2010 Graduate Study in Psychology

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded to Master’s- and Doctoral-Level Students in U.S. and Canadian Graduate Departments of Psychology: 2008-2009

Tanya A. Mulvey, Daniel S. Michalski and Marlene Wicherski
APA Center for Workforce Studies
May 2010

Report Text

In January of each year the APA’s Education Directorate notifies the chairs of graduate departments of psychology of the annual Graduate Study in Psychology effort. The following month the chairs are sent a link to the survey. This original email is followed by three subsequent contacts requesting participation in the study. APA receives a notification email when a program has completed the survey, and graduate programs are dropped from the database when they have not updated their data for two straight years. The information is provided voluntarily by graduate departments and schools of psychology.

Caveats

When using the information in this report, readers should be aware of possible sources of error. Analyses are based on the subset of departments that participated in the survey, not the population at large.

Further, some information was collected at the department level and some at the program level. This is an important distinction because master’s programs can reside either in doctoral-level departments or departments where the master’s is the highest degree granted. Therefore, information on some master’s degree programs would be presented in tables reporting doctoral department data.

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded – Doctoral and Master’s Programs

Twelve hundred and seventy-three doctoral programs in the United States reported a total of 84,691 applications for 2008-2009. See Table 11. The median number of applications per program was 38, and the first and third quartiles were 17 and 85. There were 453 private doctoral programs and 820 public doctoral programs. Despite the larger number of public programs, just under half of the applicants 46% (39,084) applied to private programs. The median number of applicants for private programs was higher than for public programs, as were the first and third quartiles.

Just over one in five applicants (18,698) were accepted by doctoral programs. However, the acceptance rate for private programs (30%) was twice that of public programs (15%). Programs in private settings accepted a greater number of applicants, and had higher medians and larger quartile ranges than those in public settings.

New enrollments for 2008-2009 totaled 12,121, of which 91% were enrolled full time. Newly admitted full-time students, newly admitted part-time students, degrees awarded, and openings anticipated all were higher in private than in public doctoral programs, this despite the higher number of public programs in doctoral departments.

Two hundred and seventy-five master’s programs in the U.S. reported 11,187 applications overall for 2008-09. The median number per program was 31 and the 1st and 3rd quartiles were 15 and 51. There were 97 master’s programs in private settings and 178 in public settings.

The acceptance rate for U.S. master’s programs was higher than for doctoral programs. Just over half (51%), totaling 5,672 students, was accepted by master’s programs in the U.S. Master’s programs in public institutions accepted 2,916 (44%) students, while 2,756 (60%) were accepted by private settings.

For master’s programs, the larger number of students overall was found in the public settings which is in line with the larger number of public masters programs overall. Private master’s programs were only a little more than one third of all masters programs in 2008-2009. However, it is important to note that for the most part the median and quartile summary statistics for master’s programs in private settings were higher than those found in public master’s programs in 2008-2009.

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded – U.S. APA-Accredited Programs by Degree Type -- PhD/PsyD

This section addresses pipeline information provided by APA-accredited psychology programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology in the U.S. By definition these are doctoral programs only. The data for this section can be found in Tables 12 and 15.

Two hundred and fifty-eight U.S. APA-accredited PhD programs received 34,267 applications in 2008-09 (Table 12), and 63 U.S. APA-accredited PsyD programs reported a total of 10,531 (Table 15). PsyD programs reported a higher median number of applications than did PhD programs, and the range in the number of applications from 1st to 3rd quartile started and ended at a higher number for PsyD programs. Not surprisingly, Clinical psychology is responsible for the bulk of applications in both settings, but more so in PsyD (94%) than in PhD (78%) programs. Too few PsyD programs in Counseling and School responded to be included in the discussion below. Data from Counseling and School PhD programs are discussed following the Clinical section.

Clinical PsyD programs accepted a higher overall and median number of applicants than PhD programs (46 vs. 10). The acceptance rate for applicants to Clinical programs was 29% among PsyD programs and 8% among PhD programs.

The ratio of newly enrolled students to total applications was 17% for Clinical PsyD programs and 5% for Clinical PhD programs, indicating that PsyD programs enrolled a larger proportion of those applying to their programs.

