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PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology

At MSP we offer a Doctor of Psychology degree (PsyD). In a PsyD program, the emphasis is on the clinical aspects of psychology, while Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD) degree programs more heavily concentrate on research.

The table below provides a comparison of the differences between the PsyD and PhD degrees.

PsyD Program PhD Program
Employment following graduation
Graduates pursue licensure and work in clinical settings, or in private practice, e. g. sitting with clients in psychotherapy, intervention programs
Graduates primarily pursue jobs focused on teaching, research, analysis, business and industry or clinical work
Educational Model
Practitioner–Scholar or Practitioner-Scientist
Generally Scientist-Practitioner
Using research to inform clinical skills development, clinical expertise/training is primary, informing any research topic from perspective of a particular population or intervention
Conducting research, clinical expertise/training is secondary
Interface with Research
Utilizing research to inform approach to treatment and treatment outcomes
Collecting and analyzing research for publication and presentation
Clinical Training Emphasis
Significant curriculum devoted to clinical skill development and extensive hours of practicum/internship training required (3500-4000 hours)
Programs vary, may include little or no clinical training such as practicum/internship whereas some programs do focus on preparation for clinical work
This program is ideal for individuals who enjoy:
Critical thinking, intense on-site training
Data, research, studying literature, applying theories
Some programs require a dissertation, while others require an equivalent academic project suited to clinical practice.
Master’s Degree
Some programs are structured to include completion of an MA along the way while some require prior to prior to starting a PsyD program.
Often completed along with PhD
Accrediting Body
Ideal for:
Individuals who seek to use research to inform practice, be an active practitioner, utilizing theory and evidence based methods in practical application
Individuals who enjoy data, conducting research, interface of theory, literature review and research findings

To learn more about the PsyD degree and the different training models in clinical psychology, read the following article from APA Division 12: Society of Clinical Psychology.


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