How to Choose Between a Psy.D. and Ph.D.

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Updated August 15, 2022 · 3 Min Read

phd psychology vs psyd

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There are two types of doctoral degrees in psychology: a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. Both prepare students for careers in psychology , but their goals and purposes differ.

A Psy.D. degree prepares students for careers as clinical psychologists while a Ph.D. trains students in research and teaching. The Psy.D. embraces the practitioner-scholar model and applies psychological science to individuals and groups while the Ph.D. emphasizes analytical research in the field. Psy.D. students work as clinical psychologists either in private practice or other fields, while Ph.D. graduates often work in academia or as full-time researchers, some also work as clinical psychology professionals.

What's the Difference Between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in Psychology?

Both a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in psychology train students for careers in psychology, but they lead to different professions. A Psy.D. prepares learners to work with patients and clients in a professional setting. A Ph.D. prepares graduates to conduct research and provide some psychological services.

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Employment Differences Between a Psy.D. and Ph.D. in Psychology

Students who pursue a Psy.D. often become clinical psychologists. As specified below, students who earn a Ph.D. in psychology can obtain different careers.

With a Psy.D., students can pursue careers as a clinical psychologist in private practice; they may also work as a forensic and school psychologist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the next decade, employment for psychologists will grow by 14% . A Psy.D. degree also prepares learners to work as social workers, a profession that will see an estimated 16% increase over the next several years.

Ph.D. programs build skills applicable to careers in clinical psychology, but they also train students to work as marriage and family counselors, addictions counselors, and industrial organizational psychologists , those who study human behavior to assess efficiency in the workplace. Further, Ph.D. programs hone the analytical and critical thinking skills candidates need to work as psychological researchers and teachers. Researchers may work in government positions or within private organizations and companies. Postsecondary teachers, according to the BLS, will experience a 15% job growth rate in the coming years.

Education Differences Between Psy.D. and Ph.D. Programs

This section highlights educational differences of the Psy.D. and Ph.D. in psychology. In sum, Psy.D. classes focus on human behavior and theories, practice, and foundations of clinical psychological practice. Ph.D. coursework combines the fundamentals of psychology, statistics, and applied research.

Curriculum Differences

A Psy.D. program explores aspects of psychology and human behavior as they relate to individuals and groups. Candidates learn to evaluate and assess the psychological needs of others and study human development and emotion across the lifespan. Psy.D. programs also include coursework in professional and ethical standards of clinical psychological practice.

Psy.D. Courses

Ph.D. in Psychology Courses

Admission Differences

Admission to Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs includes similar requirements. Prospective students submit documentation from previous college coursework, along with any work experience and letters of recommendation. Both degrees also often include written and oral components to admission processes. Finally, learners may take into account a school's GPA and/or GRE requirements when deciding which program best meets their needs.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

When researching a Psy.D. or a Ph.D. program in psychology , students should take into consideration accreditation status, length of program, admission requirements, and available concentrations. A comprehensive look at doctor of psychology or a doctor of philosophy in psychology degrees will help clarify the programs' key similarities and differences.

Explore More About Psychology

Choosing the right psychology program also means looking into career opportunities available. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology offer students an array of professional options, with doctoral programs usually resulting in increased earning potential. Looking into everything psychology has to offer will guide students to the right program as they work toward an exciting career in the field.

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What's the difference between a phd in psychology and a psyd.

A doctorate in psychology isn’t just prestigious—it’s marketable. There’s a continuing demand in today’s workforce for those with a doctorate in psychology, whether it’s a PsyD or a PhD in Psychology. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14% growth in the demand for psychologists from 2016-2026 over the next decade —particularly for those with a doctorate.

From careers in research and academia to hands-on clinical practice and patient care, earning your PsyD or PhD in Psychology can help you cultivate a meaningful career that effects positive change in your life and in the lives of others.

What's the Difference Between a PhD in Psychology and a PsyD?

PhD in Psychology vs. PsyD (Doctor of Psychology)

Once you’ve decided to seek your doctorate in psychology, you need to decide which degree best fits your needs: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Psychology) or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). But what’s the difference between a PhD in Psychology and a PsyD?

