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I do not have any research experience. Should I work at a lab (either business setting or university) for few years before applying for Ph.D in Psych?

Asked 6 months ago by Guest (120 points)

Hello. My undergrad was psychology and social behavior major and have master in Social Work. I work as a MSW social worker (doing counseling and case management for about 4 years), but what I realize is that I do have stronger passion in psychology and want to study more about it. However, I do not have any research experience to apply for Ph.D. Is it wise to build some research experience before I apply to Ph.D programs, even though the position is research assistance or the research is irrelevant to psychology? Or should I just go for Ph.D programs without those experience? I would appreciate if you psychology experts answer my question and save me from endless thoughts.

// Answers //

Answered 6 months ago by mark-ER (6700 points)

From what I know within my current and prior academic settings (& I waited 1 week for someone more knowledgable to reply), you do NOT absolutely need to have prior research experience.  Yes, it helps but it is not a prerequisite.  More to the point, it is important to show commitment to the field - research is one way to do so, another strong way is to do counseling as a MSW for several years, as you have.  Depending who is interviewing you, it may be important to show interest in what they are working on and desire to be involved in some academic capacity.  Again, may be program-dependent.  Good luck.

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