future in psych grad school?
February 20, 2010 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Should I apply for a PsyD at a new, as yet un-accredited program?

I know two things: that I want to be a therapist, and that I'm not crazy about research or academia.

I know a few things else, although not as concretely. I know that I don't have a lot of money. I know that I'm intelligent and willing to put in the work to get a PhD. I know that I want a job in the future that will offer me an interesting challenge, the opportunity to relocate, time to have a family, and enough money to not have to worry about money.

I had previously decided to do a clinical psych PhD program, but seeing as how my focus is really on the practical, clinical side, and how I'm really fed up with academia, I'm now considering a PsyD program.

There is as yet only one PsyD program in Canada, at MUN university. It's new (2009) and not yet accredited. It's cheap (same price as an experimental psych PhD) and offers funding. I wouldn't be against going to the states for this PhD, but don't want to accrue mountains more debt than I already have.

I've considered the MSW: not enough options for advancement or good pay.

So I guess my question is somewhat twofold: mainly, should I do the new, unaccredited program, and secondly, should I even do a PsyD in the first place?
posted by whalebreath to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not apply to that one and a bunch of accredited Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs that are also (relatively) cheap and see where you get in? I don't know what MUN means. A public university? Are there any other public universities that give these degrees?

I have a Ph.D. in clinical psych. I got it when Psy.D. programs were just being "invented" so that people could get a doctoral degree without doing a dissertation -- but later on I was told that instead of a dissertation based on research Psy.D. students had to do some big deal paper anyway and there was hardly any real difference between the two types of programs.

Is that true? What is the difference, these days, between a Ph.D. and a Psy.D., that is, in actual requirements? When I got my Ph.D. I had to do practica and an full-time one-year-long internship and took plenty of courses in clinical techniques and psychological testing, etc. -- practical stuff.

Anyway -- my first question remains: why not see what cheap(ish) programs are available and apply to all of them. "In my day" it wasn't easy to get into any program, so you had to apply to a bunch.

(by the way, I also thought it would be a better idea to become a psychologist than a social worker, and I have to say that, in my own personal experience, it's been a good deal for me. I have NO idea what others might think about this, but I can pretty much always get SOME sort of paying jobs to supplement my private practice, doing testing, etc. I feel the Ph.D. has been a good deal, relatively speaking)

posted by DMelanogaster at 5:40 PM on February 20, 2010

I'm in my last year of a PsyD program which means that I'm currently on internship and working on my dissertation. One thing that was stressed when I was looking at schools was that the program needed to be APA accredited. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think it has something to do with getting an internship and licensure. I'm not familiar with the laws in Canada to know what would be required in order for you to get licenced. Getting a PsyD involves way too much time and energy to find out that a non-accredited program is a bad thing. So, if you're dead set on that particular program I would talk to people there to find out if it could hurt you in the long run.

"In my day" it wasn't easy to get into any program, so you had to apply to a bunch.

This is still true. I applied to 10 schools and I was still worried that I wouldn't get in.

It seems like another concern is money. If you choose to attend a PsyD program in the US, it will cost you. Most PsyD programs will not pay you to attend. You might be able to be a TA (which I did for several semsters) but it won't help all that much. And, since you're from Canada, I don't know what would be available to you in terms of funding. I'm a US citizen and qualify for federal loans. I'm in my 6th year and owe around $200,000 that I will have to start paying back 6 months after I graduate.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
posted by Nolechick11 at 7:17 PM on February 20, 2010

If the school is accredited otherwise (as in the school's other programs are accredited) and the program is actively working toward accreditation, why not? Every program has to start somewhere, and they can't even get accreditation to start with without students. As a student in a new program, you will also be in a unique place of being able to perhaps shape the program some.

The danger, of course, is if the program doesn't get accreditation --- but again, looking at the school as a whole, if it's other programs are appropriately accredited, then it is probably a safe decision.

That said, it wouldn't hurt to apply to the Ph.D programs, either. You'll never know what you'll get --- and it wouldn't hurt to apply to Psy.D. programs in the States because you won't know what you'll get if you don't apply. Some programs in the states have scholarships, fellowships, and other funding that may make them worth considering if you get the financial assistance. For any doctoral program, you should visit and decide if it's a good fit for you after being accepted into the program.

(And demlanogaster, my understanding of the Psy.D. these days is that it takes less time than the Ph.D. (4 - 5 years, usually), has much less focus on research, and a lot more focus on clinical skills. One of my professors has a Psy.D. He works for the state's department of mental health and was one of the first responders to Logan Airport on 9/11. People with Psy.D.s can go on to very similar careers as people with Ph.Ds., but they tend to focus on areas of clinical practice and those who do research tend to research in the areas of clinical practice and the therapeutic relationship, etc.)
posted by zizzle at 7:22 PM on February 20, 2010

What zizzle said. If accreditation seems likely then go, otherwise find an accredited program.

In the US, we are licensed state by state and if your program is not accredited, then you are not allowed to practice psychology, offer therapy and most importantly you cannot bill insurance.

I know Canada has different rules for licenser, but I don't know the differences exactly, but I remember they seemed more lenient.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:22 PM on February 20, 2010

A friend of mine is in the first class of this very program, which will be eligible for accreditation once the first class finishes. Unfortunately for those hopeful incoming students, the future of the program has been uncertain. The program's website states that they will not be accepting any applications until June 2010. All that aside, MUN is a great school and the tuition is low because the students have fought to keep it that way. St. John's is an awesome place to live. MeMail me if you'd like.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:40 AM on February 21, 2010

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