Mental Health Policy and Practice

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

More than 20% of adults have some mental health issues, creating a critical need for better understanding and treatment. The PhD-PSY in Mental Health Policy and Practice specialization offers a strong base in theory and research, promotes an awareness of ethics and a respect for diversity, and will help you advance your critical thinking and communication skills. Taught by professors who all hold doctoral degrees, you will appraise literature on the application of behavioral health and organizational management, develop a working knowledge of forensic casework, and gain an in-depth understanding of financial issues related to mental health policy and practice. Graduates assume senior leadership positions in the field of behavioral health service organization and delivery, state government or private enterprise. You will also gain the skills to supervise therapists and psychologists with varying backgrounds, as well as conduct training or teach at the graduate level.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD in Psychology degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the master’s degree.

The University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university while enrolled in a doctoral program with a grade of "B" or better.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred in.

Competencies for PhD Programs in Psychology

  • Graduate-Level Research Methods Competency - PhD students are required to complete PSY7103, PSY7106, PSY7108, and PSY7109 at Northcentral.
  • Graduate-Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete PSY7107 at Northcentral.
  • Computer Competency - Doctoral students are required to have computer skills necessary for completing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents). Students must use computer programs for the statistical analysis of data (e.g., SAS). Students must produce a computer-based presentation (e.g., PowerPoint) for their dissertation oral defense.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


Mental Health Services Policy

Mental health encompasses an extensive and diverse range of services in the United States including substance abuse, school-based mental health, and mental health in the criminal justice system. This course will explore these services as well as approaches to identifying persons who suffer from mental illness, treatment settings, and research and evaluation of mental health policy.


Mental Health Administration and Management

Effective development, integration, and maintenance of a mental health organization are necessary in todays market in order to have sustainability. How ideas will be transformed into reality will be reviewed and how an organization adapts to change will also be discussed. Students in this course will be asked to analyze strategic management factors such as how to best create a multidisciplinary team that will coordinate roles within the organization and maximize supervisory capabilities.


Comparative Analysis of Psychotherapies

In this course the student will analyze the complicated issues associated with various contemporary therapies used by behavioral health practitioners. The student will be exposed to core and peripheral elements of the most commonly used approaches to treating minor and major mental illnesses and behavioral challenges. Methods of therapeutic accountability, clinical feedback and outcome monitoring which can be used across all therapeutic approaches will also be examined.


Evidence-Based Treatments

Evidence-based treatments refer to mental and behavioral health interventions for which systematic and empirical research is provided to assess the effectiveness of treatments. Students in this course will be asked to analyze and evaluate treatment approaches in regards to moral, empirical, and political criteria. Students will also be expected to evaluate and synthesize considerations for good practice in the absence of empirical evidence and to appraise and select appropriate instruments for evaluation. An overview of the evidence-based culture will also be explored.


Psychology and Finance

This course will examine how human psychology influences economic conditions and socio-economic institutions. The student will explore psychological factors, such as fairness, corruption, bad faith, money illusion, confidence, and stories, and how these factors influence the global economy. The student will also examine biases related to financial decision making and economic risk taking as these relate to status-seeking behavior.


Mental Health and the Courts

The intersection of mental health policy, practice, and the law is complicated. In this course the student will be exposed to psycho-legal concepts such as those involved in the use of behavioral health evidence in courts, therapeutic jurisprudence, juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect, competency to stand trial, and personal rights.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s PhD Psy costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $1,035
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $3,105
  • Program cost: $62,450 - $74,870
  • Average Book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.