Psy.D: How is it different from PhD?

Psy.D stands for Doctor of Psychology. It is a professional doctorate that trains graduates for the practise of psychology. This degree was originally started with the intention of churning out alumni for the practise of clinical psychology, but consequently many institutes began offering degrees in business psychology and organizational development as well. The abbreviations of this degree vary from country to country. It is given the title Psy.D in the United States. Some institutes in Canada use the same abbreviation, while others use D.Psy or D.PS. Across the channel in the United Kingdom, this degree is referred to as DClinPsych.

The history of this degree can be traced back to the 1970s, when the need was felt for a course that could train students for the practical application of psychological theories. The programs are designed to offer training in practical therapeutic techniques. One of the reasons that many people take this program and not a PhD is because the PhD places more emphasis on theoretical research. However, those who are interested in conducting research in this field find that opting for a PhD suits their purpose better. Those who want to take up a teaching position in a university also opt for a Ph.D. However, the distinction between the two is rapidly diminishing as there are many Psy.D programs that offer opportunities for research. While selecting a course most students look through the options offered by various universities before finally making their final choice.

When a student is taking up a program that consumes as much as three or four years in his or her life, there is always a question with regards to funding. It is easier to get funding for a PhD program than it is to get money for a Psy.D course. Most students who take up the Psy.D course pay for it with student loans, while those who join the PhD program are able to find a faculty member who can help them with research grants and also hire students to work for them in return for a stipend.

A Psy.D takes less time to finish than a PhD course. The Psy.D program has a set time limit in which students need to complete the curriculum and work on their dissertation. The thesis is invariably about the practical application of a theoretical matter. However, the dissertation for a PhD has to focus on an original subject, which takes a lot more time and research.