PhD in Psychology Let’s start with the PhD in Psychology.

PhD psychology programs are plentiful, but also fairly competitive, with more rigorous admission criteria. Because of the strong focus on research, they’re ideal for students not only interested in clinical practice but also in academia and research. PhD psychology programs also provide valuable training for those who want to practice psychology in clinical settings. A PhD in Psychology can open up a multitude of career paths—from teaching to patient care to forensic psychology.

“I knew my work was making a difference when I heard from a patient how our integrated behavioral health  program changed her life. Her husband had been depressed for many years. After a few months in our program, she reported that ‘she got her husband back.’ This is the kind of outcome that spurs me to help others make positive changes.” —Dean Moritz Walden University PhD in Psychology Graduate

PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) Developed in the late 1960s as an alternative to PhD psychology programs, a PsyD is typically pursued by individuals interested solely in the hands-on, straightforward practice of psychology, without dedicating professional time to research or academia.

Like a PhD in Psychology, the Doctor of Psychology degree (PsyD) prepares students to practice psychology in a wide range of clinical settings. A PsyD, however, focuses more on clinical practice and less on research. As a result, this degree requires fewer research and statistics courses and thus takes less time.

Which degree is right for you?

The answer depends on your interests and your career goals.

Are you interested solely in clinical psychology and working directly with patients? If so, a PsyD program may be the best path for you.

Do you envision yourself conducting your own scientific research? How about a career as a tenured psychology professor? Do you see yourself as a professional researcher in addition to maintaining a clinical practice? If so, consider a PhD in Psychology .

Think a PhD in Psychology is out of reach? Think again! Explore Walden University’s online PhD in Psychology program .

1 Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

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Psy.D. Vs. Ph.D.: Which Is The Right Fit For You?

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Updated: May 9, 2022, 1:21pm

Psy.D. Vs. Ph.D.: Which Is The Right Fit For You?

Committing to a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. program can have a significant impact on your career path. Both will prepare you in your area of interest, but there are significant differences between the two programs you should know about. In general, a Ph.D. in psychology focuses more on research and a Psy.D. focuses on practical application.

While both programs can lead to becoming a licensed psychologist, taking a closer look at what each degree track will provide will help you determine whether a Ph.D. or Psy.D. is best for you.

What is a Ph.D. in Psychology?

A Ph.D. in Psychology, or a doctor of philosophy in psychology, is a doctoral degree that primarily focuses on training students in scientific research. Compared to a Psy.D, the Ph.D. is more common and can be found at many public and private universities.

Students in a Ph.D. in psychology program can expect to obtain and build on the knowledge and skills within general psychology or in a concentration. The American Psychological Association (APA) has an extensive list of subfields that range from clinical psychology to climate and environmental psychology.

Benefits of a Ph.D. in Psychology

A significant benefit of a Ph.D. in psychology is that it offers more financial aid options. Many programs offer scholarships, teaching assistantships or even full or partial tuition remission to cover expenses. Some programs also have research grants and fellowships that are sponsored by government agencies and private companies that you can apply for and become part of a research team.

Another benefit is that some programs offer training in both applied practice and in research, rather than focusing heavily on application as a Psy.D. program would. Having dual training may provide you more opportunities on the job market.

What is a Psy.D.?

A Psy.D., or a doctor of psychology, is also a doctoral degree that focuses on application. A Psy.D. program prepares students to provide services for patients and clients, rather than a focus on research.

Unlike a Ph.D., Psy.D. programs are often found in professional schools of psychology that may be university-based, free-standing or in medical or health and science institutions.

Benefits of a Psy.D.

While a Psy.D. may not have the same financial benefits of a Ph.D. program, a Psy.D. will give you more experience with patients earlier in your program. Candidates will often begin coursework and clinical training in the first year of their program.

A Psy.D. program, such as one in clinical psychology, will have courses with an intensive focus on the skills needed for working with clients. Courses can include supervision and consultation, treatment and assessment and other classes that will cover disorders.

