Kofi Annan claims that education is the premise of progress and development in every society. Nowadays, most people seem to think that degree is vitally important to succeed in our life, gives various privileges in future or chance to pursue a long-term career. If you disagree, then you might be talented, gifted, or genius to dream about prosperous life without any contributions. 

For most people, a degree is only a way to ensure a well-paid position at a stable and lucrative company. But there are those individuals who want to pursue their education to its extent. They are passionate about a particular subject and eager to conduct their research and stay unforgettable in academia. For the latter, BA/MA is not enough, but a doctorate might be an option to pursue and reach a lifelong goal. There are two types of doctorate programs: PsyD and PhD. 

What is a PhD?

According to the Collins Dictionary, a PhD (abbreviation for ‘Doctor of Philosophy’) is ‘the highest degree for advanced research/investigations of the particular subject. Cambridge Dictionary defines a PhD as ‘the degree awarded for significant achievements at college or university’ .

PhD or the Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree, that is considered as a right choice for those who want to teach at university, conduct own scientific investigation/research/experiment, or work with highly specialized, advanced branch. Thus, it is considered more as a theoretical field and mainly focused on its philosophy. It requires having strong research skills to conduct qualitative or quantitative research. What is more, it takes about 5 to 8 years to complete the degree with a submitted written dissertation by the end.

What is a PsyD? What does PsyD stand for?

As for PsyD, Walden University gives the following definition: PsyD or Doctor of Psychology is a degree that is ‘mostly conducted by those people whose interests concern mainly clinic practice of psychology for education and training, rather than research or academia’.

However, written dissertation or other project are still required even though generally PsyD programs do not expect significant investigations. Hence, it can be said that PsyD has more practical applications to the research in the field of psychology rather than theoretical. If you are enrolled in PsyD, it takes you 4-6 years to complete it.

phd student psyd

APA Accredited PsyD programs

So far, there are various PsyD programs around the world. It is aimed to prepare students to deliver psychological services to specific individuals, groups, or medical organizations.   

If you are thinking to obtain PsyD, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), the following highly-ranked programs in the field of Psychology should be taken into consideration:

1. Rutgers University

2. Stanford University Consortium

3. Baylor University

4. Loyola University Maryland

5. Virginia Consortium

The PsyD programs offer not only significant research experiences, but it is closely tied with practicum /internship settings to meet students’ educational needs/interests alongside with practitioner’s scientific skills. It is expected to prepare life-long consumers of the research who can successfully take a wide range of health/psychology practices and operations. 

Combined Masters and PsyD Programs

Interestingly, combined Masters and PsyD programs are possible. Such Dual Degrees are in high demand among undergraduate students as it takes only 3-5 years to accomplish both. However, the requirements are very high. It is needed about 120 credits and placement at the clinic. It should be mentioned that for combined Masters and PsyD programs, candidates should define the field of their research beforehand.

APA Accredited Online PsyD programs

Online courses can be a good option for those individuals who can not afford the tuition fees for the whole program or have no time to attend classes. Such courses are mostly rooted in a strong theoretical and research-based framework, hence the student needs only to submit the course work online and, from time to time, attend meetings, placements, exams, etc. 

It is highly essential to note that there are plenty of various Online PsyD Programs in open access. If you decide to apply, only APA-approved clinical psychology Online Programs should be considered. Otherwise, there is a high risk to sign in for the unrecognized program and get a fake degree certificate.

psyd phd in psychology student

APA Accredited Online PsyD programs

Online courses can be a good option for those individuals who can not afford the tuition fees for the whole program or have no time to attend classes. Such courses are mostly rooted in a strong theoretical and research-based framework, hence the student needs only to submit the course work online and, from time to time, attend meetings, placements, exams, etc. . 

It is highly essential to note that there are plenty of various Online PsyD Programs in open access. If you decide to apply, only APA-approved clinical psychology Online Programs should be considered. Otherwise, there is a high risk to sign in for the unrecognized program and get a fake degree certificate.

PsyD vs. PhD. The Difference between PhD and DsyD

If you still have not decided whether to be trained as a PhD or a PsyD, let’s consider the following factors.

First of all, before applying either to PhD or PsyD, you should understand that such programs are not available to all students as the criteria are very high. You should have 2-3 years of working experience related to the research field. Advantages have those applicants who have some publications at the recognized scientific journals, academic or scholarly books.

Furthermore, a high GPA score, reference letters from academic heads/workplace, language proficiency, official transcripts, etc. are required. What is more, both PhD and PsyD programs are very competitive, and only 40% of applicants can get the placement for the programs. The number of students can significantly vary: for a PhD program is ten or even fewer; at the PsyD program – it can reach about 100 people.

For brevity, let’s sum up:

1. A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy, and a PsyD is a Doctor of Psychology.

2. For PhD, the main emphasis lay on practice and research, whereas for PsyD, the greater emphasis put on clinical practice over research.

3. PhD is very competitive and has a lower acceptance rate (only 11-15%) at university departments, whereas PsyD degree is accepted approximately half of all applicants for professional clinic schools.

4. More sponsored programs and grants are available for PhD programs.

5. A PhD degree is earned in 5-8 years, while a PsyD degree – in 4/6 years, with one year of internship.

Thus, before applying for a PhD or PsyD, you should clearly define your field of interests, personal/career goals. Both programs are very tough and demand too much time and dedication. So, think twice before you make your own final decision.

Anton Kurapov

Anton Kurapov

PhD, a professor assistant at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Fascinated by the role of psychology in lives of people and simply astonished by the complexity of the brain and its functions.

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