PhD in Psychology- Admission, Duration, Universities, Opportunities, Jobs and Salary

Psychology is a field studying the human mind and behavior. One with a PhD degree in clinical psychology, pure psychology or social psychology can earn up to $90,000 per annum in USD. 

Doubtlessly, Psychology is one of the most demanding and highly valuable fields of study. The qualities and opportunities for a PhD in psychology are more valuable than other doctoral programs.

Related article: PhD in Biology- Admission Process, Requirements, Fees, Duration, Job opportunities, Salary and Universities.

What is psychology? 

Psychology is a field of science that focuses on the study of the human mind behavior and related consequences. Though the subject psychology is most recent but the term broadly used to study the brain by either structuralism or functionalism. 

The term has existed since 500BC. Wilhelm Wundt had explained psychology in terms of structuralism by correlating the brain functions and mental processes by brain structure. 

Although, functionalism is totally a different thing explained by William James. He had stated that the brain structure is rapidly changing and not correlated with the functions. 

American psychology society defines the term psychology as “the study of human mind, brain and behavior.”

Due to the wide range of applications of psychology it is divided into so many interdisciplinary branches like the:

Clinical psychology
Cognitive psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Forensic psychology
Developmental psychology
Occupational psychology
Sport psychology

Although all psychology PhD programs are high in demand, the forensic, occupational and clinical psychology are the most popular. 

PhD in psychology: Admission process

The admission process of PhD in psychology is also similar to other courses conducted by universities. 

However, the candidate did some research or completed the research aptitude test or JRF are highly prioritised. 

Admission to the psychology PhD is based on the marks or grades of master’s degree and the score of the entrance exam aptitude test conducted by the university. 

The process of as followed

  • Completion of entrance exam or M Phil
  • Personal interview 
  • Research proposal 
  • Selecting a guide 
  • Completion of course work

(note that if you fail to complete any of the steps listed above, your admission cant be accepted).

Eligibility criteria and requirements:

A student willing to do PhD in psychology must have completed a master’s degree in psychology or related interdisciplinary fields such as occupational, evolutional, clinical or forensic psychology. 

  • 55% or above marks average of all four semesters. Or more than 3.0 overall GPA
  • M Phil in psychology, if needed 
  • NET, GATE, SLATE or any other entrance university level entrance exam.
  • A good score in IELTS or TOEFL or GRE. 
  • Transcript 
  • Letter of recommendation. 

Minimum 5 years of experience in teaching/ research and profession work in psychology in case of Psyd. 

Although both the PhD in psychology and Psyd is different, you can read our article on it: PhD in psychology vs Psyd. 

Note that some of the criteria may change based on the requirement of the university. 


Course name Doctorate of psychology or PhD in psychology
Admission criteria Minimum a master’s degree with 55% or M Phil
Type of course Semester system 
Duration 3 to 7 years 
Course fees Based on the university criteria 
Salary scale High up to 25 lacs or 1,00,000 USD
Job Research, academics, counselling and private practise

PhD in Psychology: Duration

Usually much like the other PhD programs it takes 3 years to complete it however, as PhD in psychology involve extensive research, clinical practice and internship, it may take up to 6 or 8 years to complete the PhD.

During the tenure of PhD, the whole year, a Ph.D. candidate has to invest to complete the course work. besides, the last year of their PhD period is dedicatedly allocated for the internship.

Based on their performance in internship and viva voce, the degree is awarded.

PhD in psychology: Subjects and Syllabus:

Although the PhD in psychology is more a research oriented clinical degree, a candidate have to first complete the course work in their first year and then study various subjects like the 

Clinical psychology, practicum, psychotherapy methods, advanced psychology and psychopathology and other related subjects. 

PhD in Psychology Jobs and opportunities:

Forensic, science and research, clinical practice, Teaching, sport and social science. 

Job options for PhD in psychology: 

The PhD in psychology is one of the most popular fields due to wide varieties of the career option available for a person. 

Much like the all other PhD holders the obvious and the evergreen option for them is academics. There are so many professors’ jobs available for them. They can also do Engineering psychology. 

A person with the PhD in psychology or Psy D can even open their own counselling clinic. They can start practicing in nearby hospitals as well. 

Industrial and organizational psychology can also be one of the options for the lover of industries. By achieving expertise on some skills a candidate can also get a job in forensic psychology as well. 

Some of good career option for a PhD in psychology: 

  • Forensic psychology 
  • Human psychologist 
  • Industrial-organizational psychologist 
  • Psychosocial specialist 
  • Parole officer 
  • Social service manager 
  • Rehabilitation counselor 
  • Mental counselor 
  • School-level psychologist 
  • School counselor 
  • Educational psychologist 
  • Social worker 
Major differences between PhD vs EdD.
Major differences between PhD vs EdD.

PhD in Psychology salary and Income

As we said, the present subject is the most popular and demanding and hence the pay scale and salary status are also so high. 

One with any type of PhD in psychology degree can earn between $60,000 to $2,00,000 per annum and even more.

In India, a PhD holder can earn up to 6 LPA or more in any job option listed above. 

Subject name Salary per annum 
Psychiatrist practitioner or clinical $2,00,000
Neuropsychiatric $90,500
Industrial-organizational psychologist $1,02,530
Clinical psychologist$81,000
Forensic psychologist $59,000 to $1,00,000
Sport and school level psychologist $50,000 to $55,000
Counseling psychologist $72,000
Private practitioner $1,50,000
Correctional Facility psychologist $85,000
Administrative hospital psychologist $95,000 to $1,00,000
Military $80,000
Special education teacher $53,000
Community service manager and counselor $57,000
Family and marriage therapist $45,000
Mental health counselor $39,000
Substance abuse counselor $38,000

Related article: PhD in Biotechnology, Genomics/Genetics- Salary, Jobs and Positions.

Universities for PhD in Psychology

Top PhD in psychology programs in USA: 

University Location 
Stanford university 
University of Michigan 
Yale university 
The University of California- LA
The University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign 
Harvard University 
The University of Minnesota- Twin cities 
The University of Pennsylvania 
The University of California- Berkeley 
Carnegie Mellon University 
The University of Washington 
Princeton University 
Cornelle University 
The University of Wisconsin- Madison 
Columbia University 
The University of Texas at Austin 
University of Chicago 
Indiana University Bloomington 
University of Virginia 
Ohio State University- Columbus 
University of Oregon 
The University of Colorado- Boulder 
Northwestern University 
The University of North carolina- Chapel Hill 

Top PhD in Psychology programs in India: 

University Location 
Allahabad University Allahabad
Amity University Mumbai
Awashesh Pratap Singh University Rewa, Madhya Pradesh
Banaras Hindu University Banaras
Central University of Karnataka Karnaataka
Dr Annasaheb GD Bendale Mahila MahavidyalayaMaharastra
Gauhati University Guahati
Gokul Das Hindu girls collegeMoradabad 


If you want to achieve a good career and willing to take responsibilities of your own career on your shoulder, PhD in Psychology is one of the best options for you.

You can start your own clinic, can do government jobs or can give consultancy as well.

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