Feb 5, 2021
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I did my psychology BA at a good Lebanese American university at Beirut, GPA 3.9, did some volunteering, there's no research labs but I took 2 research courses and conducted a research study woth 3 credits.
I'm completing my MA in Clinical Psychology at a less known university in Beirut and I'll be a licensed psychologist locally when I complete the training hours and finish the program. There's a chance I'll publish my thesis if the results turn out to be significant, I also was a research assistant on 3 projects and interned at 4 centers. GPA 3.6.
I did my GRE and scored 154 English 150 Math and 80th percentile on the essay.
I'll surely have no problems with TOEFL or IELTS and I'll do them soon.

My goal is to have a PhD in psychology and work in teaching (also research...I don't mind clinical work it's just less of a priority and more of a depends on the opportunity). Basically whatever job I can find in the future I'll take, I'm passionate about all psych subfields it's just that the economic crisis in my country Lebanon really has left us no choice but to look for best opportunities. Explosion destroyed my city and the currency lost its value. This, in addition to personal reasons, is why I aim to leave the country for good after getting a doctorate.
While my masters isn't internationally recognized enough to secure me a job abroad, it might be enough to make me eligible for a PhD program (alumna have been admitted to James Madison University for example - not funded but still). I simply am not sure where I can expect to be accepted and whether funding is an option at all. My family and I's savings can fund me for only up to $30k a year for 3-4 years.
I don't have a problem with where I do my PhD as long as it's in English and allows me to find a good job abroad (again, doesn't matter where, just financial stability is desired in anywhere that is not an Arab country, LGBT friendly preferably)
SO, I'm asking where in the world do u think I should apply to. Which unis are good but also may accept me and secure my future. Of course I'd prefer cheaper and funded programs so do I stand a chance? which programs?
I don't mind any speciality (general psychology, social psychology, psyD,... again just depends on where my chances of getting accepted and settling in and finding a job are higher. no idea where they'd be)
The reason I'd not consider a masters and just go for a PhD is because parents' funding only applies for the latter (their rules not mine. Arab mentality of prestige that come with it, and i tried to change it but to no avail. i know a recognized masters can be more helpful etc) and i don't want to spend more years repeating masters then doing PhD.. (idk if any of my courses would transfer since my MA program is really local and not accredited internationally). But I'd consider the Master's-PhD fast track programs of like 4 years such as McGill's in Canada which I may apply to. But what are my chances of getting in?

I'm 22(F) btw I'll get my license in the summer and I'm taking next year off from academia to work for a year and gain experience because it won't hurt. I'll be applying to unis too hopefully with ur help and recommendations.

TL;DR What programs should I apply to if I want a PhD in Psychology when my qualifications include local MA in Clinical Psych from lebanon and some research experience and my eventual aim is to settle in a secure country with some financial stability? Where am I most likely going to be accepted given my profile?
 

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
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Mar 2, 2013
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This is a tricky question because the largest bit of needed information isn't listed.

Your verbal GRE is good, especially when considering the bias inherent to the test with any sort of minority/non-US group. The quant falls a little shorter comparatively, but this lines up likely with the research at least in terms of how folks will view you. A lack of research could hurt, but could also be offset by the narrative of your story and the 'real life' things that are going on/have been going on there. There is also a lot going in your favor, in terms of diversity recruitment and current emphasis by APA on broadening the field to be something other than old white men. This leads to a lot of recruitment push for individuals who are in non-traditional positions, such as yours. So if you fit well with a lab, there may be a lot of motivation for the program to recruit you heavily. However, some of 'where' depends on 'what' to a large degree. Depending on your clinical and research interests (regardless of your circumstance), this is what will make or break the list of where and what to apply for in terms of programs. Its hard to guide you without that because that is, ultimately, the largest part of the puzzle. Relatedly, if the goal is to go abroad afterwards, I would encourage you to look for where you want to be afterwards.
 
Feb 5, 2021
5
1
This is a tricky question because the largest bit of needed information isn't listed.

