Necessity of research and clinical experience for PsyD programs? Is clinical experience better?

Jul 19, 2020
4
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi, was wondering what your thoughts are on the quality and quantity of research experience necessary for PsyD programs. I've been told by some that research experience is less valuable than clinical experience, and some have told me the opposite. I have two semesters-worth of research experience in which I designed and conducted two studies. I also have a year's worth of experience as a research assistant in a clinical psychology lab, but that work was pretty basic and I was not involved in lit reviews or writing papers. I mostly observed subjects who were in a hospital facility that was meant to mimic conditions in space.

I would like to get some clinical experience before I apply to programs, but are some clinical positions more attractive than others to programs? Would you recommend trying to get hands-on clinical experience, as opposed to working as, say, a secretary in a clinic?

Thanks!
 

PsyDuck90

2+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2018
171
258
Any quality, university-based PsyD program is going to value research experience as much as balanced PhD programs. Clinical experience can be helpful, but the program spend 4ish years teaching you how to do that, so that usually isn't as big of a concern.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

summerbabe

2+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2016
262
430
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
I would like to get some clinical experience before I apply to programs, but are some clinical positions more attractive than others to programs?
From my experiences participating in my PhD program's interviews while I was a student, research experience and fit vastly outweighs clinical experience.

Did those 2 studies you designed turn into posters or papers? Depending on what you're interested in and how you fit with PIs, you could potentially be more competitive for funded programs than you think, especially with more relevant experiences.
 
About the Ads
Jul 19, 2020
4
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
From my experiences participating in my PhD program's interviews while I was a student, research experience and fit vastly outweighs clinical experience.

Did those 2 studies you designed turn into posters or papers? Depending on what you're interested in and how you fit with PIs, you could potentially be more competitive for funded programs than you think, especially with more relevant experiences.

Thanks for your reply! I am not interested in PhD programs..were you referring to funded PsyD programs here?

My main concern right now is whether I should accept a job offer for part-time research that is pretty basic. I would be observing subjects via video feed to monitor them for emergencies but also to record observations that are relevant to the PIs. I didn't think this type of research experience would be particularly valuable to PsyD programs, so I'm leaning towards not taking it. I have not been able to get a full-time research assistant/coordinator position yet. And there are a lot of opportunities for clinical experience near where I live, so I was thinking I would try to get at least some clinical experience (as opposed to having no further research experience AND no clinical experience).
 
Feb 11, 2020
93
84
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
Thanks for your reply! I am not interested in PhD programs..were you referring to funded PsyD programs here?

My main concern right now is whether I should accept a job offer for part-time research that is pretty basic. I would be observing subjects via video feed to monitor them for emergencies but also to record observations that are relevant to the PIs. I didn't think this type of research experience would be particularly valuable to PsyD programs, so I'm leaning towards not taking it. I have not been able to get a full-time research assistant/coordinator position yet. And there are a lot of opportunities for clinical experience near where I live, so I was thinking I would try to get at least some clinical experience (as opposed to having no further research experience AND no clinical experience).

Honestly, I think that unless you want to spend $100k-$200k to go to school, looking at funded PhD programs is the best bet. To reiterate what is stated above, most programs value research experience over clinical as you will be going to practicum/internships during your program to pick up the clinical along the way. I notice you say that you're not interested in PhD programs, is this due to the assumption that they're made to create researchers? There are many balanced programs that crank out more clinicians than researchers/academics. Now, that isn't to say that SOME programs are just research powerhouses, but that is an exception to the rule. I'd venture to say that MOST programs aim to be balanced as they know that a lot people do not aim to be researchers. The emphasis on research, I assume, comes from the fact that you are expected to know how to consume and produce research in order to accurately be able to understand things going on in the field.

I'm in a similar boat-ish. I did horribly in undergrad, GPA and research experience wise. I went to a clinical MA program to fix my GPA problem, but I still lacked on research. Now, I'm in the middle of a manuscript, and have started the IRB process for another project. No matter what you do, unless you want to spend $100k-$200k like I said, research is going to be a big deal. I have loads of clinical experience, but it's unlikely that it will matter. Reputable PsyD programs that are funded or not astronomical in costs have a similar emphasis on research as a PhD program would. Don't sell yourself short on your abilities, it is just a factor of how you use those abilities. Honestly, to answer your question, you'd be better offer looking for a research position if those are available. In my area, this is not a possibility for me. But if is for you, I would do that rather than accepting something to increase your clinical experience. I know that the clinical job is likely more enticing but for CV purposes, the research job is likely to fair better for you in your journey.

