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Tips For Students Aiming For A Doctorate In Psychology

Tips For Students Aiming For A Doctorate In Psychology

Choosing to pursue higher education is a hard decision. For a degree that takes longer than a couple of years, it is even harder to decide whether this is the right path.

In this uncertainty, it is necessary to make sure that you can get all the help you can in making this decision as well as for understanding what to do once you have decided that this is the path you want to go forward with.

Keep reading to find out some tips for those aiming for a Doctorate in Psychology.

Reasons And Goals

Believe it or not, one of the biggest reasons why students decide to go for a doctorate is pretty surface level. They don’t always decide to go because they want to gain a deeper understanding of the field of study or because they have an interest in academic research.

Many people apply to doctoral programs only because they want to be at the top of their field or because they want that Dr. title in front of their name.

While there is nothing wrong with pursuing a doctoral degree for these reasons, they should not be the only reasons to aim for a doctorate.

Without having a clear reason and purpose for pursuing higher education, you might be setting yourself up for failure as you won’t have a goal to work towards.

Losing sight of the bigger picture is easy when gratification is delayed but not even having a bigger picture will make this journey very difficult.

Doctoral Student Life

One thing that students often overlook is what doctoral student life is like. While you may be getting a terminal degree that puts you at the top of the field, you probably will still be living like a broke college student during the process.

Doctorate programs and research programs, in general, are usually underfunded which in turn results in doctoral students having to survive on their measly stipend.

Additionally, when attempting to attain research-heavy degrees such as a psychology doctorate, much of your life is spent either in the lab or working with data.

Many students neglect their physical and mental health as they skip meals, stop working out and obsess over the problems they are trying to solve.

To maintain your health and prevent burnout, you must prepare yourself before aiming to get a doctorate.

Writing And Reading Skills Matter

If you have made it as far as graduating with a master’s degree or even a bachelor’s then you have probably written quite a few papers in your academic career. Imagine all of those papers combined to create your dissertation and you might have an idea of the amount of writing you’re getting yourself into.

Writing and reading skills matter a lot in a doctoral program. Your whole research will be presented in your dissertation which has to be pretty close to perfect to finish your degree.

Many academics only make it to the ABD status before they quit their degree so it can’t be stressed enough just how important your dissertation is.

Since dissertations are so long and so important, you can always hire dissertation writers to help you out with that one chapter or section that you just can’t seem to finish.

Show That You Can Do It

The only way you will even get into a doctorate in psychology program is if you conduct research or write a shorter thesis during your undergraduate or graduate program. Your application needs to show that you have what it takes to be a scientist.

Other experiences that will bode well for you during the application process would be mentioning how you have been to conferences and presented your research.

Since most applications will include an interview stage, take the time to understand what the university and your potential mentor might be looking for from their candidates.


Finally, getting a doctorate in psychology won’t be easy by any means but it will definitely be worth it.

Being able to satisfy the need for inquiry and add to the overall knowledge of the field is invaluable.

Good luck with all your research endeavors!

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