Apr 6, 2010
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sunshine state
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Psychology Student
I have made the decision to transition from social work to clinical psychology by pursuing a PsyD and will like to to get some advice how best to prepare. thanks Markp :thumbup: for proving some feedback on this...

Here is my situation: I have a bachelors in social work and masters in community planning. I took on the community planning degree since it was fully paid for by university with the goal of doing a dual degree in social work, but half way through the program, funding became a challenge and I was not able to follow a dual track and ended up just completing the planning degree. After graduating, I made the decision of pursuing PsyD. I want to focus more on clinical training then research, but may consider PhD programs that lean more towards clinical training/experience.

Now, Im a bit worried that I may not have enough experience to apply for fall 2011. I have about 1.5 years of experience working with cases that involved mental health, substance abuse, and forensic social work involving insanity and mental incompetency cases. This experience goes back two years ago, since I was in school for the last two years and worked in field of planning for the last 6 months. Is this enough experience to apply to a doctoral program?

I will be applying for Fall 2011 and I am debating on what to do for the following year. I am deciding whether I complete the MSW during the same year since I can complete it in a year and it will require plenty of clinical hours through practicum and internships hours. Then apply to PsyD/PhD program halfway through MSW program and hopefully start program by Fall of 2011. I figure this way I can get more academia and experience under my belt before starting program. Is either that or grab a social work position somewhere that will get me more face time with mental health and substance abuse cases for the next year.

so many choices, so little time!!! help!!! any advice welcome. :D
 
Last edited:
Jan 22, 2010
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You need to concentrate more on gaining solid research experience. The clinical work is not as important to most doctoral programs. Even the top PsyD programs often look for research experience.
 

futureapppsy2

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I agree that you need research experience and also perhaps some psych course pre-reqs if you didn't take them as part of your BSW (I know this varies--my BSW program requires intro, physiological psych, and the developmental psych sequence, but I've heard of others that require things like abnormal or personality). I think trying to apply in the middle of an MSW program would look concerningly unfocused, particularly as you already have another Masters. I'd suggest looking for a paid RA position (or, if not possible, a volunteer RA position and paid clinical position combo) and taking any necessary pre-reqs. Did you take research methods as part of your BSW? How long have you been out of undergrad?

For what little it's worth, I am a psych/social work double major, and I don't think I was asked about my social work degree at any PhD interviews.

Good luck! :luck:
 
Apr 6, 2010
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sunshine state
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Psychology Student
You need to concentrate more on gaining solid research experience. The clinical work is not as important to most doctoral programs. Even the top PsyD programs often look for research experience.
I was hoping that PsyD program wouldn't be looking for as much research experience since I can show some commitment to the field from my social work experience. :(
 

Markp

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I am deciding whether I complete the MSW during the same year since I can complete it in a year and it will require plenty of clinical hours through practicum and internships hours. Then apply to PsyD/PhD program halfway through MSW program and hopefully start program by Fall of 2011.

so many choices, so little time!!! help!!! any advice welcome. :D
I know this is going to sound strange, but from what I have seen, if you want a Psychology Ph.D. (not sure on the Psy.D. side of things) that you DO NOT want to go for the MSW and you would want a masters in psychology.

I have not seen a lot of love for the MSW from those in the academic side of psychology... I don't know why, but that's just my gut feeling and I have NO empirical basis for the statement. The logic, I guess goes like this, "if you wanted to be a psychologist why are you still studying to be a social worker?"

Like I said, just my gut talking... remember you are going to need to demonstrate why you should be entering a program for a Ph.D. in psychology, I think that's a tougher sale when you are still being trained as a clinical social worker.

Mark
 
Apr 6, 2010
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0
sunshine state
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Psychology Student
I agree that you need research experience and also perhaps some psych course pre-reqs if you didn't take them as part of your BSW (I know this varies--my BSW program requires intro, physiological psych, and the developmental psych sequence, but I've heard of others that require things like abnormal or personality). I think trying to apply in the middle of an MSW program would look concerningly unfocused, particularly as you already have another Masters. I'd suggest looking for a paid RA position (or, if not possible, a volunteer RA position and paid clinical position combo) and taking any necessary pre-reqs. Did you take research methods as part of your BSW? How long have you been out of undergrad?

For what little it's worth, I am a psych/social work double major, and I don't think I was asked about my social work degree at any PhD interviews.

Good luck! :luck:
I sure need the luck, its gonna be a memorable year, preparing for GRE, getting applications together, LOR, picking schools,etc.....:scared:

I don't have much research experience, but I do have research training through social work program and my grad degree in planning since it was pretty intensive it required 2 Research Methods courses, Advance Statistics, and a capstone project. I graduated in 06' with BSW and spent about a year and a half in the field, and then started grad school.

Does anyone know if they can count some of my social work courses as Psych Prereqs? Also, do psych programs usually allow non-majors/non-degree seeking students to enroll in classes that way I can work on Psych Prereqs?

The reason for pursuing the MSW is twofold. Getting the MSW degree will allow me to get more intensive clinical experience and will allow me to be more employable just in case I don't get into a program as planned for 2011. I'm still puzzled about this one!!

I do want to pursue more research experience through either paid/volunteer research opportunities. Any advice where I should look?
 
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Mar 18, 2010
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Hey-
I have my msw and was recently accepted into a great psyd program this year. I went on 5 interviews this march.. I observed that even within the psyd programs there is variance on the emphasis clinical vs research experience. Some interviewers spent most of the interview discussing my clinical experience while others wanted to hear my ideas for research topics. Schools often show their preference in how they go about describing their philosophy/mission of the program. I have noticed too that clinically oriented programs will tend to have a faculty made up of direct practioners. Just some of my observations... Good luck!
 

psich

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A PsyD program will probably not look for as much research experience as a PhD program but research is definitely something that is required. Either way you go, research is going to be a part of your training - the only difference is how much. If you are totally averse to conducting research, sticking with your master's might be your best option. Why would you want another master's degree? If you get into a doctorate program, you'll most likely get a non-terminal master's degree on the way to the PsyD. In that case, you will have three master's by the time you graduate...which seems redundant.

As some other people have said, adcoms might be confused as to why you are pursuing a doctorate if you are already in an MSW program. The two are very different, and a doctorate in general is a research-oriented degree. What exactly are your career goals? Do you just want to get more clinical training?
 
Apr 11, 2010
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i think it's VITAL to look carefully at specific PsyD programs you are interested in and gauging how research-oriented they are. there are definitely great PsyD programs out there that don't require research experience, and are much more clinically oriented in training. i had very minimal research experience (maybe a quarter while in undergrad? but i don't even think i mentioned it in my application!) and got into a great PsyD program, because of my clinical experience.

if you're worried about your clinical experience, you can always volunteer or work somewhere that would give you that experience in the next year while you apply. and you can take your psych prereqs (if the schools require them!) at a community college.

but i think before anything, you need to start researching as many PsyD schools as possible, looking at their curricula, their requirements, their training, etc. - that may help guide you in your decision. good luck!