Best Grad school for Psychology

Good Evening,

Currently completing my Undergrad degree in University of Colorado Boulder, found out that CU Denver does not offer any master program in psychology anymore, only phd or clinical. Trying to see if i should get my PHD right after I get my undergrad or see other options for Grad school. What is your feedback on this? What jobs of field do you recommend me focusing in? As I want to make sure i am not working for a company that is not going to benefit me in getting in for master or PHD Program.

Thank you

Best for what specialty in Psych?

And, I assume you know, the top Unis (“best”) for a PhD generally don’t offer a terminal Master’s program. And to get into a top PhD program, you need research on your application.


I am confused. It seems you wanted a masters and now you are considering a PhD? Do you have an area of interest?

Do you want to be a school psychologist? If yes, you can get a masters in school psychology. This would allow you to be an administrator of a child study team, do testing, IEP meetings, counseling etc. There is no “best” grad school for this career. Find one that you like and that seems interesting to you.

If you want a PhD you will need research. Have you researched what this degree entails in terms of prerequisites, experiences, which faculty members are accepting students? Have you looked into the research that professors are doing and how they tie into your research interest, availability of potential mentors etc? What type of work are you looking to do? Are you looking to work in research, academia etc? Do you only want clinical practice? Some PhD programs include clinical practice while others do not. Do you prefer a psyd/have you looked at the differences between a PhD or a psyd?

Would you consider a masters in social work? You can work for many of the same agencies and an MSW will allow you to do counseling. You can also get a masters in counseling.

I think the first step here is to determine what type of career you would like, what you are interested in doing etc. There is really no rush to head straight to grad school. It is ok to take a year or 2 to work for an agency or hospital while you figure it out. You might want to look into research positions. While gaining valuable experience you can take a look at all of the degrees that schools have to offer and see what sparks your interest. There are different degrees within psych, different paths you can take.

PhD programs are very competitive. I just looked at Boulder and it looks like their acceptance rate is 1-4%. You really need to take the time to become a competitive applicant if this is the path you are choosing (not suggesting you are not).


I think that this is exactly correct.

As I understand it there are a range of things that you can do with a degree in psychology. Most of them require a graduate degree of some kind. However, what sort of graduate degree you should aim for will depend upon what you want to do with your career in the future.

You could get a master’s degree in social work, or a master’s degree in counseling (I forget what that is called), or a PhD in psychology, or an MBA, or a master’s degree in marketing. If you have completed the premed requirements and gotten the appropriate clinical experience then an MD is possible, perhaps leading to being a psychiatrist. There are lots of possible paths forward, but you need to figure out where you want to end up before you decide how to get there.

I think that this is also exactly correct (I wish that I could upvote the previous response twice). It is very common for students to take a year or two or three or four off after getting a bachelor’s degree before continuing with graduate work. I did this, my wife did this, our older daughter did this, our younger daughter is doing this right now. Graduate degrees tend to be highly focused. It is entirely reasonable to take some time off to think about which graduate degree you want.

Then when you know which degree you want, it will be time to think about which universities might help you get there.

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I have a lot of colleagues with the ladder of Psych degrees. Will this be affordable? Most of them paid a lot of money to their graduate programs unless they were conducting clinical studies, which were funded.

Figure out what you would like to do. Research, research, and research this field and career because it runs the gamut.

Is your interest in Psychology in research, or in clinical work?

For a list of accredited programs:

And the APA has various resources regarding graduate studies and/or careers:

My my daughter is starting grad school this fall and will have worked for 4 years.

Besides saving money it gave her the opportunity to finalize what she wanted to do.

It’s very common, I agree. Many of her work colleagues were doing the same.


Majoring in Psychology?
Will you have been able to take advanced courses that a doctoral program might require?

Do have a good relationship with one/some of your professors, some of whom might also be practitioners, who you could meet during office hours?

My daughter felt she was getting eye-opening advice, as far as career paths/options/outlook from one of her professors. They also helped with pointing her to specific full-year internship/practicum opportunities at other institutions in town or at practices.

Thank you everyone for your time anThank you everyone for your feedback. I apologize for not making detailed posts.

I am a sophomore studying psychology at CU Boulder and planning to graduate in May 2025. I have not decided yet which field in psychology i like to get into. My interests are Child Psychology, or research. But then I am also interested working with suicidal patients. I also love dogs and the ocean, and was trying to see if I could get certification in Oceanography. One thing that stops me is my age. I started college as a business major but then didn’t like it. After a decade I’m going back to school with a different major and my age is 41. And I would like to have my own practice or psychology center.

I called CU Denver and I was informed they do not offer a Masters program in Psychology but they offer a PHD Program. I am thinking, will it be worth it? On their program it says that it takes 5 to 8 years to get a PHD degree. It means I will be 50. I have spoken to 2 different career coaches and they said if you love it, then go for it. I used to have a blog about motivation and inspiration and my friends and family really enjoyed reading my articles. I was applying for jobs in Day Care center for special needs, but I have learned that I need to find jobs in research and labs, which is hard to get into. Yes it is very hard to get into CU Denver. But I love helping people, and am very good at communication. I don’t judge people as I believe everything really depends on the environment and experiences. I would love to become a psychiatrist but Med school is very hard. Whatever field I would choose, I like to tell people not to lose hope and help them to be that mentor. I got many compliments that I would be a great school psychologist working with children.

