Best Accredited Psychology Graduate Programs and Schools in Colorado [2024 Updated]

Colorado’s beautiful scenery, abundant recreational opportunities, and good weather are primary reasons why people are moving to the Centennial State. But Colorado has much more to offer, especially if you’re a college student.

With some of the most breathtaking college campuses in the nation, Colorado offers you the chance to get a high-quality education while enjoying the spoils of your surroundings. Campuses like the University of Colorado at Boulder consistently rank among the most beautiful, while college towns like Fort Collins rank highly for quality of life.

Psychology Graduate Programs in Colorado

If you are ready to pursue a graduate degree in psychology and want to do so in the gorgeous state of Colorado, you might consider one of the following popular schools offering graduate psychology programs in Colorado:

  • Colorado State University
  • University of Denver
  • University of Colorado – Denver
  • Grand Canyon University
  • University of Colorado – Boulder
  • Capella University
  • University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
  • Purdue Global

To find out how we select colleges and universities, please click here.

Colorado State University (CSU)

Fort Collins, home to Colorado State University, is nestled in the foothills of Colorado’s Front Range. As noted earlier, Fort Collins gets high marks for quality of life, largely due to the idyllic mountain setting with easy access to camping, biking, hiking, and other recreational opportunities.

At CSU, you can enjoy all the amenities of the outdoors while getting a high-quality education. CSU strives for small classes to help you get the individual attention you need to succeed.

At the same time, the school is dedicated to advancing your experience by focusing on inclusion and diversity. Research is also a major focus, and with almost $2 billion in recent campus improvements, you can get your degree in state-of-the-art facilities.

Graduate Psychology Programs

Colorado State offers three master’s level psychology programs, each with a different focus. They include:

  • Master of Addiction Counseling in Psychology
  • Master of Applied Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Master of Science in Psychology

The Addiction Counseling track is a two-year program during which you spend the first year on campus participating in traditional classroom activities. The second year is an off-campus addiction counseling internship that’s necessary to apply for licensure as an Addiction Counselor in Colorado.

Unlike many master’s programs, the Addiction Counseling track doesn’t require a thesis. Instead, you must successfully complete the internship experience and pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.

Meanwhile, the I-O Psychology track is a 38-credit online program that takes two years to complete if you study full-time. The curriculum focuses on applying psychology in workplace settings, including learning to conduct research and use measurement skills to solve critical work-based problems.

The I-O Psychology degree is practitioner-oriented, so you will learn foundational knowledge, study theory, and discover how to use what you have learned in research, consulting, and business settings. Furthermore, this program follows an active learning model, so you’ll work with your classmates on simulation activities, consulting, and skills development.

CSU’s Master of Science track gives you further options for completing your graduate degree. In fact, you can choose from several specialization areas, including:

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Psychology
  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology

In each specialization, you will study psychology as both a contemporary science and a profession that can be applied in various situations. You will learn about advanced topics in human behavior, including motivation, perception, cognition, and more. Each specialization also leads to a Ph.D.

University of Colorado-Denver (CU)

The University of Colorado at Denver was founded in 1973 as an urban education center. It’s part of the University of Colorado System, which has campuses throughout the state to provide easy access to higher education for all Coloradoans. Though CU Denver is part of a larger system, it offers 100 unique degree programs in its seven schools and colleges.

As a student at CU Denver, you will find an institution that focuses on three aspects of experiential education: internships, apprenticeships, and research. In other words, your graduate studies in psychology won’t take place in the vacuum of a classroom. Instead, you will have ample opportunities to take advantage of the university’s partnerships with local organizations to get real-world experience in practicing psychology.

Graduate Psychology Programs

CU Denver’s Department of Psychology offers a single graduate program – a Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology. The training you receive is based on the scientist-practitioner model, which combines classroom studies, research, and field experiences to help you maximize your learning and your competency of practice.

As part of this program, you will learn about various psychological concepts and principles, including:

  • Evaluating and diagnosing mental health problems
  • Treating clients with mental health problems
  • Designing interventions that incorporate cultural, social, biological, and psychological factors

Additionally, you will take classes focusing on psychotherapeutic techniques, diversity issues in psychology, and conducting personality assessments.

To further your studies even more, you will complete a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation. These research-intensive activities allow you to demonstrate your understanding of broad psychological skills while gaining valuable feedback from faculty members. You must also participate in several practicum experiences and a pre-doctoral internship. A clinical competency evaluation is required as well.

This is a highly competitive program – an average of six students are admitted each year. As such, you must meet rigorous standards to apply.

University of Colorado-Boulder

As the flagship school in the University of Colorado System, UC Boulder offers academic programs and a quality of education that’s on par with some of the top universities in the nation. In fact, CU Boulder is one of only 36 public universities that are part of the Association for American Universities, a prestigious collection of leading research colleges.

CU Boulder is also the largest school in the state’s higher education system. There are more than 66,000 students at CU pursuing degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. With more than 4,000 courses to choose from, you can explore a wide range of topics as you complete the requirements for your degree. Of course, as noted earlier, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation, too!

Psychology Graduate Programs

Since CU Boulder is such a large institution, it offers the greatest diversity of graduate psychology degrees of any school on this list. There are no less than five Ph.D. specializations:

  • Behavioral, Psychiatric, and Statistical Genetics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Neuroscience

The Behavioral, Psychiatric, and Statistical Genetics specialty focuses on the environmental and genetic influences on human behavior. You will study topics like evolutionary psychology, pharmacogenetics, and developmental genetics in your analysis of behavior. What’s more, you will study diverse behaviors through a statistical genetics lens, such as:

  • Neurological diseases
  • Addiction
  • Learning disabilities
  • Psychopathology

The Behavioral Neuroscience track takes a similar approach in that you will examine the mechanisms that cause human behavior and do so at varying levels. For example, you will study behavioral influences, the neurochemical role in behavior, and the neuroanatomical underpinnings of behavior. Needless to say, neuroscience research is a central component of this specialization.

