Top universities for a doctorate in clinical psychology

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Top universities for a doctorate in clinical psychology
The U.S. News and World Report ranks clinical psychology programs based on expert opinions. (blue brain image by John Sfondilias from

Clinical psychology programs vary widely in their prestige and teaching philosophy. Clinical psychology Ph.D. programs often follow a scientist practitioner model in which students conduct scientific research in addition to learning clinical techniques.

U.S. News and World Report publishes annual rankings of academic programs and departments. Their list of the top clinical psychology programs is based on the opinions of experts in the field. In 2008, the top five schools for clinical psychology were the University of California-Los Angeles, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Berkeley and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

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University of California-Los Angeles

The University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) offers a clinical psychology program that is recognised for excellence in training. The program curriculum trains psychologists to be clinical scientists who perform scientific research in the field of clinical psychology. Coursework and clinical training usually takes five or six years, including one year of supervised internship at an approved site. This prestigious program seeks applicants with an extensive background in research, excellent recommendations and strong academic performance.

University of Washington

According to its department website, the University of Washington's Ph.D. program in clinical psychology seeks primarily to train future researchers. While students receive strong clinical training, the main focus of the program is to specialise in scientific research. This Ph.D. program offers training in adult psychology as well as child clinical psychology.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison endorses a scientist-practitioner training model in which students are dually trained to perform scientific research and become competent clinicians. The program emphasises the importance of uniting students' research and clinical interests to keep them engaged in their education. The formal academic training portion of the curriculum takes up to five years, with an additional year of supervised clinical practice following this academic work.

University of California-Berkeley

The University of California-Berkeley follows a clinical science training model, emphasising scientific research over clinical practice. The curriculum is designed to be completed in four to six years, followed by one year of clinical internship at an approved practicum site. This clinical psychology program emphasises the importance of strong research and statistics skills to help students become successful clinical scientists.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Ph.D. program in clinical psychology also follows a clinical science model. The school boasts strong ties to area clinics, hospitals and other academic departments. These affiliations allows a student to undertake interdisciplinary studies in a particular area of interest not represented by traditional sub-fields of psychology. Training in both adult and child psychology is available.

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