Best psyd programs in california

Psychology explores human behaviors, the elements that drive human conduct, and how these actions influence personal and professional interactions. By studying psychology, students gain insight into the human mind, learning about themselves and others.

A degree in psychology trains learners to think critically, analyze, and implement the scientific method. Students learn psychological concepts, theories, and processes. They also explore conscious and unconscious human behavior.

Right here on infolearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on top apa accredited psyd programs, online psyd programs, psyd programs in los angeles and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

What is a PSYD Program?

PsyD is an acronym that stands for Doctor of Psychology. This is a degree that prepares students for clinical practice and leadership roles in mental health.

Written as PsyD or EdD, this degree program was introduced in the 1970s as an alternative for students who were less interested in conducting ongoing psychological research and more interested in providing psychological services to patients and the public.

It is totally different from the Doctor of Philosophy programs which is the highest peak of academic achievement popularly known as Ph.D. for Psychologists who tow the educational field.

The PsyD program in California is designed to last for about four years after which students can now write state licensure exams.

Upon passing these exams, students can now proceed to work as psychologists in mental health care centers.

In summary, the Doctor of Psychology degree program training model is on the application of this knowledge for direct clinical intervention.

Basically, the PsyD program explores the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, as well as cognitive and emotional impairments in which psychological approaches may be of use.

What Can You Do with a PSYD?

You probably know that those with a PSYD are called Doctors of Psychologists. But do you really understand the amazing job opportunities for you if you get this degree? Actually, if you find the right program for you and complete your coursework, then, you should get your license.

Basically, earning a PsyD in clinical or counseling psychology avails you an opportunity to conduct psychological tests as well as provide counseling services.

Definitely, you can choose where to work once you have your license and you understand your job.

Graduates of PSYD programs can choose to be consultants for private companies or organizations. Others may decide to counsel in military outlets and other mental health clinics.

In addition to this, PSYD graduates may get an employment offer from hospitals, rehabilitation centers, government agencies, and even schools. In other words, with a PSYD, you can work as any of the following:

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • School Psychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Counselor
  • School Psychologist

Are PSYD Programs Hard to Get Into in California?

Well, getting admission into great colleges in California generally is no piece of cake. Most of these colleges have very low acceptance rates which makes them very competitive.

However, students who meet up with admission requirements for a PsyD program stand a higher chance. Most times they gain admission easily without running helter-skelter. So, it won’t necessarily be nice to say that it is hard to get into a PSYD program.

You should probably be concerned with getting all the relevant documents slated in the admission requirement list of the school you are applying to. The next paragraphs will itemize the admission requirements of a PsyD program.

PsyD is a terminal degree to become a Doctor of Psychology.

Admission Requirements for a PSYD Program

The admission requirements for a Doctor of Psychology degree varies and absolutely the decision of the school to make.

However, most PSYD programs will require students to exhibit some character traits, and some academic achievements as well as background understanding of some relevant subject matters.

This article will discuss the admission requirements for the best accredited PSYD programs in California. Although, most schools will require students sending an application for a PsyD program to submit the following:

  • Online application form and fee
  • Master’s (possibly bachelor’s)
  • High GPA
  • Good scores on the GRE or other tests
  • Essays
  • Interviews
  • Letters of Recommendation

How Long is a PsyD Program?

Depending on the institution, Doctoral level programs take a minimum of four years to complete. In California, most accredited PSYD programs may last for up to six years.

PsyD was introduced to complement the Ph.D. in Psychology program. Hence, the program focuses on allowing you to apply your knowledge in a practical setting though, you may be required to conduct some researches anyway.

However, Ph.D. in Psychology because of its need for extensive research may last for five to eight years.

How Much Does a PsyD in California Cost?

Depending on school and mode of class, the cost of earning a doctoral degree in CA may vary. Other factors that may affect how much you pay for a PsyD in California include, type of school and scholarships available.

There are basically, fully-funded scholarships that may exonerate you from paying a dime while attending a PsyD program. Also, attending a private school will definitely, demand you pay higher than if you were to enroll for a PsyD program in a public school.

Generally, the cost of obtaining a PsyD in California may be as high as $270,000 or over $900 for schools that charge per credit fee.

How Much Do Doctors of Psychology Make?

