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What is a typical day like for a first year Clinical Psychology PhD student?

I'm looking forward to starting work on my PhD this fall! I wonder if there are any current grad students out there who can give me an idea what an average day and/or week will be like? How much work will there be? What are class schedules like? Thanks!
 

AcronymAllergy

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What is a typical day like for a first year Clinical Psychology PhD student?

I'm looking forward to starting work on my PhD this fall! I wonder if there are any current grad students out there who can give me an idea what an average day and/or week will be like? How much work will there be? What are class schedules like? Thanks!
I'd imagine a lot of it will vary from program to program. In our department, as we start seeing clients/patients almost from day one, the class load is typically a little lighter than at other schools--the average doctoral student here takes 2-3 classes/semester, with classes generally being finished by partway through third year.

This basically equates to 6-9 hours of in-class time per week, with up to twice that much time spent outside of class on related activities (primarily reading).

We have 2-3 hours per week of practicum-based supervision on average, with practicum meetings occurring once weekly.

Practicum caseloads seem to vary widely depending on the person; if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the average is probably ~4-6 cases per student. For us neuropsychers, we average 1-2 full evaluations per week (barring no-shows, of course).

20 hours/week, give or take, is spent on your funding duties. If those duties are TA based, that includes grading and filing assignments, preparing tests, etc. For research-based assistantships, as you can imagine, it entails running participants, preparing manuscripts, and the like. For clinical assistantships, you just tack on more clients/evaluations.

All in all, the average "work week" probably hovers between 40 and 60 hours. Some people keep a fairly regular, 8-6 kind of schedule. Others set appointments all over the place, hammer out manuscripts at 3am and/or on weekends, and all sorts of other interesting stuff.

In your case, I'd imagine a large chunk of your time your first year will be spent on classwork and funding-related duties. The remainder will probably be devoted to practicum and familiarizing yourself with various clinical techniques, assessments, treatments, etc, as well as getting your feet wet research-wise.
 

Markp

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Homework, class, eat, homework, lab, homework, sleep, repeat.

Our program is particularly heavy of the core class work the first 2 years. The last two years it becomes almost "normal" how much work we do... seems like we are always preparing work for presentations or publication.

Mark
 

Marissa4usa

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.

All in all, the average "work week" probably hovers between 40 and 60 hours. Some people keep a fairly regular, 8-6 kind of schedule. Others set appointments all over the place, hammer out manuscripts at 3am and/or on weekends, and all sorts of other interesting stuff.
I must be doing something wrong. I am only in a masters program, therefore I don't have any caseloads and I am only taking two classes. But I'd never get away under 55 hours per week. 40 hours sounds like a dream
 

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I must be doing something wrong. I am only in a masters program, therefore I don't have any caseloads and I am only taking two classes. But I'd never get away under 55 hours per week. 40 hours sounds like a dream
It just depends on the person. Some can get away with 40 hours/week, and some go well past 80. Doctoral programs generally leave a lot of decision-making (re: how much research to conduct and write up, how much reading to actually do, etc.) up to the individual student.

55 hours/week for two classes does seem a bit high, and most doctoral advisors would likely tell you that if you were spending that much time on coursework, you should likely instead re-focus a bit on clinical and research work. But master's programs are a bit different, and I'd imagine some of the course requirements are actually a bit more stringent. This being due, like you said, to the limited non-coursework responsibilities.
 

Marissa4usa

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It just depends on the person. Some can get away with 40 hours/week, and some go well past 80. Doctoral programs generally leave a lot of decision-making (re: how much research to conduct and write up, how much reading to actually do, etc.) up to the individual student.

55 hours/week for two classes does seem a bit high, and most doctoral advisors would likely tell you that if you were spending that much time on coursework, you should likely instead re-focus a bit on clinical and research work. But master's programs are a bit different, and I'd imagine some of the course requirements are actually a bit more stringent. This being due, like you said, to the limited non-coursework responsibilities.
oh well, I should mention that I am also TA'ing a class which is a ~20 hour/week commitment. I'm lucky to be in one of the few funded masters programs that exist. But in addition to that, I am also an instructor of a parenting class we are running in the psych department and active in two labs.
Still, I can't imagine, that in a PhD program people could get away with 40something hours per week.

I guess, it always depends on the person.
 

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What is a typical day like for a first year Clinical Psychology PhD student?

I'm looking forward to starting work on my PhD this fall! I wonder if there are any current grad students out there who can give me an idea what an average day and/or week will be like? How much work will there be? What are class schedules like? Thanks!
You should definitely check in with students in your soon-to-be-program, because schedules vary tremendously by program. Even just for me, my daily schedule varies greatly because I don't have classes on some days, but on other days, I have classes almost all day. Most weeks, I have about 12 hours of class. If you average out class workload (since you may have very little the first week, but have HUGE amounts of work during finals), I maybe do 10 hours of week of homework each week. I would say I do 30-40 hours of research each week. So on a slow week, I might only have 45-50 hours of work for the week, and at its worst, it's honestly somewhere in the 70-80 range. Most weeks I would say I am on campus, generally productive (with eating breaks and occasional socializing) for 9-12 hours each day on weekdays, 4-6 hours each day on weekends.
 

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Is going and staying on campus on the weekend a normal thing?
It is in our program, but that might be (in part) due to the drastic decline on the weekends in the chaos that is campus driving and parking. It's much, MUCH easier to get around on a Saturday or Sunday than it is Monday through Friday.

That being said, I've known at least a few students who adamantly refuse to work on weekends. They can get away with this because they're so disciplined about their weekday schedule.
 

PsychPhDStudent

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It is in our program, but that might be (in part) due to the drastic decline on the weekends in the chaos that is campus driving and parking. It's much, MUCH easier to get around on a Saturday or Sunday than it is Monday through Friday.

That being said, I've known at least a few students who adamantly refuse to work on weekends. They can get away with this because they're so disciplined about their weekday schedule.
Yes, the parking drives my weekend work. ;) It does! Also the relative quietness. A lot of other students and faculty are around, but the undergrads aren't.