2011 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: 2009-2010

Jessica Kohout & Marlene Wicherski
APA Center for Workforce Studies 
October 2010

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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 in Graduate Study in Psychology 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.  The data in this particular report however are at the program level.

Applications, Acceptances, Enrollments, and Degrees Awarded — Doctoral and Master's Programs

Twelve hundred and eighty-six doctoral programs in the United States reported a total of 89,158 applications for 2009-2010. See Table 11. The median number of applications per program was 40, and the first and third quartiles were 19 and 87.  There were 469 private doctoral programs and 817 public doctoral programs responding. A third of the doctoral programs (private) accounted for 48% of the applications. The median number of applicants for programs in private settings was higher than for programs in public settings, as were the first and third quartiles.

Just over one in five applicants (20,269) were accepted by doctoral programs. However, the acceptance rate for private programs (32%) was twice that of public programs (14%). Programs in private settings accepted twice as many applicants, and had higher medians and larger quartile ranges than those in public settings.

New enrollments for 2009-2010 totaled13,034, of which 86% were enrolled full time. Newly enrolled full-time students, newly enrolled part-time students, degrees awarded, and openings anticipated all were higher in private than in public doctoral programs; this despite the higher number of doctoral programs in public settings.

Two hundred and seventy-eight master's programs in the U.S. reported 10,952 applications overall for 2009-2010. The median number per program was 30 and the 1st and 3rd quartiles were 15 and 51. There were 95 master's programs in private settings and 183 in public settings.

The acceptance rate for U.S. master's programs was higher than for doctoral programs. Forty-eight percent, totaling 5,287 students, were? accepted by master's programs in the U.S.  Master's programs in public institutions accepted 2,982 (43%) students, while 2,305 (58%) 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 2009-2010. Programs in public settings at the master's level had larger numbers of newly enrolled students, full-time students, degrees awarded and openings projected. 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 2009-2010.

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 sixty-seven U.S. APA-accredited PhD programs received 35,940 applications in 2009-10 (Table 12), and 63 U.S. APA-accredited PsyD programs reported a total of 10,476 (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 (93%) 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 (47 vs. 8). The acceptance rate for applicants to Clinical programs was just under 32% among PsyD programs and 7% among PhD programs.

The ratio of newly enrolled students to total applications was 18% 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 64% among PhD programs and 58% 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 16% of total enrollments in Clinical PhD programs and 20% in Clinical PsyD programs. Students were only slightly more apt to be enrolled full time in PhD than in PsyD programs (96% vs. 90%, respectively).

Clinical PsyD programs awarded more doctorates in 2008-2009 than did PhD programs (1,350 vs.1,222 total and for medians, 19 vs. 6), and PsyD programs anticipated more openings in 2010-2011 than did PhD programs. The totals, medians and quartiles provided for PsyD programs all were higher.

Sixty-one Counseling psychology PhD programs reported receiving 5,536 applications in 2009-2010 and accepting just under 9%. Eighty percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled, and the newly enrolled represented 16% of the total enrollment in Counseling PhD programs.  Most Counseling students were enrolled full time (89%). There were 342 doctorates awarded in 2008-2009, 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 405 openings in 2009-2010, just 26 more students than were newly enrolled in 2009-2010.

Forty-three School psychology PhD programs responded to Graduate Study in 2009-2010 and reported 1,620 applications.  They accepted just over a quarter of these applicants and enrolled 64% of those accepted. Newly enrolled students represented 17% of all enrollments. For the most part, enrollees were attending full time (87%).  The programs awarded 204 doctorates in 2008-2009 with a median of 4. The 1st quartile was at 3 and the 3rd was at 7.  The programs projected 364 openings for 2010-2011 which is 90 more than the number newly enrolled in 2009-2010. 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 (202 vs. 154 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 (11% vs. 5%). Of those accepted, 71% were enrolled in programs in public institutions while 59% of acceptances were enrolled in programs in private settings. Programs in public settings are enrolling a larger proportion of accepted students than is the case for programs in private settings.

In both settings, newly enrolled students represented a similar proportion of all enrollees in clinical programs-16% for both public and private settings. Almost 98% of those in Clinical programs in public settings were full-time students while 93% of those in private settings were full time.

Clinical programs in private settings awarded 625 doctorates in 2008-2009 and those in public settings awarded 597.  Programs in private settings reported a higher median number of graduates than was the case for those in public settings (9 vs. 5), and the 1st and 3rd quartiles were also higher for private settings. The number of graduates was just under 12 per program in private settings versus just under 6 per program in public settings.

Clinical programs in private institutions projected 660 openings for 2010-2011, while programs in public institutions reported 700. The third quartile was lower and the range was smaller in programs in public settings.

Forty-nine Counseling PhD programs in public settings reported receiving 3,972 applications in 2009-2010 and accepting 10%. Of those who were accepted, 71% actually enrolled and the newly enrolled represented 16% of the total enrollment in Counseling PhD programs in public institutions.  Most Counseling students were enrolled full time (90%). Two hundred and sixty-nine doctorates were awarded in 2008-2009, 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 2010-2011 were  for 327 students just 16 more students than were newly enrolled in 2009-2010.

Counseling PhD programs in private settings (12) reported receiving 1,564 applications in 2009-2010 and accepting just under 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.  Almost 85% of Counseling students in private settings were enrolled full time. Seventy-three doctorates were awarded in 2008-2009 by programs in private settings, with programs reporting a median of 5. The range had the 1st quartile at 4 and the 3rd at 7 new doctorate degrees. Projected openings in 2010-2011 were 78; this is 10 more students than were newly enrolled in 2009-2010.

