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Master's before Psy.D?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by KimJ, 07.16.08.

  1. KimJ

    KimJ

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    Is it easier to get into a Psy.D program if I get a master's degree first? Also, I've heard a lot about the importance of clinical experience and I was wondering where I should start looking for this (I'm new to all this so any help would be great). What exactly qualifies something as clinical experience? Thanks!
  2. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Getting masters first only really helps if you need your GPA is too low the frist time around. In this case, showing getting a 4.0 can demonstrate that you handle graduate level work. Beyond that, it does not help too much with actually "getting in." It is good for some people on a personal level too though, as it allows you to get a good exposure to the field and graduate level research, assuming you write a masters thesis.

    Clinical experience can be obtained in a variety of places such as, hospitals, state psychiatric hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, research settings, etc. For purposes of applying to grad school any job or activity where you interact with people experiencing psychological distress can be considered clinical experience. Obviously some experiences will be more educational and involved than others. When I was an undergrad I worked as a Mental Health Tech in a state psych hospital. Very educational!
    Last edited: 07.19.08
  3. PinkSoil

    PinkSoil

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    On a personal level, I couldn't imagine going to school for my Psy.D. without having gone to graduate school for my masters first. It allowed me time to grow as a person, obtain clinical experience, grow as a clinican... and the best part for me is that I am going for my Psy.D. at the same school-- so I get to enter as a 2nd year student, being that 30 credits from my Masters will transfer.

    As far as my GPA, I didn't NEED to go to grad school... but I did have crappy standardized test scores... so graduating with a masters and a 3.94 GPA demonstrated that I am able to handle the work.

    While I was going for my masters degree, I worked as a case manager and then as a supervisor at a shelter for homeless families and individuals with mental illnesses. Then I worked for two years in vocational rehab doing intake assessments, and then while I was doing that, I scaled back to part-time and completed my one-year internship as a therapist in an inpatient psych hospital. I graduated in May, and since then, I have been working as a masters-level therapist, doing individual, couples, group, and family therapy for adult outpatient.

    I am so glad that I went about it in this way. I will continue to work part-time as a therapist through my first year in the program. I love that I have gained this exposure to the field before I have even entered doctoral school.
  4. PSYCHSTUDNT

    PSYCHSTUDNT

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    hey pinksoil.
    I appreciate your comments to others in this forum and I am intruiged. what did you obtain your masters in? and what school if u don't mind me asking. I am also interested in obtainina masters and working for a while before going for a PHD. I am currently thinking of doing 3 things:

    1. Get an MS degree in Educational psych. The concentration will allow me to do assessment and work with children ( may be good since i want to be a clinical child psycologist)
    2. Thinking of simultaenously obtainin a masters in professional counseling of MFT.
    I am also considering obtaining a direct entry MSN in nursing and specialize in Psyc mental health as that will allow me to practise clinically but on a different level I presume.

    What do you think? Would you recommend any of these option or should I just obtain a MA in general psychology? I also considered school psychology as it has a clinical component but The program is too long. I am looking to finish my masters in 1-2 years.

    Your help will be greatly appreciated.
  5. JackD

    JackD

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    And don't forget that some masters program allow for a practicum, which is certainly "clinical experience". If someone doesn't have any then attempting to get into a masters program first (which is usually a bit easier than getting into a doctoral program) and doing practicum work, could be a better route to take. You could then move on to a doctoral program after that and perhaps making yourself more competitive.
  6. PinkSoil

    PinkSoil

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    I have an M.S. in clincal and counseling psychology

    Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

    Personally, I don't see the point in going for a Masters in General Psych. I was in an M.A. program for general psych when I still lived in NY and had started grad school-- I found it to be a pointless extension of my undergraduate work. It definitely won't get you a job as a therapist. I know that the general psych programs in NY didn't offer internships. My program at Chestnut Hill required a year-long clinical internship. It also prepared students for licensure, if that is what one wants to do-- I took all of the licensure classes and doubled them as electives, just in case I didn't get into the doctoral program... however, since I did get in, I'm not bothering with the LPC.
  7. PSYCHSTUDNT

    PSYCHSTUDNT

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    So the do you think I would do better to obtain an MS in educational psychology and a MS in professional counseling instead? There is also a MS in Clinical psyc at Argosy University in DC but I am just a little suspicious of them and I havea hard time finding Terminal MS in clinical psychologyanywhere around here in Nothern Virginia.

    George Mason has a Psych program (MA in Applied Developmental or school psychology. That is the closest.
    What do you think?

