PsyD Vs PhD in Psychology

PsyD or PhD in Psychology? Is there a difference between these two terminal degrees, and which one should you pursue? Let us get familiar with what each degree prepares prospective students for as this will help determine the best track of study for the career you have in mind. Schools offering Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) vs. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

PsyD (Doctor of Psychology)

This degree prepares one for work in clinical settings. A bachelor's or master's degree in psychology, or a closely related field is required. The PsyD program typically demands 4-7 years of studies including internships and acquiring special licensure. Applicants are typically required to submit a GRE test score have a major GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. People with PsyD degrees often work as clinical psychologists or school psychologists. Below, are common courses in this program that students can expect to study.

Group Psychotherapy

In this type of course, students can expect to explore concepts related to various theories of group psychotherapy, with the goal being to prepare for practice in a clinical, group setting. Some hands-on experience may be gained through this kind of class. Students could put knowledge and skills gained from this course to use in settings like hospitals and other inpatient institutions.

Biological Foundations of Behavior

Students might be introduced to the biological mechanisms underlying behavior in this sort of course. They can expect to look at how neurons function, how emotions are processed, and the basics of neuroanatomy. Targeted mental health disorders such as mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and other developmental and cognitive disorders may be discussed.

Psychological Assessment

Psychological assessments are necessary in the clinical in-patient setting. This course could introduce students to the principles of assessment and its approaches. The student might explore how to administer, score, and interpret intellectual, cognitive, and neuropsychological measures. Integrated report writing could also be addressed.

Clinical Health Psychology

This kind of course often looks at how to apply clinical heath psychology research, along with the techniques to make important decisions and modify patient behavior. Students could gain knowledge about how physical health affects an individual's cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social functions.

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology)

This degree is suitable for those wanting to pursue careers in research or academic settings, and there are clinical options, as well. On average, one can expect to spend 5-7 years studying in their field. Candidates typically require a bachelor's degree, GRE test score, and minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Careers in higher education administration, research, or teaching are common options for people holding a PhD in Psychology. One can expect to take the following courses listed below in this program.

Developmental Psychology

This type of course often delves into human development, from infancy to early adulthood. Topics of discussions might include the development of language, perception, personality, and how we interact in our daily lives. Critical thinking may be encouraged, as it relates to various methods and assumptions. Students could practice the skills to develop, evaluate, and employ different methods of research.

Research Methods

Students could partake of lectures, hands-on activities, readings, and discussions to explore the scientific approach to research designs and data interpretation. They might participate in research projects where reports are written in the style and format used by research psychologists. Exploration of how to write effectively about research plans and findings, while critically evaluating psychological research, may be addressed.

Statistical Methods in Psychology

This kind of course typically looks at how to perform statistical tests and how to properly use them. Students could practice how to interpret various types of psychological data. They might gain the skills needed to think critically about statistical evidence presented in psychological journal reports and in the media.


In this sort of course, research and theories on the origins of various forms of psychopathology may be addressed. Students might study a range of topics, including: schizophrenia, addictive disorders, psychopathy, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychosexual disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders. They can also expect to look at issues regarding classification of psychiatric disorders.

Degree ProgramProgram LengthAdmission RequirementsRelated Careers
PsyD in Psychology 4-7 Years Major GPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE test scores, BA/BS degreeClinical psychologist, school psychologist
PhD in Psychology5-7 YearsGPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE test scores, BA/BS degreeResearcher, hospital administrator, academia

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

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  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Memphis

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Memphis
  • University of Nevada

    Campus Locations:

    • Nevada: Las Vegas
  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven