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The Capella University Experience

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by domineus, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. domineus

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    I believe one of my first posts when I came here asked about the Capella Experience for mental health; specifically as a route for an individual that wants to receive their Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. After about a year and a half and preparing for my internship, I wanted to give a first hand experience of Capella University.

    The Good
    The good of Capella University is the format surprisingly of learning theory. I am a self learner, and I learn fast and on my own scale. The program is flexible for me to keep up with my commitments and help my family out when needed while learning Clinical Psychology theory. The experience also allowed me to improve my verbal and linguistic abilities in forms of written and oral communication. That's always a plus. Depending on the institution the individual has gone to for their undergraduate program, Capella University can be easier or more challenging. I think personally it is a bit easier for me. I guess the point is, as far as learning theory, it performs the task pretty well (for clinical psychology).

    Some of the professors are pretty darn established in the psychological industry and that surprised me. I expected run of the mill psychologists that couldn't do any better. But in fact, three professors that come to my mind, have very VERY long and successful research careers. I think those professors should be a proverbial treasure trove to students. And in many ways, they are.

    The Bad
    There is bad for Capella University. I think it starts with the way students receive "hands on" instruction; specifically in the colloquium. The colloquium is ideally a place that allows learners to meet, greet, as well as learn proper ways to provide therapy, assessment, or dialog on ethics over a week. Previously, students were grouped in three levels, with level I students receiving a week of instruction catered to psychotherapy in a wide range of situations amongst themselves (never at a hospital which I wish it was). Level II students are exposed to psychological testing conditions and understanding how three courses (Inferential Statistics, Psychological Testing, and Test and Measures) are applicable to psychology, while upholding proper APA ethical protocol. Finally, the Level III students focused extremely deeply on Ethics, our own individual biases, how they impact therapy, and methods of keeping bias out. Currently, Capella is introducing a new method of performing this method by combining the levels of instruction over a week. So for instance, level I students receive psychological testing, psychotherapy application, and ethics application. This occurs 3x for a Master's Level student, I am not too sure about the doctoral level learners. But I do know there is a year "practica" that hones in on skills learned.

    It doesn't sound too bad, but it actually is. The bad is the pricing. Almost $1500 for the training, and then $1400-1600 for travel and hotel expenses (yeah you're suggested to remain at the Hyatt Hotel for Capella). And while you meet, greet, interact, form close bonds (beginning to sound like summer camp, sorta is like that), for the price, I expected a lot more. It's strange to ask where the $3000+ is going, and of course the other insane fees as well. It wouldn't be so bad if I saw it going somewhere, and to be honest, I don't. Sure, it is a hands on experience and amongst ourselves, we do learn how to apply theory to application. But it can be far improved.

    I suggested to the Head of the HASOP at one point, if the enrollment across the country is so well and there are at least 10 students in the major cluster areas, why can't students and professors of the area meet once a month to discuss research goals or anything similar to Fielding University? While he mentioned it was a good idea, there has been very little communication in terms of more meeting opportunities necessary to prepare students for clinical rotation. Now it could be fair that perhaps I am looking at this from a perspective of someone that wants to eventually become a doctor, but at the same time, for many states, the Master's degree is the terminal degree. The students should be prepared. And to be frank, 3 colloquium plus a 600 hour internship does not cut it. Surprisingly, PhD students of Psychology have similar complaints. And yet, if those were the only complaints, that's fine, but it gets worse.

    The ugly
    The ugly can be described in two ways: the first being internship and the second being doctoral program, the "goal" of the program. As far as internship goes, at the Master's level, it is required that a doctoral level Clinical Psychologist supervise a student 2 hours each week. That's fine, it is relatively unwritten rule. The problem is that for the Master's Level, some localities only have a Master level Clinician. Of course Capella University notes that a student can be supervised by a Master level clinician, the problem is Capella still requires that 2 hours a week are given to a clinical doctorate. So, if a student doesn't have that, Capella has openly suggested to PAY a clinician to supervise or give a POV on your progress. So, a clinical psychologist who has his/her doctorate, is supposed to know your mistakes, and help you correct them, and you pay them to do that. SERIOUSLY!? The intern experience has the clinicians jumping through hoops (and lots of "new" changes to policy not conveyed to the student) making a supervisor really not want to deal with Capella - at either Master's or Doctoral level. And these are the supervisors that assume that the merit of applicants are based on knowledge and experience, not where you go. Just think about how others will view it.

    Recall that the goal of the Master's program goal is preparation of a clinical doctoral program; whether PhD or PsyD program (this is how it was conveyed to me). Assume you want to enter a PhD program, the student should have an established thesis of some sort. How is that established when there isn't much "face" time or interaction with professionals within the industry? The professors at Capella has a lot of research experience and some are willing to actually assist and take on graduate learners to help with their research (surprisingly!). However, Capella disagreed. So, it's really difficult to submit a rousing CV for a B&M PhD program without that research experience (unless you're actively working in a lab already). I am pretty sure that perhaps the university is preparing students for a PsyD; which is fine. But even in lieu of that, why not convey that to the students? Why isn't there any more meeting opportunities? I said openly at one point that I am not sincerely sure that I am prepared for either path because of the Capella experience.

    Often, when I went to the colloquium, several administrators have stated that Capella is going for APA accreditation this year. Then the next year, and the next year. Primarily, I don't think Capella will receive accreditation just because of how the field is going. A lot needs to be done in both schools of psychology in order for Capella to even stand a chance at creating competent psychologists that B&M schools require. In many ways, Capella provides a romantic ideal for someone completing their master's, completing their doctorate and rising above several adversities. And yes, that is a good message, but it is ignorant of the changes to psychology.

    Capella is a strange mixed bag of tea for a variety of different reasons. I think for learning theory, it provides a good alternative for individuals transitioning into psychology or went to other institutions. But, it doesn't prepare students and it does leave a sour taste in the mouths of supervisors that say why not. Within Chicago, there are a few that have told me the garish experience from doctoral students and master's students at Capella University. From the time I've been a student to now, my experience has changed. I can't with full faith, recommend Capella University because of the practice, face time, lacking research, and financial constraints to a Clinical Masters or a clinical Doctorate.

    The reason why I posted this is because of Cara Susanna and I think its a good idea to have an updated experience. IMHO, if I had a big blue box that was bigger on the inside than outside, I would stop myself from attending Capella. But you live and you learn I guess.

    Further reading on the subject
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=338218
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=541688
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=444593

    Questions? No? Well Therapist4Change has some great questions to consider when Capella Students, or other distant model students, come and give their POV on things. The questions listed I will answer from my perspective but generally, I can answer the question based on my experiences.

    1. I don't think there is a research lab heavy component. I think that the freedom with the PsyD model negates the "heavy" research component. In the grad level, we do take research methods in which we are given the opportunity to place ourselves in the position of a doctoral learner via the Methodological Review Form (MRF) that outlines what would appear to be the thesis. Not quite sure on the dissertation, but I assure more details are provided by the dissertation advisor the student is assigned

    2. Practica is a strange situation. We choose the site and I guess that is called the freedom of the distanced model. But a main problem that I have found is that (especially in my state) Capella seemingly changes a lot of standards when there is no psychologist on staff (which is common in some geographical locations). I assume that if
    a) you have a psychologist
    b) (for clinical psych) you're in a mental health setting (hospital, community mental health), it is okay with Capella.

    3. It's not. Plain and simple.

    4. Ironically, the same requirements for every school. I believe 1750 hours of direct supervision over a year of time

    5. All the above. But qualitative, given the model, is far easier. I know some students that really live on the crit lit review and not forward any quantitative research. I can't speak for many, but funding is a huge issue for quantitative research that surprisingly Walden and other schools provide that give students more preparation for quantiative research. But I have no experience with other distance models...

    6. This is the ironic part. Capella structures their program on a part time basis and part time work or full time work part time school. Personally I doubt that many students adhere to 60 hours a week. I know I can say (for instance) if I have 2 courses per 10 weeks, I do devote 60 hours of study time and beyond. But I don't have a job so I can devote that time to it and learning to further the skills Capella doesn't provide (and it's quite a bit)

    7. That I can provide a lot of information on. During the week, from about saturday to wednesday night, the old format had us exposed to learning various skills. I guess, it would be comparable to a vocational training of just pumping information in our head about a specific skill. However, the new format stresses on learning three skills
    psychotherapy
    testing
    ethics
    spread throughout the week versus having psychotherapy for 5 days (for instance) from 8-5PM.

    Afterward, there is a supplemental session for students to take (not required but apparently helps). I went to a few and they can help but in some ways not so much depending on area.

