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What is your opinion on online psychology degrees?


M2494

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I am beginning the application process for an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and an wondering what the general consensus on online degrees is. Does completing an online degree from Walden University, for instance, jeopardize your chances of getting into a PsyD or PhD program later in life? I know that online degrees are not really respected as much as going to a university to continue your education. What do you think?

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I don't know about the academic world, but in the professional world, some companies see an online program and it automatically goes in the reject pile. My old job was one of those. It sifted out a lot of applicants. 

Interestingly enough, a fortune top 20 company I work for pushes those online colleges that do commercials on daytime tv for some reason (they let them set up in lobbies and talk to employees).

 

Though they might be targeting the call center in one of the buildings on campus.

 

Anyway in my field it isn't looked on as a positive (though there are people who are very successful programmers without any college degree as well as someone who has risen very high here with just an associates, so if you are good it doesn't seem to matter for us if you went to The Fake School of Fakington).

 

In a field that requires all kinds of licenses and that is very competitive I would think you would want to be very careful about the programs you pick.

 

If you had to do online courses I would aim for Distance Education from a non-profit or state-owned University (for-profit is yucky).

Edited by <ian>
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When I hear "online M.A. in clinical psychology" my mind automatically jumps to the conclusion that you either were not accepted to any in-person programs, or you knew you were not a competitive candidate for those programs. Furthermore, although I'm not sure how research and practicums work in online programs, I assume that you may be disadvantaged when applying to PhD programs as your program would likely be less prestigious and it may be harder to make personal connections for future reference letters.

 

HOWEVER, if you have a solid reason for choosing an online program (for example, family or personal illness) then showing you were able to work hard to still get your degree despite obstacles could help you create a convincing personal statement for future applications.

 

Basically my 2 cents would be it'd be better to take a gap year and apply into some solid non-online programs if you're set on pursuing a PhD.

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Now, as a caveat to the "don't apply to online programs" distance learning through a brick and mortar university seems like it carries more respectability. For instance, I have a friend perusing her MA at Drexel University. But, because she lives an 1 1/2 from them, she takes mainly their online classes. Over the course of her studies, she is able to go on campus for some classes, but the majority are done that way.She is in education, and not in psychology, so her field is different. For her fieldwork and observations, she's able to outsource to other schools.

 

If you conduct research, or want to gain more research before applying to a PhD (which would probably be a vital addition to your CV), you're looking at needing at least 1 day on campus to conduct the research itself, review with your advisor, etc. And most MA programs are not heavily invested in research, so you may need to fight to even get a research project in the program. 

 

Really, a gap with gaining some professional experience wouldn't hurt you at all - especially in the clinical setting.

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