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Wha t is the expected amount of years after you get a bachelor's degree to get a doctorate degree in psychology?

I am majoring in psychology, but want to know how long I am expected to further my education to get a doctorate degree. #doctorate-degree #psychology #college-degree


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Linda Ann’s Answer

The amount of time required to complete a doctorate in psychology is really a function of the specialty in which you are interested. A doctorate in experimental psychology, for example, can be completed in usually 4 years, if admitted directed into a doctorate program. It may take longer than that as a function of your dissertation research and how long the data collection phase of the dissertation lasts. A clinical psychology doctorate will take a minimum of 5 years, as the fifth year is an internship!


Because psychology has become a very popular undergraduate major in the last decade, the number of applicants to doctoral programs has increased dramatically. Thus, the competition is very intense for the number of available vacancies. Given this competition, many students have been opting to apply to master's level psychology programs, engage in a research-based thesis, to demonstrate to doctoral programs that they are committed to a research endeavor and have "the chops" to deal with issues related to research programs. So, if you choose to pursue an M.S. in psychology, and then apply to a doctoral program, it will require more time in graduate school, total.

Linda Ann recommends the following next steps:

If your long-term goal is to pursue a doctorate, then you need to make yourself a viable candidate for grad school by engaging in research while an undergraduate. So, volunteer your time in one of your professor's laboratories to develop the necessary research skills to make you "shine."
Complete an independent study (or two) while an undergraduate. With an independent study, you will be working closely with a faculty member. They'll get to know you and your habits. THey'll be in a much better position to write a solid, letter of reference for you when you do apply to graduate school!
Aim for mostly grades of A in your psychology major.
Prepare to take the Graduate Record Examination way in advance of when you will need to take that test. Purchase study books, etc. There are practice test questions online for the GRE. Avail yourself to all opportunities to do well on this screening tool.
Explore the psychology web pages of all doctoral level psychology programs. Attempt to find out what the minimum GRE scores have been for admitted students into the program. If your GRE scores are significantly lower than what is reported on the website for a particular program, then don't waste your money applying to that program. In other words, research potential schools and professors whose work you respect. A professor with whom you would like to work while in graduate school.

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