Generally, how much PsyD makes will be greatly influenced by location, organization, and probably years of experience. Psychologists have been listed in most rankings of most lucrative jobs. Across the globe, the job outlook and need for these professionals keep growing.

Currently, according to, the average take home for a Psychologist is about $79,000 while a clinical director which is likely to be a Doctor of Psychology is above $82,000.

In California, a clearer view of how much PSYD’s make will be better understood when areas of specialization are taken into consideration. Most Neurology and Forensic Doctors of Psychology tend to earn more than those in mental health facilities.

In summary, in their recent reports states that PsyD’s in California earn anywhere between $115,270 and $142,368 annually.

Best psyd programs in california

1. California Lutheran University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology 

The California Lutheran University offers one of the most affordable PsyD programs in the city. The degree curriculum is designed to accommodate all the biological aspects of behavior, ethics, diagnostic interviewing, group psychotherapy, and social psychology.

This PsyD program is fully accredited by APA and can be completed in 5 years. Students, however, must complete a second-year project or competency exam, qualifying exams, and dissertation.

The program allows students to have the best clinical experiences which include internal practicums at Cal Lutheran clinics, external practicums, and full 1-year internships.

Located in Oxnard, students should expect to pay $28,560 as an average cost. According to the school, its PsyD program upholds and furthers the values and behaviors of California Lutheran University that advance respect, equity, inclusion, and social justice for all persons.

California Lutheran University acceptance rate has been 71.4% since 2020. This has placed them to be among the best accredited psyd programs in the world.

According to US News, the California Lutheran University was ranked #10 in Regional Universities West, 7 in Best Colleges for Veterans, and #22 in Best Undergraduate Teaching.

2. Alliant International University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology

The California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University generally, takes on a systematic approach to train students for becoming advocates in the treatment of individual and social problems.

Its school of psychology at Fresno, and Sacramento all lay strong emphasis on the clinical skills needed to apply research knowledge to practice with diverse populations across various health settings.

This PsyD program can be completed within five years. However, students must complete a minimum of 90 academic units within three years for full-time or four years for part-time.

In addition, fourth-year students must take a one-year compulsory internship before graduation.

Alliant International University acceptance rate has been 66.7% since 2020. This has placed them to be among the best accredited psyd programs in the world.

The program is fully accredited by APA, COA, and WASC. PsyD programs at this institution cost an average of $31,985.

3. Azusa Pacific University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Azusa Pacific University is a private institution in California. Basically, as a Christian institution, the school combines education with true service to God. Currently, the school ranks 173 in the best college in the nation by the US news and world report.

Its School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences equips leaders through accredited doctoral programs.

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology lays emphasis on the Systems Approach (Family Psychology), Integration of Faith/Spirituality into Clinical Practice, and diversity. 

The institution is accredited by the  WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) while its PsyD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association.

4.  University of La Verne’s Psy.D program in Personal Psychotherapy.

This is one of the best accredited PsyD programs in California. The institution was founded in 1891 and currently has over four colleges. Currently, the school ranks 50 in Best Value Schools and 136 (tie) in National Universities according to USnews World Report.

The acceptance rate for its PsyD program is quite low as it takes in only 10 to 14 students yearly for the program. Accredited by APA, COA, and WASC, the institution offers a program for doctors of psychology which can be completed in five years.

To complete this program, students are expected to complete a 120 semester hour program that emphasizes a commitment to fostering self-awareness as well as an experiential understanding of the psychotherapeutic process.

Basically, applications are only accepted from students who have completed 20 hours of personal psychotherapy before commencing their pre-doctoral internship.

To graduate from this PsyD program, students must complete clinical practice of not less than 1500 hours though students may choose to opt for an elective practicum in their fourth year.

On average, students may pay as high as $31,160 as tuition. Well, the program allows students to get value for their money.

According to, the University of La Verne ranked #82 of 630 as the Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America and #98 of 757 as the Best Colleges for Anthropology and Sociology in America

5. Pepperdine University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology

As a coeducational, not-for-profit private university, the cost of earning a PsyD program is quite on the high side. However, it has an affliation with churches of Christ which makes its curriculum design more endearing.

The institution’s PSYD program can be completed in four years and its curriculum is designed to cover dissertation research that prepares students to become professors of psychology.

Students must complete 82 units to graduate from this PsyD program which exposes them to evidence-based treatment and assessment. At the end of this program, students may graduate to become counseling psychologists, school psychologists, or even clinical psychologists.

