the big easy

10+ Year Member
Nov 23, 2008
I originally thought that combining my business interests with my psychology major (i.e., gearing toward i/o psych) would set me up for happiness in life. As I got older, I realized that I want to be a therapist/work in a hospital and help people with mental disorders.

Unfortunately for me (as I turn in my Clinical Psych Ph.D./Psy.D. applications), my experiences peg me as someone who clearly has organizational psychology interests, not clinical. I worked in an I/O psych lab and I have worked in business consulting since I graduated. I don't believe these interests are mutually exclusive, but I am very much interested and committed to pursing a line of study and a career in learning about mood disorders.

Do I have a shot at getting in, or am I going to need to gain more research and clinical experience? Should I be applying to a lot of masters programs to gain this experience? Obviously, this is something I should discuss in my personal statement... but I don't know if that "ah hah" moment really exists (if I try to pinpoint it, it may come out as contrived anyway).

Any advice? Thank you!


10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 14, 2008
NYC Area
I think you have a decent shot at a number of Psyd programs, and maybe some of the more balanced Phd programs as well. Assuming you have done some research, I doubt that the fact it's in I/O is a huge problem. The main thing is to express clearly how your current goal of pursuing clinical psych is part of an overall evolution in your development (as opposed to a random change in course). I don't think you need to describe a pivotal "ah hah" moment. I didn't when I applied after years of being an attorney.;) One challenge (in addition to the GPA and GRE) may be getting outstanding recommendations. If you've been out a while, you may not know where to start.(In my case, I had to go back and do what amounted to a post-bacc in order to have the psych pre-reqs to apply, so I had recent profs who could vouch for me.)

Good luck.


RU experienced?
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2007
Queens, NY/Edison, NJ
Psychology Student
While not being in exactly the same situation, I had a very strong work/research history in psychophysical research (mainly with vision), and I applied to, and got in to, a PhD program in Social Psych.

I think your research background will still be more of a help than a hindrance. Not everyone knows they want to go into clinical right off the bat. Plus, you knew you didn't want to go into I/O after testing it out first. It shows you're not impulsive.

Getting some clinical-type experience would probably help you, though. It provides the ideal counter-point. You tried I/O, it wasn't for you. You tried clinical, it is for you, and that's why you're pursuing a doctorate. Not saying you can't get in without it, but it certainly can't hurt.

Good luck!