    I still think that in clinical psychology, Capella may not be the model preferred if the goal is to submit quantitative research. I also question the competency of the model as well. But that's just me. And to the mafia hey students have opinions
     
    #1 domineus, Aug 17, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
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  3. edieb

    edieb Senior Member
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    I am not trying to be rude, but this is so embarassing for the field... meeting at hotels?? clusters of students around the country? professors not meeting their students?? We are talking about a PhD, not some vocational school type of degree>>
     
  4. cara susanna

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    Thanks for posting your experience. One thing I've wondered: how does completing a thesis or dissertation work if the faculty are all out-of-state?
     
  5. 2012PhD

    2012PhD Psychology Resident

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    Thank you Domenues for you honest and thorough feedback about the program!

    All i have to say is wow. The "hands on training" part is 1 week and costs 3,000... plus, paying for your own supervision...wow.

    On the doctoral level, apa accredidation is minimal criteria for accredited internships, employment, and licensure (in some states you are even disqualified from licensure). Why would anyone spend 5 years in a PhD in psychology if they are automatically out from most employment settings and may never get licensed?

    On the M.A. level, unforunately no PsyD/Phd program will take Capella seriously. The reputation of the school and poor training will only hurt your application for doctoral training. I would leave it out of my CV entirely.
     
  6. domineus

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    Thanks for the comments everyone, a little shocked that no one pointed out the PAYING FOR SUPERVISION. Sorry, that really has me really upset.

    Not being rude at all! In fact, my first colloquium experience, I expected it to be similar to accelerated nursing in that two days of the week, we see clinical rotation like some nursing programs. Heck even Fielding mandates far more face time. I can't say much about Fielding, because I turned them down from lack of experience (thesis) on my own. But i can say absolutely, many students have stated the experience is better.

    As you can see the :love: I had immediately turned to :eek: to :confused: to :mad: Currently I am sitting at :mad: because the preparation isn't there for a proper intern experience. Even if some states's terminal degree for psychology lies at the master's level, there has to be far better preparation. Dealing with lives people not pigs!

    I am still trying to piece that one together! So far, the PhD students aren't too keen on it I have to admit. But technically, if I can understand the process of thesis/dissertation, you are in constant email/phone tag with an advisor and submit a Methodological Review Form. Of course depending on the depth of the research, you would choose either qualitative or quantitative. The form in itself does make the process far easier granted, but the main issue is playing phone/email tag with your advisor.

    And don't get me started on the individuals not doing a crit lit review, and are actually doing quantitative studies.

    Granted, a few professors have asked if I could work with them at their schools for credit or even lower tuition, but Capella has been very obstinate in that regard for not really offering RAing opportunities.

    Surprisingly, TA opportunities are offered for statistics courses for grad learners for pay. But again, not really any HUGE tuition perks. Take that as it were...

    I do NOT disagree in the slightest with the above!
    Initially, I thought to myself well maybe I can get my PhD and move to California (it's what I wanted to do) but seeing the current climate of the field, you NEED that APA accreditation; at the very least to be on par with your peers applying for the same internship.

    Now that's not to say Capella University PhDs haven't found APA internships in recent years in IL, which is a total shock to me. I think I was more hopeful with the news last year, now I am very shocked. Personally I wanted to ask more supervisors to see how Capella Students performed. I know a few members of the IPA also were extremely interested. But another conversation I think.

    Sadly that's what it is looking like. I feel like a philosophy major now :thumbdown:
     
  7. cara susanna

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    I just read the syllabus someone posted in another thread. The professor needs you to sign all of your emails with your name, program, and course number. Sounds really personal!

    Btw, Capella Clinical Psych is a PsyD and not PhD, right?
     
    #6 cara susanna, Aug 17, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  8. domineus

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    They hopskotched
    till I believe maybe 08/09 they were PhD now PsyD with some PhD students still there somewhere

    as far as the experience goes, it gets worse. Professor and Advisor may up and leave without a reason having the student randomly selected another advisor which leaves people extremely frustrated
     
  9. O Gurl

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    Domineus,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this and inform us of the inner workings of Capella. If you don't mind my asking, what do you plan to do? Are you considering sticking it out for the master's? Cutting your losses and withdrawing? My heart aches for you from just reading about all of this.
     
  10. Phipps

    Phipps Post-Doctoral Fellow
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    OMG, Domineus. Sorry to hear all that.

    ...in my program, students are assigned an advisor --before the 1st semester and without even having talked to that person. Is that common practice in Psy.D./Ph.D. program?? I would have wanted some say. Doesn't it have to be a somewhat good fit??
     
  11. domineus

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    Good lord that's the 64 dollar question. I have no choice but to finish the program because I put so much into it. Seriously turned down a lot of good jobs and everything, I kick myself in the pants for it. I am seriously upset at the situation seriously even if I take it in stride.

