Online Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology

Enhance Your Practice Offerings

Lifelong Learning for a Lifetime of Success

Enhance Your Psychology Practice as a Prescribing Provider

Program Details: 2 Years | $600 Per Credit | 30 Credit Hours

Program Benefits

  • Expert Faculty
  • Fully Online Courses
  • Fellowship Opportunities Available
  • No Application Fee
  • Designated by the American Psychological Association (APA) as an Education and Training Program in Psychopharmacology for Prescriptive Authority

The online Master’s in Clinical Psychopharmacology (MSCP) degree from Drake University gives licensed post-doctoral psychologists the specialized training required to prescribe medication in Iowa and other states. This advanced credential can enhance your practice offerings, help you increase access to essential mental health care, and open doors to new professional opportunities.

After completing your MSCP degree, you will meet the requirements to sit for the Psychopharmacology Exam for Psychologists (PEP). With a passing score on the exam and completion of a fellowship where you will gain hands-on experience and supervision from a licensed physician, you will be ready to apply for prescriptive certification.

Graduate Fellowship-Ready

Support from Drake University doesn’t end with graduation. Receive assistance in connecting with practice sites for your experiential fellowship under the guidance of a physician. Fellowship is a requirement to becoming certified to prescribe and conditions of completion vary from state to state.

APA Designation

The MSCP program at Drake University has been designated by the American Psychological Association (APA) as an Education and Training Program in Psychopharmacology for Prescriptive Authority.  Designation status is professional recognition that the Drake program meets the highest level of academic and training standards. Drake University is the 6th MSCP program in the country to achieve APA designation.

Program Information Sessions

Our virtual program information sessions include a short information presentation followed by an open Q&A. These sessions are designed for those who are considering a Drake University graduate program but have not yet applied.

Comprehensive, Flexible Curriculum

In the online MSCP program, you will study a comprehensive curriculum covering topics in pharmacology, neuroscience, physiology, pathology, and other related subjects. You will learn from subject matter experts and current field practitioners, preparing to work collaboratively with other clinicians and healthcare providers. Most of this program is offered fully online and asynchronously, allowing you to study while maintaining your current caseload and office hours. Many of the courses have only one weekly virtual session with the rest of the coursework done asynchronously.

Program Outcomes

The clinical psychopharmacology program delivers career-focused competencies in four key areas. Upon graduation, you will be prepared for the following:

A. Patient Care

  1. Assess patients regarding the risks and benefits of pharmacotherapeutic, psychotherapeutic, and combined treatment of mental health disorders and medical comorbidities.
  2. Appropriately prescribe medications and implement a safe and effective individualized monitoring plan for efficacy and toxicity of medications in individuals with mental health disorders.
  3. Include individual patient factors in the decision-making process for determining appropriate pharmacotherapy in individuals with mental health disorders.
  4. Provide inclusive care and demonstrate cultural competence in caring for individuals with mental health disorders.

B. Medical and Science Foundations

  1. Utilize pharmacologic, physiologic, anatomical, and pharmaceutical understanding in the selection of pharmacotherapy for patients.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to understand scientific and regulatory information, applying evidence-based scientific data in therapeutic decision-making.
  3. Evaluate and analyze drug and medical literature to improve patient care and engage in effective research.

C. Interprofessional Collaboration

  1. Apply the Interprofessional Education Collaboration competencies as a member of the interprofessional care team.
  2. Utilize all members of the interprofessional healthcare team, capitalizing on the expertise of each profession, in designing and implementing pharmacotherapeutic, psychotherapeutic, or combined treatment plans.

D. Ethical and Legal Practice

  1. Adhere to all American Psychological Association professional and ethical codes and standards.
  2. Understand and abide by all laws, rules, and regulations related to providing psychological care and the prescribing of medications.

Admission Requirements – MSCP Program

The MSCP program was developed for individuals licensed at the doctoral level as psychologists and therefore, is a post-doctoral program only.

  • Complete the online application.
  • Submit your official transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities.
  • Submit an electronic copy of your résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • Applicants must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a doctoral degree in psychology.

Explore our admissions requirements here.

Additional Requirements – MSCP Fellowship

For psychologists planning to pursue a certificate of prescriptive authority in a US state, province or territory that allows for this through their respective scope of practice law, the psychologist must additionally complete a fellowship that is sponsored by Drake University. To apply for fellowship, the psychologist must:

  • Hold and maintain a current, unrestricted license as a psychologist.
  • Practice as a “health service psychologist” as defined by state law, where applicable, or as defined by the American Psychological Association.

For psychologists or other healthcare professionals interested in pursuing additional education in psychopharmacology outside of the MSCP program, Drake’s CPHS offers a 12-hour Psychopharmacology Certificate Program.

Tuition Details

Drake University takes pride in delivering the best value education possible to our students. With our online Master’s in Clinical Psychopharmacology degree which costs $600 per credit hour, you’ll be prepared to pursue your career goals with skill, knowledge, and confidence. Explore our tuition details here.

Clinical Psychopharmacology Career Outlook

Join the latest advancement in the field of psychology; the practice of psychopharmacology. Employment in the mental health field is on the rise. Factors like increased awareness of mental health and a focus on rehabilitation over incarceration are driving this demand.

Currently, six states in the U.S. allow psychologists, by law, to prescribe medications. The number is growing with several other states actively pursuing legislation. In those states where psychologists prescribe, their unique training and skill set are of high value and particular interest to rural and urban mental health facilities, general medical centers, as well as nationwide within the U.S. military, universities, and Urban Indian Health Centers.

Read more about an introduction to psychopharmacology and interdisciplinary discovery.

Faculty Spotlight

Ryan Ernst, Psy.D., MSCP – Dr. Ernst is a Neuropsychologist and Prescribing Psychologist at Clarinda Regional Health Center in southwest Iowa where he continues his practice as well as serving as the inaugural Training Director for the MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology at Drake University.   Dr. Ernst completed his MSCP from Alliant International University and is the first psychologist in the state of Iowa to be certified to prescribe psychiatric medication. Dr. Ernst has been named a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology and became President-elect for the organization in 2023.

Craige Wrenn, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology/Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences Department Chair — Dr. Wrenn is a professor of pharmacology who has focused on neuropharmacology and neuroscience. He has been with Drake University since 2004 and received his PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University. He has been awarded the Hartig Distinguished Professor (2011), Mentor of the Year (2013), and the Troyer Research Fellowship (2015).

About the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Drake University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS) prepares students for the future of health care. Whether graduates are pursuing practice, administration, or research, they receive the foundational knowledge, skills, and perspectives that allow them to excel in their chosen career path. The CPHS faculty and staff are committed to developing leaders who are committed to lifelong learning, innovation, and excellence.

Drake MSCP Program Vision Statement

To be the premier American Psychology Association Designated Program in Clinical Psychopharmacology, providing comprehensive training and education to empower our graduates with the knowledge and skills to improve mental health outcomes for individuals and communities, especially within underserved regions and populations.  

Drake MSCP Program Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide advanced training and education to psychologists in the field of clinical psychopharmacology, with the goal of enhancing their ability to provide evidence-based, patient-centered care to individuals with mental health conditions. We strive to promote ethical and responsible prescribing practices, informed by the latest scientific research. We are committed to developing psychologists who are skilled in pharmacological assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning and who possess the knowledge and expertise to collaborate effectively with other healthcare professionals. Through rigorous coursework, experiential learning, and ongoing professional development, our program prepares psychologists to integrate medication management, when appropriate, into their psychotherapy practice in a safe, responsible, effective, and compassionate manner to serve all patients of diverse backgrounds in a safe, welcoming and affirming manner.