Questions When Choosing a PhD Program in Psych

Questions to Ask: PhD in Clinical Psychology

If you are planning to apply to a PhD programs in Psychology, you should know that these are located in what are called "Research 1" institutions. There are 115 of these institutions, indicating the highest level of research activity. In thinking about applying to a PhD program, we would argue that there are four critical questions that you need to consider:

lstudents in small seminar class

1) Are you and the location a match? Keep in mind that wherever you go to graduate school you are going to be living in a certain place for at least five years so it needs to be a place where you will be happy.

2) Will you get any financial assistance? When you apply to a school you need to check out if a school offers a tuition waiver and a stipend (i.e., a fixed salary) for all the years you will be in school. Of course, you want to try your best not to incur any debt when you are in Psychology graduate school. An important issue here is that when you graduate with your PhD the salary you will not be huge. T

several graduate students standing

3) What do you want to study? This question goes beyond a program in one of the major sub-areas of psychology: clinical, cognitive, developmental, social, or neuropsychology. You need to think about what topic area you want to be researching during your time in graduate school and possibly long after you graduate. Remember, you can always change your research focus but at least when you apply you should have some idea about what you are going to study.

4) Who will be your mentor? IDo your homework and determine who you would like to be your mentor if you get accepted. This is critical as faculty selection who to admit. In many ways this issue is quite simple. The probability of a faculty member selecting a student who has a clear interest in that faculty member’s research is more likely to get admitted than someone with no research direction. Check out mentors by looking over recent journal article, and university websites.
Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.

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