Students and professor discussing around a table in a GW Psychology class


In the classroom and in the research lab, psychology graduate students gain the skills and mentoring they need to become successful clinicians, professors, health scientists, researchers, counselors and pursue other potential career paths. The department offers three doctoral degree programs: the PhD in Applied Social Psychology, the PhD in Clinical Psychology and the PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience.

While earning their degree, many students conduct a practicum or externship with a hospital or community health clinic such as the department's Meltzer Center. Some students also pursue teaching assistant positions and grant writing opportunities.

Application deadline (all graduate programs): December 1




professor and student sitting in office

PhD in Applied Social Psychology

The applied social psychology program trains students to apply social psychological theories and methods to understand and address major health problems and health disparities.

students working on laptops in the classroom

PhD in Clinical Psychology

Fully accredited by the American Psychological Association, the clinical psychology program prepares students for professional careers in prevention and treatment services.

students working on laptops

PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience

The PhD in cognitive neuroscience trains students to be independent scientists qualified to work at academic and research institutions.


Caroline Johnson headshot

Caroline Fitz Johnson

PhD ’14

"On a daily basis, I use the research and critical thinking skills I gained in graduate school to help clients achieve their goals."

Potential Career Paths

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences doctoral program graduates go on to join clinical practices and start businesses, perform research, win Fulbright scholarships, teach, consult and take their skills to companies all over the world. Our graduates have been employed at hundreds of prestigious health care facilities, universities, businesses and nonprofits, including:

  • Bloomberg
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Bryn Mawr
  • Children’s National Medical Center
  • Family Compass
  • George Washington University
  • Johns Hopkins University


  • Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Tufts University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management



Related Programs in Columbian College

GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences offers several other programs in psychology fields that are not administered by the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Contact the offering department for further information.

Professional Psychology

The doctoral program in professional psychology prepares graduate for careers as clinical psychologists in hospital, forensic and school settings.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

The doctoral program in industrial-organizational psychology immerses students in personnel selection, work motivation and organizational development.

Art Therapy

The master's program in art therapy can be applied toward credentialing as a registered art therapist or retaining state licensure.