They may learn several theories and write long essays. But students in
clinical psychology programs know that without an internship, their education
would be incomplete.
Clinical psychology grads will be able to assess people to find out if
they are suffering from various mental or behavioral problems. These problems
could range from depression to serious mental and behavioral problems.
Generally, clinical psychology is offered at the graduate level.
Most programs are at the doctorate level.
The American Psychological Association accredits graduate clinical psychology
programs. Check its website for a list of accredited universities.
"We get about 150 applications a year," says Irv Binik. He is a member
of a clinical psychology faculty. His school offers a joint master's and doctoral
program in clinical psychology. "We take eight to 10 students, so the competition
is very tough."
A bachelor's degree in psychology with relevant clinical psychology
courses will help you stand out.
Binik says if you have a bachelor's degree in a field other than psychology,
you may still be able to get into the graduate program. But it's best if your
degree is in a related field, such as biology or even computer science.
All graduate clinical psychology applicants will need to show excellent
marks and excellent letters of recommendation.
Rod Martin is the clinical program director at a university. He says applicants
must have above-average grades and a strong interest in research. They also
need a desire to help people with psychological problems.
"We also look for people who have good interpersonal skills and who are
well-adjusted psychologically," he says.
Undergraduate courses might include psychological statistics, human behavior
and intelligence and child development.
In graduate school, clinical psychology students may take courses in diagnostic
methods, psychological theories, advanced statistics, development and language
and health psychology.
Clinical psychology programs generally include a practicum (internship).
It could be in a general hospital, psychiatric hospital or rehabilitation
David Renjilian is an associate professor of psychology at Marywood University
in Pennsylvania. He says many students are unaware of the scientific nature
of clinical psychology. It's important that they concentrate on math and
science in high school, he says.
He adds that virtually any extracurricular activity can provide students
with valuable experience.
"Simply participating in a team sport or playing in the marching band can
teach students quite a bit about human behavior, group process and conflict
To work as a clinical psychologist, you will need to be licensed.
You'll have to pass the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards'
exams and meet other state requirements.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see Psychologists
Scholarly Psychology Resources on the Web
This page will get you information to fuel your studies
The Social Psychology Network
A sites devoted to psychological research and teaching
Clinical Psychology Links
Links related to a variety of clinical problems, therapy, mental
health organizations and more