cmuhooligan

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Hey all:

As I've posted before it looks like I am going to have the choice between a decent Master's program in clinical, or to find a RA postion for a year. I was wondering if you think it would be more beneficial to go into the Masters program or to take a year off as a RA. Again I feel as though the only weakness in my application was my GRE, so would a Masters program really be that beneficial?

Thanks
 

lazure

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I'd go for the Master's, do an amazing job so that they want me to stay there for a PhD or at least get a good publication(s) out of the experience. But that's my opinion. :)
 

winnie

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If you're planning to get a PhD eventually, and you do decide to do a master's, I'd choose one in general/experimental rather than clinical. If you do an MA and don't get substantial research experience out of it, it will actually hurt your chances.

Check out Villanova in Philadelphia. They have a good record of getting students into top doctoral programs and published and they fully fund some students too. Also, SUNY Buffalo has a good research-based MA program, although you'd still have to apply to the PhD program there along with everyone else.

If you already have loads of research experience, maybe a GRE course is all you really need, though.
 

SaraL124

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I would get a research related RA job and take a GRE course. That's what I did after undergrad for 2 years. If you did well in your undergrad Psych classes or were a psych major, and master's won't help you that much. Plus, some master's programs are 2 years. I think you can get a good publication out of an RA job, and if you raise your GRE with a Kaplan course, you'll be golden. Also, if you take a masters program, a lot of your credits won't transfer, and you'll end retaking some courses.
 

psychanon

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I'd also recommend going for an RA job unless, like winnie said, you can get into a funded master's program with a good track record (or you have money to spare--you do NOT want to start a PhD program in any more debt than necessary). I have a friend who went to Villanova and she was fully funded and is now in a good clinical doctoral program. I don't think that the master's degree gives you a big enough advantage to be worth paying for. People with masters don't usually get a huge amount of credit for their coursework once they're in doctoral programs-- maybe they'll get out of stats, and if they're really lucky their thesis might transfer. Most masters programs are not at schools with PhD programs, and I have the impression that PhD programs that do have masters programs associated with them (e.g., American, BU, Drexel, etc.) don't regularly take their own master's students (not that it's impossible or anything, it just doesn't seem like there's much of an inside advantage). Masters programs tend to be much bigger than the PhD programs and once you apply you're competing with all of the hundreds of outside applicants as well. Also, masters programs (esp at schools w/ PhD programs) tend to be regarded as cash cows (which in many cases they are).
I didn't get a masters before grad school, so if anyone more knowledgeable out there wants to dispute this information, feel free.

If you do go the masters route, in addition to looking for programs with funding I would recommend 1) looking at programs without PhD programs, so you don't have to play second fiddle to the doctoral students, and 2) definitely going to a program with a thesis requirement.

I think the RA route is better (that's what I did) because you don't have to pay tuition and actually make money, and you can get many of the same benefits as you would from a masters program (e.g., good recommendations, publications, presentations, research experience in your area of interest, and often times training in assessment techniques and other relelvent skills), plus the added maturity of being out of school and in a work environment.
 

50960

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Go to a British university where a master's degree will cost you under 10k, and you will get a much better pre-doc training than any masters in the US. Most MS programs in the UK will get you a better stats/methodology training than 90% of American PhDs, so you will be very prepared for the maths portion of the American PhD.

:cool:
 

SaraL124

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psisci said:
Go to a British university where a master's degree will cost you under 10k, and you will get a much better pre-doc training than any masters in the US. Most MS programs in the UK will get you a better stats/methodology training than 90% of American PhDs, so you will be very prepared for the maths portion of the American PhD.

:cool:

But How does this transfer to the American schools? Do they accept credits from foreign programs? Also, you may save $ by going to a british program, but there are a lot of costs incurred in moving to a new country, especially where the dollar is so weak.
 

50960

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It transfers, but the main point is the quality of training. In most American MS/MA programs you just get more undergrad type coursework, but in a British program you get research training equal to an American PhD.
 

Anony.1652

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Last year I had the same offer, though I only applied at MA programs. I chose to stay at my university take some post-bacc classes, retake the GRE, and work in a lab. The reasons I applied at MA was I didnt know what I wanted to do. After visting some programs and having some interviews I realized what I actually wanted, saw that I was coming from a better school then I would be getting into, weighted the options and turned down my offers. Applying now I still havent heard from a lot of the programs, still early and havent seen anyone else hearing from them either, but I am going to a Ph.D. program fall. My current school is very receptive to students with MA's. Often times they get their thesis accepted and all of their coursework. HOwever!!! note those are for experimental programs. clinical somtimes dont take the assessment and practicums that you may have had at your MA's program. In the end I feel glad that I took a year off. Work experiennce may let you know you dont want to do something you had thought you had. and I feel better knowing if I had gone to a MA program I would still be worrying about getting into Ph.d. next year.