Applying to MSW programs along with Psych PhD programs?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by stilllooking, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. stilllooking

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    I'm planning on applying to clinical/counseling PhD programs next year. I think I have at least a decent application (relevant research experience, hopefully an honors thesis [just submitted my prospectus!:scared:], clinical experience, etc... we'll see after I take the GRE this fall/summer!:eek::scared:), but given how competitive the field is, you never know. I'm considering applying to some MSW programs as well, but I was wondering if this would "look bad"/be a bad idea. I'm a social work double major, so I have plenty of exposure to the field, and while, all things equal, I'd *prefer* a PhD (I LOVE research, but don't want to do it professionally) an MSW would probably also lead me where I want to go career-wise.

    Would applying to both types of programs in one cycle be a "killer"? Has anyone here done it?
     
  2. BorntoRun

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    I think most MSW programs have later application due dates than clinical/counseling PhD programs. You would probably know about most of your interviews by the time the MSW applications would be due (though two mini-cycles might be hard for letter writers).

    Please forgive the question, but if an MSW will get you where you want to go professionally, are you certain you want to spend the extra years (and years...) for a PhD? Conversely, if you are certain a PhD is the right decision for you, are you sure you would rather settle for a Master's program than take some time off to get yourself in a better position to reapply if you don't get in?
     
  3. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    If I were on a admissions committee, I would view this as somewhat suspect. The 2 fields are very different.
     
  4. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin'
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    How would doctoral programs find out about MSW applications if the applicant didn't mention it? I can't see there being much crossover in admissions decisions since they're usually separate colleges within a university...

    I'm not an advocate of lying or withholding truth, I just don't understand how this "suspect" behavior would be found out.
     
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  5. stilllooking

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    (Responding to Born to Run):

    No, no, it's a good question. Like I said, all things equal, I'd probably prefer an (at least partially funded PhD). I LOVE research and see value in the extra training. On the other hand, I know that MSW's can get fine clinical training, and it would be much quicker (1 year) in terms of school. I ultimately want to practice clinically in a very underserved area where the demand for clinicians of all types is high, and I feel both degrees have their pluses and minuse and would prepare me well for what I want to do. I've gone back and forth trying to "eliminate" a degree entirely, and I've found that to be incredibly difficult. Plus, my concerns with taking a year off would be health insurance coverage, as I have a (physical) pre-existing condition that would exclude me from private health coverage.

    Also, I wouldn't mention it to admissions comittees (if this is what I decide to do--I may decide only to apply to one or another), unless I was directly asked (wouldn't lie).
    Does that make any sense?
     
  6. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin'
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    That makes total sense. I just didn't understand erg's response.
     
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  7. WannaBeDrMe

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    I don't want to make you nervous, but every school I've ever talked to during the last 7 years that I've been talking to grad schools has asked, "So, where else are you applying?"

    Or something similar...

    I would just share with them what you've shared with us and explain that you wanted the opportunity to interview at multiple programs to make sure you found the best fit.

    Good luck!
     
  8. docma

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    An MSW is an incredible versatile degree these days and I think you would be fine exploring both tracks and seeing where you would have the most affordable career path. Some social work schools do provide research experience and psychology internships look very kindly on applicants with an MSW in their background, so you are not at a crossroads yet. I know 3 Ph.Ds who went back to school after working with their MSWs and then got great jobs after internship where they were well paid while accruing post-doc hours. Just be sure you explore the caliber of the psychotherapy training that is part of the MSW curriculum. Some MSW programs emphasize policy, some research, and some direct practice from a specific theoretical vantage.
     
  9. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    They are two very different areas.....so I'd ask how each would meet your career goals. Plenty of people apply for MS and Doctoral level programs, though it is important that whichever (or both) you apply to meet your eventual goals.
     
  10. stilllooking

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    T4C,

    Do you mean terminal/licensable or non-terminal MS programs?

    The reason I would apply to MSW programs (and yes, I'm looking at very clinically focused MSW programs, mostly in areas with large AI/AN populations) is that it would be quicker than an MS (one year vs. two), has better reimbursement (Medicare/Medicaid), and, from what I've seen a bit better/more established of a reputation.

    I may very well choose to apply only to PhD programs (or, if my GRE really sucks, maybe just MSW programs)?

    Ultimately, I'm looking for a program that will prepare me well to work with AI/AN populations as a competent, knowledgable, and well-trained clinician.
     
    #10 stilllooking, Dec 16, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  11. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    This is what I was asking about.

    I've worked with some great LCSWs, and I think you can prepare yourself to do great work. According to them (and my own anecdotal experiences), it seems that there is quite a variance in practitioners, and the ones that do best go above and beyond the standard training to ensure they are well versed in their area(s) of practice. It seems obvious....but unfortunately many practitioners (MS and Doc) don't keep up with their training after licensure.
     
  12. stilllooking

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    So, I'm still curios... When you mentioned people applying MS and PhD programs, were you referring to licensable (LPC)/terminal MS programs or non-terminal programs (i.e., "application builder" programs)?

    Thanks!
     
  13. Psyched77

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    I only applied to clinical PhD programs, but I always assumed that when they asked that, they were only asking about what other PhD programs I was applying to. I don't see any reason for the OP to disclose the MSW applications to the PhD programs. The real issue to me is the other one raised: whether or not he/she could really be fulfilled in either.
     
  14. WannaBeDrMe

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    That's an interesting thought... I never considered that they were limiting the response to other programs in the same field.

    Maybe I spilled too much! Ha.
     
  15. Psyched77

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    Well, part of the reason I think that is because I didn't tell any of them ALL of who I applied with. I applied to 12 schools & felt that it would be socially awkward for me to literally list all 12. I always got the impression that they were looking for more of a ballpark (to get an idea for what type of range you applied to). I always rattled off like 3, & then said "and a handful of others." They always seemed perfectly pleased with that answer & never asks for me to expand on it. I think that this scenario would be similar. The O.P. could say, "I applied to X, Y, & some others."
     
  16. stilllooking

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    I've figured I would probably just say, "I applied to programs which I would allow me to continue my research with Native American populations and offer me solid clinical training , especially in regards to working with Native Americans." or something of that ilk. It's the truth. :)
     
  17. WannaBeDrMe

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    Boom, perfect. Good answer! Like on Family Feud... pretend I'm clapping that way. Ha. Good luck with your interviews... sounds like an interesting niche!
     
  18. Eruca

    Eruca predoctoral psych intern
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    I'm in a clinical PhD program (5th year) and when I applied to schools, I applied to both PhD programs and a couple MA programs. Since I had only applied to 6 PhD programs, I wanted the option of returning to school (I had been working in research for 3 yrs) even if I didn't get straight into a PhD program. I got very lucky as I got only 1 interview, and then got in... BUT I was accepted into the MA programs and felt
    comforted by the backup plan.

    For the record, during my interview I was asked where else I was interviewing (not applying). I did not mention the MA programs, and I felt no guilt in not doing so. At the end of the day, I needed a strategy that would help me get to where I wanted in a very competitive environment. To completely disclose everything during an interview is, in my opinion, a bit naive. (e.g., do you disclose personal mental illness info when asked why you're interested in psychology? For most programs, probably not).
     

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