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Leaving PsyD program for PhD?


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I'm currently finishing up my first year of a PsyD program at a highly-ranked professional school and realize now that it's not a great fit for me academically, professionally, or financially (i.e., I want to do more phenomenological research, be able to get a teaching position, and don't want to graduate with $130k in debt). After talking with my academic advisor and gaining her support, I'm seriously considering reapplying to clinical psych PhD programs that better fit my interests (specifically Duquesne, York, and Miami Ohio).

Does anyone have advice on how to go about a transition like this? Am I doomed? Would it strengthen my application to stick out the second year and apply with a "MA in progress" even though it's not a terminal MA, or would that look even more shady? Also, any thoughts on how to tactfully frame this in an application letter? I realize that admissions committees frown upon this sort of thing and I feel like a big dumb idiot for not weighing my options more carefully before starting this program. Help!

Background specs: BA in religious studies and psychology (cum GPA 3.76, core GPA 3.9); GRE combined score of 323 (167 verbal, 156 quantitative); strong rec letters (both academic and clinical); 2 years of clinical experience; 2 years of research experience; contributing author on 2 publications; good standing in current program.


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The biggest difference between PsyD and PhD C. Psych is the depth of research that goes into it. Clearly you have an idea of what research is like given your prior experience. Sure it might be frowned upon, but you should do what makes sense for you. And that should also be what you indicate. Both your lengthy clinical and research experiences should certainly help with your application (along with your GPA and GRE). Not to mention, perhaps you can even indicate your familiarity with the landscape of clinical psychology given your first year in the PsyD program. 

Ultimately, I think how you word it can make your year in the PsyD program inconsequential. Just let the graduate committees know that you realized your interest in research through your one-year of professional (school) experience and want to carry that on into a program that lets you apply your interests in both.


Hope that helps!

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