    Currently I have been wondering what to do. Initially I thought well social work, but I feel as if social work will be in the same oversaturated situation that psychology is and even worse than our field primarily due to cost of programs. Many are very VERY expensive. Starting that would be the same waste of money as it were.

    I am considering NP because Rush has a great program in Chicago. But that involves pre reqs that are currently voided because of time it has taken for me since graduation and now. Which is a shame.

    I really wanted to go into transpersonal psychology or humanistic psychology at an ACCREDITED B&M school. But those are my two main options. But it is still a year for me to complete my program - pending if I can even get an internship. Let's not even go into the issues of internships being at Capella...I may get into kvetch fest

    I imagine fit may be there, but it's not broadcast very well at this point. Especially with the amount of complaints students have when it comes to dissertation time. It's insane I swear to god it really is
     
  12. 2012PhD

    2012PhD Psychology Resident

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  13. FadedC

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    Well that's true at my school as well, but our advisor is just the person who helps us plan out our class schedule and who approves our final choice. I suspect that they want the workload to be balanced among faculty members. If we were allowed to pick, we'd probably all pick the same couple people based on how nice and permissive they are.

     
  14. 2012PhD

    2012PhD Psychology Resident

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    As I suspected, it seems that Capella grads have a hard time getting licensed or working in the field. Here are some more online reviews:

    @font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } For those of you who are going to Capella for the doctorate programs or are in the planning stage - beware! Capella is a rip-off! I completed my phd program while I lived in Florida and then relocated here in Kansas. When I attempted to apply for licensure here in Kansas, imagine my surprise when I was informed that Kansas does not recognize Capella University due to their residency requirement (no face to face with your professor)! I then contacted Florida's Board and they informed me of the same thing! As a matter of fact they went so far as to tell me that no state recognizes their program except Minnesota! I then contacted Capella and spoke with my advisor (whom I had for four years) and she told me "yes that's true." Why didn't you tell me this prior to my loss of $107,000?

    I have found out, and so have many of my classmates, that their degree is useless. I sought support from the advising staff at Capella today and was told this "our classes are not designed for licensure". Why else would some seek a masters degree in psychology if they were not going to see a license? I was also told my only option was to transfer to another school. When I spoke with the advising staff about my licensure worries a couple of years ago I was assured I needn't worry. Now that they have $120K of my money they do not care if I transfer to another school for my last semester. For your safety and sanity please seek another school.
     
  15. O Gurl

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    Only recognized in Minnesota, huh? Isn't that where Michelle Bachmann's hubby is practicing "pray the gay away" therapy? Starting to make sense now...
     
  16. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist
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    I think you nailed it on the head O Gurl...

    Thanks Domineus for sharing your experience... hopefully it will prepare others.
     
  17. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist
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    LOL, Where is your tolerance for religious beliefs.... ;)

    I agree, "pray the gay away" is about as stupid as stupid comes.
     
  18. cara susanna

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    Hey, now, leave Minnesota out of this!
     
  19. domineus

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    So from the posting a few hours ago, my mood has gone from :mad: to :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad: (yes I am seemingly easygoing over the situation, but really I'm nothing but that)

    The big question of why stay? Two words - angry mom...
    she totally expects me to start contributing something more than a few bucks from a refund that has gone to $3000+ colloquium and of course its expected. She even sort of forbade me to not pursue nursing (my family is weird love them but geez!) and considers job is more important. To be honest, I am rather despondent about the position I am in for a variety of different reasons. At this point, it's not well as long as you have a master's...how romanticist of an idea!

    sighs it's a lot for me to continue but because of the financial situation I'm in, I don't have a choice. Even more ironic is the fact that Chicago is in a precarious position in terms of hiring mental health or even volunteering. I thought to myself, well as long as I can get my LPC. At this point, would it even make a difference?

    So, ideally (and I use the term loosely) what can I do with this degree? I can teach online and maybe (MAYBE) teach in a community college. And that is at this point, a HUGE MAYBE.

    My classmate has conveyed worries about the future at Capella University as well because she too is going through internship woes. Just, her situation is worse than mine all things considered.

    Oh for the love of all that is wrong...good heavens...just wow. Just...wow...
     
  20. Doc LucyVanPelt

    Doc LucyVanPelt Almost PhD at Capella U.

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    This message is not meant to be argumentative. Rather, I wish to offer an alternative position to readers who are here at this message board considering furthering their education at Capella. I highly recommend it.

    First... a brief background. I have no vested interest here in reviewing Capella other than I feel it a duty to share and give back that which I have come to know as truths. I am a believer we should all aspire to self-actualize and be passionate lifelong learners, and Capella offers an opportunity that accomplishes that for many people. For me, at least, it did indeed.

    On Monday, August 22nd, my dissertation defense conference is scheduled. I shall complete all requirements for my PhD in General Psychology at that time. I have worked for four years to achieve this honor. I am a scholar and a lady and it is with tremendous (albeit humble) pride that I embrace holding my new title.

    Along my journey at Capella, I have met a certain number of students who upheld a negative view of the type of education offered. It's not everybody's cup of tea and I realize this. Most of the work is independently conducted and requires technological competency in an online environment (Web CT, formerly Blackboard). There are rigid deadlines, little hand-holding, and studies often require work outside the classroom for educational competencies (e.g., research). The intensity of hours, the critical reviews of one's work by professors, the many challenges of competing priorities (home, kids, job) can make for cranky students. There sometimes seems just cause for giving up when the going gets tough.

    Is it any wonder that only slightly over 1% of the American population attain the doctorate status? If it were easy, everybody would do it. And as I tell my students (undergrad) - anything worthwhile often involves a little bit of pain.... it builds character, endurance, and you will never ever EVER regret it. It means more when you work for it. There are plenty of diploma mills out there -- Capella is not one.

    I hear you about the costs. It's a shame education isn't free of charge from which all can benefit. My loans exceed $100,000. I am OK with that, I have invested in the one thing I can count on on this planet -- myself. I know that our country's economy is in a bad spot, there is suffering by our many neighbors struggling to put food on the table. Again, perhaps it's not for everybody. If you can swing it - DO IT! I made it a financial priority. I'm so glad I did!

    Of the students I have known who have a bad taste in their mouth about Capella -- (JMHO) - they have been floundering for quite some time and don't cut the mustard. Psychologically and by nature, people tend to criticize that which isn't affirming of self -- it's a saving face thing. Keep that in mind when you consider your educational future and assess the reviews that you read. Talk to those who ARE succeeding - you'll get a totally different picture, I assure you.

    I am not a clinical psychologist (I am a researcher, an educator, an author), but I understand that some clinicians are troubled that Capella University is not recognized as an APA-certified college. If your licensing or employer requires such - Capella may not be the right school for you. I do know that Capella's accreditation as a higher learning institution is excellent and I tend to think of memberships and associations as "politics" -- I don't buy into it. In my profession, I need not be a card carrying member of APA (although I am). Again, Capella may not be for YOU if you need an APA certified school.

    I want to say this: The past four years of my education have groomed me to be the best I can be. There is nothing anybody can say -- nobody can take away my PhD. You can diss the "name" Capella, but in that same vein, maybe you won't like me because I'm just a Florida Cracker, or Catholic, or some other association. That's OK. I am so very very proud that I have arrived here and I simply cannot wait to thrust into my field and begin making contributions in my area of study (personal relationships and love). I am literally days away.

    It is with utmost and earnest enthusiasm that I recommend Capella University. I have made lifelong friends here... I have grown personally and professionally. It was hard as hell... and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    May your pursuits be equally as meaningful! :)

    Best wishes & God Speed!

    A Capella Fan!
     
  21. cara susanna

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    What can you do with a PhD in General Psychology? I know that Masters in it are generally useless, so I can't imagine a PhD is better.
     
  22. Doc LucyVanPelt

    Doc LucyVanPelt Almost PhD at Capella U.

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  23. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Assistant professor
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    Not that I'm going to speak for cara, but I'm pretty sure she knows that, as do most posters on this board.

    As for the question, I know a couple (now engaged, actually) who graduated with PhDs in General/Experimental Psychology--they both specialized in animal behavior, but that wasn't on their degrees, IIRC, and one did his dissertation on a purely cognitive topic. Both are faculty at the same college (one VAP and one TT), which is pretty impressive considering that they were geographically binding themselves to working at the same college and staying in one particular state. Another person with a PhD in General/Experimental Psych (no specialization) teaches at CC and does some contract research work.

    Granted, it hasn't been a bump-free career path for them, but who in this day and age can expect that? Also, this is from a fairly reputable brick and motor public u, not Capella.
     
