If you aim to become a practicing psychologist, you probably know that you’ll need to complete a doctoral degree and pass your licensure exams to get started. And if you’re anxious to get started ASAP, you may be wondering: Do I need a master's in psychology before I enter my doctoral program? Can’t I just skip that and go straight to the good stuff?
By your calculations, you’re thinking that a master’s in psychology could take 2-3 years, and then a Psy.D. Program could take another 4-6 so you’re looking at 6-9 years of schooling before you’re ready to start your career.
Fortunately, there is another way. Many schools like Loyola University Maryland offer an M.S./Psy.D. program that combines the master’s and doctoral degree requirements into one program—you can enter with only a bachelor’s degree, and within 5 years, you’ve completed your training.
(Also, if you were assuming you needed a Ph.D. and are wondering “What is a Psy.D. degree,?” check out the blog post .M.S.. vs. Psy.D. vs. Ph.D. for more info.)
At Loyola, this full-time, five-year course of study is the first program of its kind in Maryland. The program includes:
- Learning aims such as research and scholarship, assessment, treatment, ethics, diversity, and more
- 4 years of course work (4-5 courses per semester) and clinical experience (20 hours per week)
- 5th year in a full-time clinical internship
- Written and oral comprehensive examinations
- Training for licensure in any state
Students that already have a qualifying master’s degree can be accepted to the program, too. They’ll enter in the program’s second year, and take just four years to earn their Psy.D.
But if you don’t have a master’s, and know you want a doctoral degree in psychology, a combined program like Loyola’s could be just what you need to set you on the faster track to launching your career.