Educational psychology and clinical psychology are two very different areas of psychology. While both fields deal with the study of human behavior, there are some key differences between the two. In this article, we will explore these differences in detail.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is the study of how people learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychologists study topics such as intelligence, memory, motivation, and learning styles.

Subfields in Educational Psychology

There are two main subfields within educational psychology: cognitive development and learning sciences.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is concerned with how people develop their thinking and reasoning abilities over time. This includes studying things like problem-solving skills, memory retention, and critical thinking skills.

Learning Sciences

Learning sciences focus on how people learn new information and skills. This includes studying things like instructional design, technology-based learning methods, and assessment techniques.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and emotional disorders. Clinical psychologists work with individuals who are experiencing a range of psychological issues such as anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

Subfields in Clinical Psychology

There are several subfields within clinical psychology:


Neuropsychology is concerned with understanding how brain function affects behavior. Neuropsychologists study conditions like traumatic brain injury (TBI), dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to help diagnose and treat these conditions.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists apply their knowledge to legal issues such as criminal investigations or court cases. They may help investigators understand criminal behavior or provide expert testimony in court cases.

Child Psychology

Child psychology focuses on the mental health and development of children. Child psychologists study things like early childhood development, child abuse or neglect, and learning disabilities.

The Differences

The main difference between educational psychology and clinical psychology is their focus. Educational psychology is concerned with how people learn in educational settings, while clinical psychology is focused on diagnosing and treating mental health issues.

Another key difference is the populations that each field works with. Educational psychologists work primarily with students, teachers, and schools to improve learning outcomes and create effective educational interventions. Clinical psychologists work with individuals of all ages who are experiencing psychological issues.

Additionally, the training required for each field varies. Educational psychologists typically hold a master’s or doctoral degree in educational psychology or a related field such as cognitive psychology or learning sciences. Clinical psychologists must hold a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and complete an internship before they can become licensed to practice.


In summary, while both educational psychology and clinical psychology deal with human behavior, they have different focuses, populations they work with, and training requirements. Educational psychologists study how people learn in educational settings while clinical psychologists diagnose and treat mental health issues. Both fields play important roles in understanding human behavior and improving people’s lives.