Feb 3, 2010
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Does anyone know if the majority of credits earned in the Master of Psychology programs of American University and Catholic University are transferrable to the Ph.D. programs? Has anyone taken this route?

I have an MSW, but fear my limited research experience and less then superb undergraduate GPA would preclude me from admissions straight to a Ph.D. program. I am considering going into a General Psychology Master's program, which they say is designed for students with limited research experience.
 

psich

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Mar 27, 2009
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I have an MSW, but fear my limited research experience and less then superb undergraduate GPA would preclude me from admissions straight to a Ph.D. program. I am considering going into a General Psychology Master's program, which they say is designed for students with limited research experience.
Most doctoral programs in psychology offer a non-terminal master's degree en route to the doctorate. If you decide to get a general psychology master's and then get into a doctoral program, you will have three master's degrees at graduation. Is that really necessary? I don't think you need to start another master's program in order to fix your research deficiencies. There are other ways to address this issue (for example, by finding work as a research assistant). How's your MSW GPA?
 
Feb 3, 2010
29
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Fairfax, Virginia
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My MSW GPA is around 3.9. And, I did complete a group research project, but i don't think you can call it a "thesis".

I think you're right about possibly wasting time/money on earning a general psych master's. That would be unnecessary and strange to ultimately have 3 masters, esp. when my goal is to have a doctorate. Although, if I knew the credits would fully transfer to the same school's doctorate program, than it may be an option.

Bottom line - I am prepared to earn an LCSW in 1-2 years because I enjoy being a clinician. I want to continue advancing my career, but don't think a SW doctorate is right for me. I know there are some clinical SW programs, but none near me. I would be entirely pleased with a PsyD, but the programs near me are either professional programs or extremely expensive. Since earning the MSW and working as a clinician, I have become much more interested in research than previously. And, with the PhD. programs I have to choose from being affordable and providing funding, it is a common sense option for me. My next move I guess is to find research experience and possibly retake the two research courses I earned C's in as an undergraduate.

I did, however, earn A's in the MSW research courses. But, I would assume the psychology research courses would be considered with more weight.
 

psich

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Mar 27, 2009
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My MSW GPA is around 3.9. And, I did complete a group research project, but i don't think you can call it a "thesis".

I think you're right about possibly wasting time/money on earning a general psych master's. That would be unnecessary and strange to ultimately have 3 masters, esp. when my goal is to have a doctorate. Although, if I knew the credits would fully transfer to the same school's doctorate program, than it may be an option.

Bottom line - I am prepared to earn an LCSW in 1-2 years because I enjoy being a clinician. I want to continue advancing my career, but don't think a SW doctorate is right for me. I know there are some clinical SW programs, but none near me. I would be entirely pleased with a PsyD, but the programs near me are either professional programs or extremely expensive. Since earning the MSW and working as a clinician, I have become much more interested in research than previously. And, with the PhD. programs I have to choose from being affordable and providing funding, it is a common sense option for me. My next move I guess is to find research experience and possibly retake the two research courses I earned C's in as an undergraduate.

I did, however, earn A's in the MSW research courses. But, I would assume the psychology research courses would be considered with more weight.
Your post-graduate GPA shows that you are familiar with and able to handle graduate level work. You are right that the main issue to address would be your research experience since you seem to be covered with the clinical work. Sounds like you know what you need to do.
 
Feb 3, 2010
29
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Fairfax, Virginia
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Thank you all for the feedback. I feel like I know what to do at this point, but I have just calculated all of my relevant GPA's.

3.938 - Graduate GPA (MSW)
2.46 - Undergrad GPA
2.73 - PSYC GPA
2.21 - Undergrad Last 60 credits

Obviously, the undergrad GPA's are quite low, but I feel I can partially justify this and turn it into a positive given my phase of life at the time and my ultimate completion of a graduate degree. Will these numbers completely preclude me from admission into a graduate-level psych program? I'm assuming that even with a very good GRE score and some research experience, I have a slim-to-none chance of getting into a Ph.D. program. However, I have been looking at GMU's master's programs, especially the applied developmental program. I am very interested in youth psychology, and wonder if I would have a good chance of getting in there. Their website states "It also accepts students who wish to prepare for doctoral work in Developmental, Clinical, Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology". Although I know it would be time-consuming to earn a separate Master's before a Ph.D., but I think it might be worth it. Especially if I can continue working full-time as a clinician while earning the Master's. Thanks again for the insight.
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
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Thank you all for the feedback. I feel like I know what to do at this point, but I have just calculated all of my relevant GPA's.

3.938 - Graduate GPA (MSW)
2.46 - Undergrad GPA
2.73 - PSYC GPA
2.21 - Undergrad Last 60 credits

Obviously, the undergrad GPA's are quite low, but I feel I can partially justify this and turn it into a positive given my phase of life at the time and my ultimate completion of a graduate degree. Will these numbers completely preclude me from admission into a graduate-level psych program? I'm assuming that even with a very good GRE score and some research experience, I have a slim-to-none chance of getting into a Ph.D. program. However, I have been looking at GMU's master's programs, especially the applied developmental program. I am very interested in youth psychology, and wonder if I would have a good chance of getting in there. Their website states "It also accepts students who wish to prepare for doctoral work in Developmental, Clinical, Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology". Although I know it would be time-consuming to earn a separate Master's before a Ph.D., but I think it might be worth it. Especially if I can continue working full-time as a clinician while earning the Master's. Thanks again for the insight.
Personally speaking, I do not think that the undergraduate GPA will prevent you from being considered for admission into a doctoral program given your high graduate GPA. However, I think it would help you to address the low GPA in your personal statement. If you feel that getting another master’s degree will help you, by all means go for it.

