Frequently Asked Questions

How does a PsyD differ from a PhD?

A PsyD is a doctorate in Professional Psychology whereas a Clinical Psychology PhD is a doctorate degree in philosophy, with a specialization in Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Stacey Lambert, Chair of the Clinical Psychology Department and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, shares information about how a student can determine whether a PsyD or PhD is a better fit for them. Watch below!


The primary difference between the two types of programs is that a PsyD program generally places greater emphasis on clinical training early in the program. In many cases a PhD program will have greater emphasis on research involvement than a PsyD program. For example, in most PhD programs in Clinical Psychology, a student would be expected to complete a master’s research project as well as a doctoral research project dissertation. In most PsyD programs, students do a doctoral level research project, which tends to be smaller in scope than a dissertation. 

All APA-accredited doctoral programs are expected to assure trainees demonstrate research competencies, and WJC is no exception. Our PsyD in Clinical Psychology program involves students in clinical course work and training starting in the first year of the program. We also encourage students to become involved in faculty research early in the program in preparation for developing a doctoral committee, which will supervise the completion of the student’s doctoral project. While called a doctoral project rather than dissertation, the length and quality of the doctoral projects completed by our students are very similar to dissertations produced by students in PhD programs. In fact, a number of our students have published articles stemming from their doctoral research projects. Thus, the emphasis on research at William James Colleges PsyD program is likely greater than other PsyD programs.

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