Currently, the institution ranks #39 in Best Value school and 143 in clinical Psychology according to US news. To gain this PsyD degree, students may pay as much as $31,775. This Program is APA accredited and the school boasts 100 percent licensure for all students.

6. California Southern University’s Psy.D. Program

The California Southern University located in Irvine California offers one of the best and most popular accredited degrees in California. Interestingly, this program is quite asynchronous and allows students to accelerate classes and be completed at their own pace.

This program is fully accredited by the DEAC and requires students to present a transcript that shows they have completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology or a very closely related field.

The institution charges per credit and students are expected to take a minimum of 66 credits at 395 for each credit. Basically, the course is designed to aid students to meet up the educational requirements for licensure in California.

At the end of the program, students will be exposed to theoretical and practical methodologies.

7. University of California PSYD Program

Located in Berkeley, the institution is known in the States and across the globe for its outstanding performance in courses like electrical engineering & computer sciences, economics, political science, business administration, and psychology.

It offers a Doctor of psychology program which is one of the best in California. Basically, the program curriculum is designed to aid students to enter the mental health field successfully. To complete this course, students are expected to take 12-15 units of credit each semester.

For full-time students, this program can be completed within 3 -6 years though they must submit a dissertation and a one-year internship program.

Accredited by APA, COA and WASC, students may pay a tuition of $37,940 (in-state) and $53,042 (out-of-state) annually.

8. Fuller Theological Seminary

This seminary is a diverse community with a strong foundation in the Christain doctrine. It is basically, one of the lodes seminary schools offering a Christian-based clinical psychology program.

Outside of a university program, this institution’s PsyD program is the first to receive full accreditation from APA. In fact, it ranked 164 in the US when it comes to the best graduate psychology schools.

Its school of psychology offers a PsyD program that is designed to cover general and clinical psychology, theology, integration of theology, and psychology. The program can be completed on a full-time basis within five years and students must complete research work to graduate.

This research work must cover your experience from your internship placement in a research lab. This PsyD program is one of the best in California because students get to be placed at a training center where they complete a pre-internship practicum.

It is important to note that this program lays a high emphasis on on-field training, students gain clinical experience at the eight local community programs operated by the campus Psychological Center and placements in the Greater LA area.

9. Loma Linda University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Loma Linda is a Seventh-day Adventist private educational institution devoted exclusively to health sciences with more than 4,000 students.

This school of psychology is designed to offer a PsyD program that is to allow students to get all the exposure they need to excel in the mental health field

In fact, the school’s PsyD program merges psychopharmacology with spirituality in clinical psychology as well as personality assessment.

The PsyD program incorporates a solid foundation in scientific research methodology, training in the application of research to cases, and preparation for clinical proficiency.

Before graduation, the school offers students an opportunity to work with clients in the on-campus psychology clinic through the second and third years.

In their fourth year, students complete a culminating internship at Loma Linda University medical center. this program is fully accredited by APA-COA and WASC.

10. Biola University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Located near Los Angeles in the sunny Southern California town of Biola, Biola University is one of the leading Christian universities in the nation. Through its Rosemead School of Psychology, the school offers one of the best fully accredited Psyd programs in Clinical psychology.

As a Christian university, its PsyD program allows students to learn to nurture the whole person spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and professionally within clinical settings. The program also allows students to take up and function effectively in leadership positions.

You can complete Biola University Psyd program within four to five years. To complete this program, students must complete a dissertation or engage in a year-long doctoral research seminar. This, however, doesn’t dispute the fact that students must also pass a proficiency exam on clinical research.

Online psyd programs

Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University Online PsyD

Alaska Pacific University offers students a Doctor of Psychology program, in large part to respond to a need in the state of Alaska for more higher-level training programs. The curriculum culminates in a dissertation on a topic of personal interest and passion.

This online psychology degree program design meets the educational requirements for licensure as a psychologist in Alaska.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? None
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • A program designed to help working professionals pursue doctorate despite restraints of traditional programs.
  • Hands-on experience through the required internship lets students apply newly gained knowledge and theory.
  • Deep understanding of evidence-based practices and how to use them in clinical settings.

