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Any Alternative To PhD In Psychology? Say Hi To PsyD!

How to get a doctorate in Psychology?


Do you want to become a clinical psychologist but are stuck between Ph.D. Psychology and PsyD? 


Don't know anything about PsyD? How and where to apply for it? Read till the end of the article to know more about PsyD!


To become a Practitioner in the field of Psychology, one should be able to assess, diagnose, and treat psychological maladjustments. The more skilled and trained a person is, the more effectively they can practice. No book can teach skills to become a good practitioner. One can learn it only through actual practice. And PsyD provides that opportunity to the trainees.


In recent years, PsyD has gained immense popularity in clinical settings all over the globe. Just like Ph.D., PsyD is the highest level degree in psychology for clinical practice. In PsyD, the emphasis is given to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the patients. Research is not the main interest here. PsyD is more concerned with preparing skilled and qualified mental health professionals and clinicians.


What is PsyD?



PsyD or doctorate of Psychology is a full-time 4 years doctorate level program. It is a practice-oriented course. It is divided into four parts, each part is completed in the respective year. 


The first two years include training to promote personal and professional growth and the development of the trainee to function independently in evaluating problems and developing treatment plans for patients. The third-year includes completion of advanced proficiency in two sub-specialization areas chosen by the trainee from the list given by RCI which consists of behavior therapy, psychoanalytic therapies, school psychology, psycho-oncology, and so forth. In the fourth year, one has to complete a rotation internship under a professional clinical psychologist who may or may not be a faculty member. Also, an empirical research thesis has to be submitted by the trainee based on one of the chosen sub-specializations for advanced proficiency.


This program inculcates in the individual the required therapeutic skills, effective methods of identifying and dealing with clinical problems, and a sense of sensitivity towards the patient's problems.


Why should you opt for PsyD? 


If you are passionate about conducting your scientific research and envision yourself as a professional researcher then Ph.D. is the best option for you. The Psy.D. degree is best suited for you if you are more inclined towards providing psychological services rather than conducting disciplinary research in psychology. 


To know more about the difference between Ph.D. Psychology & PsyD, check out our article on How to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology

One can start their clinical practice by completing Mphil. However, it does not provide training in sub-specializations. Thus, to be a specialist in a specific field of psychology, PsyD is required. It prepares you for a better understanding of diagnosis and clinical interventions of various psychological disorders.


The Psy.D. program requires you to write a thesis on your chosen topic of any one of your sub-specialization. In such a thesis, you may use qualitative or quantitative methodologies to demonstrate how psychological research can be applied. Thus, this course focuses on training students by engaging them in topics that apply scientific knowledge and methods of psychology. Though PsyD does not focus on research, PsyD professionals are said to be the consumers of that research knowledge.


This course has uses in various disciplines such as clinical psychology, business psychology, organizational development, forensic psychology, counseling psychology, and school psychology.


How to apply for PsyD?


PsyD can be pursued in two ways- 

1. Directly after completing a master's Psychology degree (direct entry) &

2. After completing M.Phil Psychology (lateral entry)


Direct entry:

  • For direct entry, students must have completed their MA/MSc in Psychology with a minimum of 65% (60% for SC/ST/OBC category)  marks from a UGC recognized university.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required from the faculty members from where masters have been completed.
  • The duration of the course for direct entry students is 4 years. 

Lateral entry:

  • For lateral entry, one must have completed M.Phil Psychology with an aggregate of 55% from an RCI recognized center.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required from the faculty members from where M.Phil has been completed.
  • The duration of the course for lateral entry students is 2 years. Lateral entries get admission directly to the third year.

Colleges offering PsyD:


Currently, only a few institutes provide PsyD in India. They are listed as follows:

  • Sweekar Institute, Hyderabad
  • Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 
  • National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh 

Admission procedure:



Admission in PsyD program is based on an entrance examination consisting of-

  • An objective-type exam to test the basic knowledge of the candidate in related branches of psychology.
  • A written test to test the writing skills essential to communicate among other clinicians/professionals.
  • Group discussion to test the expressive skills of the individual.
  • A Practical exam
  • And after completing all these steps last is the interview round to test the candidate's commitment and skills to be able to serve in the profession.

This entrance exam is held separately for the Direct and lateral entry candidates.

Watch this video on Psychology careers in India

What Can You Do With a Psy.D.?


After earning a Psy.D. in clinical or counselling psychology and then acquiring the required RCI license, you would be ready to start clinical practice. Common job duties include administering evaluations, conducting psychological tests, and providing psychotherapy services.


With a Psy.D., you can work in a wide variety of settings. These include hospitals, mental health clinics, government offices, and schools. Some professionals choose to open their psychotherapy practices or work as consultants for private corporations.



PsyD is relatively new in India, yet it is a promising program for all psychology enthusiasts. It equips the individual with all the therapeutic skills and knowledge. It also imparts the necessary training to aid the students in their clinical practice. 


We hope this article has answered most of your questions regarding PsyD. And now, you might have made up your mind if PsyD is for you or not. We wish you the best clinical journey ahead!



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