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Hundreth Customer

Fully funded through military but no research hours.

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I am currently serving in the United States military. They offer to pay for soldiers to attend a graduate psychology program and after graduating there is a guaranteed internship with the military. In order to take advantage of this program I would first have to be accepted to an APA accredited graduate program. I finished my bachelors with a 3.9 and have a pretty high GRE but there is no way to get research hours where I am currently stationed. I attempted to change jobs into a psychology field within the military but they do not have positions open and it is not research so I'm not sure if it would help when applying. I could get out of the military to get a research job but then I couldn't do this program for many years if I'm even allowed to reenlist as anything besides combat arms (Meaning lots of deployments and therefore many more years before I could apply for the graduate program). I could request moving to a different duty station near a university where I could attempt to find a part time research job but my command would have to sign off and be supportive and that doesn't happen often because the needs of the military come first. Overall it might take several more years before I can be in a place to even get research hours. I was wondering if it's possible to get into a psyd program without research hours? Has anyone done this? Would my life experience in the military account for anything? I had to complete my Bachelors online because of being moved frequently with the military so I am not very close to any professors. It might be hard to get great recommendations. It's very ironic that the military offers to pay for the entire graduate program yet is the very thing stopping me from being able to get in. Any advice or experiences are appreciated!

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Posted (edited)

Could you get a master’s and do research as part of the program and then go on to a PhD or PsyD program? Would the military pay for you to go to two different schools/get two degrees? I don’t know how difficult to get into master’s programs without research experience, but I think you have circumstances that are worth considering by an admissions committee. If that’s an option that you can do, you might look into master’s programs.

Hopefully someone with more knowledge about PsyD programs will speak up.

Edited by Psyhopeful

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Posted (edited)

I’m not sure how much research experience you need for a PsyD, as it’s generally focused on clinical practice and consuming research instead of producing it. Generally. There are exceptions. I’m sure some members here will post their disagreement.

I’ve been accepted to an APA accredited clinical psychology PhD programme having completed a single independent research directed study during undergrad, no Master’s degree, and no lab hours, but I’m also not your typical student. That makes me skeptical of conventional wisdom. 

It doesn’t sound like you are an average applicant, either. You have unique experiences and a special opportunity to contribute something important. This whole process is more than just test scores and what you’ve done. It’s about who you are, who you can become, what you have to offer, and how you can show that to a university admissions committee. You are correct in identifying your recommendation letters as an area of potential weakness, but it’s not insurmountable.

Would it be impossible to shortlist some programmes and just apply, see what happens, and modify your approach from there?

You want something to guide you and there is no better experience than first hand experience. The advice you receive here may end up being more harmful than helpful, including my own, but while applying will cost you time, money, and some anxiety, perhaps, it is a less unsettling and drastic option than any of the others you mentioned. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

It’s not like you’ll give up if it doesn’t work first time, right?

Edited by GDW

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In addition to what GDW said, you might identify some POIs or programs you’re interested in and email them or the Grad Director and explain your situation and ask if you’re competitive. 

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44 minutes ago, Psyhopeful said:

In addition to what GDW said, you might identify some POIs or programs you’re interested in and email them or the Grad Director and explain your situation and ask if you’re competitive. 

I’m not certain that PsyD programmes have a POI in the way PhD programmes do. PsyD programmes are more ‘vocational’ than ‘academic’ and aren’t funded in quite the same way. Waivers and stipends do exist, but to the best of my knowledge, a typical PsyD  is something you pay for. This also explains the disparity between the number of PsyD and PhD clinical psychology graduate students accepted. My university will have something like 8 PhD students to 80 PsyD students.

OP doesn’t seem to have to worry about funding due to  military benefits.

That being said, I can’t see why it would hurt to reach out to faculty in any of the programmes you are interested in, perhaps even reach out to graduate admission department.

It still begins with OP making a shortlist of suitable programmes.

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