Psychopharmacology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the understanding of how medications help treat mental disorders of all types. The field requires a deep understanding of human biology, the effects of medication on the brain and body, and the chemistry of the body and medications.

A psychopharmacologist also has to show comprehensive knowledge of the mental disorder being treated before prescribing medication. Psychopharmacologists can work in clinical settings, researching and treating clients in individual and group settings. 

Entering the field of psychopharmacology involves a lengthy educational process to obtain licensing and gainful employment. The process begins by earning an undergraduate degree, then entering into a master’s of psychopharmacology degree program before moving on to a Ph.D. or PsyD program. It’s also possible to earn a post-doctoral degree that bestows a second master’s degree in psychopharmacology, provided the student can qualify for a program.

To enter an online version of one of these programs, continue reading below.

Choosing the Right Online Psychopharmacology Degree Program

Psychopharmacology is a relatively new branch of psychology compared to the field of psychology. Prospective students must pick a pharmacology degree program that aligns with their educational and career goals. Undergraduate psychology degrees are typically accredited by an institution related to the field of study or feature regional accreditation.

The American Psychology Association accredits post-graduate degree programs to ensure that students get an education that meets the expectations of federal and state governments and the public at large. Accreditation is also important for students who plan to use student loans to pay for their education, as loans are not given to schools without accreditation. 

Bachelor's Degree

There is no specific undergraduate degree program for psychopharmacology, and a general online psychology bachelor’s degree is more than adequate for entry into a master’s of psychopharmacology program. Students who wish to enter this field as a career may want to seek out a bachelor of psychology program that features a minor or understudy in psychopharmacology to prepare for their master’s degree. Other undergraduate degrees that give students entry into the field include biology, neuroscience, bioinformatics, chemistry, health sciences, biostatistics, and pharmacology.

Just about any undergraduate degree program that teaches the understanding of mental and medical care can help a student gain access to an online master’s degree in psychopharmacology. Always check with the schools of choice before starting classes to ensure the degree is acceptable for a master’s degree program.

Master's Degree

An online master’s degree in psychopharmacology introduces the student to the basics of the field. On average, it takes two years to earn a master’s degree, and some of the coursework includes classes such as Physiology/Pathophysiology, Neuroscience/Neuropharmacology, Biological Foundations of Psychopharmacological Practice, Clinical Pharmacology, Treatment Issues in Psychopharmacology, and more. 

Students may be offered the opportunity to work in clinical settings or develop a research paper, but most master’s degree programs do not require clinical hours.

Graduate Certificate

An online graduate certificate in psychopharmacology is available for post-master’s students who wish to enhance their knowledge of psychopharmacology. The certificate provides a basic overview of the area of study and can be helpful for students who want to learn more. 


Students can opt to earn a Ph.D. or PsyD in psychopharmacology. The psychopharmacology doctorate takes four to five years to complete, and 3,000 hours of clinical practice are required for graduation and licensure. Students typically work in clinical settings weekly, part-time, to fulfill the clinical requirements. The final year of education normally involves completing the dissertation and engaging in clinical internships. 

Which Psychopharmacology Degree is Right for You?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertificatePh.D. or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in pharmacologyx
I want to get started in my psychopharmacology career before I pursue more educationx
I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in psychologyxx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche psychology specialtyxx
I already have a psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to conduct research in psychologyxx
I want to become a licensed psychologist and treat patientsx
I want to work in academiax

Psychopharmacology Degree Program Curriculum

An online psychopharmacology degree program differs from school to school, but students start taking psychopharmacology-focused classes at the master’s degree level. Some of the courses at the master’s degree level include:

  • Neuroscience
  • Biological Foundations of Psychopharmacological Practice
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Treatment Issues in Psychopharmacology

Some of the classes at the doctoral level include:

  • Psychological Measurement
  • Advanced Psychopathology
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Clinical Applications: Group Counseling
  • Principles and Methods of Assessment
  • Models of Psychotherapy

Typical credits required for each degree level are as follows:

Bachelor's: 120 credits

Master's: 30 credits

Graduate Certificate: 15 credits

Doctorate: 90 credits for Ph.D. and 130 hours for PsyD.

Psychopharmacology Degree Program Clinical Requirements

As mentioned, clinical hours are typically not required of master’s degree students, but all schools differ in their requirements. Doctorate students need 3,500 hours of supervised practice to graduate and earn state licensure. An additional 400 practicum hours are also required but do not count towards the 3,500 hours for licensure. All states vary in their clinical hour requirements, but students can expect to engage in an internship of 1,750 hours at a minimum, with the remaining hours fulfilled under supervision. Upon completion of the required hours, students will graduate with their doctoral degree, sit for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), and go on to apply for licensure in their state of residence.

Should you need or want to enter into an internship for your online psychopharmacology master’s program, check to see what options are available for you to complete internship hours within your community.

List of Online Psychopharmacology Degree Programs

Find an online degree program in Psychopharmacology today – our state-by-state listings make it easy to find a great program near you.

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