Skip to content

What to expect in a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program

Pursuing a doctoral education in psychology is an exciting step in your academic career. Here’s what you should expect during your program.

A Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program can help unlock career options in professional practice, academia, and consultation. If you’re considering beginning this educational journey, you’re likely wondering what you can expect along the way. Read below to discover some of the things you can look forward to.


More practice, less research

The doctorate of psychology (Psy.D.) was created as a practice-based alternative to the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), which historically prioritizes research. This is why you will find that generally speaking, Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology programs are designed to advance a graduate’s understanding of how to provide tangible psychological services.

At The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology programs follow the Engaged-Practitioner model, training primarily for field practice in combination with a secondary focus on scholarship. Additionally, students in these programs usually have the opportunity to choose major and minor areas of study, coupled with as many as three years of practicum to prepare for their APA-required internship.

The years spent in practicum provide essential hands-on experience for aspiring practitioners. Psy.D. programs offer this experience to better help prepare graduates for their clinical careers—something Ph.D. graduates often will not expect from their programs.


Expertise for the clinic and the classroom

Despite prioritizing practice, Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology programs can still prepare students for a successful future in academia. It’s common for Psy.D. graduates to become adjunct professors in addition to their clinical practice. So, if you are worried that the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program you are interested in may hinder you from entering academia, fear not! Psy.D. graduates can expect to apply their degrees in clinical practice, through teaching, or even do both.


4-6 years to completion

Spending fewer years in the classroom is another thing to expect. In general, a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program can take 4 to 6 years to complete.

At The Chicago School, for example, students can usually expect to spend about five years in the program, although this time can vary depending on each person’s specific circumstance. The time period also includes the APA-accredited internship.


Greater student accommodation

Psy.D. programs are generally able to admit more students than Ph.D. programs at other schools. This is because Psy.D. programs are often housed within schools concentrated on psychology, as opposed to schools that admit doctoral students to a wide range of programs.

The Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology is The Chicago School’s legacy program. It was our first program ever offered in 1979, which has allowed us to expand our offering of accredited Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology programs at campuses around the U.S. and provide greater access to this type of education to a wide range of applicants.

Are you interested in learning more about clinical psychology programs available at The Chicago School? Fill out the form below to request more information or you can apply today through our application portal.


The Chicago School


Looking for updates, press releases, and general news from The Chicago School?



For questions or comments on our news stories or releases, or if you are a reporter who would like to speak with an expert, please contact:

Victor Abalos, Director of Communications
(213)615-7270 (office)
(818)321-5371 (mobile)
[email protected]
Lisa Riley, Communications Manager, Chicago
(312) 410-8963 (office)
(312) 646-9130 (mobile)
[email protected]