PsyD vs. PhD: What they Are?

Some psychology schools offer PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) degree, while others offer the traditional PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Others go ahead to offer both. So what’s the difference between the two? And, more importantly, which is best suited to put you in line to achieve your career goals?

First off, both are doctorates. None is superior to the other in terms of academic standing. The programs are both highly competitive, and have quite a rigorous admission process. In addition, they require internship placements.

Upon graduation, PsyD graduates receive a Doctorate of Psychology. On the other hand, the PhD graduates receive a Doctorate of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology.

The PhD in Psychology has been around for over a century. Contrastingly, the PsyD began being awarded in the late 1960s. Why was there a need for this? Look at it this way-the PhD is typically a research degree. However, some of those going for a doctorate degree in psychology want to do it for the practice, and not the research. The PsyD came along to prepare such graduates for careers as practicing psychologists.

Differences between the Degree Programs

PsyD programs put more emphasis on the practitioner -scholar model. Its focus is mainly on the clinical training. Consequently, PsyD graduates go though more training in psychological testing than the PhD students.

The PhD program emphasizes on the scientist-practitioner model. This program is heavily into the research. Consequently, a huge part of the coursework includes that research. That’s why the PhD program tends to get more financial aid than the PsyD program. Graduates here get more access to faculty grant money and stipends. PhD programs are also designed to create psychologists who can not only understand and apply research, but also conduct it. Nevertheless, you will spend most of your time on the research, rather than practice related activities.

Put simply, a PsyD prepares the graduate to work in a variant of settings like family therapy and mental institutions; meanwhile, the PhD prepares the graduates for work as a researcher and trainer. However, a PhD student can also be a practitioner.

Time Taken to Earn the Degree

Both degrees mandate a certain amount of time foe course work and the dissertation. A PsyD usually takes 3 years to complete. The time period entails the coursework, practice and dissertation. The dissertation typically requires one to apply research to a given problem, or to alternatively analyze research literature.

The PhD also follows the timeline of the PsyD, for the initial stages. However, when it comes to the dissertation, for the PhD it will take longer. This is because it requires students to devise, conduct, write up, and defend a research study which will make an original contribution to the literature. Consequently, the PhD takes an extra 1 or 2 years to complete in comparison to the PsyD

Usually students get so excited about the chance to become psychologists that they don’t take enough time to go through the different programs. As you’ve realized, it’s not just a matter of getting into a doctorate program. Hopefully, you are now in a position to decide which of the two programs is best for you. It all depends on what exactly you want for your career.

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