  24. 2012PhD

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  25. cara susanna

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    See, Experimental Psychology makes sense to me (and in fact most non-clinical people I know have this type of degree) but not General Psych. I think that by the time you get to doctoral study you should at least be able to pick what branch you want to specialize in.

    Just my opinion, though.
     
  26. domineus

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  27. Doc LucyVanPelt

    Doc LucyVanPelt Almost PhD at Capella U.

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    People! Seriously with the personal questions as if what "I" do or am offered for promotion says anything about the value of the General Psych degree or Capella? I am not a poster child/example of some "poor girl gone big time because of my degree" and I'm not on the train to profess "Capella = status/money". I'm 46 years old and built my career from sweat over many years - the education always aided me - qualified me. It made me more competitive... an edge. It's THAT simple. There were no guarantees. Besides, I'm about the education for the sake of education.

    Since this thread has led discussion here... and if it provides hope to someone who studies Gen Psych... I own my own marketing company and write books. I teach college. I have been offered a Director of Behavioral Sciences job for three campuses where I work (parallel to attaining the PhD AND because of it). A PhD after my name on a book will sell more books (for readers hung up on titles and qualifications).... my research has received national media attention (talk show circuit) and I know the PhD credential helped gain me favor in that.

    But that's not the point. I'm not plugging my work, nor defending "Capella" as the cause of success. Let this post serve only to say... A GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE IS NOT USELESS!
     
    #26 Doc LucyVanPelt, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  28. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    I thought all the doctorates in experimental areas were highly specialized and named as such (eg., neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology). Is yours like a blend of all of them or something?

    Oh Ok, I just read your post. You got it to sell books, gotcha...
     
    #27 erg923, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  29. cara susanna

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    Doc LucyVanPelt, how were the research opportunities at Capella? How did you build research competence and develop a research program? I am genuinely curious.
     
  30. JacksFrontalLob

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    I am currently a doc candidate at Capella in the General Psychology program. I chose the General program because I already had an MA in clinical and knew that I didn't want to practice after four years of working the field. My other options at the time that I enrolled were clinical, health, addictions, and educational psychology. I had been teaching full-time for 3 years at the CC level before I began my program, and my goal has been simply to learn more in a structured environment so I opted for the General program so that I could choose which topics I wanted to focus on (social/personality). Choosing the General program allowed me to choose courses that would help in my work and/or were simply of interest to me.

    While I'll get a pay bump (not much) when I finish, I really started my Ph.D. program to expand my knowledge. My experience has been generally positive - I do find that the faculty are knowledgeable and that you can make a connection with them (even though it's online). I have received a lot of support and instruction that has helped me to expand my knowledge especially in the area of qualitative research methods. I especially appreciate the fact that I can complete my degree from anywhere - when I began my program I was living in a rural area that had no graduate programs, thus furthering my education at a brick-and-mortar was not possible.

    If a student is interested in licensure, I would definitely suggest a brick-and-mortar school that is APA accredited. But if a student is looking to further their education simply for education's sake or if they are looking for education hours to move toward a promotion, Capella's programs can be useful and positive experiences.
     
  31. Doc LucyVanPelt

    Doc LucyVanPelt Almost PhD at Capella U.

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    Hi Cara,

    The research opportunities are open to the student's discretion at Capella (proposal must be department-approved). What's great about this freedom is that the student can design a study that matches her passion and truly makes the work one's life work and heart project. (I am careful in my posts not to promote works or drop names, please understand)... but I want to say that I had an idea for a national study and contacted a world-renowned psychologist whose work I admire and wanted to further his research on specific details. I told him I was a Capella U. student. He was warm... We exchanged correspondence like comrades and colleagues and I found the world of research to be a kinship of support from great, great scholars. These are people I thought might be untouchable - and they were so responsive!

    The IRB (Institutional Review Board) process is rigid and formal. It must meet federal regulations. Capella's support through the process was generous. What I thought would be bureaucratic was instead guiding and logical and helped me to think through all the pitfalls BEFORE the study launched. Some people here on this message board wrote about the impersonal learning that Capella has because instructors are across states... not so! I was incredibly aided by an IRB committee member who phoned me to assist me on some technicality and concern for safety issue. The correspondences were detailed and individualized. I feel I received tremendous direction.

    My dissertation was a huge document (almost 200 pages). Prior to publishing in the Library of Congress, Capella does a final edit. Now as I mentioned, I am a writer and a big APA style guru (so I thought -- pffft)... I received an 18 page report of edits for finalizing the dissertation. It was specific and detailed and I really appreciated the quality help I received to make my work shine.

    Capella's course offerings on Quantitative Methods and Advanced Research Designs prepared me to take on complex statistics required for my study. My research committee members (3 scholars) were guiding and they challenged me effectively in a pre-dissertation conference call lasting a couple of hours. My love for research has only increased with fervor through the process.

    That's the long answer. The short answer... "It was great".
     
  32. JacksFrontalLob

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    Cara, Capella doesn't generally offer research opportunities to students. What it does offer/require is that students in almost every class propose and refine a research study in the area of the course they are taking. In the doctoral program higher-level courses require students to apply the current topic to their proposed dissertation topic, which gives them the opportunity to learn about their topic in different areas. In my MA program we had opportunities to work with faculty on their research, but the set-up at Capella isn't really designed for that. Hopefully in the future they'll work to integrate more student-assisted research for those students who want to go into research.
     
  33. roubs

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    I definitely believe that you work in marketing.
     
  34. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    A big part of graduate training in psychology is the mentorship. Research in particularly requires close mentorship (at least in the beginning years), as there are so many nuances a student will not fully understand.
     
  35. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member
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    I agree. Anyone with experience in research and graduate school would not write such a fluffy piece about an IRB member responding about a technical/safety issue AND the formality of the final edit of the dissertation. Don't know about you, but here's what I felt about formatting edits of my dissertation after I defended it. . . do it yourself, don't bother me with it. Nonsense.
     
  36. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member
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    so fluff. marketing, selling, love, relationships, talk shows. got it.
     
  37. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    To follow up on Snows' comments, while I dont think there is anything really "wrong" with doing pop psychology (its quite obvious that's what you're doing), its probably pretty far removed from the realities of the academic (or clinical) world most of us here are seeking or experiencing currently. Thus, I think many peoples opinion of what Capella is and does has only been reinforced in this thread.
     
  38. hamsterpants

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    I think dr. phil requires a phd these days.
     
  39. domineus

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    Can we not make this topic devolve into do they work at Capella because they gave a rousing review? I mean I'm not and the point was to give an experience about Capella University. We now have two - one from a rather despondent "clinical" psych major and one from a general psych major whose completed the PhD who has given a pretty glowing review based on her experiences. For a moment, let's assume that both POVs are equally valid and weighted without the extras?

    Thus far, I dislike that I really don't know Dr. VanPelt's research or market viability with your PhD. Specifically, what was your path? Did you take out loans? Did you have a job that reimbursed your education? Then what about research - qualitative/quantitative/mixed? I'm honestly curious.

    What I can say is that as far as expanding the field, mentorship is a heavy necessity. Not just to expand your own professional circle, but to understand the research process and someone can serve as a guide. When I did do research for biological sciences at UIC Molecular Genetics, I would've never gotten so far without having a mentor guiding me to change my personal philosophy and beliefs about Molecular Cell Biology or Biology as a whole. I know for a fact looking for just an internship is hell because of Capella, but also looking for a RA position at a school is even worse. And its sad.

    Again, even on the Capella main boards, students are asking for research opportunities. More topics from Capella students are demanding that the school give students more than a romantic ideal as far as Psychology goes. And to that end, it is extremely important because some students are transitioning to Psychology and need that mentoring from someone they see once a month at least. I don't want romantic idealization in a bubble from my major. I want my school to ensure I am being molded into a competent professional that knows the reality of the field. So far, I haven't received that.
     
  40. hamsterpants

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    No, I have the utmost respect if you know that's what you want and you go for it. Unfortunately, there are not "endless opps" in pop psych and a lot of starry eyed folks are going to end up unemployed and broke instead. It sounds like Lucy is going to make it work but she had already established herself before Capella and only got the degree to enhance what she already had. If you can do that, you don't need to worry about the internship imbalance but those kind of situations are pretty rare in my opinion. It sounds like you will be successful not because of Capella but despite it and would have been successful no matter what your doctorate experience had been. Not typical. YMMV.
     
  41. hamsterpants

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    and are you really MD/ Phd or is that a typo?
     
  42. cara susanna

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    The general impression I'm getting from the pro-Capella people on this thread is the idea that a Psychology PhD is like an MBA.
     
  43. O Gurl

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    Ditto. This PhD in "general" psychology sounds like a glorified master's degree. Basically more (online) courses and a longer (theoretical? qualitative? quantitiative? we still don't know) "research" paper. IMHO, this is NOT what a doctorate is all about. When I think about doctoral level training, regardless of field, I think of either 1) expert knowledge through research (academics) and/or 2) expert application of the science (actually helping people through practice). Both of these avenues requires learning outside the classroom, be it in a lab or in the field. I do not see how the Capella program accomplishes this. However, the general population will see a self-help manual or hear a person on the radio who is called Dr. Whoever and not know the difference. This really, really, really bugs me.
     
