Best Clinical Psychology Programs in California

What is a Clinical Psychology Program?

Clinical psychology encompasses a wide-variety of psychological specialties, such as: child psychology, geriatric psychology, sports psychology, marriage and family therapy, psychotherapy, and neuropsychology. A clinical psychology program teaches students how to prevent, diagnose, and treat a variety of mental health disorders. A degree in clinical psychology may help students prepare for a career in the psychology field. In other words, it may prepare students to practice psychology in their chosen areas (specialties), and teach them how to communicate with diverse populations. If you are interested in learning which clinical psychology programs in California will provide you with the “best” training and education, you have come to the right place. This article will provide you with all of the details on the “best” clinical programs in California.

Listed below are the top clinical psychology programs in California according to U.S. News. (Based on top psychology schools in the U.S. – 2013)

University of California (Berkeley)

2115 Milvia Street, Berkley, California 94704, (510) 642-3589, berkley.edu

The University of California was founded in 1868, while the Berkley campus was enacted near the San Francisco Bay. U.C. Berkeley is considered a premier university that occupies a 1,232-acre campus, and contains 36,204 students (i.e. 25,951 undergraduates and 10,253 graduate students). During the 2012/2013 year, 7,774 bachelor degrees, 2,198 master degrees, and 1,304 doctorates were issued to students. The most popular degrees are: electrical engineering & computer sciences, economics, political science, business administration, and psychology. Moreover, the Berkley campus produces more Ph.D.’s than any other U.S. university. Approximately 64% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. In addition, UC Berkley boasts 30 men’s and women’s intercollegiate squads.

Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

A clinical psychology degree is only offered at the graduate levels (master and doctorate). The goal of this program is to help students successfully enter the mental health field. The academic year is divided into two semesters (late August to in mid-May). Summer is usually a time for research, special studies, and/or for additional clinical experiences. Normally students take 12-15 units of credit (total) each semester. It typically takes between 3 and 6 years to complete the program, which includes a thesis/dissertation (research paper) and internship. The tuition cost/fees for this program is: $37,940 (in-state) and $53,042 (out-of-state), per year.

Admission Requirements

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (Verbal 162, Quantitative 158, and Analytical Writing 5)
  • GPA (3.5 to 4.0)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Research experience
  • Outstanding letters of recommendation
  • Transcript
  • Application & Application fee
  • CV/Resume

Course Curriculum

Credits range from 1 credit to 6 credits, per course.

Some of the courses that you may take, while in your clinical psychology graduate program:

  • History and Systems
  • Biological Aspects of Behavior
  • Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Behavior
  • Social Aspects of Behavior
  • Human Development
  • Individual Differences in Behaviors

University of California (Los Angeles)

1237 Murphy Hall, Box 951419, Los Angeles, California 90095, (310) 825-3819, ucla.edu

University of California (Los Angeles) is a public, educational institution that was founded in the early 1900s. It is often referred to as UCLA and it is located in an “urban” section of Los Angeles. Specifically, it is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, a mere 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 28,674 students traverse its 419 acres every day (i.e. on the way to functions, classes, and their dorms). This university was ranked #23 in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges, a guide of the best colleges throughout the United States. Generally, tuition and associated fees range from $12,702, per year (2014-2015) in-state to $35,580, per year (2014-2015) out-of-state. This school also provides a wide-range of student activities, such as: sororities and fraternities, and media groups (i.e. student newspaper, radio, magazine, and television stations). The official UCLA football team is called the Bruins (Pac-12 Conference of NCAA’s Division I), but the school also has successful polo teams for both men and women.

Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

UCLA only offers a graduate degree in clinical psychology; however it does offer a Bachelor of Art (B.A.) in general psychology, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in cognitive science, and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in psychobiology. UCLA is not only one of the largest educational institutions, it is also one of the most highly regarded and selective universities in the United States. The goal of this clinical psychology graduate program is to produce well-prepared, future researchers, practitioners, and college instructors in the mental health field. This program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

UCLA’s clinical psychology normally takes between 3 and 6 years to complete, which includes a full-time, one-year internship at an approved mental health facility. Course curriculum is based on a 12-month academic year (broken up into quarters). During the program, students learn a myriad of skills and knowledge in the following areas: clinical training, teaching, and the importance of continuous research involvement in the clinical field. The tuition cost/fees for this program is: $15,682 (in-state) and $30,784 (out-of-state), per year. Financial aid is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In order to enroll in this program, students must have a master’s degree in psychology or a related field.

