From the frontline: Advice from a graduate student in clinical psychology

Hello, my name is Matthew. I graduated from UA Little Rock in May of 2023 with a degree in Psychology. This fall I began working on my Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Here is a little bit about my journey up to this point. I hope it helps others who want to pursue a higher level of education in Psychology!

By the end of my first semester at UA Little Rock, I decided I wanted to pursue a PsyD degree instead of a PhD. The simplest way to understand the difference between these two programs is a PsyD, or Doctor of Psychology, is designed to train clinicians or therapists to work in a public-facing clinical setting. A Ph.D. in Psychology is typically designed to train psychologists who wish to work as researchers or professors in academia. Having said that, many folks with PsyDs work in academia, and many people with PhDs work as therapists. If you are a person who wants to pursue a career as a therapist, a PsyD may be the path you want to take. If you love research or want to be a college professor, a Ph.D. is probably better suited to your goals. Of course, not everyone wants to obtain a doctorate, and there are plenty of master’s-level programs related to psychology.

If you are considering pursuing graduate school, it’s crucial to start preparing as early as possible. I recommend you start by searching for schools that have programs that interest you, align with your values, and offer the type of degree you wish to obtain. The American Psychological Association (APA) website is an excellent resource for searching doctoral programs. The APA is responsible for the accreditation of doctoral programs throughout the United States, and most states require future psychologists to attend an accredited program in order to obtain licensure. Once you find a program that interests you, visit the school’s website and read more about the program. If you want more information, feel free to email their admissions office and tell them you would like more information about the program. Many programs will offer information sessions over Zoom during the fall, providing a wealth of information about the programs and how to apply.

Next time, I will discuss some other important factors of the application process, such as letters of recommendation, internship and research experience, and the dreaded essay. Over time, I will share my grad school experiences, and I hope my words will be informative and inspire you to further your education.


Posted in: Psychology News

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