Accredited Clinical Psychology Programs in Virginia [2024 Updated]

Not only is Virginia home to the likes of the University of Virginia – one of the oldest and most well-established universities in the nation – but it’s also home to dozens of other institutions of higher learning that are big, small, and in between. This variety of schools gives you the power to choose the precise type of learning environment in which to get your degree.

You can major in clinical psychology at any number of Virginia-based colleges and universities, but some are a cut above the rest. That’s where this guide comes in!

Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs in Virginia

Below, we have outlined the most popular schools offering clinical psychology graduate programs in Virginia:

  • University of Virginia
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Capella University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Virginia State University

University of Virginia (UVA)

When Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, his goal was to help advance human knowledge. In the many years since its founding, UVA has lived up to this initial goal time and time again. The university consistently ranks highly on many lists of top schools. This includes a number three ranking among public national universities according to U.S. News and World Report.

Given its academic stature, UVA attracts students far and wide. The student body – which has around 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students – is a diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds that enhance your learning experience. And with thousands of faculty and staff members on campus and online, you’ve got a network of support to help you achieve your educational goals.

Clinical Psychology Program Information

The University of Virginia’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. is a five-year residential program that includes four years of coursework and a fifth-year internship. The curriculum focuses on several facets of the study of psychology, ranging from psychological research to clinical work to training in psychological assessments and treatments.

More specifically, your training will include techniques you can use with children, adults, couples, and families to address all manner of psychological problems. You will learn clinical counseling techniques, how to use assessment tools, and explore different theoretical orientations. For example, you will get advanced training in:

  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

You will learn how to blend these and other techniques, too. Doing so is a valuable skill since not every client responds the same to every clinical approach. Likewise, you will study the science of psychology through in-depth research throughout your time in this program.

This is a cohort-based program, so you will progress through it with the same classmates. This format often yields positive working relationships with your classmates with whom you can learn and grow.

To apply to this American Psychological Association-accredited program, you must:

  • Submit an online application with the $85 application fee
  • Submit unofficial college transcripts
  • Provide a writing sample (optional)
  • Provide a resume (optional)

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

Virginia Commonwealth University was founded in Richmond in 1838. Initially, it was a medical school, but today, VCU is a public research university with many programs for undergraduates and graduate students alike. In fact, VCU has more than 140 graduate programs alone. The clinical psychology graduate program at VCU is even ranked in the top 50 in the U.S.

At VCU, you will join almost 29,000 students from across the United States and the world. In this diverse learning environment, you will take courses with small class sizes – VCU’s student-to-faculty ratio is just 17-to-1. This ensures that you get the individualized attention from your professors required to be as successful as you can in the classroom.

Clinical Psychology Program Information

Like many graduate programs in this field, VCU’s clinical psychology track adheres to the scientist-practitioner model. As such, you will gain expertise in psychological research and empirical methods while also learning clinical techniques and interventions you can utilize with clients in a therapeutic setting.

What’s more, this program focuses on the biopsychosocial model. This model recognizes that human behavior is the result of multiple factors, both internal and external, to each of us. With concentrations in child/adolescent clinical psychology as well as behavioral medicine, you can further specialize your studies to suit your career interests.

This full-time residential program requires about five to six years to complete. Your time in the program includes four to five years of study on campus plus a year-long internship at an APA-approved site. During your time on campus, you will explore topics like:

  • Psychological research methods
  • Psychological statistics
  • Clinical psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychopharmacology

Additionally, you must complete an empirical master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation to graduate. You will complete practicum experiences during your on-campus studies, too. These practica start in the fourth year and require 12-20 hours of work per week at an approved site in the Richmond area.

To apply to VCU’s program, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Graduate from a regionally-accredited institution
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Submit three letters of recommendation
  • Provide a statement of intent

Old Dominion University (ODU)

You can choose from a host of degree programs at Old Dominion University. In fact, the Norfolk campus offers more than 175 options for undergraduate and graduate students. Many degrees and programs are available on ODU’s online campus and satellite campuses throughout Virginia.