Admission Requirements

Admissions decisions are based on the following requirements:

  • Evidence of research interests
  • Extensive clinical or counseling experience
  • Degree in psychology or a closely related field
  • Outstanding academic record (grades)
  • An acceptable GRE scores
  • Dedication
  • Excellent letters of recommendation
  • Transcript
  • Application & Application fee
  • CV/Resume

Course Curriculum

Most classes are 4 credits each, but some can be 2 or 3.

Some of the courses that you may take, while in your clinical psychology graduate program:

  • Research in Learning and Behavior
  • Theories of Learning
  • Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Health Psychology
  • Community Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Human Sexuality

University of Southern California (Los Angeles)

3550 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, California 90089, (213) 740-2543, usc.edu

University of Southern California – Los Angeles is a private, research-based educational institution that was founded in 1880. Its main campus is located in downtown Los Angeles, California (UCLA). It is often called USC, and it is one of California’s oldest universities. It boasts the largest number of international students, and in 2011, it was named one of the Top 10 Dream Colleges in the United States. Approximately 21,642 graduate and professional students attended USC during the 2012-2013 academic years. The most popular majors are: business, law, social work, psychology, and medicine. The majority of undergraduate and graduate students receive financial aid.

Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

USC only offers a doctorate level (Ph.D.) clinical psychology degree. The goal of this program is to help students learn the tools and skills needed to become successfully college instructors, researchers, and/or clinical psychologists. The academic year is divided into two semesters (fall and spring). Most students take between 12 and 16 units of credit each semester. It typically takes between 3 and 6 years to complete the program, which includes a thesis/dissertation (research paper), and internship. The tuition cost/fees for this program is: $43,722 (in-state) and $59,883 (out-of-state), per year.

Admission Requirements

  • Graduate Record Exam scores
  • Research and/or counseling experience
  • Three excellent letters of recommendation
  • GPA (3.0 or higher)
  • Personal Statement
  • A B.A. or B.S. (in any field)
  • Transcript
  • Application & Application fee
  • CV/Resume

Course Curriculum

Course credits range from 1 credit to 6 credits, per class.

Some of the courses that you may take, while in your clinical psychology graduate program:

  • Elementary Statistics
  • Research Methods
  • Biological Foundations (i.e. Comparative Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Sensation and Perception, Learning and Memory, Cognitive Psychology, or Motivation and Emotion)
  • Developmental, Social, and Personality Foundations (i.e. Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Personality)
  • Cognitive Foundations (i.e. Learning, Memory, and Intelligence)

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, California 92182, (619) 594-5358, sdsu.edu

Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

A clinical psychology degree is only offered at doctoral level (Ph.D.). The goal of this program is to teach students how to take the skills they have acquired, and the tools they have been offered, and successfully apply them to their careers. The academic year is divided into two semesters (fall and spring). Typically students take between 9 and 12 units of credit each semester, and it normally takes between 3 and 6 years to complete the program, which includes a dissertation (research paper), and internship. The tuition cost/fees for this program is: $20, 540 (in-state) and $27,236 (out-of-state), per year. Graduate students can borrow up to $8,500, per year, in financial aid. The school also offers a variety of scholarships.

Admission Requirements

  • Graduate Record Exam scores
  • GPA (3.0 or higher)
  • A B.A. or B.S. (in any field)
  • Transcript
  • Application & Application fee

Course Curriculum

Course credits range from 1 to 3 credits, per class, although some are 4 credits.

Some of the courses that you may take, while in your clinical psychology graduate program:

  • Experimental Design
  • Clinical Interventions II
  • Assessment II
  • Independent Study
  • Clinical Practicum
  • Doctoral Research

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