Wheaton College Graduate School was named one of the top schools for Doctor of Psychology degree programs in a recent ranking by Online Psychology Degrees, a website that publishes monthly articles ranking programs nationwide in order to help prospective students find the best program.
Programs were selected based on cost of attendance, number of degree and specialization options, accreditation and acknowledgment by a national ranking body, according to Pam Beiler, communications manager for the website. Rankings were determined by a point system involving the aforementioned categories.
Wheaton’s Graduate School offers a Doctor of Psychology program with a specialization in clinical psychology. It is among just five other Christian programs accredited by the American Psychological Association. The clinical psychology program has also been recognized by the U.S. News and World Report in the Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology, and the college’s overall ranking as 57 in the Best Liberal Arts College list was also considered.
Overall, Wheaton’s Psy.D. program ranked 24 out of 25 and was one of two Illinois schools on the list — with Roosevelt University in Chicago ranking 22. Rutgers University took the top ranking with 19 points, compared to Wheaton’s seven.
Ben Pyykkonen, director of the Psy.D. program at Wheaton College, said rankings were also determined by the first time pass rate for the EPPP licensing exam, which is an indicator of the rigor of a program. Pyykkonen attributes Wheaton’s “strong” rate to its excellence in clinical training.
Wheaton currently offers just one specialization in the Psy.D. program: clinical psychology. This is because the APA, one of the program’s accrediting bodies, requires an emphasis on excellence in this area, thus “preclud an expansion” of the doctoral programs at this time, according to Pyykkonen. The grad school offers Master’s programs in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, though these are independent of the doctoral program.
“The program’s mission distinctives are the primary way in which our program is set apart from the other 24 on the list,” said Pyykkonen. The program seeks to train students in a rigorous atmosphere, grounded in the Christian faith, and to produce professionals that are dedicated to serving all persons marginalized and wounded through understanding justice and holistically developing each student.
Wheaton’s program also has a strong focus on research, as evidenced through involvement with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, The Youth Risk and Resiliency Lab, Psychology and Spirituality Research Lab and the Neurocognitive Functioning Lab, among others.
Though not considered in the rankings, Wheaton’s Psy.D. program boasts a 100 percent pre-doctoral internship matching over the past four years. The program has also been ranked 19 out of 50 top Psy.D. Clinical Psychology programs by Best Counseling Degrees, and is the second highest ranked CCCU institution.
Wheaton’s Psy.D. program continues to operate under its mission: to “train students to pursue justice, serve with excellence and develop holistically.”