How to Get a Doctorate in Psychology


A doctorate in psychology is a prestigious degree that opens the door to clinical jobs as well as jobs in social psychology. However, getting a doctorate in psychology can be difficult and requires focus as well as persistence.

Getting a Doctorate

  • Earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited university. It is advisable the degree be in psychology because it will demonstrate experience with the subjects you'll be learning in your graduate level classes.

  • Find an internship in psychology to increase the appeal of your resume. The internship can be in research psychology or something related with your classwork.

  • Take your graduate review exams (GREs). These exams, similar to the SAT, provide colleges and universities with an idea of a potential graduate student's aptitudes.

  • Ask for a minimum of three letters of recommendation from professors or anyone you did an internship with before you graduate. These letters are important because graduate schools use them as a way of judging character.

  • Apply to graduate schools' doctorate programs. You can enter a master's program and then transfer to another school for your doctorate. But if you can go straight into a doctorate program, it will save time and money. Typically, tuition for doctorate programs are covered by the school.

  • Take classes geared toward your career path upon acceptance to graduate school. There are many different paths including clinical psychologist, social psychologist or a research psychologist.

  • Write your dissertation on a thesis of your devising. It must be vetted by the psychology department's faculty; only after it has been approved can you begin working on it.

  • Graduate with your doctorate upon acceptance of your dissertation from the faculty of your graduate school's psychology department.

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