Whatís the difference between Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs?

Both the Ph.D. and the Psy.D. degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology qualify an individual to take the licensing exam to become a professional psychologist.

Ph.D. programs typically involve 2-3 years of classes, 1 year of a practicum placement, 1-3 years of independent research for oneís doctoral dissertation, and a one-year internship.

Doctoral students in counseling and clinical programs complete a doctoral dissertation, which involves reviewing the literature in a particular research area, proposing and completing an empirical research project, and writing a dissertation that reports the results of one's research. Often these programs adhere to a model of psychologist practice called the Scientist-Practitioner Model; this model suggests that professional psychologists will be better practitioners if they have a scientific background in research and thus can better utilize research results as the basis of the treatment that they provide to clients.

A Ph.D. program is often a better choice than a Psy.D. for those who may have an interested in a career in academia.

Typically, graduate students in Ph.D. programs receive research or teaching fellowships that pay the full price of tuition for the program, as well as a small stipend that is adequate to live on if one lives simply. Thus students donít usually incur additional loans while completing a Ph.D. program.

Sample programs are at:
Bowling Green State University--Clinical Psychology
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN--Counseling Psychology

Psy.D. programs typically involve 2-4 years of classes, 1-2 years of a practicum placement and one year of internship.

These programs are designed around the Practioner-Professional Model of Training which emphasizes training for practice rather than developing scientist-practitioners who are qualified both to practice and to conduct scientific research. The research requirements in Psy.D. programs are typically less demanding than the requirements of Ph.D. programs. The focus of these programs is most often on preparing students to be good consumers of research rather than learning how to do research. The actual research requirement in Psy.D. programs varies from program to program, however, and so it is important to familiarize yourself with the details provided in the program materials.

It is much less common for Psy.D. programs to offer their students full teaching or research fellowships; instead these programs more often follow a medical-school model where one incurs debts while completing oneís degree that must then be paid off following graduation.

A sample program is at: Wright State University's School of Professional Psychology


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