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hello234

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Hi everyone,

I ultimately want to go to a practice-oriented PhD program in clinical psych. I don't have any research experience, my GPA isn't great, and my GRE scores are average, so I want to get an MA/MS first. I need research experience to get into a PhD program down the line, but I also want to be able to get clinical experience so that I can figure out what my specific interests are, and just know what it's like to work clinically with people! Also, I want to find a program that allows to me to obtain some kind of licensure so that I can get clinical work in the case that I don't want to move on to a PhD program right after finishing a Master's degree.

MA programs in Counseling Psych don't seem to provide research experience, and MA/MS programs in General Psych don't seem to provide any clinical practica opportunities. Are there any programs that combine both? Or do I choose one path and get research or clinical experience outside of the program in an unaffiliated lab or counseling center? I'm looking for schools in California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and Texas.

Any help would be much appreciated! Thank you!
 

eremitestar

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I would look for a counseling psych masters program that has a thesis option. This is not uncommon. Many people do counseling masters with the goal of going on to a PhD program in clinical or counseling psych, so lots of programs make research opportunities available to interested students.
 

CheetahGirl

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FWIW: I got a masters in general psych before I started my doctoral program. I also held down a full-time day job in clinical research (which gave me more than enough research experience, as a clinical research coordinator). I added to my clinical experience by becoming a certified volunteer rape crisis counselor in my city (I also have fellow colleagues who used their volunteer clinical work as a basis of 'clinical experience' prior to entering their doctoral programs, like suicide hotlines, etc. So consider this to supplement you overall picture.) So those are all possible avenues of how you can combine academic, clinical, and research work. If you end up doing research work (via academia or a paid- or volunteer job), try to make sure you part of research team that actively promotes their work through publications and conference presentations. 90% of my published and presented work on my CV came from my paid jobs...and the remaining came from my own academic research in graduate school.

Good luck! :luck:
 

foreverbull

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If you want the clinical experience, instead of just focusing on the Master's program, you can also work full-time as a mental health tech/worker at a partial hospital or Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility, non-profit organization, etc. or work there part-time while you get a research-focused MS degree. I got good clinical experience that way, and although it wasn't in the capacity of a therapist, it looks great on an application for a clinical or counseling Ph.D. program.
 

EmelyM23

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Hi everyone,

I ultimately want to go to a practice-oriented PhD program in clinical psych. I don't have any research experience, my GPA isn't great, and my GRE scores are average, so I want to get an MA/MS first. I need research experience to get into a PhD program down the line, but I also want to be able to get clinical experience so that I can figure out what my specific interests are, and just know what it's like to work clinically with people! Also, I want to find a program that allows to me to obtain some kind of licensure so that I can get clinical work in the case that I don't want to move on to a PhD program right after finishing a Master's degree.

MA programs in Counseling Psych don't seem to provide research experience, and MA/MS programs in General Psych don't seem to provide any clinical practica opportunities. Are there any programs that combine both? Or do I choose one path and get research or clinical experience outside of the program in an unaffiliated lab or counseling center? I'm looking for schools in California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and Texas.

Any help would be much appreciated! Thank you!



---
I entered a Masters in Psychology program and I am in the midst of finishing my first year (many are 2 years). I can honestly say that its more about having a "second" chance and finding opportunities yourself. If its a psych program- chances are your going to take a Statistics/research course (I am -1 full year of it)- Try getting an A if you decide Masters. But if you decide to go the Masters before PhD route, which many might disagree- I think its a good idea. Heres what I'm doing- first off apply to masters programs that offer PhD programs too- Why? Many of your professors will also be doctoral professors as well so you'll know them and you might even be able to work with doctoral students. You can find so many opportunities. Second, I currently am in 5 research labs in schools I don't even attend. Go to college websites- look up faculty and see what kinds of research they're involved in. Email them and see if they are willing to accept outside students. In masters programs, you really need to find the resources and do things yourself. I am working on getting research published, scheduling several poster/oral presentations and I am interning at a local trauma center in an ER. Whatever Masters program you enter, you can ask your own professors if they have research opportunities and their are also internship courses. I have the option of actually taking an internship course where I get assigned to an internship site (they find the place for me and all i have to do is show up!) . But for PhD programs I would definitely enter a MA program to boost the GPA. I had a 3.o in UG- My masters GPA is 4.0. It doesn't make up for the UG but at least they know I am capable of doing good in grad school. Retake the GRE and study with time- Take it 2 times if you have to. With an MA you can do social work and things of that nature and perhaps work as an RA.
 