    I do agree that an General psyc MA might not be my best bet.
  8. nd08

    nd08

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    I'm looking at psy d schools and I was thinking of just getting my Master's first

    i have read and heard from many people that they are glad they did and it gives you a chance to get into better doctoral programs
  9. HeyJude

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    We have three people in my Ph.D. cohort who got their masters first. While this may be a good option for some peope (to improve GPA, narrow research interests etc..), these three students have very few classes that transfer and are now in quite a bit of debt from their masters programs. Keep in mind that funding is better at the Ph.D. level and perhaps the PsyD level as well.
  10. NY101

    NY101

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    I would like to echo the comments of the post above. If you can get in, funding is almost always better at the doctoral level. In many cases, Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs will fund 60-100% of the tuition costs. The one exception to this rule are Psy.D. programs that are not housed within universities (i.e. professional schools).

    Speaking from experience, I am a professor in a M.A. training program now, and we only provide funding for a very small number of our students.
  11. myelin

    myelin

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    If you want to go MA - PsyD, you're looking at a lot of debt. Both programs are generally non-funded as mentioned above. For instance, I'm in a MA program at the moment and will come out with over $30k in debt for a 2-year program at a state school. If I were to attend the PhD or PsyD program at Nova Southeastern (a professional school) I'd be looking at around $150k debt before living expenses. Grand total of MA + PsyD would be around $180k. The loan repayment coupled with the salary I'd be making doesn't justify the debt.

    What is your concern anyhow?
  12. myelin

    myelin

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    You will need research experience to gain admission to a PhD program. I think the MS in educational psychology would be your best bet since you would complete a thesis and have opportunities for extra research experience along the way. Most clinical MA programs are 2 years which includes thesis and practicum, so you could also consider clinical MA with a child focus. I'd stay away from the MSN if a clinical psychology PhD is your end goal. Can anyone else confirm this?
  13. NY101

    NY101

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    I think it is important to note that Psy.D. Programs housed within universities (not professional schools) offer considerable funding, similar to Ph.D. programs. I can personally attest to this, as I did not pay any tuition for my Psy.D. There is a big HOWEVER to this statement... Psy.D. programs that offer funding often require a research requirement similar (but not exactly the same) to Ph.D. programs.
  14. ohyeahright

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    delete
    Last edited: 11.20.12
  15. psydd

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    you didn't pay anything for your Psy.D.? that seems crazy to me. i love it, but it sounds crazy. how did you manage to land that deal? like, was your financial situation such that you were offered tons of money? or was it really just free of tuition because of the extra research component you mentioned? and also, how could i go about learning which Psy.D. programs might be completely funded like that? or at least very well funded?
  16. psydd

    psydd

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    general question:

    if i wanted to get a master's in mental health counseling and then go straight for my psy.d., i wouldn't need to bother with post-master's supervision in order to actually receive my degree, would i? would that just be if i want to get licensed immediately following my master's?
  17. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    I'd think you would be granted the degree by completing all of the requirements....but you'd need your hours before you were licensed and able to practice under it. An MS in MHC is more of a detour if your goal is a doctoral degree in psychology, as the credits probably wouldn't transfer, so you'd have to essential start over.
  18. Saatnia

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    hey, I am having the same concern. I am about to start applying to Doctoral programs-Psy. D but I am worried about my GPA being too low so I started to look at the idea of obtaining my Masters first then apply to a Psy. D. program. I apologize if someone already mentioned this but obviously credits transferring are a big concern for me, does anyone know where I could find a list of programs where credits transfer, if a list of that sort exists. I just don't want to apply to schools that credits don't transfer. Or I guess, how do I go about finding this information out?

    Thanks
  19. psycscientist

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    At reputable schools, the majority of your credits will not transfer. You may get a few credits in, but it is unlikely to save you a significant amount of time in the doctoral program.
  20. paramour

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    ^^ This. I entered with my master's degree, and I had one stats class transfer. Even though I had taken other classes that were equivalent (if not more advanced) than others I have taken in my current program. They want you to take THEIR coursework. I was surprised I got out of the one stats class (and that was a blessing!). Otherwise, the general policy is that coursework is reviewed on an individual case-by-case basis.

    I asked when I applied to other programs, and most do the same. They either accept no to very minimal credits.
  21. MindBlown

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    I will have to attend a Masters program before applying to a PsyD/PhD program because I had a little too much fun during undergrad and my GPA is horrid. I am looking to conduct either Master's level psychotherapy and hopefully Doctorates level psychotherapy in the future. Here are a few of my questions.

    -Which Masters programs would be best in order to get into a Clinical PsyD or Counseling Psychology PhD?
    -I see that some of you with experience mentioned that little to no credits transfer from Masters --> Doctorates. So, would it make sense to get a Masters in MHC in order to get on track for a MHC license, and then go for a Doctorates? I know someone mentioned that it would be a detour, however, I read somewhere else that if you get the Clinical or Counseling Masters, you will not be able to conduct therapy (I am in NY btw). I would imagine that if you get at least the MHC, MFT, or SW license beforehand, you can gain valuable experience before the Doctorates or cocurrently. What do you guys think would be the best route for me?
  22. wigflip

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    I'd suggest doing a search as this has been discussed multiple times on this forum.