Any feedback will be appreciated.
d recommendation

I was hoping to find scholarships. I would not be taking loans.

Would you consider a masters in school psychology?

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If you are thinking of practicing psychology, rather than research, then another option is a PsyD (Dr. of Psychology) for Clinical Psychology. These full-year programs take 4 years, plus a clinical practicum in the 5th year, e.g.:

A PsyD program will welcome research experience, but will also value other professional experience in the field, such as counseling. In today’s dollars, 100-credits tuition would amount to $130,000, plus housing and living expenses (using Mercer’s figures).

On the other hand, if you want to shorten the required times, there are many 2-year Masters programs in Developmental Psychology where you could then pursue a career in child psychology, e.g.:

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This is going to be tough for you, financially.

If you plan on working with people, you will be doing a lot of clinical hours without pay.

I was on several rehab teams, as the speech and language pathologist in the hospitals, clinics, as well as the schools.

I have a number of friends that are school psychologists. They were all self-funded for grad school. A number of my friends who are clinical psychologists, worked in the clinics with me and funded their grad school programs with loans.

One colleague attended a for profit, Psych. school and owes $350,000. She wasn’t making the kind of money that she thought all of her degrees would bring her. She lives with her parents, husband, and her child at home and drives a truck that her Dad had to give to her. They can’t afford to buy a home.

Because you are a nontraditional student, you may be able to find someone to help you fund your program, but that’s where research comes in on your part.

Depending on the program that you enter, and the school, you may have to have at least 1200 hours of documented, unpaid work with pediatric patients, including peds/adolescents, elderly, and marriage and family patients, all without pay.

That is what some of the psychologists that I worked with were required to have for their practicum. They were then given a certificate, by the facility, noting the number of hours spent with patients, under supervision, by a licensed clinical psychologist.

Edited to add: these are strictly patient contact hours and did not include charting time, typed Medical reports/test summaries, time spent doing research with medical records, time spent consulting with colleagues, etc. All of that is on your own time, unpaid.

I think it’s admirable that you want to go into this field, at this age. I think, financially, it’s going to be a struggle if you can’t self fund.

Plus, the added expense of clothing can hit hard. You are expected to wear professional clothing in every setting, which gets expensive, but the way my friends and I got around that, was to go to consignment shops and secondhand stores. Some clinical sites will only take you if you can put in full-time work during your practicum. That means you need to bring lunches and snacks because you’ll be there all day.

And based on what you said, I think the school psychologist route is probably more realistic. Good luck!


My daughter worked for two years after college and is just about to finish her master’s degree in psychology.

Her first job after undergrad targeted a very specific institution that she strongly believed would give her an advantage for grad school. She applied for several jobs there before getting hired. She was a college junior/senior when she researched the relevant job aspect.

She knew what she was interested in studying and applied to four colleges with programs whose professors were doing work that interested her. She spent many hours researching which programs would align with her interest.

If you aren’t sure what you want to study, find work in an area that interests you and let the grad school idea simmer for a bit.


Thank you so much for your feedback. So much appreciated. I need to do more research and see if Psychology is good fit for me financially.

I was aware of professional dressing but not aware of high amount in tuition. I do not think I am willing to spend that amount of money. I need to do more research. Thank you so much for giving your input as it helped me to my research more in details. I have applied for multiple scholarship for CU Boulder Undergrad degree.

Thank you for the compliment about age factor as i do regret i had done much earlier. There was a lot going on in my health life.

Do you AI will replace psychologist or research analyst in the future?

I feel research in psychology field will interest me the most, following Suicide counselor or Child Psychology.

No. I am sure it will complement those fields, but not replace them.

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There were a LOT of people, in the middle of Covid, especially teens, who experienced a LOT of anxiety and frustration during that time. You couldn’t get into a psychologist’s office for months. Mental health counselors continue to be overwhelmed.

What the MH community discovered, during that awful time, is that people need human contact.
(They could go into “virtual” land but it wasn’t the same.) People need to interact with others, in a group or social setting and get out to meet a friend for coffee, or meet for social activities.

I think AI has become extremely complex, but I don’t see it as taking the place of a MH counselor, who is not perfect, but is one who experiences life’s struggles, as well as any other person. You need that kind of feedback too.


OP- look at the qualifications and certifications required for a number of counseling roles which are not Doctorates in Psychology.

School counseling, licensed clinical social worker, hospice professional, suicide hotline staff, children’s advocate/case worker. These are all faster and cheaper than a full on doctorate degree. All of these roles can be involved in research as part of their job depending on who employs them and what kind of grants support them.

There are lots of ways to become a mental health professional which do not require a doctorate.