If you don’t mind my asking, how much research experience do you have? Do you want to conduct research?
 
Feb 3, 2010
29
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Fairfax, Virginia
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Non-Student
I absolutely would like to conduct research. I have been working as a clinician for 3+ years, but I think this has actually driven my interest in research. The only experience I have is during the MSW program where we did a group study looking at diagnosis of personality disorders. Although we had the option to apply for publishing, we never went through with it.

I suppose I am in a tough position if I were to consider applying directly to a PhD program. I will be taking the GRE, but I'm not sure how best to gain research experience. I have considered sending emails to different professors in local universities, but I'm not sure what opportunities they have for a volunteer or part-time research position. The thing is, I am married, having a baby in 6 months, and cannot give up working full-time. My wife has agreed, however, to have me do the PhD program in 3-5 years while she works full-time. I just need to find a part-time research opportunity now.

Thank you for the response. I am relieved to have someone say I have a chance. :)
 
Mar 18, 2010
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Psychology Student
Hey Nick-

I was in a similar situation as you... I had a low GPA for undergrad, but a very high GPA coming out of my MSW. I did not apply to PhD programs, but I was accepted into a competitive PsyD program. You have some time now to look for a research based position for this year into 2011 or even an unpaid internship in a lab (depending on where you live)...
 

psich

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Mar 27, 2009
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I absolutely would like to conduct research. I have been working as a clinician for 3+ years, but I think this has actually driven my interest in research. The only experience I have is during the MSW program where we did a group study looking at diagnosis of personality disorders. Although we had the option to apply for publishing, we never went through with it.

I suppose I am in a tough position if I were to consider applying directly to a PhD program. I will be taking the GRE, but I'm not sure how best to gain research experience. I have considered sending emails to different professors in local universities, but I'm not sure what opportunities they have for a volunteer or part-time research position. The thing is, I am married, having a baby in 6 months, and cannot give up working full-time. My wife has agreed, however, to have me do the PhD program in 3-5 years while she works full-time. I just need to find a part-time research opportunity now.

Thank you for the response. I am relieved to have someone say I have a chance. :)
Contacting professors at local universities is a good idea. Since you have a lot on your plate right now, I also think it would help you to prioritize.

You want to:
1) Get part-time research experience
2) Keep your full-time job
3) Gain admission into master's program in applied developmental psychology (do you plan to matriculate in the fall?)
4) Take the GREs
5) Take care of your family

I don't think it's impossible to do these things, but I also don't think it's going to be easy. Find out what you think are the most important issues to address in your application and improve those areas. From my perspective, it seems like a lot is dependent on whether or not you choose to enter the master's program in developmental psychology. Since you think that entering the program will help you, I think starting off with that and then working on the other areas would help things fall into place.
 
Feb 3, 2010
29
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0
Fairfax, Virginia
Status
Non-Student
I am wondering if my time would be better spent either 1) taking 3-4 years earning the MA part-time, or 2) working that amount of time on a part-time basis in research and going straight for the PhD.

Although I have accepted that I may need to earn a MA first, I worry about the overall financial cost of the MA then PhD. I am not sure how many credits will transfer into the PhD program. So far, I am led to believe not many credits will transfer.

Of the two choices, what do you think?
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
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I am wondering if my time would be better spent either 1) taking 3-4 years earning the MA part-time, or 2) working that amount of time on a part-time basis in research and going straight for the PhD.

Although I have accepted that I may need to earn a MA first, I worry about the overall financial cost of the MA then PhD. I am not sure how many credits will transfer into the PhD program. So far, I am led to believe not many credits will transfer.

Of the two choices, what do you think?
Well, that decision is up to you.

I think that you have shown that you are capable of handling graduate level work due to your high MSW GPA. Also, not all doctoral programs accept MA credits, and if they do, they will most likely take only a few classes (though there are exceptions). I also believe that your concerns over the debt you will take on by starting another MA program are sound.

I'm not sure how the applied developmental program you are interested in allows for research experience. But I think it might help to consider what specific goals you want to achieve within the next several years and what path best allows you to achieve those goals.
 
Feb 3, 2010
29
0
0
Fairfax, Virginia
Status
Non-Student
I am curious how much of a difference it would make for me to retake a few undergad psych course in which I earned a C. I'm especially considering the two research courses. If I were to take these courses now and earn A's, this may put me in a good position to find research opportunities with professors.

Does anyone know of retaking courses is evaluated by graduate admission offices? I apologize if this has been covered by other threads, but I wanted to continue this very helpful thread.
 
Feb 3, 2010
29
0
0
Fairfax, Virginia
Status
Non-Student
I apologize ahead of time if it is inappropriate to post on an old thread. However, after considering everyone's feedback on the steps I need to take to gain admission to a doctorate program, I feel I would be more suited for a PsyD degree instead of a PhD. I have an MSW and several years of clinical experience. Seemingly the only lacking portion of my qualifications is research experience. I suppose I do have "experience" in the MSW program, just nothing published. Would it be unlikely to get into a PsyD program without additional research experience? Especially if my primary goal would be to become a clinician?