Your verbal GRE is good, especially when considering the bias inherent to the test with any sort of minority/non-US group. The quant falls a little shorter comparatively, but this lines up likely with the research at least in terms of how folks will view you. A lack of research could hurt, but could also be offset by the narrative of your story and the 'real life' things that are going on/have been going on there. There is also a lot going in your favor, in terms of diversity recruitment and current emphasis by APA on broadening the field to be something other than old white men. This leads to a lot of recruitment push for individuals who are in non-traditional positions, such as yours. So if you fit well with a lab, there may be a lot of motivation for the program to recruit you heavily. However, some of 'where' depends on 'what' to a large degree. Depending on your clinical and research interests (regardless of your circumstance), this is what will make or break the list of where and what to apply for in terms of programs. Its hard to guide you without that because that is, ultimately, the largest part of the puzzle. Relatedly, if the goal is to go abroad afterwards, I would encourage you to look for where you want to be afterwards.
Thank you for your answer!

The truth is, I have no preferred interest(s), I am very flexible and updated on all sorts of subfields and I did mention I have no problem working anything in the psych domain the far future as long as I find an opportunity (again, my priority is better living conditions I'll place interest in anything!). So I suppose it would depend on the place I'm applying to. Whatever they're seeking I will be able to "skew" my interests towards. However, I have no idea where my chances of getting accepted are the highest so I was wondering if anyone has an idea generally. Do you think, for example, the UK? etc


N.B. I just checked the GRE scores again and turned out I scored 153 on quantitative, to my surprise! Still lower than I'd have liked but I had forgotten because I took it last year and only practiced 3 days (I used to be much smarter as a child😭)
 
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Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
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Mar 2, 2013
2,034
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Thank you for your answer!

The truth is, I have no preferred interest(s), I am very flexible and updated on all sorts of subfields and I did mention I have no problem working anything in the psych domain the far future as long as I find an opportunity (again, my priority is better living conditions I'll place interest in anything!). So I suppose it would depend on the place I'm applying to. Whatever they're seeking I will be able to "skew" my interests towards. However, I have no idea where my chances of getting accepted are the highest so I was wondering if anyone has an idea generally. Do you think, for example, the UK? etc


N.B. I just checked the GRE scores again and turned out I scored 153 on quantitative, to my surprise! Still lower than I'd have liked but I had forgotten because I took it last year and only practiced 3 days (I used to be much smarter as a child😭)
The bigger issue you will have is the lack of preferred interests and not region. I would spend your time focused on region. A lack of defined interests is a major non-starter for lab applicants to me and most(all?) faculty I know. I want people who care about what I study because that translates well into motivation in grad school and dedication to the lab. The flexibility is important, but "fit" is about the specific area of interest.
 
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Feb 5, 2021
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The bigger issue you will have is the lack of preferred interests and not region. I would spend your time focused on region. A lack of defined interests is a major non-starter for lab applicants to me and most(all?) faculty I know. I want people who care about what I study because that translates well into motivation in grad school and dedication to the lab. The flexibility is important, but "fit" is about the specific area of interest.
Okay, I see!
What I meant was not that I have *no* interest - rather, I have interest in several topics but I'm yet to choose a favorite. And I believe in my statement it would show that I'm highly motivated in research because I've performed it and collected data at impossible settings with impossible populations!
Alas, research opportunities have been limited especially that there are no labs in the country for psychology (!!!) which has maybe made me less certain of finding one specific interest. Still, I'll work on finding my niche eventually :)

I'm aware that consistency is highly recommended in applications, so could applicants still have a good chance if they show interest in a topic they hadn't worked on before?
 

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
7+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
2,034
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Okay, I see!
What I meant was not that I have *no* interest - rather, I have interest in several topics but I'm yet to choose a favorite. And I believe in my statement it would show that I'm highly motivated in research because I've performed it and collected data at impossible settings with impossible populations!
Alas, research opportunities have been limited especially that there are no labs in the country for psychology (!!!) which has maybe made me less certain of finding one specific interest. Still, I'll work on finding my niche eventually :)

I'm aware that consistency is highly recommended in applications, so could applicants still have a good chance if they show interest in a topic they hadn't worked on before?
Short answer? Yes.

Long answer? Yes but.

Previous experience isn't expected because there are a lot of limitations to what you are able to do (for instance, if you want to study schizophrenia, your experience with the population or with research on it may be limited by nature of where you happen to be - and interests evolve throughout school so we can't expect everyone to be so lucky as to have the exact opportunities they need and want). The key is transferrable skills (e.g., research skills and a passion for the area of work within the lab as well as a way to show that your interests will be able to blend into the lab. Your limitations in research exposure make complete sense given the context and can be something you speak frankly about in your letter when describing your goals for training and how your lack of experience may not reflect your capacity. You can have an interest - and have a reason for that interest.

