Pacific University PsyD Questions...Research Emphasis? Master's Thesis?

Feb 28, 2010
87
18
51
Status
Psychology Student
Hey all,
So currently, I am trying to decide between an offer at the Adler School of Professional Psychology's PsyD program, and Pacific University's Psy.D. program.

I really liked Adler, but Chicago just doesn't seem like the right place for me. Portland, OR on the other hand...

One of the main differences I'm noticing between the programs is that Pacific emphasizes research more than many other PsyD program. I am interested in a PsyD partially because I wanted to stay away from the research side of things, and get really into the practice side. I also wonder if this emphasis on research means less clinical training. Are there any students from Pacific's program (or anyone else knowledgeable) who can speak to the research/practice balance, and whether someone with my inclinations would fit into their program?

I'm also realizing that Pacific requires students to complete an MS in clinical psych along the way to the PsyD. Part of this includes a master's thesis in the 2nd year. Other PsyD programs I've looked at don't have this requirement, and having to do both a thesis and dissertation seems intimidating from my perspective. Can anyone speak to the pros/cons of having to do a thesis in addition to a doctoral dissertation?

Thanks for the help!
 
OP
A
Feb 28, 2010
87
18
51
Status
Psychology Student
Can anyone give me their take on Paciifc's program?

Thanks.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,458
2,424
281
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
I looked briefly at it, though that was 7 (ack!) years ago. The training seemed pretty decent, and the west coast was appealing, though upon deeper review the faculty research areas didn't fit what I needed. I know there have been some changes over the last few years, though I don't know if that helped/hurt the program's training. I remember running into some students from there at a conference and they seemed competent and knowledgable (their poster was a few spots down from mine).
 
Feb 23, 2010
76
0
0
Status
Psychology Student
This isn't about the thesis issue, but I'm a west coaster, and Pacific isn't in Portland- it's at least an hour's drive away in a very small town (Forest Grove). I considered going for undergrad, but the town was just too tiny.
So, if the pull to Pacific is the cultural aspects of Portland- you may not get to experience very much of that.
 
OP
A
Feb 28, 2010
87
18
51
Status
Psychology Student
This isn't about the thesis issue, but I'm a west coaster, and Pacific isn't in Portland- it's at least an hour's drive away in a very small town (Forest Grove). I considered going for undergrad, but the town was just too tiny.
So, if the pull to Pacific is the cultural aspects of Portland- you may not get to experience very much of that.
They actually have another campus in Hillsboro, which isn't in Portland, but about a half hour drive/45 mins via the MAX. So it is feasible to live in Portland as a student, and many do.

Anyone else considering Pacific's program, or can give me some insight into my questions/concerns?
 

Psiguy

New Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2005
38
0
0
Status
Psychology Student
None of the Psy.D. program courses at Pacific take place on the Forest Grove campus. The program is consolidating to the Health Professions campus in Hillsboro but most classes are taught at the Psychological Service Center in downtown Portland.
 
Last edited:

Buzzwordsoldier

7+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2009
468
27
161
The upper room
Status
Psychology Student
I live in the area and several of my workmates have been folks going through that program and needing a job to pay the way. So work is possible, though none of these people was able/willing to pull more than 1/2 time. Perhaps some students do manage to work full-time but you may want to call the dept to see what options they allow their students -- I know some programs put a cap on hours of employment. More typically the folks I worked with were pulling on-call hours at most and easily stressed out/overextended. They were definitely worked hard at that program.

Lastly, and this is just one eccentric individual's humble perspective, the program was not a top choice for me in part because it seems to be modeled on a generalist approach. I applied because Pdx has been home for a long time and the local option would have been tempting, but they turned me down. My perspective was formed well before the decision on my application was made. The biggest concerns I had about the program were based on my evaluation of these students in the workforce. Again this is my own perspective and based on a very narrow sample, but one echoed by more than one supervisor in more than one workplace -- the students were quite bright, competent as technicians and very well read on research, but lacking soul. None had critical perspectives on pressing social issues and they were otherwise unable/unwilling to think creatively or take creative risks. Perhaps this was simply a self-preservation reflex given the numerous demands at school. Undoubtedly this was in part a reflection of the limited experience most students at most programs will have to begin with, and it's inarguably likely that Pacific's students go on to form clinical identities all their own and to make meaningful contributions to society. Nevertheless there was a conservative streak that I found uninspired.
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
0
0
Status
I live in the area and several of my workmates have been folks going through that program and needing a job to pay the way. So work is possible, though none of these people was able/willing to pull more than 1/2 time. Perhaps some students do manage to work full-time but you may want to call the dept to see what options they allow their students -- I know some programs put a cap on hours of employment. More typically the folks I worked with were pulling on-call hours at most and easily stressed out/overextended. They were definitely worked hard at that program.

