Postdoctoral Education and Training

The advancement of psychology as a science has been fueled by significant grant programs for faculty and postdoctoral fellows through such federal agencies as the:

  1. Office of Naval Research (ONR)

  2. National Science Foundation (NSF)

  3. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

  4. Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  5. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

How important is postdoctoral training? For those planning to seek a research university faculty position in an academic or applied professional department, having a postdoctoral research or combination clinical/research fellowship experience is helpful, if not required. There also are opportunities for postdoctoral teaching appointments to enhance one's competencies as a faculty person. Finally, for those planning to seek a license in psychology for independent practice, most licensing jurisdictions require at least 1 year of supervised postdoctoral experience prior to application for license examination.

It is at the postdoctoral level that psychologists obtain highly specialized training, in some instances preparing residents to seek specialty credentialing in addition to licensure for the recognized professional specialty areas of psychology. In addition to formal postdoctoral fellowships or residencies, there are many continuing education programs that serve psychologists' needs for professional development through lifelong learning.


The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) provides information and assistance in matching students with training programs.

Eligible psychologists can receive loans of up to $70,000 to pursue careers in clinical research as well as in specific areas of clinical research through the Extramural Loan Repayment Program.

The Early Career Psychologists website provides information for those who are interested in licensure, plus data and employment research on psychologists.

The Graduate Education Policies section provides more information related to policies affecting graduate education.

National Postdoctoral Association