  44. cara susanna

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    Yeah.... "knowledge for knowledge's sake"? Just a title to look more impressive? Look, I love knowledge and titles are nice, but they're not reason enough to justify all these years of hard work for me.
     
  45. aequitasveritas

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    It's hard, but let go of the cognitive dissonance.
     
  46. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Assistant professor
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    Maybe I'm too much of an old school research-y type ;), but the description of Capella's "research training" is not helping my opinion of it. For one thing, your dissertation should NOT be your life's work in this field--if that's your peaking point as a researcher, that's kind of sad. For another, the person (granted, n=1) who thought of her dissertation this way took 10 years to complete her PhD (including 3 years working *purely* on her dissertation) because she chose, stubbornly, to do a study that was basically recruitment hell.

    Also, research is a lot more than just planning a study in each class--it's actually doing the study, getting it through the IRB, collecting data, managing RAs, analyzing data, writing it up, submitting it for publication, etc. Furthermore, like others have said, it's about mentorship and building expertise and a body of presentations and publications in one or two particular areas. In my program, it's technically possible to only do your dissertation (we don't require Masters theses, which I think is actually a decent idea, but that's for another topic), but if you did, I think the faculty would hammer you on your annual reviews. Even if you don't want to publish, there's the expectation of being pretty heavily involved in one particular area. And this is fairly balanced program (although at an R1, so the research opportunities are there if you want them).
     
  47. RSDBP

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    I am really amazed to see the thoughts posted here. I am not looking at becoming a therapist, so my perspective may be very different.

    My experience at Capella has been vastly different than that portrayed here. I am finishing my dissertation, and have found great value in the program. I have take a position as a Regional Scientific Director at a global pharmaceutical company as a direct result of my studies at Capella. The learning has been invaluable and specifically the methodology by which we are instructed to critically think about concepts and material presented has given me a huge advantage over some of my other colleagues.

    I knew going into the program in many states it would not be acceptable for licensure, and I was fine with that. I think this may change over time, as currently advanced degrees via online education is being recognized more and more. Typically moving this paradigm forward can be challenging, and it isn't surprising licensure lags behind.

    I have had a great mentor and have been pushed to examine my own ideas and the end result is a much better product than I had hoped. A lot of PhD education is what you put into it. It is easy to shift the responsibility to the school, however, they are conduit through which you reach your goals. This is not spoon feeding and it takes a real effort to enhance the value of your program. I cannot speak specifically to the clinical program, but the General Psych program is very good.

    Life is tough so make the best of it.
    Good luck,
    RSD
     
  48. RSDBP

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    How does one get "expert knowledge"? Isn't the point that you arrive at this point on your own through your own efforts? The school is there to guide you, and your mentor can make all the difference in the world related to the quality of your education. If you put the work into it, you will get there. It is how you apply your knowledge that makes the real difference.
     
  49. O Gurl

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    Great question. To me, there is a huge difference between advanced academic study in an area (taking post graduate courses that involve lectures, readings, tests, and writing assignments) and learning through actually designing and implementing research projects (grant writing, getting approved IRB, recruitment, data collection, analysis, publishing, attending conferences) and through actually seeing patients (providing therapy and conducting assessments on externships, internship, and post-doc). In psychology, specifically, few people in the general public will look at Dr. Psychology and intuitively know that this person has not actually produced research, taught, or practiced. And also, not to be too cynical, I highly doubt that people freely disclose this aspect of their "general" training. Using the title to sell books (despite not having the training described above) or, in your case, to secure a job scientific director, suggests that you are quite willing to let people think you have aquired expertise through traditional means. Just out of curiousity, what does your job entail? Are you supervising grant funded research? Clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical co?
     
  50. 2012PhD

    2012PhD Psychology Resident

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    Capella and other for profit schools hire people to post fake reviews on online websites. Basically, all these people just created usernames and are posting for the first time here so i don't even know if they are actual students or recruiters.
     
  51. 2012PhD

    2012PhD Psychology Resident

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    Everything they mentioned was complete fluff and vague. Nothing specific about their dissertation or about what they learned just empty words. Do these people really exist?

    Who ends with "life is tough so make the best of it?"
     

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