Lastly, and this is just one eccentric individual's humble perspective, the program was not a top choice for me in part because it seems to be modeled on a generalist approach. I applied because Pdx has been home for a long time and the local option would have been tempting, but they turned me down. My perspective was formed well before the decision on my application was made. The biggest concerns I had about the program were based on my evaluation of these students in the workforce. Again this is my own perspective and based on a very narrow sample, but one echoed by more than one supervisor in more than one workplace -- the students were quite bright, competent as technicians and very well read on research, but lacking soul. None had critical perspectives on pressing social issues and they were otherwise unable/unwilling to think creatively or take creative risks. Perhaps this was simply a self-preservation reflex given the numerous demands at school. Undoubtedly this was in part a reflection of the limited experience most students at most programs will have to begin with, and it's inarguably likely that Pacific's students go on to form clinical identities all their own and to make meaningful contributions to society. Nevertheless there was a conservative streak that I found uninspired.
Very honest assessment.
 
OP
A
Feb 28, 2010
87
18
51
Status
Psychology Student
Lastly, and this is just one eccentric individual's humble perspective, the program was not a top choice for me in part because it seems to be modeled on a generalist approach. I applied because Pdx has been home for a long time and the local option would have been tempting, but they turned me down. My perspective was formed well before the decision on my application was made. The biggest concerns I had about the program were based on my evaluation of these students in the workforce. Again this is my own perspective and based on a very narrow sample, but one echoed by more than one supervisor in more than one workplace -- the students were quite bright, competent as technicians and very well read on research, but lacking soul. None had critical perspectives on pressing social issues and they were otherwise unable/unwilling to think creatively or take creative risks. Perhaps this was simply a self-preservation reflex given the numerous demands at school. Undoubtedly this was in part a reflection of the limited experience most students at most programs will have to begin with, and it's inarguably likely that Pacific's students go on to form clinical identities all their own and to make meaningful contributions to society. Nevertheless there was a conservative streak that I found uninspired.
Thank you for your perspective! I'm just gonna talk through my reaction to your post.

Being modeled on a generalist perspective doesn't seem to be negative to me...considering my broad range of interests it would actually seem like a positive to me.

I'm curious to hear what you are talking about when you say students were unwilling to form "critical perspectives on pressing social issues and they were otherwise unable/unwilling to think creatively or take creative risks." I'm curious to hear who/what you are comparing these students to? I might think that anyone getting their feet wet in the psych. field would start out conservatively and get their footing....We're in a field where our main focus is to help people, and that creative "risk" might result in a patient with further problems due to the risk you took. Anyway, feel free to PM me if you don't want to get into specifics here.

What programs do you think have soul? Seems like a hard thing to quantify. I think that Pacific's faculty seemed a little more hands off than other porgrams(meaning students have to seek out professors) but I'm not sure if that translates into lack of soul.

Conservative in relation to what other programs? Pacific's program is definitely going through a growing phase at the moment, and doesn't have the history that some other programs do. It would make sense that in time, they will carve out a niche all their own?

Very honest assessment.
Yeah? Please do add your own take on the program, or your experiences that confirm BuzzwordSoldier's perspective.
 
Last edited:

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
0
0
Status
Maybe I was not clear. I meant that I liked how Buzzwordsoldier thoroughly went through the process and was very honest in his appraisal and understanding of the program. Some people may just speak favorably or unfavorably about a program without being objective, but I think that he was.
 
OP
A
Feb 28, 2010
87
18
51
Status
Psychology Student
Maybe I was not clear. I meant that I liked how Buzzwordsoldier thoroughly went through the process and was very honest in his appraisal and understanding of the program. Some people may just speak favorably or unfavorably about a program without being objective, but I think that he was.
Thanks, I agree with what you said. I just wanted to make sure I knew where your perspective was coming from.
 

Buzzwordsoldier

7+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2009
468
27
161
The upper room
Status
Psychology Student
Hi annel -- I sent you a PM. Thanks for asking me to clarify my thoughts. In a nutshell, I think your sense of Pacific is accurate -- that research and clinical science are rigorously emphasized there. I'm just one of the fringe elements who is persuaded that logical empiricism is no cure-all for the plight of those who become our clients and no safeguard against their ill treatment. In short, that ethics is the more solid basis for our work. Not that folks at Pacific are unethical, and not that there isn't an ethics of science! As for your concern about risk, risk is necessary for growth, unavoidable and never completely manageable (the risks of over-managing it). What I was trying to get at in my original post is that the students I've known have taken the research they know as the be all and end all of their interventions. Re: a niche at Pacific, I do greatly respect the work they do at the Virginia Garcia center...
 
Last edited: