Jun 15, 2017
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Pre-Psychology
Hi,

I plan on applying to PhD (clinical) and PsyD programs but know that I may not get in this round. Because of this, I was thinking about also looking into Masters programs that will give me the research/clinical experience that I think I am currently lacking. I really like Vanderbilt's M.Ed in Child Studies program (I'm interested in developmental psychopathology), and have also looked into the Masters programs at WCU and NYU.
Does anyone have any recommendations for Masters programs that I should look into?
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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Aug 2, 2010
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If the issue is a lack of research experience, rather than a poor academic record, a research assistant job is a good alternative to a master's degree. If you do go the master's route, make sure it is research intensive (i.e., lots of time in the lab, working with a specific mentor) and is designed to position students to go on to doctoral study.

I wouldn't worry too much about clinical experience. A clinical research position where you work directly with patients/participants would be enough.
 

Kadhir

2+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2015
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I agree, if you do a master's, make sure it is a thesis-based program. For the research experience, but also you want to make sure this transfers to doctoral study. Villanova, SDSU, and Drexel come to mind.

But generally, many people discourage the terminal MA/MS route altogether. A solid clinical research position will allow you to make a little money (vs. spending a lot on a MA program), while providing valuable experience.
 
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Jun 15, 2017
24
1
Status
Pre-Psychology
I agree, if you do a master's, make sure it is a thesis-based program. For the research experience, but also you want to make sure this transfers to doctoral study. Villanova, SDSU, and Drexel come to mind.

But generally, many people discourage the terminal MA/MS route altogether. A solid clinical research position will allow you to make a little money (vs. spending a lot on a MA program), while providing valuable experience.
Thank you! I know that many people discourage against it, but I think it'd be okay if I was in a Master's program that was research intensive? (I honestly don't know; would it be?) I know it'd be good to find a clinical research position, but I really like the idea of also taking some classes.
 

Kadhir

2+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2015
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Psychology Student
Thank you! I know that many people discourage against it, but I think it'd be okay if I was in a Master's program that was research intensive? (I honestly don't know; would it be?) I know it'd be good to find a clinical research position, but I really like the idea of also taking some classes.
If you like the idea of a formal program and you find one that works, go ahead. Yes, it would be okay, and many people are successful this way. Just consider the money you will be spending, since you certainly won't be making any money for a while if you do go the PhD route. Also, IMO, the professional experience you gain in employment is invaluable- really serves you well in navigating challenging situations in graduate school.

Some clinical research positions, especially if they're in a university, may give you some tuition remission or let you audit classes. Might be something to look into.
 
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OP
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Jun 15, 2017
24
1
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Pre-Psychology
If you like the idea of a formal program and you find one that works, go ahead. Yes, it would be okay, and many people are successful this way. Just consider the money you will be spending, since you certainly won't be making any money for a while if you do go the PhD route. Also, IMO, the professional experience you gain in employment is invaluable- really serves you well in navigating challenging situations in graduate school.

Some clinical research positions, especially if they're in a university, may give you some tuition remission or let you audit classes. Might be something to look into.
Thank you! I'll look into it. The advisors at my school aren't helpful at all, so I've been sort of clueless throughout this whole process.
 
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foreverbull

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Sep 8, 2015
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Thank you! I know that many people discourage against it, but I think it'd be okay if I was in a Master's program that was research intensive? (I honestly don't know; would it be?) I know it'd be good to find a clinical research position, but I really like the idea of also taking some classes.
Have you thought about clinical experience? I got into a Ph.D. program coming from a non-thesis masters, but I had a lot of clinical experience. Research is ideal, but solid clinical experience can also boost your chances somewhat (a combination of both = ideal). A handful of people in my program had good clinical experience but no research, but had good research ideas they intended to pursue. Just something to keep in mind; research is the safest bet, but clinical experience can be a factor that people tend to forget can be helpful.
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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Some clinical is fine, but it's pretty low yield to a lot of committees. The clinical work available at that level is generally not all that relevant to doctoral level practice, so it's mostly overlooked in admission meetings in many programs. If you're going to spend time, hour for hour, research experience is the best bang for your buck pre-grad school.
 
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Kadhir

2+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2015
218
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Psychology Student
Have you thought about clinical experience? I got into a Ph.D. program coming from a non-thesis masters, but I had a lot of clinical experience. Research is ideal, but solid clinical experience can also boost your chances somewhat (a combination of both = ideal). A handful of people in my program had good clinical experience but no research, but had good research ideas they intended to pursue. Just something to keep in mind; research is the safest bet, but clinical experience can be a factor that people tend to forget can be helpful.
Prospective students should be careful about the clinical experiences they obtain before graduate school. I was in admissions meetings where people raised eyebrows to some questionable clinical work (i.e., not performed under appropriate supervision in a formal training environment). Lower-level clinical work may be OK but, as mentioned above, minimally useful when compared to solid clinical research experience.
 

foreverbull

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
841
860
Prospective students should be careful about the clinical experiences they obtain before graduate school. I was in admissions meetings where people raised eyebrows to some questionable clinical work (i.e., not performed under appropriate supervision in a formal training environment). Lower-level clinical work may be OK but, as mentioned above, minimally useful when compared to solid clinical research experience.
Yikes! I'm curious about what kind of services those applicants were allowed to offer inappropriately.

On a broader level, one good lower-level clinical position is a technician/"care counselor" in a residential or hospital setting. It is some of the best training/preparation in a structured environment you can get prior to counseling training. Lots of exposure to ADHD, Bipolar disorder, self-harm/suicidality, relational issues, trauma, personality disorders, etc. I would highly recommend this kind of job as preparation for people going into a doctoral program in clinical/counseling psychology and medical school for psychiatry.
 
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