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Help! Looking for information about Masters/PhD Programs

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by kovalchuk71, May 27, 2012.

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  1. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    So I am starting to look into masters/PhD programs as I graduate from undergrad soon, and I had a couple of questions.

    1. First, is it necessary to go from Undergrad directly into a PhD program if I am looking at something like clinical psych?
    2. If I cannot gain admission into a PhD program immediately upon undergrad, will getting my masters first and then reapplying to PhD programs hurt me at all? Also, am I just applying for a clinical psychology grad position, or am I applying for a masters in general psychology?
    3. Will my undergrad GPA matter at all once I start a masters program? Will PhD programs just look at my masters GPA?
    4. When looking at PhD vs Psy.D programs, I read that the Psy.D programs are unfunded. Is this true? I'd like to not go through school and be $150-200k in debt, so I wasn't sure.

    Last edited: May 27, 2012
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  3. FreudianSlipper

    FreudianSlipper 2+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 2011
    1) You can go into a phd program either straight from undergrad or after a master's programs. Counseling phd programs tend to like applicants with master's degrees (a few require them), it generally doesn't matter for clinical phds. What matters most is your research experience, hopefully you have some clinically relevant experience, and have taken the types of psych courses programs like to see if you were not a psych major.

    2) I can't see a masters degree hurting anyone, especially if it gives an applicant a chance to show improved grades and an ability to do graduate work. With this said, there are many types of master's programs, and you will want to decide carefully which one to pursue. Some will lead to licensure as a clinician, while others do not. Whichever you chose, if a phd is a possible goal, try to pick a program or track in which you will have to do a thesis.

    3) Your undergrad GPA will still matter. I recall seeing on fordham's website for their clinical program that they actually place more emphasis on undergrad gpa since they assume all MA programs have grade inflation (somewhat true from my experience). This may be the exception though.

    4) Look up one of the dozens phd vs psyd type threads here. Most (but not all) Psy.D programs are unfunded, but there are a few PhD programs that are non-funded or poorly funded as well. Definitely an important factor to consider when applying and asking questions to potential programs.
  4. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    That helps a lot. Thanks! So I would be looking for a masters program in Clinical specifically then if I didn't get into a PhD program? Do you have any suggestions on programs to look into If I am interested in Clinical/ I/O?
  5. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student 2+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2011
    It actually might, but it depends. If you have a BA in psychology, with a good GPA, then it very well could. If your undergrad major was in another field, or you have a poor GPA, then you are compromising for the better. The reason is that some clinical psych PhD programs don't like people with master's degrees, and from my experience applying/interviewing, it's because there is less funding available--especially the big prize, an NSF grant. If you have a master's degree, you aren't even eligible to apply, and that's a BIG turn off to these programs, because it means they don't get to brag about you, they have to give you university funds, and you'll have less time for research. It sucks for those of us with master's degrees, and I hesitate to bring it up because it makes me so angry that it happens (or that this happened to me), but it's true. For this reason, a lot of people around these parts have recommended getting 1-2 years of research experience after college before applying.

    I think it would also be worthy to seriously consider what you want out of your PhD and what program would match your goals. Perhaps a master's degree would be beneficial, 1) for programs that find it desirable, and 2) for your employability during several interims, if you get a licensable master's. Again, you need to think about what your goals are and what you want to do.

    Edit: I just noticed you are thinking about I/O programs and clinical?? Those are two vastly different subfields. You definitely need some time to think about what you want to do!
  6. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    If you don't me asking, what is a "good" competive GPA coming out of undergrad for a Clinical PhD program?
  7. mcvcm92

    mcvcm92 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    For clinical psych PhD, a competitive GPA would be anything above 3.5. Preferably, it would be 3.7+ especially if looking at more difficult programs.
  8. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    Thanks mcvcm. I should be fine then.

    Does the PhD program bypass the masters? Or is it the normal length of 2 years (masters time), plus 4+ for the PhD? Or is it around a 4-5 year program total?
  9. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    It also matters what undergrad you went to. If you went to Harvard you can get away with a lower GPA than if you went to State U.

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