Mental Health Policy and Practice

Advancing Mental Health Treatment in Society

As many as 25% of U.S. adults suffer from a mental disorder and up to 50% will develop one at some point in their life*. The mental health policy and practice specialization prepares graduates for senior leadership positions in behavioral health service organizations including state government and private enterprise. The goal of this specialization is to provide an evidence-based practice approach to those people who have substantial experience in their respective disciplines and wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge of behavioral health administration and care. The mental health policy and practice specialization offers a strong base in theory and research, promotes an awareness of ethics and respect for diversity, and will help you advance your critical thinking and communication skills. Taught by professors who all hold doctoral degrees, the specialization provides experience in the appraisal of literature which focuses on the application of behavioral health and organizational management. Students will also develop a working knowledge of forensic casework, and gain an in-depth understanding of financial issues related to mental health policy and practice.

The NCU Difference

Northcentral University’s Department of Psychology delivers PhD, master’s, bachelor’s, and graduate certificate programsin psychology that emphasize the knowledge, skills, practical application and values that are integral to the field. NCU’s education approach was developed to meet the needs of your busy life and schedule. Ideal for self-starters and independent thinkers who want a premier education with unprecedented flexibility, we use a unique one-to-one learning model that pairs one student with one doctoral professor for each course. With no teaching assistants, you learn directly from experts who provide personal feedback and professional insights. With NCU’s online learning model, there are weekly starts for every program or course. None of our programs have residency requirements, allowing flexible access to you no matter where you live. When you enroll in NCU to earn an advanced degree in psychology, you will become part of a community of professionals who are already making a difference around the world.

"I owe it to NCU, to the level of professionalism and excellence, to my chair and to my mentors. I did it, but they did it with me. They walked by my side in a way and understood my life events. I just got a really, really good education." - Sarah Magnes, PhD in Psychology (2016)


Note on Licensure: NCU’s psychology programs are not licensure programs and do not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology or counseling professional.

At A Glance

Course information
  Credit Hours Courses Est. Time to Complete  
PhD-Psy 60 20 48 months View Course Catalog
Post-Master's Cert 18 6 13 months View Course Catalog

Beyond the specialized courses designed to help you expand your abilities in your chosen field of study and profession; NCU offers the following benefits to students and alumni:

Unmatched Flexibility
Many online programs offer the ability to take courses without leaving your home, but few offer weekly course starts, no scheduled lecture hours, no group assignments, and the ability to schedule courses around your personal and professional obligations. The option to turn in your assignments as early in the week as you want, provide you the ability to schedule school around your life, not the other way around.

100% Doctoral Faculty
Whether you are completing your bachelor's degree, pursuing your graduate degree, or on the path to earning your doctoral degree, you can rest assured that you will be mentored by doctors in your field of study.

One to One Engagement
Not only will you learn from a doctor in the field, but you won't have to fight for facetime as one of many within a classroom. At NCU, you'll have the opportunity to interact one to one with your professor to get personalized mentoring.

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology Learning Outcomes

  • Student will be able to appraise theories and principles in psychology to inform professional contexts.
  • Students will be able to evaluate research methods and data analysis in psychology.
  • Student will be able to select psychological principles and research for application to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  • Students will be able to evaluate ethical principles of psychology in academic and professional matters.
  • Students will be able to critique diversity issues in professional contexts.
  • Students will be able to design clear and effective communication for fellow professionals and the public.

*Credit hours and courses reflect new students meeting credit requirements and utilizing no transfer credits. Est. Time of Completion reflects new students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for the program.

Important Information for Students, Including Gainful Employment
Performance Fact Sheets available for residents of California