In some Psy.D. programs you may be expected to complete a doctoral level research project instead of a dissertation.

What to Consider When Choosing a Program

The first consideration you should make when choosing a program is the kind of work you want to pursue post-graduation. Do you want to do research or teach? Do you want to provide services to clients and patients?

Here are some considerations you should make when making the big decision.

Look at Time Spent in School

Both Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs require a heavy investment of your time in school. Programs often require applicants to have an undergraduate and master’s degree. However, some programs have combined master’s and doctorate degrees , reducing years of education and allowing students to enter the workforce sooner.

Students can expect to spend five years in school before obtaining a degree, with four years of coursework and one year of internship. Many candidates, however, take between five to seven years to graduate.

Find Your Focus

Your academic focus and concentration choice may sway your decision in applying for one doctoral degree over the other.

Concentrations in a Psy.D program are typically in clinical, counseling, industrial-organizational and school psychology. In contrast, the options of subfields within a Ph.D. program are more broad and focus heavily on research and experimentation to build knowledge within a discipline.

Consider Your Career Path

Considering your career path or interests will help you decide whether a Ph.D. or Psy.D. is right for you. While the most familiar psychology careers are commonly found in education and healthcare, there is also a need for psychologists in business, technology and other industries as well. Psychologists can also have high earning power.

Accreditation

Accreditation of your Ph.D. or Psy.D. program ensures that your program is recognized by the governing bodies for licensure. While completing an accredited program will not guarantee you employment or licensure, it will equip you with necessary skills and knowledge.

The APA has a tool to help students find accredited doctoral programs , as well as internships and postdoctoral residencies across the country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with psy.d..

A Psy.D. focuses on working directly with patients to provide psychological services. For example, a clinical Psy.D. will prepare students to provide mental and behavioral healthcare to individuals and families across all demographics and over individuals’ lifespans.

Which psychology field is most in-demand?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be continued growth in clinical, counseling and school psychologists, stating “Psychologists experienced an increase in demand due to the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on many individuals’ mental health.” School psychologists are increasing in demand due to the connection between mental health and learning.

How long does it take to earn a Ph.D. in psychology?

Many Ph.D. programs project a five year completion time. However, many students can take upwards of seven years.

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Doctoral degrees in psychology: How are they different, or not so different?

Doctoral degrees in psychology offer individuals preparation to conduct scientific research, professional practice or both. Most individuals receive either the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Although each of these degrees is designed to engage students in deep knowledge and skills within a subfield of psychology, there are substantial differences in the type of training and career plans of individuals with these degrees. Finding the best-fitting program for an individual student begins with understanding these differences.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD is the most common degree conferred in psychology and is generally offered at either private or public research universities. 1  PhD degrees are intended for students interested in generating new knowledge through scientific research (i.e., setting up experiments, collecting data, applying statistical and analytical techniques) and/or gaining teaching experience . PhD graduate students receive substantial training in research methods and statistics in order to independently produce new scientific knowledge and are often required to produce a dissertation to demonstrate research competency. Students enrolling in PhD programs may also be interested in pursuing professional careers in applied work — such as health services, counseling in school settings and consulting in businesses and organizations in addition to research and academic work.

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

The PsyD degree came into existence in the 1970s as an alternative to the PhD for those more interested in providing psychological services than conducting disciplinary research. The PsyD degree is generally offered in professional schools of psychology — either affiliated with research or teaching universities or housed in a free-standing graduate school. 2  The focus of PsyD programs is to train students to engage in careers that apply scientific knowledge of psychology and deliver empirically based service to individuals, groups and organizations. Most programs require students to write a thesis or dissertation, and students may use quantitative or qualitative methodologies to demonstrate how psychological research is applied to human behavior.

Both PsyD and PhD programs can prepare students to be licensed psychologists, and training in these types of programs prepares graduates to take state licensing exams (licenses are awarded by individual states, not graduate programs). 3  Many states require graduates to have attended accredited graduate programs to ensure that all students have minimum training and competency necessary for treating patients and serving clients. APA accredits doctoral programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology, and you can find a list of these programs on the APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation website.

When you’re gathering information about particular programs, it is important you understand what training and education the program provides so you are aware of what skills and abilities you will acquire and how those prepare you for a career after you get your doctorate. There is no “best” doctoral degree in psychology: There are, however, “best-fits” for your academic and professional goals. Please visit the Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training website for more resources on graduate study in psychology. The APA Office of Program Consultation also provides further details on the distinctions between PhD and PsyD degrees in its Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (PDF, 222KB).

1  According to the most recent Graduate Study in Psychology data from 2013-2014, 94 percent of participating PhD programs were housed in university colleges of arts and sciences or education. Participating PhD programs housed within nonspecified or indeterminate institutional locations were excluded from analysis.

2  According to the most recent Graduate Study in Psychology data from 2013-2014, 72 percent of participating PsyD programs were housed within professional schools of psychology (university-based or free-standing) or in medical/health science institutions. Participating PsyD programs housed within non-specified or indeterminate institutional locations were excluded from analysis.

3  The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards offers comprehensive resources pertaining to psychology licensure regulations and examination requirements.

About the Authors

Garth A. Fowler, PhD

Fowler leads the Education Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral levels. Throughout his career, Fowler has been active in education, training and career development for young scientists. He served on the National Postdoctoral Association’s board of directors from 2009-12 and is a member of its finance committee. He has been an invited speaker or keynote presenter at more than 100 career development events and has served as a panelist for two National Academies of Science Committees, the State of the Postdoctoral Experience and the Committee on Research Universities. From 2005-07, he was the director of the science careers outreach program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he developed workshops, presentations and seminars and wrote articles to help early career scientists promote and pursue their chosen career paths. He has served as a consultant for universities and research institutions on developing training grants for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars and developing learning outcomes and assessing career outcomes.

Daniel S. Michalski, PhD

PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology [2023 Guide]

Home » PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology [2023 Guide]

Are you contemplating the career benefits of a PsyD vs. PhD?

PsyD vs PhD in Psychology

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Both of these often respected and fulfilling degree paths can lead to exciting things. Let’s explore the differences.

Comparing a PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology – Key Differences

psychologist talking to a patient during therapy session

You may be considering a doctorate degree in psychology because you’re simply fascinated by the human mind. You may also be confident that you can use your passion for helping people to carve out a very fulfilling career.

It’s important to be very methodical and targeted when choosing your degree path if you’re going to be working in a doctorate-level role. Let’s compare and contrast PsyD and PhD degrees.

A PsyD is considered an “alternate” degree path that puts an emphasis on the clinical and applied aspects of the field. A PsyD is likely a good fit if your goal is to work within a professional practice or counseling setting.

PsyD graduates typically work in clinical settings like psychiatry practices, rehabilitation centers, public schools, universities, or prisons. The coursework for a PsyD revolves heavily around applying things like evidenced-based research and standards of practice in real-world settings.

PsyD programs are designed to help students learn how to apply many decades of research to patient settings. Original research is not the primary goal of someone pursuing a PsyD. Yes, you will likely do independent research as part of your learning path. However, most of your focus will likely be on learning to apply your education in clinical settings.

A traditional or online PhD in psychology is often a natural fit for someone with an acute interest in the research side. This path may appeal to you if you love to break down data to discover insights. The insights that you discover through your independent research could help to move the field forward.

Many PhD holders work in research settings where they design and conduct tests and surveys to gain better understandings of things like human behavior, the effectiveness of various treatments, and underlying causes of psychological disorders.

PhD graduates are also qualified to work as instructors at colleges and universities. That means that they can apply what they’ve learned through study and research to help train the next generation of psychologists and researchers.

Many healthcare and government institutions also hire PhDs for consulting duties. The expertise that a PhD in the field of psychology can bring to the table is important for forming policies and decisions at both private and public institutions.

Ultimately, it is important to know what is a PsyD and what is a PhD in psychology before determining the best degree path for yourself.