While ODU might not have the name recognition of other schools in the state, it’s still one of the largest in Virginia. With more than 23,000 students, ODU has a diverse and vibrant student body that enhances campus life. Students at ODU enjoy small average class sizes, a low student-to-faculty ratio, and plentiful on-campus and off-campus opportunities to recreate and socialize.

Clinical Psychology Program Information

The Clinical Psychology program at Old Dominion is a five-year residential degree jointly offered by Norfolk State University. This joint program is provided by the Virginia Consortium Program and is accredited by the APA.

The curriculum is structured in a 4+1 format. This means you’ll spend the first years in didactic studies, complete research, and participate in clinical practica. The final year consists of a clinical internship at an approved site. Some of the courses you will take include:

  • Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design
  • Regressional and Correlational Design
  • Human Cognition
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Personnel Psychology

As you can see from the short list of courses above, this program focuses on an integrated training approach. Between the coursework, thesis and dissertation, and clinical experiences, you will become proficient in using psychological theory, conducting research, and practicing as a clinical psychologist.

ODU’s clinical psychology program has stringent application requirements, as outlined below:

  • An application for admission
  • College transcripts from each institution you’ve attended
  • A personal statement
  • A summary of your research experiences, as well as any clinical experience or teaching you’ve done
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation

GRE scores are also required for admission to this program.

Virginia State University (VSU)

Virginia State University is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) founded in 1882. The school’s campus in Ettrick, Virginia, is on a hilltop that overlooks the Appomattox River. This beautiful setting is ideal for pursuing a higher education, whether you want to get an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree.

VSU is a small school with roughly 4,300 students. With such a small campus, you will likely find that getting to know your professors and classmates is easier than if you study at a larger university. However, just because VSU is a small school doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of variety of studies. You can study education, health sciences, agriculture, and of course, clinical psychology during your time at VSU.

Clinical Psychology Program Information

The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Virginia State is a two-year on-campus program. You will complete a curriculum that includes 45 credit hours of psychology studies and advanced coursework in clinical psychology. Some of the classes you will take include the following:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Advanced Psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy I: Theories
  • Ethics
  • Psychological Assessment

This program also requires significant research, including a master’s thesis. Clinical practicum experiences are also required to help you develop the necessary practical skills for working with clients in a therapeutic setting.

Most students who enroll in this program do so with the intention of continuing their studies in a Ph.D. or PsyD program. However, you might qualify for a licensed professional counselor credential upon completion of this program. Likewise, some psychology careers don’t require a doctoral degree, so entering the workforce after you graduate is another option.

To apply to this program, you must submit a general application to VSU as well as a supplemental application to the Department of Psychology. Furthermore, you must submit:

  • GRE scores
  • A personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation

You must also have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or higher, including a 3.0 GPA or higher in psychology or your major area. A minimum of 15 undergraduate credits of psychology are also required.

Clinical Psychology Work Opportunities in Virginia

One of the benefits of studying clinical psychology is that your knowledge and skills are applicable in many different settings with many different clients. This is ideal for a state like Virginia, which has a diverse population.

For example, you might work for a federal agency, like the Department of Health and Human Services, if you choose to live and work in the greater Washington, D.C., area. The Department of Veterans Affairs also often hires clinical psychologists to work with veterans of the armed forces.

As another example, you might work in Richmond or another large city in Virginia in a children’s hospital setting. The larger cities in Virginia also offer the potential of working in psychiatric facilities, inpatient treatment centers, juvenile facilities, and rehabilitation centers for people with drug and alcohol abuse problems.

As a clinical psychologist in Virginia, you can also start a private practice. While running a practice is a lot of work, you can set your rates, determine your hours, and choose the type of therapies and treatments you provide. You can even specialize in working with specific populations, like children with autism, women who have been physically abused, or older adults with dementia.

Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.