Home // Admissions // Choosing Your Degree // PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology

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
Dissertation 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 APA APA
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.