The ratio of newly enrolled students to applicants accepted was 63% among PhD programs and 59% among PsyD programs for Clinical psychology. This difference is not substantive and indicates that approximately three fifths of the students accepted actually enrolled.

Newly enrolled doctoral students represented 17% of total enrollments in Clinical PhD programs and 21% in Clinical PsyD programs. Students were more apt to be enrolled full time in PhD than in PsyD programs (96% vs. 88%, respectively).

Clinical PsyD programs awarded more doctorates in 2007-2008 than did PhD programs (1,287 vs.1,167 total and for medians, 19 vs. 6), and PsyD programs anticipated more openings in 2009-2010 than did PhD programs. The totals, medians and quartiles provided for PsyD programs all were higher.

Fifty-nine Counseling psychology PhD programs reported receiving 5,183 applications in 2008-2009 and accepting 9%. Eighty percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled, and the newly enrolled represented 17% of the total enrollment in Counseling PhD programs. Most Counseling students were enrolled full time (87%). There were 329 doctorates awarded in 2007-2008, with programs reporting a median of 6. The range was very small with the 1st quartile at 4 and the 3rd at 7 for new doctorate degrees. Counseling programs projected 390 openings in 2009-2010, just 1 more student than was newly enrolled in 2008-2009.

Forty-one School psychology PhD programs responded to Graduate Study in 2008-2009 and reported 1,632 applications. They accepted just under a quarter of these applicants and enrolled 64% of those accepted. Newly enrolled students represented 16% of all enrollments. For the most part, enrollees were attending full time (86%). The programs awarded 187 doctorates in 2007-2008 with a median of 4. The 1st quartile was at 3 and the 3rd was 6. The programs projected 297 openings for 2009-2010 which is 44 more than the number newly enrolled in 2008-2009. The National Science Foundation (NSF) reports counts of PhDs awarded each year by discipline and subfield noting at least 100 additional school psychology degrees granted in the field of education (NSF, 2009).

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded – U.S. APA-Accredited PhD Programs by Type of Institution – Private/Public

This section addresses pipeline information provided by APA-accredited PhD programs in Clinical, Counseling and School Psychology in the U.S. By definition these were doctoral programs only. The data are located in Tables 12, 13, and 14.

Programs in public institutions were more numerous and were larger in size (applications, acceptances, enrollments, graduates) than was the case for programs in private settings. However, when we considered patterns among programs by subfield – there were some interesting variations.

Clinical Psychology programs in public settings did receive more applications overall, but programs in private settings reported a higher median number of applications (201 vs. 148 in public settings). The data revealed that programs in private settings received more applications per program than was the case in public settings.

Clinical Psychology programs in private settings accepted a greater proportion of the applications received than was the case for public settings (12% vs. 6%). Of those accepted, 69% were enrolled in programs in public institutions while 58% of acceptances were enrolled for those programs in private settings.

In both settings, newly enrolled students represented a similar proportion of all enrollees in clinical programs—16% for public settings and 17% for private institutions. Almost 98% of those in Clinical programs in public settings were full-time students while 95% of those in private settings were full time.

Clinical programs in private settings awarded 569 doctorates in 2007-2008 and those in public settings awarded 598. Programs in private settings reported a slightly higher median number of graduates than was the case for those in public settings (7 vs. 6), and the upper limits of the distribution for private settings was also higher. The number of graduates was almost 11 per program in private settings versus just under 6 per program in public settings.

Clinical programs in private institutions projected 646 openings for 2009-2010, while programs in public institutions reported 759. The median and the third quartiles were lower and the range was smaller in programs in public settings.

Forty-eight Counseling PhD programs in public settings reported receiving 3,761 applications in 2008-09 and accepting 11%. Of those who were accepted, 77% actually enrolled and the newly enrolled represented 17% of the total enrollment in Counseling PhD programs in public institutions. Most Counseling students were enrolled full time (89%). Two hundred and sixty-one doctorates were awarded in 2007-2008, with programs reporting a median of 5. The range was narrow with the 1st quartile at 4 and the 3rd at 7 for new doctorate degrees. Projected openings in 2009-10 were 319, just one less student than were newly enrolled in 2008-2009.

