five years to earn the 120 credits required to graduate with their bachelor's degree, it has since become more common for undergraduates to take six years to finish [1, 2].There are many factors that can affect that timeline. Let's explore some of the things that contribute to the length of time it can ...