Quantcast

PCSAS Programs - App Process

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

BOR84

Full Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
22
Reaction score
12

Members don't see this ad.
Hello everyone,

My question is in regards to applying to Clinical Psych PhD programs. This is my first time around in the application process so I was not familiar with PCSAS programs before I completed my applications, and I didn't quite find the answer when I searched the forum. To make a long question short, what is the current opinion on programs that are PCSAS? More specifically, if say you are interviewing at two programs with great research match, but one is PCSAS and the other is not, is the consensus these days to prefer the one that is PCSAS? (and by prefer I mean related to future job prospects in research/academia)
Any information regarding this would be very helpful! Thanks :)
 

bmedclinic

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
May 9, 2008
Messages
901
Reaction score
247
OP, like Eliza, I didnt know about PCSAS either. Honestly, I wondered if it had anything to do with the SAS program for statistics at first glance. Anyways, it depends on what the second program is that is not PCSAS accredited. TONS of great programs are not PCSAS, and it appears that PCSAS was created to intentionally exclude certain programs. If that other program could meet those criteria but is not PCSAS accredited, I wouldnt worry about it. If, on the other hand, the other program you're looking into is a for profit, large cohort, non scientist type, I'd easily choose the PCSAS one over that.
 

dontknowitall

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
106
Reaction score
2
My understanding is that a PCSAS accredited program subscribes to the clinical scientist model of training. PCSAS programs are closely aligned with Academy (apcs) programs, which also include some internships: http://acadpsychclinicalscience.org/members/

The PCSAS accreditation system is new and there are excellent programs with this status and excellent programs without it. You may want to focus on what model of training you want to receive and what type of career you want to have, and then talk to each program to evaluate the fit.
 

BOR84

Full Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
22
Reaction score
12
I didn't know what it was either, until I went to this one interview that kept going on and on about it. I guess my main question was whether it was something that really distinguished a place or not; if there were two comparable places (funding, research quality, etc) then whether the PCSAS was something that would really set it apart or whether it was just another name that did not carry that much weight. Also, if it's not that well known, should I not personally give it importance in my decision process?

Thanks for all the input! Much appreciated!
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
924
Reaction score
226
I didn't know what it was either, until I went to this one interview that kept going on and on about it. I guess my main question was whether it was something that really distinguished a place or not; if there were two comparable places (funding, research quality, etc) then whether the PCSAS was something that would really set it apart or whether it was just another name that did not carry that much weight. Also, if it's not that well known, should I not personally give it importance in my decision process?

Thanks for all the input! Much appreciated!

I think it is helpful in speaking to the attitude and goals of a program. I would not attend one of these programs if you are secretly hoping to primarily become a clinician. However, at this point, I don't think you will apply for a job and people will say, "Oh wow, PCSAS accreditation!"

It is also interesting to note that two of the schools on the list were ones that made me offers and I strongly considered attending (although over 10 yrs ago at this point). It was not my impression that they were hard core clinical science programs when I interviewed. Of course things change over the years. If someone attends a school on the list, it would be interesting to hear how the designation fits with their experiences.

Best,
Dr. E
 

psypsypsy

Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
124
Reaction score
1
When I was in grad school, I was present at a faculty meeting where they were discussing whether or not to do PCSAS accreditation. My take was that it's based out of APS and the academy of clinical science programs, and stems from people and programs being really unhappy with APA, how it's accreditation process functions, and the types of programs it is accrediting (FSPS PsyDs, etc). It seemed (again, hearsay), that the short-term future goal (10 year goal) was to have clinical science programs duel-accredited in APA and PCSAS, so people would be able to better able to distinguish which were research-based clinical science models. I think the long-term goal (more 30+ years in the future), would be 2 separate accreditation systems where programs were more likely to be 1 or the other with possibly different internship sites and more of a total breakaway/split with APA.

That said, OP, for your purposes, I would only pay attention to the fact that being PCSAS means you're going to a clinical science/heavily research-oriented program, as others have said. A PCSAS program would not be the place to go if you secretly want to be a clinician, nor if you're really looking for a balanced program. But, within PCSAS or non-PCSAS research-oriented programs, I don't think it matters at all and I wouldn't put any weight on PCSAS. It's so new that I wouldn't make much of it. It's money, and a lot of time to go through a second accreditation process, and I'm sure many programs are just waiting to see how much it takes off to see if it's worth the investment.
 

Ollie123

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
5,281
Reaction score
2,744
I'm at a PCSAS program. We're definitely quite research-heavy though it still could well have been us you (Dr. E) interviewed with as the research emphasis has increased significantly over the last decade. Generally speaking, I think we walk the walk when it comes to that. There are a few exceptions (e.g.. support for students applying for external funding) I'd like to see change, but they seem to be pushing more in that direction and newer faculty have all been research-heavy. There have been some oddities in recent years where faculty accepted students who were far more clinically-oriented than is typical or in my view at least, appropriate given the way the program is structured. I know its created some frustrations all around but its a generally supportive environment so these have been fairly minor in the grand scheme of things.

As for its value, agree with others that it is far too new to be given much weight. They've made some solid progress thus far, gaining CHEA accreditation and working towards VA recognition (so it would be seen as equivalent to APA). For now, I believe all programs are maintaining dual accreditation (APA and PCSAS) for the sake of making it easier for students to get licensed until PCSAS gains formal recognition. I'm sure the number of universities on the list will continue to grow - I'm sure many are waiting to make sure it lasts first, and the fact that this came out right around the same time most university budgets started to shrink has probably caused many universities to hold off on applying. I think its important to go to a school that "could" be PCSAS accredited (i.e. is of that caliber and takes that approach to the field) but right now an enormous number of universities could be considered as such but are not yet PCSAS accredited.

I do think eventually it will become the standard given APA has been largely unwilling to deal with some crucial issues (internship imbalance, FSPSs, taking a harder stance against voodoo practitioners). There is already talk of developing an alternative internship system within PCSAS (most recent SSCP newsletter discussed it). I'm sure that's far off since it probably won't get anywhere until they make more headway on the licensure issue. Still, unless APA changes I think eventually we'll see two tiers of accreditation with PCSAS becoming the standard for folks pursuing jobs as faculty, or clinical positions in AMCs, VA, etc. I wouldn't count on that happening until at least 10-20 years down the line though so wouldn't let it factor into your decision.
 

ResearchGirlie

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2006
Messages
297
Reaction score
1
PCSAS is relatively new so programs that are based on a clinical science model that aren't officially accredited may be applying for accreditation now or may be planning to in the future. I wouldn't disregard a program just because they aren't officially PCSAS accredited right now.
 
Last edited:

BOR84

Full Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
22
Reaction score
12
Thank you all for the information! Very helpful
 
Top