    The ideal would probably be a masters program which would provide you with both research opportunities and a licensing option. Then you have the research background to prepare you for doctoral study, but if you find that you don't care to go on upon completion of the program (or find you can't get in to a reputable doctoral program despite your best efforts), you won't find yourself having to go back and earn another masters in order to practice.

    Good luck!
  23. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student

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    This isn't true everywhere. Both counseling psych PhD programs I am considering have a history of waiving or transferring in a significant number of masters-level course credit (around 30 credits). This obviously leaves more time for research and clinical pursuits, which is great! Not sure why counseling psych programs are more willing to do this than clinical psych (PhD anyway) but they are also more likely to accept students who already have a masters degree.
  24. Member012345678

    Member012345678

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    Indeed. I know that my undergrad school (which, incidentally, is a state-run school) used to not accept Master's course credit at all from other institutions. Now, however, they have become much more willing to do this. When I've asked around as to the change, I've been repeatedly told that since clinical and counseling programs are becoming increasingly competitive, more and more students are trying to hone their skills with a Master's degree first. Given this, more and more students are coming into the PhD program with Master's credits under their belt, and they are finding it less and less possible to simply dismiss all of the Master's level work from other schools that student have come in with.
  25. ~Rana

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    Hi, I was wondering if you ever found any significant information because I have the same concern as you do. Did you ever find a list or database of programs that will take credits from a Masters program into the PsyD?

    I need to get a Masters first because I am not sure if I will be able to continue into the doctoral program. So, I need something that will allow me to practice in case I do not continue. Considering getting a masters in counseling with a child concentration. However I've found these M.S degree's in Clinical Psychology and I'm quite skeptical about those plus the fact that there aren't clear descriptions on what they are exactly.

    So if I do go for a Masters in Counseling I want to be sure to transfer credits to the PsyD program. After a lot of research the program that has offered the most credits is willing to transfer 21 credits out of a total of 60 done in a full time master programs. Really hard to accept because it would be a big waste of time, effort, and money. So I'm wondering if there are other options, places, or suggestions that anyone has for me?

    Thanks!
  26. voyeurofthemind

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    Nova Southeastern University is NOT a professional school. It is a program within a free standing private university.

    Any how back to the original topic - I did complete a MA before stating my PsyD. An extra 3 years added on and expense yes but I really feel like it has given me a leg up. Repetition is the mother of all learning. Although if I could do it over again I would have gone straight to a doc program but I can't do that so I appreciate the experience I gained from that program
  27. FreudianSlipper

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    Yes, In my state, the M.S in clinical psychology is not eligible for license, but some universities, even some with huge names offer it and make a good deal of money off of those students.

    You could also consider a clinically focused social work degree. Since many PsyD programs don't allow many credits to transfer anyway, it won't matter that you've taken some less clinical coursework.
  28. ~Rana

    ~Rana Member

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    Yes, I understand the financial implications.

    However, can someone please provide me with the PsyD program that they've found takes the most credits from a master's program (counseling)? The most I have found takes 21 credits (1 semester)

    On another note, the masters that is awarded midway through the PsyD program is always a non-practicing degree right? Or are there programs that do otherwise? And if you decide to take a break (for work, family, etc related issues) what is the time limit for the time that you can take off without being dismissed from the program?

    Again, I am just trying to understand and explore all options. Thank you for your help.
  29. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    This will be a very difficult thing to ascertain because most programs do it on a "case by case" basis. Given that doctoral training is not the same as masters training, you may not get many/any classes waived. I highly doubt you'll get more than 6-9 credit hours waived, though maybe there are some more flexible programs out there. I have seen first year students get 1 class per semester waived. I'd be very wary of any program that accepts a large # of transfer credits, as most programs want students to take their classes so they can ensure the training is in line with their program.

    State legislation will limit/allow practice at the MA/MS level w. an en-route degree, not a program.

    Taking an excused break will vary by program and circumstance. Taking time off to give birth or care for a sick family member will be different than someone who is burning out. As for work....doctoral training will be a full-time endeavor, so work will most likely be limited by the program and significant time commitment needed for training.
  30. FreudianSlipper

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    Counseling Psychology doctoral programs (there are only a few PsyD) are known to be more generous with MA credits. Many even require it for admission.

    Otherwise it really varies program to program. Most clinical don't take more than 12 credits on the high end, and even then, it often doesn't necessarily shorten the amount of time you spend in the program.
  31. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    This is an important point to make. My program, for example, would routinely waive thesis requirements for individuals who came in with a previously-completed experimental masters program thesis. The program would also occasionally accept some credit hours. However, neither of these events led to a shorter amount of time in the program.

    Individuals who had their thesis reqs waived generally just completed additional self-initiated research instead, and individuals who received course credit generally had to make those hours up in other classes (e.g., by taking advanced stats instead of intermediate stats).
  32. paramour

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    Yep. This was me (and everyone else who enters with a master's). There is no decrease in average completion time.

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