Doctoral Psychology Careers & Salaries

Doctoral Psychology Careers & Salaries

What types of job roles are open to people with doctoral degrees in psychology? Roles can be filled at private practices, mental health facilities, schools, universities, and research facilities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the median annual wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is $79,820. Here’s a look at some specific annual salary expectations based on government data:

Salary expectations should be based on years of experience and the type of institution you’re employed by during your career.

PsyD vs PhD Salary Differences

psychologist and patients during group therapy

It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to salaries for these two degree paths. The setting that you choose to work in will heavily influence your salary.

Potential for promotions and raises when moving from a general counseling role or social-work role. A private practice can often be the most lucrative option because you are earning revenue based on patient volume.

PsyD graduates can often expect generous pay when working as corporate or sports psychologists.

college professor with her students in class

PhD graduates can typically command the highest salaries when leading research projects. Some PhD graduates earn six figures as tenured college professors.

Both PsyD and PhD candidates have very similar overall salary projections. However, the reality of your salary potential with either psychology degree online comes down to the type of setting you choose to work in.

Psychology Specializations & Concentrations

phd in psychology student in university library

Most people who pursue PsyD and PhD degrees want to apply their skills to some very specific passions and interests. Here’s a look at some areas of focus for doctoral candidates:

A psychologist’s training and skills are tested every day on the job! The rewarding part is that all of these roles allow psychology professionals to see the impact of their work.

Psychology Licensing and Certification

phd in psychology students taking an exam

Yes, you should become very familiar with the various licensing and accreditation bodies once you get deeper into your pursuit of becoming a working, licensed psychologist. It’s important to take licensing and certification seriously because your ability to legally act and speak as a psychologist depends on them!

The bottom line is that you cannot be a practicing psychologist in the United States without having approval from the ABPP and ASPPB. Fulfilling all requirements and passing required exams are as important as graduating from a doctoral program!

It’s also worth looking into a school with regional accreditation through an organization recognized by CHEA.org .

Choosing Between a PhD in Psychology or a PsyD Degree

phd in psychology student studying on her laptop

It’s time to get serious about making that hard choice between a PhD and PsyD. Choosing as early as possible can help you to narrow down your school search and get all of your paperwork in. Let’s look at the requirements for each program.

psychologist listening to her patient during counseling

It can seem that a PsyD is easier to obtain at first glance. However, it’s more important to focus on which type of program is going to provide you with the preparation and training you need to be able to contribute to your chosen field of expertise.

It’s not that a PhD is more difficult to obtain. What we’re really looking at is the fact that a PhD simply requires candidates to dive into research in a more specific way than clinically minded PsyD candidates.

Yes, it does typically take less time to obtain a PsyD. This may make this degree path more attractive to you if you’re interested in getting into your field as quickly as possible.

PsyD vs PhD Admissions Requirements

psychology student studying for exams

The admissions requirements for PsyD and PhD candidates are similar. However, they are not interchangeable. It is typically much more difficult to be accepted into a PhD program than a PsyD program. The main reason is that PhD programs accept a fraction of the candidates.

Actual admissions requirements vary by school. However, many of the requirements are universal across all institutions. Here’s a peek at what you’ll probably need to prepare.

What’s the Difference in PsyD vs. PhD reputation?

Both are usually highly respected. A PhD is typically viewed as a research-oriented degree.

A PsyD is typically viewed as an appropriate degree for someone with clinical aspirations.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Doctoral Degree in Psychology?

A variety of clinical and research positions are available to professionals with doctoral degrees in psychology.

The list includes psychologists, psychology researchers, school psychologists, sports psychologists, organizational psychologists, and forensic psychologists.

What is a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)?

A PsyD is a professional doctoral degree that is designed to prepare graduates for careers in clinical settings.

Graduates often take leadership roles in institutions that diagnose and support mental health.

What is a PhD in Psychology?

psychologist comforting her patient during therapy

A psychology PhD is a doctor of philosophy in the field of psychology.

The rigorous training and research involved in this program is designed to prepare a student to work in clinical, research, and academic settings.

