Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

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Updated January 4, 2023

Looking for the best Doctorate Degree in Psychology in California? You should consider these top-tier PhD programs and jobs in the psychology field.

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Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

Earning a Doctorate in Psychology in California

The best degrees in California for psychology offer a balance of practical skills and theory. With a doctoral degree, graduates are prepared to enter the workforce and pursue diverse careers. Doctoral degree-holders possess the skills needed to move into advanced roles.

With a doctorate, unemployment is 1.5%, while with a high school diploma it is 6.2%.

Psychology PhD Programs for You

Working and Living in California in the Psychology Profession

Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. It is a science that aims to understand how people think, feel, and behave. A psychology degree can open up many doors in terms of career opportunities. Many graduates with a psychology degree go on to become psychologists, but there are several other jobs that are also well-suited for psychology majors. Most psychology programs cover various topics, including but not limited to the history of psychology, theoretical perspectives in psychology, research methods in psychology, and developmental psychology. Some of the most common jobs for psychology degree-holders include psychologist, counselor, and social worker.

The average annual wage in California is $47,920, or $23.04 per hour. This number applies to a total of 16,529,810 employees in California. The BLS reports that the lowest 10% of earners take home $29,780, and the highest 10% of earners take home $130,430. The following shows the typical earnings for psychologists in California.

Key

Psychologists in California
Psychologists Nationally
All Occupations in California
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Psychologists in California and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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In terms of cost of living, California is ranked number 49 among 51 states (including Washington D.C.). An index measuring the cost of living in specific places within the United States is known as the cost of living index. The U.S. average is 100, and all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive). California's cost of living index is 139.8, which is 39.8% higher than the national average. Compare the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, and more in California.

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During this decade, the number of psychologists is projected to grow 2%. It is projected that the number of these professionals will change from 55,200 in 2020 to 56,300 in 2030. You need a doctorate to qualify for these positions.

Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

#1 Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

Stanford University

  • Stanford, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The psychology Ph.D. program at Stanford University ranks as one of the best degrees in the psychology field. With flexible enrollment options, the private school helps degree-seekers earn a doctorate. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

The psychology program requires doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates choose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. A doctorate in psychology trains graduates for roles in research, academia, and leadership.

Online doctoral students can pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. Contact the psychology program to learn more about the enrollment process and start dates.

Stanford University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 903

Online Master's Programs: 11

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $52,479

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,473
Out-of-state
$55,473
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
5%
Students Enrolled
15,953
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The psychology Ph.D. program at the University of California-Los Angeles uses an online learning format. At the public institution, degree-seekers take doctoral classes in a flexible format. Doctoral students participate in career advising and gain research skills.

In the psychology program, learners complete doctoral coursework and strengthen advanced skills. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete a dissertation that contributes original research to the field. With a psychology doctorate, graduates work in academia, research positions, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

University of California-Los Angeles at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 2,153

Online Master's Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,442

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
14%
Students Enrolled
44,589
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-Berkeley

  • Berkeley, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The psychology Ph.D. program at the University of California-Berkeley appeals to doctoral students seeking an online route to their degree. The public university offers flexible enrollment options for degree-seekers. Doctoral students receive research support throughout the program.

During the psychology program, learners complete advanced coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates propose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. A doctorate in psychology prepares graduates for careers in academia, research, and leadership.

Online doctoral students at the accredited institution qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

University of California-Berkeley at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 2,342

Online Master's Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,442

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
17%
Students Enrolled
42,327
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-San Diego

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The psychology Ph.D. program at the University of California-San Diego offers a flexible route to a doctorate. The public university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a convenient format. Doctoral students conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

In the psychology program, graduate learners complete advanced classes. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete an original dissertation that contributes to the field. With a psychology doctorate, graduates work in academia, research positions, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students qualify for several forms of financial aid at the accredited institution. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about the enrollment process and start dates.

University of California-San Diego at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 398

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,442

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
39,576
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Doctoral Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-Davis

  • Davis, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The psychology Ph.D. program at the University of California-Davis offers a doctorate in an online learning format. Thanks to the flexible format, the public institution makes it easier to complete a doctorate. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

Learners take doctoral classes in the psychology program. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation. With a psychology doctorate, graduates work in academia, research positions, and leadership roles.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the psychology program to learn more about financial aid, enrollment options, and start dates.

University of California-Davis at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,856

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,442

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
46%
Students Enrolled
39,074
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Financing a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

You can find financial aid to assist with the cost of college. Scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs help students lower the cost of college. Students may be eligible to pay for their college with federal and private loans. You should research the colleges you are interested in to find out if they offer scholarships or financial aid.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in California

There is a wide variation in the cost of education in California depending on the college or university you attend. Public and private institutions, however, share some commonalities. You can determine whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you by reviewing the information listed below.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

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The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Have you ever considered attending a private college? Private colleges often cost students more overall. Below you will find information regarding attending private colleges in California.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Have you ever considered borrowing student loans to pay for your education? You should take certain things into consideration before applying for student loans.

Find out what students typically borrow by reviewing the data below.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
On-campus programs and online programs differ primarily in terms of cost and class size. The advantage of online programs is that they are flexible, affordable, and convenient. Students who wish to receive on-campus degrees are typically more likely to pay the fees. Attending classes brings many benefits.

Top Psychology Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters
Florida Bachelors, Masters, phD
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Illinois Bachelors, Masters, phD
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, phD
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Washington Bachelors, Masters, phD

Private vs. Public

Public and private colleges show many differences. Generally, private colleges charge more than public colleges. In general, grants and scholarships help students lower the cost of education. There are usually merit scholarships available to those who demonstrate superior academic performance.

The lower student-to-teacher ratio at private colleges allows students to receive more personal interaction with faculty. A comparison of the pros and cons of attending a public versus a private institution is offered below.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

For psychologists in California, what is the annual wage?

In California, psychologists make a mean annual salary of $112,210.

Are graduates of psychology in high demand or not?

The total number of psychologists is projected to grow by 2% from 2020 to 2030.

Can I get an online doctorate in psychology?

A doctorate in psychology is possible to obtain online. As a matter of fact, most schools provide at least some of their courses online in today's climate.

How long does it take for you to complete a doctoral degree?

Typically, full-time students complete a doctorate in 4-6 years. The completion time will vary from student to student, but part-time students will take longer to complete the program.

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