Explore the 10 Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Programs

Darian Somers , Ilana Kowarski

Clinical psychologists help treat mental illness.

With the rise in mental health awareness, clinical psychology has become an attractive career path for those who care about mental health issues.

Clinical psychologists both diagnose and treat mental health problems and often work in private practice or health care facilities.

These are the Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programs, based on the results of peer assessment surveys sent to academics in the field in fall 2015.

8 (tie). University of Texas--Austin

Location: Austin, Texas

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.3

Key fact about the program: Doctoral students must complete four years of graduate-level coursework, a second-year research project and a clinical practicum sequence to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. They also need to finish a one-year predoctoral internship at a specific treatment site and successfully defend a dissertation in order to qualify for a doctorate. Though it is possible to finish these requirements within five years, it is more realistic to expect the program to last six years, according to university faculty.

Learn more about the University of Texas--Austin.

8 (tie). University of Virginia

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.3

Key fact about the program: This program requires at least five years of full-time study, including a full-year internship. It is designed to train clinical scientists who are adept at both treating and researching mental health conditions.

Learn more about the University of Virginia.

8 (tie). University of Washington

Location: Seattle

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.3

Key fact about the program: One of the goals of the University of Washington's Ph.D. program in clinical psychology is to prepare students to become excellent researchers who can discover new information about mental health conditions and potential treatments, according to the university website.

Learn more about the University of Washington.

4 (tie). Stony Brook University--SUNY

Location: Stony Brook, New York

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.4

Key fact about the program: This Ph.D. program in clinical psychology is most appropriate for students who are interested in either a research or academic career, according to the Stony Brook University website. Historically, the program has placed a heavy emphasis on behavioral psychology, but it now has evolved to embrace a broader array of psychological perspectives, though it still provides a strong foundation in behavioral psychology. The program is designed to teach students how to take an empirical approach to the practice of psychology, according to the university.

Learn more about Stony Brook University.

4 (tie). University of Minnesota--Twin Cities

Location: Minneapolis

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.4

Key fact about the program: According to the university, the program's faculty particularly excel in psychopathology and personality and behavioral genetic research. The program's faculty conduct both psychological experiments and epidemiological studies.

Learn more about the University of Minnesota--Twin Cities.

4 (tie). University of Wisconsin--Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.4

Key fact about the program: Because this program involves mentorships between faculty and students, one of its admissions criteria is the alignment between a prospective student's research interests and that of the faculty, according to the university website.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

4 (tie). Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.4

Key fact about the program: According to the university website, the primary goal of the school's clinical psychology program is to expose aspiring scholars to interdisciplinary training and research opportunities. Students can expect to learn about scientific findings within and outside the discipline of psychology.

Learn more about Yale University.

2 (tie). University of California--Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, California

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.5

Key fact about the program: Doctoral students are matched with a faculty mentor at the beginning of their first year, and that person oversees the student's research, according to the university.

Learn more about the University of California--Berkeley.

2 (tie). University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.5

Key fact about the program: Students in this program have a choice between two tracks, including one focused on adult mental health and another centered on the mental well-being of children and families.

Learn more about the University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill.

1. University of California--Los Angeles

Location: Los Angeles

Peer reputation score (scale of 1-5): 4.7

Key fact about the program: This is a six-year program, including a one-year internship, and doctoral students must spend at least four years on the UCLA campus, according to the program website. The goal of the program is to train influential experts in the field of clinical psychology.

Learn more about the University of California--Los Angeles.

Learn more about top graduate schools.

Find out what you can do with a psychology degree, and check out all of the 2020 Best Graduate Schools rankings to find the right program for you. Stay up to date on education news by following U.S. News Education on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Explore the highest-ranked clinical psychology doctoral programs.

-- 1. University of California--Los Angeles

-- 2 (tie). University of California--Berkeley

-- 2 (tie). University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill

-- 4 (tie). Stony Brook University--SUNY

-- 4 (tie). University of Minnesota--Twin Cities

-- 4 (tie). University of Wisconsin--Madison

-- 4 (tie). Yale University

-- 8 (tie). University of Texas--Austin

-- 8 (tie). University of Virginia

-- 8 (tie). University of Washington


Darian Somers is an associate social media editor at U.S. News. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at dsomers@usnews.com.