Counseling PhD programs in private settings (11) reported receiving 1,422 applications in 2008-2009 and accepting 5%. Ninety-two percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled and the newly enrolled represented 16% of the total enrollment in Counseling PhD programs in private institutions. Just over three quarters (77%) of Counseling students were enrolled full time (77%). Sixty-eight doctorates were awarded in 2007-2008 by programs in private settings, with programs reporting a median of 6. The range had the 1st quartile at 4 and the 3rd at 7 new doctorate degrees. Projected openings in 2009-2010 were 71; this is only 2 more students than were newly enrolled in 2008-2009.

Thirty-four School Psychology programs in public settings reported receiving 1,312 applications in 2008-2009 and accepting 26%. Sixty-three percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled and the newly enrolled represented almost 17% of the total enrollment in School psychology PhD programs in public institutions. Most students were enrolled full time (89%). One hundred sixty School Psychology PhDs were awarded in 2007-2008 by psychology departments, with programs reporting a median of 4. The 1st quartile was at 3 and the 3rd was at 6 new doctorate degrees. Projected openings in 2009-2010 were 257; this is 38 more students than were newly enrolled in 2008-2009.

There were very few School Psychology PhD programs in private settings included in these data (7). They reported receiving 320 applications in 2008-2009 and accepting a little less than 16%. Sixty-eight percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled and the newly enrolled represented 13% of the total enrollment in School Psychology PhD programs in private institutions. Just under three fourths of students (73%) were enrolled full time. Twenty-seven doctorates were awarded in 2007-2008 by programs in private settings, with programs reporting a median of 3. The 1st quartile was at 2 and the 3rd at 6 for new doctorate degrees awarded. Projected openings in 2009-2010 were 40; this is 6 less students than were newly enrolled in 2008-2009.

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded –U.S. Clinical Doctorate Programs by Setting: Traditional/Professional

One hundred and thirty-four Clinical doctoral programs in traditional academic settings and 70 programs in professional school settings responded to this section. The data are found in table 16. Despite being fewer in number, programs in professional schools accepted, enrolled, and awarded degrees to more students than was the case for programs in traditional settings. On average, programs in professional schools enrolled 111 full-time students compared to an average of 38 for programs in traditional settings.

Programs in traditional settings received a higher median number of applications than did those in professional settings (149 vs. 120). Programs in traditional settings accepted 6% of the applications received. By comparison, programs in professional settings accepted 33%. New enrollees represented just under 17% of all enrolled students in programs in traditional settings. Among students in professional school settings, new enrollees constituted 20% of all students.

Eighty-eight percent of all students were enrolled full time in programs in professional settings. The same can be said for 97% of students in programs in traditional academic settings.

Eight hundred and fifty-seven doctorates were granted in 2007-2008 by 134 programs in traditional academic settings and 1,442 were awarded by 70 programs in professional school settings. That is, 34% of the 204 Clinical Psychology doctorate programs responding accounted for 63% of the doctorate degrees awarded in Clinical Psychology in 2007-2008.

About two thirds (67%) of the 3,064 openings projected for 2009-2010 were located in Clinical programs in professional schools.

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded -- U.S. Clinical Doctorate Programs by Setting and Type of Institution: Traditional/Professional and Public/Private

This section compares data from programs in traditional settings to those in professional school by type of institution (public or private) (table 16a). The initial distinction between types of settings is that the vast majority of traditional academic programs are in public settings (70%) while programs in professional school settings are predominantly private (87%).

Programs in private professional school settings accepted, enrolled and awarded the highest numbers in comparison to the other settings and types. They accepted 37% of the applications filed while programs in professional schools in public settings accepted 11%. In traditional academic settings, both public and private institutions accepted 6%, each.

Professional schools in private settings enrolled three-fifths of those accepted, whereas public settings enrolled three-quarters. For traditional programs, public institutions enrolled 70% of acceptances, and slightly less (66%) for private institutions. Newly enrolled were a larger proportion of total enrollments for programs in professional schools (20% each) in comparison to those in traditional academic settings (17% for public and private).

A large majority, 98% in public and 97% in private settings, of students were enrolled full time in programs in traditional academic settings. Slightly fewer (95%) were enrolled full time in public professional school programs, and programs in private professional school settings reported that 88% of students were enrolled full time.

