Doctorate in social work vs. PhD/PsyD?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Anise, May 8, 2006.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
  1. Anise

    Anise Junior Member

    May 8, 2006
    Hi... (waves)
    I'm brand spankin' new to this board and I have... well, a LOT of questions, but this is the main one right now. I would appreciate any and all answers. :)

    What's really the difference between DSW's and PhD's (in clinical psych)? How are the programs different? Ideology? Research topics? Overall experiences? Jobs that people tend to actually end up in after graduation? All replies gratefully welcomed!
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. Psyclops

    Psyclops 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    I think it's important to remember, that although some social workers work as LCSWs and counsel MH patients, that isn't neccessarily what their primary role is. It's one of the hats they wear. Clinical psychologists sepcialize in working with and studying mental disorder and associated topics.

    jlw? you out there and want to take this one?
  4. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    good call

    re DSW vs PhD in SW, I've never had the desire to get either so I've never investigated..... I'll venture a guess that it's similar to the PsyD vs PhD in psych. Let me do some research and get back to you. (And when I say "research", that means "I'll call one of my friends with the PhD in social work." :p )
  5. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    wait- I just re-read that. I think I might have misunderstood the first time. Do you want social work PhD vs. DSW? Or DSW vs. psych PhD/PsyD?

    I can tell you right now that the SW PhD is all about research, not practice.
  6. Anise

    Anise Junior Member

    May 8, 2006
    As I understand it, the DSW vs. PhD question in social work isn't really meaningful anymore, although it was at one time. So it should properly be SW PhD/DSW vs. psych PhD/PsyD, I think.

    I'd really like to do research in psychoneuroimmunology, but particularly as it relates to social phenomena of trauma (abuse, torture, disasters, etc.) UNT does have a health psychology PhD and I'm looking at that, but I'm also attracted to the PhD in social work idea. I should maybe add that I'm an adult student going back to school, and I do have some financial security now (no family help, but you can't have everything.) So the cost of the program isn't really the top priority.
  7. Psyclops

    Psyclops 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    By your interests it sounds like the psych PhD would be the way to go.
  8. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    That's what I was thinking. For the record, from my SW PhD friend:


    Now, Psyclops- no more engaging me in conversations you know I can't stay out of! You KNOW I have a final tomorrow! :mad: :oops:
  9. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oh one more thing- of those SWs I know doing research, a lot of it focuses on service delivery issues- access to services, barriers, quality of services provided, needs-assessment stuff. I know one whose expertise is in gambling addiction, although I can't remember the exact focus of her diss- I recall that she had a Fulbright Scholarship and was studying the relationship between adolescent video game usage as a predictor of adult gambling addiction. The one who I quoted above looked at the impact of child welfare worker burnout on service delivery to their clients, and also does research on education and retention of child welfare workers and risk factors which impact child abuse rates (ie, poverty and parents' level of education).
  10. WollWager

    WollWager Perpetual Student

    Jul 21, 2006

    Thats pretty much it. The program I started in (9 years ago) converted from a DSW (not the shoe warehouse) to a PhD. There is a very strong clinical component to it (including supervision and control cases)- but those that go on in academia are generally conducting research in QA, service delivery areas, policy design/implementation or specialty populations. You dont often see them getting involved in research in the "hard" sciences though it is not impossible- there have been some folks who have explored nuerobiological issues in children with learning disorders. Most of the "cutting edge" folks who have published work in trauma and biological impacts have been M.D.'s or Ph.D.'s in psych. however- the Ph.D. in social work is not always about research. Several that I know of have gone on to practice in specific treatment areas (children, infant mental health, upper income DV).
  11. A_DSW


    Apr 26, 2016
    Hi All,

    I have an advanced practice doctorate in clinical social work (DSW) from a competitive university that required a dissertation. Although I knew going into the program that there was no licensure at the doctoral level, two years after receiving the degree, I am feeling disgruntled. I have an LCSW, fortunately, that allows me to practice independently, but I would like to receive higher amounts of reimbursement for direct practice. I would also like to get some training in psychological testing.

    Thus, I am asking this forum whether there is an APA accredited doctoral program in psychology that allows for much of my degree and experience to count including the dissertation (don't want to do another :). I'm very open to your help! Thanks :)
    UrbanMidwest likes this.
  12. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA 5+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2011
    New England
    There are clinical re specialization programs, but they generally require that you have a doctorate in psychology. I think a problem you might face is that APA clinal training programs are designed to prepare student for doctoral level licensure as psychologists, which typically requires a doctoral degree in psychology. I'd think that any program that required a dissertation for the degree would want it conducted in-house (though I could be wrong). The are doctoral programs that don't require a dissertation, but these tend to be expensive professional schools. Some of your coursework may count in either type of program, but it'll still most likely be equivalent to earning a whole new degree- mainly because that's what it is.
  13. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    To the best of my knowledge, no. There are a few respecialization programs for people with PhDs in non-clinical branches of psychology (eg, social psychology, cognitive psychology), but not for people with doctoral degrees in other disciplines. Most programs would not consider your training experiences to be equivalent, including the dissertation.

    Do you know what the difference in reimbursement is in your area? It may be less than you think, or less than would justify the opportunity cost and expense of getting a second doctoral degree.

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  14. smalltownpsych

    smalltownpsych 2+ Year Member

    Psychologist and Social Worker are two different roles. Sure we have some overlap in these roles, but a common misconception in our field and society is to focus on that overlap and then assume equivalency. If your dream is to become a psychologist, then there is a tough road ahead and it would be like starting over. If it is more about feeling frustrated with your role as a social worker, then maybe you need to shift that somehow. I personally think that becoming a Social Worker as a path to becoming "just a therapist" is a problem. I would rather have a DSW working to fix the broken social systems than doing what I already do exceptionally well. Also, if you do try to take on the mantle of what an expert in social work could do, you might want to align with psychologists as our expertise could be very valuable in said endeavor.

Share This Page