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Why a PsyD?: What to consider when considering a doctorate

For some, the pursuit of a doctoral degree is a no-brainer. Of course I am (or am not) applying to the PsyD program after I finish my Master’s.

Stock photo of a woman in a classroom smiling.

Other students aren’t so sure. Something draws them to the idea and some equally potent thing pulls them back.

As the deadline to apply (February 11) approaches, the time to decide has come.

One simple way to decide if you want to pursue a doctorate is to think of your dream job in psychology and check employment listings. What qualifications are required? Will a MA fulfill or limit your professional goals?

Consider not just your short term goal (get a job!) but the longer term trajectory of your career. Will you be working for yourself? For a hospital or university? For the government? The fact is, no matter where you imagine yourself 5, 10, or 20 years from now, a PsyD will open doorways where a MA just cannot.

Allow the advantages of a doctoral degree to sink in:

Knowledge.  Nothing can replace the experience of three additional years of coursework and three different practicum/internship sites during the PsyD program. All that you will learn, both intellectually and experientially, will prepare you to be a leader in the field of clinical psychology.

Flexibility. We are fortunate to live in a state where psychologists can practice at the MA level. However, if you plan to move out of Michigan at any point in your career, a doctoral degree is the most transferrable state to state (or even country to country).

Income. A doctoral degree allows you multiple income options including providing supervision, teaching at the MA and PsyD level, and conducting research. Doctoral grads can also build a completely autonomous private practice (no supervision, no one else to co-sign billing documents) and more easily hire other clinicians to work for you.

Prestige. Some people just know that they want to be a doctor – that they want to reach the highest possible level of education in the field. To pursue excellence in a subject and practice that you love can be highly rewarding, especially because the end result (a doctorate) is so hard won and respected.

One more factor that is unique to MSP’s PsyD program is the dissertation process. At MSP, you have the freedom to pick what you are most passionate about for your dissertation topic and we provide the resources and support that you need to really delve deeply into the subject.

Still not sure? Reach out to one of MSP’s PsyD Student Ambassadors  or talk with Carrie Pyeatt, Coordinator of Admissions ([email protected]).