Friday, January 15, 2010
Do I need a Masters Degree or Doctoral Degree in Psychology? What about both??
Psychology Graduate School – Should I get a Masters, Doctoral Degree, or both?
The answer is, it depends.
A few of you have written in asking whether it would be a good idea for you to go the route of first earning a masters degree in psychology or a related field and then attending a psychology graduate program to achieve a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD).
Many psychology majors aspire to be clinical psychologists or to work as clinicians in some respect. Some of you may already know that you must hold a doctoral degree and then complete a certain number of supervised clinical internship hours to become a licensed clinical psychologist. You may be able to work performing many of the same tasks that a clinical licensed psychologist does and in similar settings by earning a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. You would then be required to complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours to become a certified Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Social Worker, etc...
Some psychology doctoral programs will not count your coursework in a psychology (or related) masters program toward the coursework requirements of the doctoral psychology program. This may add additional time and costs to your psychology training. In addition, the supervised final hours completed to fulfill the requirements necessary to work as a clinician holding a masters degree cannot be counted toward the supervised clinical hour requirements required for licensure as a clinical psychologist.
You should consider the following questions if you are planning the route of earning a masters in psychology before applying to a doctoral program:
Do I need to complete a masters in psychology or a related field to be a good candidate for a doctoral program? This is one reason why people earn the masters degree first since doctoral programs' admissions criteria are generally much more competetive than those for masters programs.
Is it possible that I may change my mind about entering a doctoral program? If the answer is yes, maybe earning a masters in psychology or a related field is the safer route for you. Maybe you need to try out clinical psychology before committing the time and money it would take to earn a doctorate in psychology.
Do the psychology doctoral programs that I am considering accept any of the Masters coursework from other institutions? What about the masters thesis? Will that have to be repeated along the way to earn my doctorate?
Are there any programs that I can apply to that will allow me to be accepted to both a masters and doctoral program and give me the option of stopping after attaining the Masters degree?
Be sure to write in with more questions about psychology careers...
*To learn more about the work the career of licensed clinical psychologist and related careers, see: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm