The Catholic University of America

Considering a Career as a Clinical Psychologist?

The Psychological Science M.A. program may be appropriate for you. Psychology is among the most popular undergraduate majors; consequently, there are many applicants for Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology. The Ph.D. in clinical psychology emphasizes research and scholarship as well as the development of clinical skills. Manuals about graduate study in psychology published by the American Psychological Association and Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical Psychology by Mayne et al. discuss what you need to do to be a successful applicant.

We receive nearly 200 applications a year for our APA-approved Ph.D. program in clinical psychology; we accept about six. The Psychological Science M.A. Program can enhance the likelihood of success with your Ph.D. application. You can gain research experience working closely with a faculty member as part of a research apprenticeship. The faculty member should then be able to write a knowledgeable letter about your ability to conduct research. You may be able to co-author an article or present research findings at a professional meeting. Approximately one-half of the students who complete the research apprenticeship as part of their M.A. degree win acceptance to clinical psychology Ph.D. programs.

An alternative offered at some universities is the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree which generally emphasizes development of clinical skills. Both the Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs generally take five years of full-time study; graduates must work under supervision for one to two years and pass appropriate national and local licensing exams.