2010 Graduate Study in Psychology

Report Text

Introduction and Methodology:

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.

Tuition and financial assistance amounts reported by Canadian departments are provided in Canadian dollars.

The objective of Graduate Study in Psychology is to provide information about more than 450 graduate departments, programs, and schools of psychology in the United States and Canada that award a degree in psychology or related fields on the topics of student enrollment and support, departmental budget, faculty, enrollment and attrition rates, and requirements for admission. These data are available in a searchable online database. Students can locate information on specific departments using this tool.

Graduate Study in Psychology has been an ongoing effort for more than 20 years. Previous reports included demographic characteristics of faculty and first-year psychology graduate students, as well as application, acceptance, and enrollment characteristics of U.S. and Canadian graduate departments of psychology. The report also includes admission and graduation requirements, tuition information, and information on financial support available to U.S. and Canadian graduate students in psychology. More data from previous Graduate Study in Psychology efforts can be found online.

Specifically, this brief focuses on tuition costs for doctoral-level and master’s-level departments of psychology in the U.S. and Canada for the 2008-2009 academic year. For the Graduate Study in Psychology effort, residency within the U.S. is defined as students who have established residency in the state where the institution is located; within Canada, it is defined as students who have established residency in Canada.

Tuition for Doctoral Students in U.S. and Canadian Departments of Psychology by Institution Type and Residency

Annual and hourly tuition rates for doctoral students (both resident and nonresident) in both U.S. public and private institutions and Canadian departments of psychology are reported in Table 27. A total of 276 U.S. departments and 25 Canadian departments provided data on tuition. As might be expected, there are substantial differences between the tuition rates of departments in public and private settings for U.S. departments and between tuition required of residents and nonresidents in public U.S. and Canadian departments.

The median annual tuition for state residents in public doctoral departments was $7,104 in 2008-2009, which is an increase from tuition data reported in 2007-2008 ($6,819). Annual tuition rates for nonresidents were more than double this amount, at $16,966. In terms of hourly tuition this worked out to a median of $328 per credit hour for state residents in public settings in the U.S versus $728 per credit hour for non-residents in public university settings.

Canadian departments also reported differences by residency status. Those able to claim residency paid about half of what those without residency were charged ($5,249 vs. $10,800).

Compared to public institutions, private institutions were less apt to distinguish among students based on residency. Consequently, there was also no variation in terms of hourly tuition when comparing resident and nonresident rates. Median tuition paid by residents in public settings was approximately 1/4 of that paid by resident students in private settings. Median tuition paid by nonresidents in public settings was 63% of that paid by nonresidents in private settings. Across all schools participating in the 2010 Graduate Study, tuitions were higher in private settings.

Tuition for Master’s Students in U.S. and Canadian Departments of Psychology by Institution Type and Residency

Table 28 contains data on tuition rates for master’s students in U.S. and Canadian departments of psychology by type of institution, and student’s residency status. A total of 319 U.S. departments and 21 Canadian departments provided data on tuition at the master’s level. Similar to doctoral-level U.S. departments, there are substantial differences between the tuition rates of master’s departments in public and private settings and between tuition required of residents and nonresidents in public U.S. and Canadian master’s departments.

The median annual tuition for state residents in public master’s departments was $5,343 in 2008-2009, which is an increase from tuition data reported in 2007-2008 ($4,590). Annual tuition rates for nonresidents were almost three times this amount, at $13,088. In terms of hourly tuition this worked out to a median of $305 per credit hour for state residents in public settings in the U.S versus $538 per credit hour for non-residents in public university settings. Individuals enrolled in private state institutions paid three times the amount of annual tuition of students enrolled in public institutions ($5,343 vs. $15,336).

Canadian departments also reported differences by residency status. Those enrolled in Canadian departments who were able to claim residency paid less than half of what those without residency were charged ($4,664 vs. $11,148) (N’s of participating departments were 21 and 18, respectively).

Compared to public institutions, private institutions reported less (if any) distinction among students based on residency. Consequently, there was almost no variation in terms of hourly tuition when comparing resident and nonresident rates across departments in private institutions. Median tuition paid by residents in public settings was approximately 1/3 of that paid by resident students in private settings. However, median tuition paid by nonresidents in public settings was close to the cost of tuition paid by nonresidents in private settings ($13,088 vs. $15,336). In all cases the tuitions were higher in private settings.