Justanothergrad

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I did a masters in clinical psychology prior to entering my doctoral program. As they said, there were plenty of opportunities to get involved in research and I left that program with several publications in good journals. I would make sure that the programs you look at emphasize training individuals to enter into doctoral programs. There are lots of programs (particularly counseling) that offer research opportunities because they are housed within counseling psychology programs who are doing research but who may offer less training (e.g., statistics, thesis, etc.) as prime components.

There are some potential downsides to this approach that you should know about ahead of time.
1. Some programs will consider those with masters less favorable for doctoral programs (not a factor of prestige, just snobbishness imho)

2. APPIC hours for internship can be counted differently (this depends on the site) between masters and doctoral training, resulting in a chance that your hours will under-estimate your training and you may be cut from certain internship program considerations if they do a first round numbers cut. This isn't always associated with prestige, but it is something to be mindful of when exploring programs because you will want to make sure you have an opportunity to have a larger number of doctoral hours at various externship sites.

3. you may (or may not) be able to transfer the time and work from your program into your doctoral program.
 

bmedclinic

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I did a masters in clinical psychology prior to entering my doctoral program. As they said, there were plenty of opportunities to get involved in research and I left that program with several publications in good journals. I would make sure that the programs you look at emphasize training individuals to enter into doctoral programs. There are lots of programs (particularly counseling) that offer research opportunities because they are housed within counseling psychology programs who are doing research but who may offer less training (e.g., statistics, thesis, etc.) as prime components.

There are some potential downsides to this approach that you should know about ahead of time.
1. Some programs will consider those with masters less favorable for doctoral programs (not a factor of prestige, just snobbishness imho)

2. APPIC hours for internship can be counted differently (this depends on the site) between masters and doctoral training, resulting in a chance that your hours will under-estimate your training and you may be cut from certain internship program considerations if they do a first round numbers cut. This isn't always associated with prestige, but it is something to be mindful of when exploring programs because you will want to make sure you have an opportunity to have a larger number of doctoral hours at various externship sites.

3. you may (or may not) be able to transfer the time and work from your program into your doctoral program.

OP,
I agree with justanother grad and Emily. Maturity entered my life later than others (2nd year of undergrad) so I had a lot of catching up to do in many ways, thus had to go the masters route for the same reasons you cite. As Emily alluded to, a lot of it is what you make of it. There are people that graduated my MA program with virtually no experience, a barely quantitative or otherwise pathetic thesis, and generally poor letters of rec. They're usually psychometrists, RAs, or therapists in random places. For obvious reasons, no program worth their salt would give those people the time of day. If you go that route, it's going to be up to you to separate yourself from the rest. Essentially, you'll have 1-2 years to make the case to a phd/psyd admissions committee why they should even bother interviewing you over some kid that has a 4.0 in undergrad, was in two labs, and was 5th author on two papers and has a poster prez or two to their name. You've got a lot to do, but its possible. Showing that you can kick*** at stats, produce a good thesis, and have supervisors writing letters wishing they had a phd program to accept you into is going to sell you to the phd program.

Also, your grad GPA needs to be like 3.75 since grad GPA tends to be inflated. If its much below that, it may look concerning that you cant handle graduate level work.

Best of luck
 

BizQuick

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Hi everyone,

I ultimately want to go to a practice-oriented PhD program in clinical psych. I don't have any research experience, my GPA isn't great, and my GRE scores are average, so I want to get an MA/MS first. I need research experience to get into a PhD program down the line, but I also want to be able to get clinical experience so that I can figure out what my specific interests are, and just know what it's like to work clinically with people! Also, I want to find a program that allows to me to obtain some kind of licensure so that I can get clinical work in the case that I don't want to move on to a PhD program right after finishing a Master's degree.

MA programs in Counseling Psych don't seem to provide research experience, and MA/MS programs in General Psych don't seem to provide any clinical practica opportunities. Are there any programs that combine both? Or do I choose one path and get research or clinical experience outside of the program in an unaffiliated lab or counseling center? I'm looking for schools in California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and Texas.

Any help would be much appreciated! Thank you!

Eastern Michigan has masters programs in Clinical, and Clinical-Behavioral, depending on your interests. You can do a thesis, take research methods and stats courses, and do a clinical practicum to get some experience. I did the CB program, and it prepared me very well for interviewing at PhD programs. If you're open to Michigan, give them a look.

(Also, Michigan is one of the few states that licenses masters level clinical psychology, allowing you to do therapy and assessment under supervision from a clinical, as opposed to counseling or social work, perspective)
 
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