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The Ultimate Guide to Applied Psychology Doctoral Programs

The Ultimate Guide to Applied Psychology Doctoral Programs

If you’re interested in psychology and want to pursue a career beyond a bachelor’s degree, a doctoral program in applied psychology could be the perfect fit for you. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about applied psychology doctoral programs – from what they are, to the different types available, to how to choose the right one for your goals.

What is an Applied Psychology Doctoral Program?

An applied psychology doctoral program is a graduate program designed to prepare students to apply their knowledge of psychology to real-world settings. These programs are typically research-intensive and involve a combination of coursework, practical experience, and original research.

Types of Applied Psychology Doctoral Programs

There are several types of applied psychology doctoral programs, each with their own unique focus and requirements. Some of the most common types include:

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is focused on assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental health disorders. Students in clinical psychology programs typically gain experience working with patients across a variety of settings, from hospitals and clinics to private practices.

Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychology is similar to clinical psychology, but with a greater focus on helping people reach their life goals and improve their overall well-being. In addition to working with individuals dealing with mental health challenges, counseling psychologists often work with people facing stresses related to work, relationships, and other important areas of life.

Organizational Psychology

Organizational psychology is focused on applying psychological principles to the workplace. Students in organizational psychology programs typically study topics like employee motivation, teamwork, and leadership, and may go on to work as human resources professionals, consultants, or in-house psychologists for businesses and other organizations.

School Psychology

School psychology is focused on improving the academic and social outcomes of children and adolescents. Students in school psychology programs typically work with students, families, and teachers in educational settings to help address issues like learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and social challenges.

Choosing the Right Program for Your Goals

When deciding on an applied psychology doctoral program, there are several factors to consider. Some of the most important include:

Program Focus

Different programs may have different areas of emphasis, so it’s important to choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. Consider the research interests of the faculty, the courses offered, and the types of research opportunities available to students.


Location may be particularly important if you plan to continue working while you complete your doctoral program. Consider factors like the proximity to potential internship sites, the cost of living in the area, and the types of clinical or research opportunities available in the surrounding area.

Program Length and Time Commitment

Doctoral programs in applied psychology typically take several years to complete, and involve a significant time commitment. Consider whether you’re prepared to dedicate that level of time and effort to your education, and whether the program’s schedule and format will work for you.


Pursuing an applied psychology doctoral program can open up many exciting career opportunities in a variety of fields. By carefully considering your goals, interests, and the various factors involved in choosing a program, you can make an informed decision that sets you on the path to success.