On average, programs in traditional settings awarded 6 degrees apiece in 2007-2008. Those in private professional school settings awarded 19 on average, and those in public professional school settings awarded 11.

Projected openings followed similar trends. Just under two thirds (63%) of all openings projected by these programs for 2009-2010 were found in programs in private professional school settings, and they were 30% of all programs responding to this section. Programs in traditional academic settings and public institutions accounted for 47% of those responding and projected 23% of the total openings.

Applications, Acceptances, and Enrollments by Level and Area of Program

Table 17 examines the number of student applications, acceptances, and enrollments in U.S. psychology programs in 2008-2009 by level (master’s and doctoral) and area of program (subfield). Descriptive statistics were not reported in instances where less than 10 programs reported data for that program area. By area of program, health service provider subfields reported the largest proportion of applications, acceptances, and enrollments in doctoral programs. Specifically, health service provider subfields accounted for 68% of all doctoral program applications and 66% of all doctoral acceptances and 67% of enrollments. For master’s applications, health service provider subfields were similarly the largest proportion of master’s applications, acceptances, and enrollments: 68%, 69%, and 71% respectively. Notably, the proportion of master’s applications for Industrial/Organizational Psychology programs was 11% versus 5% for doctoral applications. These observations are consistent with data from previous years.

Acceptance and Enrollment Rates by Area of Program

Table 18 summarizes ratios of acceptances to applications and ratios of enrollments to acceptances for U.S. doctoral psychology programs in 2008-2009 by area of program. The median acceptance rate for doctoral programs in health service provider subfields was 13% and the median enrollment rate was 71%. Programs in research and other subfields showed median acceptance and enrollment rates of 17% and 67%, respectively. The smaller the acceptance rate the more difficult it is to get into a program, whether due to competition from large numbers of students or selectivity of the program.

Table 18a presents acceptance and enrollment rates for U.S. master’s psychology programs. Compared to doctoral psychology programs, enrollment and acceptance rates for master’s programs were substantially higher. Master’s-level programs in health service provider subfields reflected median acceptance and enrollment rates of 52% and 82%, respectively. Similar proportions were also reported for master’s programs in research and other subfields; a median acceptance rate of 50% and a median enrollment rate of 75%.

Applications, Acceptances and Enrollments, by Institution Type and Program Area

Table 19 examines applications, acceptances and enrollments by public or private institution and program area (subfield) for master’s- and doctoral-level programs combined. Inclusive of all subfields, there were 998 programs in public institutions and 550 in private institutions. Programs in private institutions accepted and enrolled more students in comparison to public institutions. The median numbers of applications for public and private institutions were 32 and 46, respectively. A median of 7 students were accepted, and 5 enrolled, by public programs. Private institutions reflected median acceptance of 13 students and enrollment of 9 students.

Health service provider subfields totaled 379 programs in public institutions and 314 in private institutions. Application numbers were approximately equal between public and private institutions for these subfields. However, there were more than twice as many acceptances at private institutions compared to public institutions. Enrollments at private institutions were similarly higher than those at public institutions.

Programs in research and other subfields totaled 618 programs in public institutions and 236 in private institutions. Applications for public institution programs were nearly twice that for private institution applications: 20,041 versus 10,537. However, the median number and range of applications for public institutions was lower in comparison to those values for private institutions. The average number of applications, acceptances, and enrollments was lower for public than private settings given the larger number of programs in public settings to absorb the students.

Acceptance and Enrollment Rates by Institution Type and Program Area

Table 20 presents acceptance and enrollment rates for U.S. graduate programs in 2008-2009 by institution type (public or private) and program area (subfield). Overall acceptance and enrollment rates were higher for private institutions compared to public institutions. The acceptance rate for public institutions was 24% and the enrollment rate was 15% for all subfields. For private institutions, the acceptance rate was 41% and the enrollment rate was 25%. Notably, substantial differences existed in the acceptance and enrollment rates for health service provider subfields. The acceptance rate of 47% for health service provider programs at private institutions was more than twice that for health service provider programs at public institutions (18%). The enrollment rate for health service provider programs at public institutions was higher than the enrollment rate at private institutions, 14% and 29%, respectively.

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