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Post-Graduate (Doctoral) Degrees in Psychology Tips

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What is a PhD in Psychology?

The PhD in Psychology

A PhD in Psychology is a Doctor of Philosophy majoring in, for instance, Clinical Psychology. Otherwise, the PhD may be in Counseling or Research Psychology. It takes between four and seven years to complete such a doctoral program. The scientific model, often called empirical research, and academic scholarship are more emphasized than in PsyD programs.

An individual with a Ph D in Clinical Psychology and another with a PsyD often hold the same types of positions in the workforce, including consultation, policy-making, administrative, private practice, college level teaching, psychological testing, counseling/therapy and others. The PhD is more widely accepted as a teaching degree at some universities than is the PsyD.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology is geared more towards helping people with mental illnesses, as opposed to Counseling Psychology which tends to emphasize working with people on life issues. The PhD in Research Psychology often best qualifies the individual for research, academic and psychological testing positions. The PhD in Counseling Psychology tends to prepare people for private practice, or counseling, as the name implies, but also for testing and other positions. It may be helpful to remember that Counseling Psychology evolved from guidance and career counseling when recalling the difference between it and Clinical Psychology.

How do I get into psychology doctoral programs?

Getting into Psychology Doctoral Programs

Getting into psychology doctoral programs requires sufficient test scores and grades as well as the ability to follow instructions. Students who are seeking admission to psychology doctoral programs should be aware that admission to these programs is very competitive and most doctoral programs have a relatively low acceptance rate. However, students are still encouraged to apply especially if they have grades and test scores commensurate with previously accepted students.

The application process for admission to psychology doctoral programs is a rigorous one. The application package will usually include application forms, an academic resume, a personal statement, GRE scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation. Each of these components is important and students should take care to ensure they provide accurate information representative of their capabilities in each component of the application.

Finally, students applying for admission to psychology doctoral programs should take care to follow instructions carefully. This includes submitting all forms by the deadline and not leaving out any relevant information. Failure to do this may result in the application being rejected for being either late or incomplete.

What are the requirements for completion of a a doctoral program in psychology?

Understanding Doctoral Programs in Psychology

Obtaining a doctoral degree in psychology is a lengthy process which will vary slightly from one school to another. Typical requirements for doctoral programs in psychology involve obtaining an undergraduate degree and then completing approximately 5-7 years of graduate school work. The requirements will also likely include the completion of a psychological dissertation and some type of internship which will provide the student with practical experience in the field of psychology. Research work may also be included in the program requirements.

The coursework required during participation in doctoral programs in psychology is usually in excess of approximately 75 credit hours. This will include relevant coursework related to general psychology, clinical psychology and professional psychology. Additionally, the student will likely be required to take a number of elective courses closely related to the student's concentration.

How do I obtain a psychology doctorate?

Obtaining a Psychology Doctorate

Obtaining a psychology doctorate is not a simple task but it is a rather straightforward process. Understanding the requirements of obtaining a psychology doctorate is certainly much easier than actually achieving this goal. Students must first apply to and be accepted into a doctorate degree program. The criteria for admission will depend on a number of different factors but most likely students will be required to obtain an undergraduate degree as well as a masters degree. Students will also likely be required to have previously taken a number of specific psychology related courses.

Students seeking admission to psychology doctorate degree programs will be evaluated on a number of factors including previous grades, scores on standardized tests, references and work experience, if relevant. Based on all of this information, the admissions board will determine whether or not a student will be admitted to the program.

Once a student is admitted to a psychology doctorate program, the student must still meet all of the degree requirements. This will likely include taking and passing specific courses, completing a psychological dissertation, participating in internship programs and performing research. The criteria for degree completion should be clearly outlined in the curriculum but students are advised to verify these requirements with a guidance counselor to ensure all requirements are met within the allowable timeframe.

Are there any other related doctorates?

The PhD in Social Work

The PhD in Social Work is somewhat similar to the PhD in Psychology and the PsyD. However, it draws from various areas of Psychology, Sociology and a body of knowledge of it's own. It has it's own code of ethics and professional associations. Social Work is particularly geared towards disadvantaged groups. When assessing individuals and groups, it claims to be more likely to consider the effects of the environment on the person, as well as the person's individual psychology and Sociology's group behavior. This is a broad generalization, as there are various disciplines within Social Work, just as in Psychology.

A degree in Psychiatry is also similar in some respects to a Doctorate in Psychology. The two are frequently confused with each other, but a Psychiatrist has a medical degree. Both may see patients in therapy or counseling, although a Psychiatrist can prescribe medications: A Psychologist cannot prescribe medications, except currently in one state. Likewise, there are nursing degrees with a specialization in serving people who have mental illnesses, known as Psychiatric Nursing.

What is the doctorate for the field of psychology?

Doctorates in Psychology

There are two types of doctoral degrees in psychology, a PhD and a PsyD. There are other related doctoral options too, depending on your career goals. These include doctorates in allied fields, such as the EdD (Doctor of Education), Ph.D. in Social Work (Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work) and Psychiatry and nursing with a specialization in serving people with mental illnesses. If you are interested in psychiatry, you'll need a medical doctorate. If you're interested in Psychiatric Nursing, you'll need some level of nursing degree.

What is an EdD in Psychology and a PhD in Educational Psychology?

The EdD in Psychology, and PhD in Educational Psychology

The EdD (Doctor of Education) in Psychology and the PhD in Educational Psychology are closely allied to the psychology doctorates, but tend to focus on research and applications of psychology in education settings. The focus may be on special education, k-12, higher education or education administration.

What is a Psy.D.?

The Psy.D.

PsyD means Doctor of Psychology. This degree also generally takes four to seven years to complete. There is less of a science focus in PsyD programs than in PhD programs and more training in direct practice, although there is some science in PsyD programs too. PsyD programs claim to prepare graduates for a wider array of settings, although there is little difference in getting jobs between the two. One exception may be in qualifying to teach Psychology at the college level, where a PhD is generally better recognized.

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