Thirty-seven School psychology programs in public settings reported receiving 1,327 applications in 2009-2010 and accepting 27%. Sixty-six 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 seventy-four School psychology PhDs were awarded in 2008-2009 by psychology departments, with programs reporting a median of 4. The 1st quartile was at 3 and the 3rd was at 7 new doctorate degrees. Projected openings in 2010-2011 were 323; this is 85 more students than were newly enrolled in 2009-2010.

There were very few School psychology PhD programs in private settings included in these data (6).  They reported receiving 293 applications in 2009-2009 and accepting a little less than one fourth. Fifty-one percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled and the newly enrolled represented 15% of the total enrollment in School psychology PhD programs in private institutions.  Almost 79% of students were enrolled full time. Thirty doctorates were awarded in 2008-2009 by programs in private settings, with programs reporting a median of 5. The 1st quartile was at 3 and the 3rd at 8 for new doctorate degrees awarded. Projected openings for 2010-2011 were 41; this is 5 more students than were newly enrolled in 2009-2010. 

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

One hundred and forty-two Clinical doctoral programs in traditional academic settings and 77 programs in professional school settings responded to this section. The data are found in table 16.  Despite being fewer in number, and receiving less than half the applications received by programs in traditional academic settings, 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 134 full-time students compared to an average of 24 for programs in traditional settings.

Programs in traditional settings received a higher median number of applications than did those in professional settings (157 vs. 125).  Programs in traditional settings accepted just under 6% of the applications received.   By comparison, programs in professional settings accepted 34%.  New enrollees represented 16% of all enrolled students in programs in traditional settings.  Among students in professional school settings, new enrollees constituted 19% 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. 

Nine hundred and nineteen doctorates were granted in 2009-2010 by 142 programs in traditional academic settings and 1,574 were awarded by 77 programs in professional school settings.  That is, 35% of the 219 Clinical psychology doctorate programs responding accounted for 63% of the doctorate degrees awarded in Clinical psychology in 2007-2008.

Just over two thirds (69%) of the 3,252 openings projected for 2010-2011 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 Clinical programs in traditional settings to those in professional schools 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 (73%) while programs in professional school settings are predominantly private (87%).

Clinical programs in private professional school settings accepted, enrolled and awarded the highest numbers in comparison to the other settings and types.  They accepted 38% of the applications filed while programs in professional schools in public settings accepted 10%. In traditional academic settings, both public and private institutions accepted between 5% and 6%, each.

Professional schools in private settings enrolled 58% of those accepted, whereas those in public settings enrolled 67%. For traditional programs, public institutions enrolled 70% of acceptances, and 69% for private institutions. Newly enrolled were a slightly larger proportion of total enrollments for programs in professional schools (18% for professional schools in public settings and 20% for professional schools in private settings) in comparison to those in traditional academic settings (16% for public and 15% for private).

A large majority, 98% in public and 96% in private settings, of students were enrolled full time in programs in traditional academic settings. The same is true of programs in public and private settings in professional schools (96% and 90% full time, respectively).

Clinical programs in traditional settings awarded a median 6 degrees in public settings and 7 degrees in private in 2008-2009. Those in private professional school settings awarded a median of 25, and those in public professional school settings awarded 9.

Projected openings followed similar trends. Just under two thirds (65%) of all openings projected by these programs for 2010-2011 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 22% of the total openings.

Applications, Acceptances, and Enrollments by Level and Subfield

Table 17 examines the number of student applications, acceptances, and enrollments in U.S. psychology programs in 2009-2010 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 a subfield.

Health service provider subfields reported the largest proportion of applications, acceptances, and enrollments in doctoral programs. Specifically, health service provider subfields accounted for 69% of all doctoral program applications and 70% of all doctoral acceptances and 69% of enrollments. The top four fields at the doctoral level in terms of numbers enrolled were Clinical, Counseling, General and I/O.

Health service provider subfields were similarly the largest proportion of master's applications, acceptances, and enrollments: 67%, 69%, and 71% respectively.   The top four fields at the master's level in terms of numbers enrolled were Counseling, Clinical, Forensics and I/O.

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 2009-2010 by area of program. The median acceptance rate for doctoral programs in health service provider subfields was 13% and the median enrollment rate was 74%. Programs in research and other subfields showed median acceptance and enrollment rates of 15% 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, acceptance rates for master's programs were substantially higher, while enrollment rates were somewhat higher. The master's-level programs in health service provider subfields reflected median acceptance and enrollment rates of 51% and 79%, respectively.  Similar proportions were also reported for master's programs in research and other subfields; a median acceptance rate of 49% 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 1,000 programs in public institutions and 564 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 33 and 48, respectively.  A median of 7 students were accepted, and 5 enrolled, by public programs.  Private institutions accepted a median of 13 students and median enrollment of 9 students.

Health service provider subfields totaled 406 programs in public institutions and 340 in private institutions. Although application numbers were approximately equal between public and private institutions for these subfields, 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 594 programs in public institutions and 224 in private institutions. Applications for public institution programs were substantially higher than for private institutions: 19,588 vs. 11,278. However, the median number and range of applications for public institutions was lower in comparison to those values for private institutions. On average the programs in public settings saw almost 33 applications each compared to the 51 averaged across programs in private settings. 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 2009-2010 by institution type (public or private) and program area (subfield).  Overall acceptance rates were higher for private institutions compared to public institutions.  The acceptance rate for public institutions was 22% and the enrollment rate was 75% for all subfields.  For private institutions, the acceptance rate was 42% and the enrollment rate was 69%. 

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 (17%). The enrollment rate for health service provider programs at public institutions was higher than the enrollment rate at private institutions, 82% and 69%, respectively.  

References

National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. 2009. Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2007-08. Special Report NSF 10-309. Arlington, VA. Available at http://nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10309.

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