I hope this helps!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Jul 19, 2020
4
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Honestly, I think that unless you want to spend $100k-$200k to go to school, looking at funded PhD programs is the best bet. To reiterate what is stated above, most programs value research experience over clinical as you will be going to practicum/internships during your program to pick up the clinical along the way. I notice you say that you're not interested in PhD programs, is this due to the assumption that they're made to create researchers? There are many balanced programs that crank out more clinicians than researchers/academics. Now, that isn't to say that SOME programs are just research powerhouses, but that is an exception to the rule. I'd venture to say that MOST programs aim to be balanced as they know that a lot people do not aim to be researchers. The emphasis on research, I assume, comes from the fact that you are expected to know how to consume and produce research in order to accurately be able to understand things going on in the field.

I'm in a similar boat-ish. I did horribly in undergrad, GPA and research experience wise. I went to a clinical MA program to fix my GPA problem, but I still lacked on research. Now, I'm in the middle of a manuscript, and have started the IRB process for another project. No matter what you do, unless you want to spend $100k-$200k like I said, research is going to be a big deal. I have loads of clinical experience, but it's unlikely that it will matter. Reputable PsyD programs that are funded or not astronomical in costs have a similar emphasis on research as a PhD program would. Don't sell yourself short on your abilities, it is just a factor of how you use those abilities. Honestly, to answer your question, you'd be better offer looking for a research position if those are available. In my area, this is not a possibility for me. But if is for you, I would do that rather than accepting something to increase your clinical experience. I know that the clinical job is likely more enticing but for CV purposes, the research job is likely to fair better for you in your journey.

I hope this helps!

This is definitely helpful, thank you!

I suppose the PhD vs PsyD is something I should reconsider. Unfortunately, like I said, I have not been able to get a full-time research assistant/coordinator position. Those positions are difficult to get in the first place, and are even harder now with the pandemic. I guess I don't like the idea of holding out for a position like that in the next year. Do you think my one year of research experience would be adequate for acceptance to a PhD program? I've mostly heard that programs look for 2 years of experience.
 

summerbabe

2+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2016
262
430
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
I am not interested in PhD programs..were you referring to funded PsyD programs here?
The top funded PsyD programs like Baylor and Rutgers and funded PhD programs will have the exact requirements for research experience and expectations for research productivity during graduate school so I would agree with the advice to re-evaluate your options. If you haven't already, check out old forum threads.

If you're independently wealthy or fine with taking at least $100,000 in student loans (and maybe much more depending on CoL) and OK with perhaps not getting the best clinical training out there (and maybe getting terrible training depending on the PsyD program), then you might already have a strong enough CV to be admitted.

And there are a lot of opportunities for clinical experience near where I live, so I was thinking I would try to get at least some clinical experience (as opposed to having no further research experience AND no clinical experience).
From my experience, research is much more valued than clinical experiences, since each accepted student will receive 5+ years of clinical training prior to becoming a licensed psychologist. But if somebody is struggling to keep up with their research obligations (e.g., complete their Master's thesis, propose an appropriate dissertation, finish the dissertation, etc), that often plays a primary role in not being able to complete the doctoral program.

I've mostly heard that programs look for 2 years of experience.
Think more about quality than quantity. 1 year of very hands-on experience that's directly relevant to continued doctoral-level research > multiple years of less relevant or engaged experience (e.g., 'grunt' work).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

DrBakedGoods

2+ Year Member
Nov 9, 2017
53
49
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
Like others have mentioned, it really depends on the type of PsyD program you're looking at. I would agree that research AND clinical experience are both important when applying to the really good PsyD programs. You will definitely need to have a basic foundation of research in order to succeed in a PsyD program.

I applied to 80% PsyD (full or well funded) programs and 20% PhD programs. I had 2 years of research in undergrad working in labs and 2 small internships - one resulted in a poster and overall good research experience, and the other resulted in a very unique thing to put on my resume that was a good talking point/made me stand out as an applicant.
Since I came straight out of undergrad, clinical experience was hard to come by, and while I accepted to both PsyDs and PhD programs - my lack of clinical experience was more of my downfall at the programs I was not accepted to than my research experience.

Your GRE will be a huge factor given your GPA - so I would honestly focus a lot of energy there, work on getting poster/manuscript/something of real value on your CV research wise, and bolster your clinical CV as well. My opinion would be to get a full-time clinical job and volunteer for research IF PsyD is truly your end-goal (you should continue looking at the differences between a PhD program and a well-balanced/reputable/funded PsyD though).
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
12,868
13,855
Somewhere
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
Your GRE will be a huge factor given your GPA - so I would honestly focus a lot of energy there, work on getting poster/manuscript/something of real value on your CV research wise, and bolster your clinical CV as well. My opinion would be to get a full-time clinical job and volunteer for research IF PsyD is truly your end-goal (you should continue looking at the differences between a PhD program and a well-balanced/reputable/funded PsyD though).


This may be a situation in which the "Don't accept GRE scores" movement will likely harm an applicant. OP will have to check which schools that they are applying to even consider GRE scores anymore. Those that don't, no longer give the low GPA people that extra shot. They're somewhat relegated to having to do a masters, or having stellar peripherals on their CV.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
About the Ads