Doctoral Psychology Dual Degree Programs

Aug 08, 2019

Students who have specific goals in the field of psychology, including public advocacy or research and teaching, might consider pursuing a PhD in psychology in conjunction with a second graduate degree.

Earning a dual degree in psychology and another area can help students to develop clinical, research, and practical skills in two disciplines. Read on to learn more about some dual degree programs that can enhance a PhD in Psychology, as well as admission requirements.

Common PhD in Psychology Dual Degree Programs

Choosing a dual degree program can save students time and money by allowing some electives to count towards each degree. Major requirements, such as clinical experiences and completing a PhD dissertation, will remain in place.


One popular dual degree program is the PhD in psychology along with the MPH (Master of Public Health). This degree might be appealing for students who wish to promote health, plan community-wide preventative programs, and advocate for mental and behavioral health in a public setting. This dual degree program may take approximately five years to complete. Courses might include behavioral sciences in public health or developing public health interventions. Students may be required to complete a public health internship.


The PhD in Psychology/JD (Juris Doctor) is another frequent dual degree option. This program of study could benefit students who aim to develop mental health policy, work in forensic psychology in the criminal law system, deal with mental incapacity, or conduct research at the intersection of these fields. The program will take approximately six to seven years to complete, and courses may include social science and the law, juvenile justice, and health law. Students will be encouraged to assist in faculty research where these disciplines link up, and to take part in clinics and practicums which connect the two programs.


Another degree aimed to help students integrate their psychology coursework with the ability to advocate for social change is the PhD/MPP (Master of Public Policy) dual degree program. Students may be able to complete this program in five years of study. Courses might include human development or family policy.


An option for those who know they wish to research and teach in a particular area of psychology could be to earn the PhD in psychology along with a PhD in a second cognate area, such as philosophy or language science. Students enrolling in these types of programs will be able to apply the research methodologies of each subject to questions at the intersection of the degrees. A dissertation can be developed that may integrate the topics of both PhD disciplines.


Students seeking a dual degree will be required to earn admission to each program separately. To apply for a PhD in psychology program, applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with substantial coursework in psychology, as well as some courses in the life sciences and statistics. They should expect to provide undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal statement. A psychology subject test for the GRE and a writing sample may also be required. Application requirements for the dual degree will vary quite a bit by the program sought.

Psychology dual degrees are an option for those who want to develop significant skills in a discipline related to psychology. Students should plan to apply separately to each program.

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