CU’s Clinical Psychology specialization is a terminal program that concludes with the conferment of a Ph.D. in psychology, though you earn a Master of Arts in Psychology along the way. This is a research-based program, and you’re expected to conduct original psychological research on a topic approved by the clinical faculty. You’ll also complete coursework and training in a host of clinical psychology applications, including, but not limited to:

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Couples and family therapy
  • Mindfulness therapy
  • Behavioral psychology

The Cognitive Psychology specialty is a fourth option for your graduate studies at CU. This track focuses on the science of psychology in research applications, the goal of which is to further the study and understanding of the brain and mind.

To do so, you’ll explore topics like executive functioning, attention, memory, and learning. What’s more, you’ll conduct this research with all manner of clients, including children, adolescents, and the aged.

Lastly, CU offers a Social Neuroscience track that culminates with a joint Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience with a specialization in social psychology. This interdisciplinary program occurs in the Center for Neuroscience and the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. There, you will acquire critical knowledge and skills pertaining to studying and applying social psychology and neuroscience principles. You will do so by:

  • Participating in rigorous coursework
  • Taking part in advanced, interdisciplinary seminars
  • Conducting original research

University of Denver (DU)

Pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Denver puts you in good company – with more than 8,000 graduate students on campus, DU actually has more graduate students than undergraduates. However, this makes sense, given that DU is the oldest private research university in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

Founded in 1864, DU has a rich tradition of academics. Its focus on top-tier coursework, research, and field experiences will give you a well-rounded education. And with well-respected programs and faculty, you can earn your degree knowing that those teaching you have a wealth of expertise to pass along.

Psychology Gradaute Programs

DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology offers two degree types to help you meet your educational goals: a Master of Arts or a Doctor of Psychology.

The Master of Arts option includes the choice of four distinct areas of specialization:

  • Forensic Psychology
  • Sport and Performance Psychology
  • Sport Coaching
  • International Disaster Psychology: Trauma and Global Mental Health

In each case, you will participate in advanced psychology studies over the course of two years. Additionally, you will have opportunities to conduct psychological research and gain real-world experience in practicum and internship placements.

Likewise, each of the Master of Arts tracks offer flexibility for specializing your training even further. For example, the Forensic Psychology option includes the opportunity to gain experiential training at the Denver Forensic Institute for Research, Service and Training (Denver FIRST), which is a top-tier forensic psychology and forensic mental health hub.

As another example, the International Disaster Psychology track includes an international internship during which you will spend eight weeks abroad working with individuals and communities that have been impacted by trauma or disaster.

Meanwhile, DU’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology option is a 135-credit program that takes about five years to complete. During your time in the program, you will participate in a wide range of activities that prepare you for general clinical practice. This includes coursework, seminars, research opportunities, and internship placements.

The program’s coursework explores topics like:

  • Research methodologies and statistical analyses
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Social psychology
  • Individual and cultural diversity
  • Therapeutic interventions

University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS)

The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs is the fastest-growing school in the University of Colorado system. What began as a small satellite campus with a few course offerings has grown into a full-fledged public university with dozens of undergraduate degrees and graduate programs and more than 12,000 students pursuing a higher education.

UCCS’ location is one of the most beautiful and spectacular that Colorado offers. The UCCS campus also has a lot to offer – students come from all 50 states and more than 80 nations to get their degrees. As such, you can study in a diverse and inclusive environment while learning from experienced faculty who are experts in their respective fields.

Psychology Graduate Programs

At UCCS, you can choose from one of two types of graduate degrees: a Master of Arts or a Ph.D.

The Master of Arts program has two tracks – one in Clinical Psychology and another in Psychological Science. In both cases, you can deepen your specialization by pursuing a sub-plan in one of three areas: trauma psychology, psychology and law, or geropsychology.

The Clinical Psychology track focuses on adult psychology and offers training that follows the Boulder scientist-practitioner model. This model recognizes the importance of both psychological science and psychological practice. As such, you will receive training in applied clinical assessment, intervention, and psychological research.

The Psychological Science track focuses more specifically on psychological research. While you will complete traditional graduate coursework in psychology, you will also take specialized courses in psychological statistics, psychological research methods, and research design.

In either case, these Master of Arts options prepare you for continuing your education in a Ph.D. program, should you desire. Neither option prepares you for licensure, though

UCCS’ doctoral program in psychology also offers two tracks: trauma and geropsychology. As these names indicate, one track focuses on working with clients who have suffered trauma, while the other specializes in working with older adults.

The trauma track offers training in the scientist-practitioner model to diagnose, assess, and devise interventions for clients that have experienced trauma from abuse, war, natural disasters, and so forth. It’s a 126-credit program that requires about five years of study to complete. Upon graduation, you’ll have the necessary qualifications to apply for licensure as a clinical psychologist.

The geropsychology track requires the completion of 120 credits of coursework, which typically requires about five years of studies plus a year-long internship. During that time, you will develop expertise in psychological principles like psychotherapy, the psychology of aging, and clinical psychology techniques for geriatric clients.

Again, this track prepares you for licensure as a clinical psychologist. Once graduated and licensed, you can work in a variety of settings, from private practice to rehabilitation centers to social service organizations.

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