Difference Between PsyD and PhD

A doctorate degree is an aspiration for many scholars and the student community. The track for a doctoral degree is extremely tedious and tough to reach. There are certainly a lot of hardships each person undergoes to take up their doctorate path. Alongside the hardships, there are also inspirational stories of each person getting their doctorate. In the psychological stream, people have a different doctorate degree program called the PsyD.

PsyD vs PhD

The main difference between PsyD and Ph.D. is that they have different abbreviations, such that Ph.D. refers to Doctor of philosophy whereas PsyD means Doctor of psychology. Both the degrees are doctoral degrees, but they are associated with different subjects. The doctor of psychology is more specific to the psychology stream, whereas the doctoral degree associated with other branches of studies is called Ph.D.

PsyD and PhD

PsyD is the term that is used for a doctoral degree obtained in psychological studies. Those people who are trained in performing psychiatric treatment for those who require mental health support are graduates of this particular program. They have wide knowledge in psychotherapy and mental counseling. PsyD is a doctoral study that involves the study of more mental stuff.

Ph.D. is the doctoral degree provided to another subject, excluding psychology. Doctor of philosophy stands as the expansion of Ph.D. But there are counselors who also have studied Ph.D. in place of PsyD and still provide treatment for mentally ill people. The Ph.D. programs are quite hard to get in, and the requirements stand really high. The requirements might include a higher GPA and other necessities such as reference letters.

Comparison Table Between PsyD and PhD

Parameters of ComparisonPsyDPhD
DefinitionIt refers to Doctorate in psychology.A doctoral degree is provided to a person in his/her completion of research work or thesis defense.
RequirementsThe requirements are usually really high and a higher GPA is required.It requires a higher GPA, a letter of reference, and strong motivational letters.
Intake rateIt is quite competitive.It is extremely competitive and funds or grants are hard to obtain.
CareerProfessionals with doctoral degrees provide psychiatric counseling and mental health support.Ph.D. graduates take up post-doctorate positions and they also work in further academic-based careers.
ScopeAspirants who are interested in performing counseling and psychotherapy can take up PsyD.Ph.D. aspirants are those who are very passionate about professional research approaches in their research domain or category.

What is PsyD?

The term PsyD is often misunderstood with the term Ph.D., and these two terms have very different

meanings. The abbreviation of the term PsyD is Doctor of Psychology. It is not to be confused with a

Ph.D., which is Doctor of Philosophy. Doctors of Psychology are professional doctors and are not

research-oriented. A major difference that allows PsyD holders to stand apart from Ph.D. holders is that Doctors of

Psychology or PsyD are people who practice and use psychology in their daily lives. The PsyD holders

are generally mental health clinicians and therapists who put their psychological understanding to

the test. The theories and concepts are practiced by the Doctors of Psychology.

As the basic understanding of a PsyD is now provided, there are other important distinctions of a

PsyD holder. The PsyD programs usually take up around 4-6 years to complete. The student of this

program will be tested on his or her ability to apply scientific knowledge. The PsyD course explores

the psychology and human behavior of individuals and groups.

Graduating with a PsyD degree allows one to take up unique career options that are centered

around being a practitioner of psychology. Several career options like a clinical psychologist, mental

health counselor, psychotherapist, and consultant.

What is PhD?

The term Ph.D. has always been widely used in the field of academia. This term is occasionally

confused with a similar-sounding term PsyD. The abbreviation of the term Ph.D. is Doctor of

Philosophy. These Doctors of Philosophy holders usually engage in research work and academia and

are not professional psychologists.

A significant difference between a Doctor of Philosophy from another Doctor of Psychology is that a

Ph.D. holder usually conducts research, teaches, and consults professionally in the field of mental

health. Though they do not actually practice the concepts of psychology, they conduct frequent

researches to help the subject evolve.

There exists a somewhat clearer understanding among the public of the role of a Ph.D. holder.

There are quite a few distinctions between a Ph.D. program from a PsyD program. A usual Ph.D.

The program would take up around 6-8 years for a person to complete. The program delved deep into

the basic concepts of psychology, statistics, and research.

The research undertaken in a Ph.D. program involves a bit of vital mathematics and statistics too.

Experiments and data collection are heavily involved in this program. These are the crucial

components of a research program like a Ph.D. Career options like a professor, researcher, and

psychologist are open to the holders of a Ph.D. in psychology.

Main Differences Between PsyD and PhD

  1. The key major difference is that PsyD candidates are more specific to psychology studies, whereas Ph.D. candidates specialize in other fields as well.
  2. PsyD requires a higher GPA in psychology masters, whereas Ph.D. candidates require masters in any of their preferred fields they are mastering.
  3. PsyD is quite competitive, and there are very few colleges having the degree, and a Ph.D. is also competitive in nature.
  4. The career perspectives for both PsyD and Ph.D. are different. PsyD people go specifically for mental health support-based work.
  5. Psychology aspirants go for PsyD, whereas people who are pursuing masters in other subjects, including psychology, take up a Ph.D.


Both PsyD and Ph.D. are routes for a doctoral degree. Both the degrees have requirements that are competitive for a candidate to take up in his career. It has higher GPA requirements, and it also possesses additional efforts from each candidate to obtain their doctoral degrees. It also requires commitment towards research and the development of research methodology.

PsyD is more specific for a subject, and Ph.D. are provided to doctoral candidates in specialization in science-based or literature-based research work. Both degrees require a lot of requirements in order to fulfill the degree requirements.


  1. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319630120
  2. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783642158469

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