So, lets say I are interested in trauma (I pick this because its a legit interest of mine) and lets say I'm in your shoes. I would cater my material focusing on how my interest in trauma fits within the labs of those studying trauma and speak about how my experiences where I'm from have shaped (1) my passion for work on and with trauma exposed individuals and (2) my limited exposure to research methods. Given (2), I would then talk about the steps I've done to gain exposure where necessary. Maybe this means I volunteer at some clinics. Maybe it means I watch as many statistics videos online to try and make sure I understand regression and anova. Maybe this means I play with stats to make sure I learn those things using a free online database for research that anyone can access. Maybe it means I talk about classes I've taken that highlight this area of interest (abnormal psych, etc) and perhaps I devote my class papers to literature reviews of the topic (trauma treatment, PTSD diagnosis, etc). I would suspect that taking those steps would help you in some way alleviate the lack of formalized lab structures by showing knowledge, initiative/motivation, and passion for the 'fit' of a lab.
 
Feb 5, 2021
5
1
Short answer? Yes.

Long answer? Yes but.

Previous experience isn't expected because there are a lot of limitations to what you are able to do (for instance, if you want to study schizophrenia, your experience with the population or with research on it may be limited by nature of where you happen to be - and interests evolve throughout school so we can't expect everyone to be so lucky as to have the exact opportunities they need and want). The key is transferrable skills (e.g., research skills and a passion for the area of work within the lab as well as a way to show that your interests will be able to blend into the lab. Your limitations in research exposure make complete sense given the context and can be something you speak frankly about in your letter when describing your goals for training and how your lack of experience may not reflect your capacity. You can have an interest - and have a reason for that interest.

So, lets say I are interested in trauma (I pick this because its a legit interest of mine) and lets say I'm in your shoes. I would cater my material focusing on how my interest in trauma fits within the labs of those studying trauma and speak about how my experiences where I'm from have shaped (1) my passion for work on and with trauma exposed individuals and (2) my limited exposure to research methods. Given (2), I would then talk about the steps I've done to gain exposure where necessary. Maybe this means I volunteer at some clinics. Maybe it means I watch as many statistics videos online to try and make sure I understand regression and anova. Maybe this means I play with stats to make sure I learn those things using a free online database for research that anyone can access. Maybe it means I talk about classes I've taken that highlight this area of interest (abnormal psych, etc) and perhaps I devote my class papers to literature reviews of the topic (trauma treatment, PTSD diagnosis, etc). I would suspect that taking those steps would help you in some way alleviate the lack of formalized lab structures by showing knowledge, initiative/motivation, and passion for the 'fit' of a lab.
Very clear and helpful answer thank you for taking your time to explain!
 
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For the purposes of funding, before you make a final decision you may wish to see what being an international student would mean with respect to funding (in-state tuition probably won't be an option). An international student who started in my program as I was leaving ran into some difficulties with where her practicum and work placements could be for various reasons and I am totally uninformed about how those annoyances were related and how specific they were to state, program, sites- just something to keep in mind on interviews if there are current or recently graduated international students who can fill you in on any specifics that might relate to that program to avoid the annoyances ahead of time. Not working those out in advance put the student I am thinking of at a bit of an economic disadvantage for a bit which seemed unfair and unnecessary from my extremely limited perspective.
 
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For the purposes of funding, before you make a final decision you may wish to see what being an international student would mean with respect to funding (in-state tuition probably won't be an option). An international student who started in my program as I was leaving ran into some difficulties with where her practicum and work placements could be for various reasons and I am totally uninformed about how those annoyances were related and how specific they were to state, program, sites- just something to keep in mind on interviews if there are current or recently graduated international students who can fill you in on any specifics that might relate to that program to avoid the annoyances ahead of time. Not working those out in advance put the student I am thinking of at a bit of an economic disadvantage for a bit which seemed unfair and unnecessary from my extremely limited perspective.
Thank you for your remark! yes, definitely I'll look into it beforehand, I've also heard about inconveniences concerning things like clinical training and licensing for international students. It happens less if any at research and nonclinical programs which I'd prefer but either way I'll keep funding precautions in mind!
 
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