Should I Continue With a Graduate Psychology Degree Program?

A graduate psychology degree program can greatly expand your career prospects. This may be a worthwhile pursuit if your goal is to become a respected expert in your field.

Getting an additional degree may enable you to go from “support” roles to leadership roles in the field of psychology.

What are the PsyD Requirements to Graduate?

You will need to complete all of the required credit hours. This typically ranges from 70 to 114 total hours. In addition, you may be required to complete a dissertation.

Most PsyD programs require an internship or practicum to provide hands-on experience.

What are the PhD in Psychology Requirements to Graduate?

phd in psychology student studying on her laptop in library

It will be necessary to complete all credit hours required by your program. This may be as many as 120 credit hours for a PhD program.

You will also need to complete a dissertation related to the specialty you’re pursuing.

What are Key Differences Between a PhD and PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Choosing between a PhD and PsyD in clinical psychology comes down to a choice of research versus hands-on application.

Someone who is interested in research or academic pursuits is probably better suited for a PhD. Someone looking to practice in a clinical setting that relies on one-on-one interactions with patients is probably better suited for a PsyD.

That’s not to say that there’s no overlap. Yes, a person with a PhD can fulfill roles that require clinical expertise. Additionally, graduates of PsyD programs do sometimes end up in research roles.

Getting Your PsyD or PhD Online

psychologist talking to a patient in his office

Can you really dive into the human psyche on a doctoral level from home? Yes, many colleges and universities now provide doctoral programs in psychology that can be completed remotely.

Both PsyD and PhD programs usually require heavy reading and research. That means that you’ll probably be doing a lot of self-guided study as you pursue your degree. This is one of the reasons why a doctorate in this field may actually be ideal for a syllabus comprised of online coursework.

An PhD or PsyD programs online can balance the self-guided nature of doctorate-level psychology studies with the expertise and guidance of trained, qualified professors in the field.

It may be necessary to complete hands-on training in a clinical setting as part of your degree requirements. This is something that colleges and universities can assist you with once you enter into a doctorate program. It’s possible that you’ll be able to complete clinical work that satisfies your degree requirement locally.

Great minds are interested in studying minds! You may be a perfect fit for an online PsyD or PhD program. Find a school that will help you make big contributions to the field of psychology to get on the perfect degree path.

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COMMENTS

  1. Differences Between Psyd And Phd Programs | Psychology.org

    A Psy.D. leads to work as a clinical psychologist. A Ph.D. leads to careers as licensed psychologists, psychology professors, or psychology researchers. Degree Length: 4-6 years: 5-8 years: Program Focus: Direct application of psychology knowledge through work with clients and patients.

  2. What's the Difference Between a PhD in Psychology and a PsyD?

    PhD in Psychology vs. PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) Once you’ve decided to seek your doctorate in psychology, you need to decide which degree best fits your needs: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Psychology) or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD).

  3. PsyD vs Ph.D.: Which Is The Right Fit For You? – Forbes Advisor

    In general, a Ph.D. in psychology focuses more on research and a Psy.D. focuses on practical application. While both programs can lead to becoming a licensed psychologist, taking a closer look at...

  4. PhD vs PsyD: What's the Difference? | Psychology Degree Guide

    PhD vs PsyD: What's the Difference? | Psychology Degree Guide. If you are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree as a psychologist, there are two main options to consider: the PsyD and the PhD.

  5. Doctoral degrees in psychology: How are they different, or ...

    Both PsyD and PhD programs can prepare students to be licensed psychologists, and training in these types of programs prepares graduates to take state licensing exams (licenses are awarded by individual states, not graduate programs). 3 Many states require graduates to have attended accredited graduate programs to ensure that all students have ...

  6. PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology [2023 Guide] - MyDegreeGuide.com

    PsyD vs PhD Admissions Requirements. The admissions requirements for PsyD and PhD candidates are similar. However, they are not interchangeable. It is typically much more difficult to be accepted into a PhD program than a PsyD program. The main reason is that PhD programs accept a fraction of the candidates.