A Comprehensive Guideabout the PsyD Program


What is Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

A Doctor of Psychology, or commonly called as PsyD, is a psychology doctoral degree which is primarily focused on clinical practice. Whether you are a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) graduate, you can choose to work in a private practice which typically administers evaluations and provides psychotherapy. Degree holders are generally eligible for licenses for the same state.

It usually takes around four or more years for students to graduate for their doctoral programs in psychology – that is an ample time to be fully equipped and be prepared for several roles. The emphasis, though, is different for each program. PsyD programs typically put more emphasis on clinical work while research is given more weight and focus in PhD programs. In addition, most degrees in PsyD are generally offered in clinical psychology, although they are also granted in other areas of study of the health service such as in school counselling. PsyD programs are also one or two years shorter than that of PhD programs.

What to Expect When Enrolled in a PsyD Program

A doctoral student will normally take classes and seminars during the first few years in a PsyD program. The course curriculum comprises methodologies of research studies, psychometrics and psychological therapies along with the various factors affecting an individual’s behavior.Acounselling psychology student usually takes several career developments and counselling classwork whereas a clinical psychology student is much more focused on assessing abnormal states. Field experience is an essential element of every PsyD program. “Practicum” is the common term which is used when one is still beginning their field experiences. PsyD students often render several years of practicum and at the same time take their classwork.

If the student had already met all his or her requirements and prerequisites – with a probability of an exception for a doctoral thesis – he or she will then undergo a formal internship for a full-time year or it could also be two half-time years. This is a necessity for psychology programs associated with health care, be it PsyD or PhD. Nevertheless, before even the internship begins, a PsyD student could already have more clinical experience.Students in PsyD often have more practice in conducting evaluations and assessment of clients.

Getting into an internship is not immediate or automatic – the doctorate students will still have to go undergo a rigorous process called “matching.” It would make it easier if the student already has a practicum experience in the area of his or her interest.

Difference between PhD and PsyD

Psychology is a rapidly developing field with a very high potential of getting a lot of good job opportunities and high wages.

There can be two main degree paths for all those interested in enrolling in the field of psychology — Psychology Doctor (PsyD) and Philosophy Doctor (PhD) in psychology. Although both degrees would well prepare you for a high-paid career in psychology, you might discover that one degree will better suit your career aspirations than the other.

Although the degrees are quite analogous and can lead to the same career, they are distinguished by a few key differences such as in terms with research and clinical experience, the length of the program and the competitiveness of each degree.

Clinical Experience vs. Research

The primary difference between a PsyD and a PhD is the nature of the programs as a whole and how they go about training their students for a future career in psychology.

Just like any other PhD, a PhD in psychology will provide a rigorous emphasis on research, both as to how to comprehend published works as well as how to conduct scientifically valid research which broadens the amount of scientific knowledge.This enables potential doctorate holders to practice psychology, as well as to engage and publish their own new academic study to enhance psychological understanding.

In a PsyD program, instead of focusing on the academic study of the field, the main emphasis is on psychology’s actual practice.PsyD has become the favored degree for those with no interest in academic clinical research or publishing and who wants to concentrate solely on the hands-on, actual practice of psychology.

Those who accomplish a PsyD program will receive solid education background in both psychology practice standards and clinical techniques, and even though publishing their own research works would not be impossible for a PsyD-holding psychologist, their curriculum puts more focus towards clinical experience.Eventually, even if they just want to publish occasionally, students who want to publish may be better suited to a PhD degree.

Program Length

Both psychology programs take up several years, generally for at least four years.Both programs also entail a doctoral thesis; however the dissertation process in PhD is usually far more comprehensive and therefore will require more work to complete it.

For as little as four years, a typical PsyD student can already complete their degree and an additional year for a one-year internship and thesis.

For those wanting to start psychology practice as soon as possible, a PsyD may be the best option, however the fact is that the two degrees will take around the same length of time to finish in the overall scheme of things.


Generally speaking, PhD programs are going to be harder to get into but can be more affordable.

Most PsyD programs consider a greater percentage of applicants than the PhD programs, partly due to the far more vigorous academic focus that most PhD programs have.

PhD programs appear to be more cutthroat, however most schools offer scholarships and other programs once you get into the door to cover the costs of the training.As per the National Science Foundation, more than 70 percent of PhD students in psychology and social sciences had their degrees financed, at least to some extent, with scholarships, subsidies, assistantships or fellowships.

Since most PsyD programs will require students to pay for their own education, PhD programs tend to be better in that comparison at first glance, however with the debt trends among PhD students that might not confirm to be necessarily true to all degree seekers.