I’m wondering if there are any PsyD’s or PhD.'s in Psych out there in the Doper world. I know the differences between the degrees, and what each entails, but I’m still having some reservations about which one would be the best fit for my goals.

I’m in my junior year of college and am looking at grad schools. I want to ultimately be a clinical practitioner specalizing in adolescent/family therapy. I am interested in research and therefore am leaning towards a PhD., though I have no interest in an academic career. I wouldn’t mind also doing research after grad school, but primarily want to do clinical work. I’m a non-traditional undergrad student of 27, so I want to make sure that the program I choose for graduate school is what will most fit my goals. I don’t want to prolong my education even more by finding that I should have gone with the PsyD instead.

If anyone has persued one of these degrees what did you like about the program you enrolled in? What didn’t you like? What would you have wished you had knew before entering grad school? And of coarse any other information you think may help me figure out the most appropriate path.


You must be my double. I could have written this post almost word-for-word, except that I’m 28.

I’ve come down on the side of getting a Ph.D in clinical psych, but I’m only looking at schools that have middle-of-the-road position on the practice v. research orientation issue.

I don’t think there’s anything you can do with a Psy.D that you can’t do with a Ph.D, but it’s not always true the other way around.

If you want to do clinical work, I highly suggest a Psyd. I initially was ina PhD program, but transferred because I wanted more emphasis on the work rather than the research. I’m glad every day that I did it.

My advice would be the following:

  • APA program! It’s important for internship, job placement, being taken seriously, and often, quality of the program. APA accredits PsyD programs too- just search their site.
  • Do a lot of reading and try and figure out your orientation (psychodynamic, transpersonal, humanistic, etc) BEFORE going to grad school. Nothing’s worse than being a holistic therapist stuck in strict psychodynamic land (I’ve been there). Make sure your program is at least friendly with the orientation you have in mind.
  • It’s gonna cost you. A LOT. I HIGHLY suggest considering a state school rather than a private one- they have cheaper tuition and more financial aid options, in general.
  • Factor in cost-of-living in the area you study in. Factor in a LOT.
  • Consider the National Health Service Corps ( ) for loan repayment. Think “Northern Exposure” except no hot chick with a plane.
  • What’s the course sequence like for the program you are thinking of? Is just one section available per semester, or are the courses offered every term? Having to wait a whole year to see if Jungian Psychotherapy finally fits into your schedule can add years (yes, YEARS) to your program.

That’s my $.02.

I am a Ph.D. so consider that a potential bias…

If you have any interest in research then I HIGHLY recommend a Ph.D. program. PsyD programs may be accredited by APA but there are fewer and I do not believe that you can get tuition remission and research/teaching assistantships. While highly competitive, if you are able to get one, you can go to a PhD program for free.

Both PsyD and PhD programs teach clinical interventions and both require a dissertation, but the PhD dissertation is more empirical while the PsyD is more theoretical… of course, this is a generalization and not always the case.

In the end, once you have your “D” and a license it will matter little which you have, unless you are competing for academic positions in a PhD program or for a NIH/NIMH grant.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Like phungi, I have a PhD, so I am biased, but in my very large experience (I used to be a postdoc training director), PsyDs are not as well-educated as PhDs. PhD training is more rigorous, and the degree carries much more prestige. Whatever you do, do not go to a diploma mill (Professional School of CA, IL, etc). While you can legally do everything someone with a real degree can do, you won’t have the training and lots of folks will be wary of your training and won’t hire you.

I may have a Ph.D., but I forgot to logoff my husband and log in as me. Oops. The above post is me, not RickQ. Second time this morning.


** Q.N. Jones**…you must be MY twin. I think you also have a law degree, right? I just finished up and am heading out to my fellowship but for the last year thought seriously about getting a clinical Ph.d (or even a Ph.d in Psych) but ended up being persuaded out of it by my parents till I’m 30 and have more money. I’m still keeping it in mind, though. I was looking at University of Minnesota.

Thanks so much for the replies! And keep them coming. I was already leaning towards a PhD. and this thread has pushed me to definitely go for it. The financial aid also plays a big factor. A PsyD can be very expensive, while a PhD can sometimes be free, with a stipend even. I’m already in a great amount of debt from my undergrad, so the less I add to that the better. I also like having teaching to go to if I decide in the far future to retire from clinical and teach. I am doing research now and really enjoy it, so I am looking forward to that. I basically just wanted to confirm that a PhD. still heavily teaches the clinical aspects and that there are others out there who do actually persue a clinical practice after finishing their PhD.
Thanks all.

Oh, you can definitely do clinical work with a Ph.D. I am currently in private practice (just started in May after years of being based in hospitals) and I love it.

There are a few places you can get great financial aid for a Psy.D. Baylor is one. Although for what you are thinking of doing, I think you want a Ph.D.

Yes, I have a law degree. I practiced in Minneapolis for a couple of years. :slight_smile: I want to practice with a focus on lawyers as clients. The rate of mental illness, especially depression, in the legal profession is unreal.