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Difference Between PhD and PsyD

PhD vs PsyD

Sometimes it is not enough that a student finishes a Bachelor’s degree. In order to move up the ladder, one must complete further studies in his field. After acquiring a four-year Bachelor’s degree, one can go on and get a two-year Master’s degree.

To go further up, one can get a doctorate degree. If he is a graduate of the liberal arts and sciences, he can get a Doctor of Philosophy degree. And if he is a graduate of psychology, he can get a Doctor of Psychology degree.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a postgraduate degree given by universities which started as a doctorate in liberal arts but now includes those with a Bachelor’s degree in other fields of study. It was developed because doctorate degrees were only awarded in theology, medicine, and law.

It is one of the oldest doctorate degrees and focuses on research combined with applied training. Psychologists who study for a PhD usually do research for the advancement of the field of psychology studying theories and applying them. It also takes more time to finish a PhD course because its thesis involves research into topics that have not been addressed before, defend it, and make contributions for its development. It also receives more funding because research projects in an institution take a longer time to finish.

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), on the other hand, is a doctorate degree for clinical psychologists. A graduate with a PsyD degree can be licensed to diagnose and treat mental disorders, handle psychological testing and evaluation, and extend psychotherapy to patients.

It is designed only for graduates of psychology and is similar to a Doctor of Medicine. It focuses on clinical and therapeutic training and on how to apply knowledge in treating patients. It takes a lesser amount of time to finish a PsyD degree because only a simple thesis is required of students. Since the training for a PsyD degree involves working with patients and little research, it does not receive funding as much as a PhD does. It is given only to the professional areas of psychology such as clinical and counseling.
While a PhD directs a student towards a career as a researcher, teacher, or practitioner, a PsyD directs a student towards a career as a clinical psychologist and therapist. A psychology graduate can have both a PhD and a PsyD degree.


1.Doctor of Philosophy is a postgraduate degree which is awarded to graduates of liberal arts and other fields while 2.Doctor of Psychology is a doctorate degree awarded to graduates of psychology.
3.A PhD degree receives more funding for its research in an institution while a PsyD receives little or no funding since it involves less research and focuses more on actual work with patients.
4.A PsyD is awarded only to psychology graduates specifically those in its professional fields such as clinical and counseling psychology while a PhD is awarded to graduates of psychology as well as of other fields of study such as biology, education, and the liberal arts.
5.Graduates with a PhD can work as researchers, teachers, as well as practice in their chosen fields while graduates with a PsyD can work as clinical psychologists and therapists.

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