Tuition for Doctoral Students in U.S. Institutions by Type of Department and Residency

Differences in annual and hourly tuition rates for doctoral students (both resident and nonresident) in U.S. institutions by type of department can be reviewed in the table below.

For residents, substantial differences can be seen among the median tuition rates in departments of psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology, human development, professional schools of psychology, school psychology, education, and other departments. Within these various types, the highest median annual tuition rates for resident U.S. doctoral students were for those in professional schools of psychology, at $22,535 for 2008-2009. The lowest tuition rates were almost ¼ of that amount, at a median tuition of $6,030 per annum for students in education departments. The median annual tuition rate for all U.S. department types was $9,000 (SD=$10,604) for 2008-2009.

For nonresident doctoral students the annual tuition range among the different department types was smaller. Again, those doctoral-level students within education departments who were considered nonresidents paid the lowest annual tuition, a median of $12,517. Students in “other” departments paid a median annual amount of $23,000 in nonresident tuition, while those in professional schools of psychology paid a nonresident median tuition of $22,860 per year.

Across most departments the differences in median annual tuition for resident and nonresident students were quite large. Overall, resident doctoral students paid a median annual tuition of $9,000, while nonresident students paid a median amount of $20,000. The largest difference was seen for students in school psychology departments, with residents paying approximately $11,000 less per year than their nonresident counterparts. Resident and nonresident students in professional schools of psychology had annual tuition costs of almost identical amounts ($22,535 vs. $22,860). Large differences between resident and nonresident median annual tuition rates were seen for all other department types. For all department types nonresident doctoral students had higher tuition per year than residents in the same department.

Summary

Overall there were substantial differences between the tuition rates of departments in public and private settings for U.S. departments, and between tuition required of residents and nonresidents in both public U.S. and Canadian departments. Compared to public institutions, private institutions reported less (if any) distinction between students based on residency.

Similar to doctoral-level U.S. departments, there were substantial differences between the tuition rates of master’s departments in public and private settings, and between tuition required of residents and nonresidents in public U.S. and Canadian master’s departments.

In all cases the tuitions were higher in private settings for both doctoral- and master’s-level students.

For residents, substantial differences can be seen among the tuition rates for departments of psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology, human development, professional schools of psychology, school psychology, education, and other. While for nonresident doctoral students, the differences among the annual tuition ranges across department types were smaller. When comparing resident and nonresident median annual tuition rates by department type, differences were quite large. For all department types, nonresident doctoral students had significantly higher tuition per year than resident students within the same department.

Discussion

In looking at tuition rates for doctoral programs in psychology within both public and private institutions over the past decade, it is not remarkable that increases have occurred every year.

In 2001 the median tuition rate for residents per year in public doctoral programs was $3,380 and in 2008 was $7,104, an increase of approximately 110% over the last 7 years. Understandably there has been less of an increase within doctoral programs in private institutions over the same period of time; however increases of over 50% are still present, with tuition rising from $17,590 in 2001 to $27,072 in 2008.

In addition to reviewing cost of tuition by institution type, one can also see differences in tuition cost for doctoral programs of psychology by type of doctorate awarded (PhD or PsyD). For 2008-2009 the median doctoral tuition for resident students in PhD programs per year was $8,068, while resident PsyD students had a median tuition cost of $21,900.

Not surprisingly, doctoral-level psychology students have also been reporting increasing average levels of education-related debt. In the table below it is important to note that the standard deviations have increased over time and means have become more skewed toward the high end of the ranges. Tuition costs and the increasing debt loads of new doctorates in psychology seem to be correlated. Data from a 2007 survey of early career psychologists (ECPs) revealed that of those who reported any debt, 70% named the cost of tuition as the highest contributor to their overall education-related debt levels (2007 APA Early Career Psychologists Survey).

Just as tuition costs vary by type of doctoral degree sought, education-related debt levels also differ by degree type. In 2007, over 30% of recent (1 to 2 years post-doctorate) PsyDs reported that upon receipt of their doctoral degrees they had debt levels of over $120,000. In contrast, less than 10% of the recent psychology PhD population had comparable debt levels upon receipt of their degree. Additionally, higher percentages of PsyDs with debt amounts at $60,000 or more can be found within all debt categories in the figure below (2007 APA Doctorate Employment Survey). More information on education-related debt of recent doctorates in psychology can be found in APA’s Doctorate Employment Surveys.

Tables