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Difference between PhD and PsyD

Difference between PhD and PsyD

Doctoral degrees come in many different shapes and sizes, but one of the most common types is the PhD. But what is a PhD, and how does it differ from other doctorates? In this article, we’ll explore the difference between a PhD and PsyD degree, and discuss which might be right for you.

What is PhD?

PhD programs are designed to train students for careers in research and academia. A PhD is the highest degree that a student can earn, and it typically takes four to six years to complete. During this time, students take advanced coursework and complete a research project that is typically published as a dissertation. Students who earn a PhD often go on to work as professors or researchers at universities or other institutions of higher learning. Some also work in government or in the private sector. PhD programs are highly competitive, and admission is based on factors such as undergraduate grades, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores. Prospective PhD students should be prepared to commit themselves to several years of full-time study in order to earn this prestigious degree.

What is PsyD?

PsyD is a earned professional doctoral degree in psychology. The PsyD degree is designed to prepare graduates for careers as psychological practitioners such as clinical psychologists in the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. PsyD programs generally place less emphasis on research training than PhD programs and instead focus on advanced coursework in psychopathology, psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and consulting. PsyD programs typically require 4-6 years of full-time study to complete and often include a practicum or internship component.

Difference between PhD and PsyD

PhD and PsyD degrees are both terminal degrees in psychology, but there are some key differences between the two. PhD programs tend to be more research-oriented, while PsyD programs place a greater emphasis on clinical practice. As a result, PhD graduates are often better prepared for careers in academia or research, while PsyD graduates are typically more qualified for jobs in private practice or counseling. Both types of programs usually take around four years to complete, but PhD programs may require an additional year or two of postdoctoral study. Ultimately, the decision of which degree to pursue depends on your career goals and areas of interest.


The PsyD degree is designed for those who want to work with people in clinical settings, such as counseling or therapy. If you are interested in becoming a psychologist, and don’t necessarily need the research component of a PhD, then the PsyD may be the better fit for you. On the other hand, if you are interested in doing research on psychological issues or teaching at the university level, then earning your PhD would be the better choice. Both degrees will prepare you for licensure as a psychologist, so it really depends on what you hope to get out of your education and career.

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