Alliant International University

PsyD Building

Alliant International University provides students the opportunity to pursue a Doctor of Psychology in Educational Psychology. Course design mixes online and in-person components for an interactive, flexible learning environment. This program also ends with a final project in an area of professional and personal passion.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Education Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? PPS credential in school psychology

Expected Outcomes

  • Advanced skills in education psychology, in areas such as law, ethics and equity, psychopharmacology, multicultural counseling, and consultation.
  • Ability to conduct research in applied settings.
  • Career paths include: Educational Psychologist, Social Worker, Policy-Maker

California Southern University

PsyD colleges

California Southern University offers students an online applied program for the Doctor of Psychology. This degree focuses on clinical psychology knowledge, as opposed to academic research. Rather than a traditional dissertation, CSU’s curriculum ends with a doctoral project focused on a topic that you are personally passionate about.

This program also meets the educational requirements for licensure in California. Past students have gone on to obtain their license to practice psychology.

At a glance

  • Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? None
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s; Master’s (in related field)

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • Deeper cultural and social knowledge related to the effect of diversity on the client’s symptoms.
  • Attention paid to professional and personal development, especially aimed at developing ethical, empathetic practitioners.
  • Earn skills in communication and critical thinking that can aid solution development.

Capella University

Psychology students walking on campus

Capella University offers students a Doctor of Psychology with a Clinical Psychology Specialization. The program centers on creating a combination of online coursework and in-person experiences to optimize the learning environment. Residencies and internships work to enhance the skills students learn in other coursework. A dissertation concludes the curriculum, but at Capella, dissertation mentors offer support and guidance during this process.

The Doctor of Psychology program at Capella offers numerous opportunities to begin preparing students for licensure. Residencies, practicums, and internships all offer places for students to apply their skills in the real world. In addition, Capella offers a support team to guide current students and alumni through the clinical psychology licensing process.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? Yes
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s and Master’s

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • Ability to provide effective psychological interventions to clients after careful assessment of needs.
  • Select, administer, and interpret proper psychological tests.
  • Career paths include: Clinical Psychology, Clinical Manager, Clinical Therapist

Meridian University

Meridian University PsyD

Meridian University offers students a Doctor of Psychology focused on Clinical Psychology. At some point during the program, students are required to have experience in personal therapy. Core, clinical psychology and research-based courses all lead to a solid foundation for professional practice.

This program also meets the educational requirements for licensure in California. It also meets the requirements for the California Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), following additional fieldwork.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? Clinical Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s or Master’s

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • Develop professional leadership abilities and engage fully with the profession.
  • Use appropriate psychological assessments based on knowledge of clients’ personal and cultural differences.

Touro University

Touro University PsyD

Touro University offers students a Doctor Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology. This program is specifically designed to help professionals learn the skills and obtain the tools necessary for their individual fields. The programs culminate in a dissertation designed alongside experienced faculty.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Human and Organizational Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s; Cumulative GPA of 3.4

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • Implement evidence-based solutions in the chosen profession using new skills and tools.
  • Technology and learning opportunities to further professional skills.

University of Arizona Global Campus

university of arizona online psyd

The University of Arizona Global Campus offers students a Doctor Psychology (PsyD) through online study.

You can choose from one of the following specializations: Criminology and Justice Studies, Educational Leadership, Health and Wellness Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, or Sport and Performance Psychology.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Six offered
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s; Cumulative GPA of 3.0


  • Offers 6 to 9 week online courses
  • Wide-range of specializations available

Walden University

Best PsyD Programs

Walden University offers students a Doctor of Psychology program in Behavioral Health Leadership. The curriculum focuses on the skills and tools necessary to improve the quality of behavioral health and mental health services. Courses integrate case studies as interactive learning tools to help students apply the skills they learn to real-world issues. Two separate residencies also shape this program: an in-person consulting skills retreat and a virtual doctoral project residency, which aids the completion of a capstone course.

At a glance

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Choose from specializations in Teaching, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Health Psychology, Public Health, Healthcare Management, or International Practice
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s; Cumulative GPA 3.0; 3+ years professional and/or academic experience (preferred)

Benefits & Expected Outcomes

  • Gain skills in areas necessary for licensed and practicing behavioral health professionals, including leadership, management, financial management and procurement, instruction and training, and program evaluation.
  • Gain skills necessary to seek leadership or management positions in public or private organizations.
  • Career paths include: Behavioral Health Leader, Administrator, Project Manager

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