Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology – Everything You Need to Know in 2024


A Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology is a graduate-level program that prepares students to become licensed mental health professionals who diagnose and treat individuals with emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders.

The program typically takes two to three years to complete and requires students to complete a combination of coursework, clinical training and supervised practicum experiences. Coursework typically covers topics such as psychopathology, personality assessment, cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, research methods, and ethical issues in clinical psychology.

After completing their degree, graduates can pursue their doctorate with a view to becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed professional counselor, or a licensed clinical social worker, depending on the requirements of their state.

What’s covered in a Master’s in Clinical Psychology?

Here are some of the key areas that are typically covered in the program:

  1. Psychological Assessment: learn how to administer, score, and interpret psychological tests and assessments, including intelligence tests, personality tests, and diagnostic assessments.
  2. Psychotherapy Theories and Techniques: learn about various psychotherapy approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family therapy.
  3. Psychopathology: learn about the various mental health disorders and their symptoms, causes, and treatments.
  4. Research Methods: learn about research methods and statistics as they relate to clinical psychology, including how to design, conduct, and analyze research studies.
  5. Ethical and Legal Issues: learn about ethical principles and legal requirements in clinical psychology, including confidentiality, informed consent, and mandated reporting.
  6. Clinical Practicum: gain practical experience through supervised clinical practicum experiences, work with real clients in a counseling setting under the guidance of a licensed professional.
Studying for a Master’s in Clinical Psychology can be an intense and rewarding experience. The program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of human behavior and mental health, and to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to provide effective counseling and therapy to clients. Students will learn about a range of theoretical approaches to therapy, as well as the practical skills needed to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. The program also provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience through clinical practicum and internship placements. Overall, the Master’s in Clinical Psychology program prepares students for a challenging and rewarding career in the mental health field.
Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Complete Women’s Care Center in Houston, Texas

First Year

  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Assessment and Diagnosis of Mental Health Disorders
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Humanistic and Existential Therapy
  • Psychopathology
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Practicum I

Second Year

  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Child and Adolescent Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Group Therapy
  • Substance Abuse and Addictions
  • Advanced Topics in Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Practicum II

Elective Courses

  • Trauma and Crisis Intervention
  • Multicultural Issues in Clinical Psychology
  • Couples Therapy
  • Aging and Gerontology
  • Assessment and Treatment of Personality Disorders
  • Forensic Psychology

Entry requirements for a Master’s in Clinical Psychology

  • A Bachelor’s degree: applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.
  • Minimum GPA: Most programs require a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Letters of recommendation: Programs may require 2-3 letters of recommendation from academic or professional references who can speak to the applicant’s abilities and potential as a clinical psychologist.
  • Personal statement: Applicants may be required to submit a personal statement that outlines their interest in clinical psychology, their career goals, and why they are a good fit for the program.
  • Interview: Some programs may require an interview as part of the application process to assess the applicant’s communication skills, interpersonal skills, and overall fit for the program.

How much does a Master’s in Clinical Psychology cost?

The cost of obtaining a Master’s in Clinical Psychology in the US can vary depending on several factors, including the institution, location, and type of program (online vs. on-campus).

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition and fees for a graduate program in psychology/counseling during the 2020-2021 academic year was $14,006 for in-state students at public institutions and $29,940 for out-of-state students at public institutions. For private institutions, the average tuition and fees were $29,385.

However, these figures do not include additional expenses such as room and board, textbooks, and other fees, which can add several thousand dollars to the overall cost.

Additionally, some programs may offer financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and assistantships, which can help offset the cost of tuition.

What jobs can you do with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology?

A Master’s degree in clinical psychology opens the doors to a number of mental health positions as well as acting as an educational stepping stone ahead of a doctorate degree which can then lead to various licensed psychologist positions.

Here are some common jobs that graduates may pursue:

  1. Mental Health Counselor: provide counseling and therapy services to individuals and groups with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.
  2. School Psychologist: work in K-12 schools to provide counseling and support services to students, including academic guidance, behavioral interventions, and emotional support.
  3. Research Psychologist: conduct research on a variety of topics related to human behavior and mental health, including developmental psychology, social psychology, and cognitive psychology.
  4. Neuropsychologist: diagnose and treat cognitive and behavioral disorders related to brain function, such as traumatic brain injury and dementia.
  5. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: work with organizations to improve productivity and employee well-being through programs such as employee selection, training, and development.

It is important to note that all of the above positions will require additional training, certification and licensing. Additionally, individuals with a PhD or PsyD may still be preferred. Learn more about a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

See also; jobs you can do with a master’s in psychology

How much can you earn with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology?

It’s difficult to say exactly how much you will earn with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology simply because there are so many job opportunities and because many individuals who hold a Master’s go on to obtain a Doctorate which of course skews average earning figures. That being said, here are some average salaries in the US for jobs that holders of a Master’s in Clinical Psychology typically go on to secure:

  1. Mental Health Counselor: $48,720
  2. School Psychologist: $78,200
  3. Research Psychologist: $82,180
  4. Neuropsychologist: $96,420
  5. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: $97,260