No one knows better the joys and challenges of obtaining a dual degree than Geoffrey R. Marczyk, JD, PhD. The Widener University assistant professor not only has four degrees himself (besides his doctorates he has two master's degrees, one in organizational and one in counseling psychology), but he heads four of the six dual-degree programs at Widener's Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology (see main article, page 36). He also credits his degrees with giving him the know-how to create Widener's new Center for Leadership and Organizational Development, which applies psychological principles to helping businesses develop high-performing systems and leaders--one of the first such centers in the country.

Granted, it isn't easy to log in the time and effort such degrees require, Marczyk admits. When students complain about the workload, "my advice is, it's an excellent way to jumpstart your career," he says.

Other good reasons to obtain these credentials, according to Marczyk:

  • Expediency. Dual degrees are a quicker way to learn two areas than adding the second one later on. "If you complete two degrees separately, it can take longer because there's no crossover, no crediting in one program for work you've done in another," Marczyk notes. Relatedly, dual programs can give you a break from your psychology training, providing intellectual challenge and respite from a unitary way of looking at things.

  • Marketability. Given the proliferation of professional degrees and the limitations of managed care, "dual degrees make you much more competitive," Marczyk believes. "They allow you to do any number of things, either independently within each discipline or by combining the two in some synergistic way."

  • Innovation. Dual degrees foster graduates' ability to add new knowledge to a field. One example is Daniel Krauss, PhD, JD, '00, a University of Arizona psychology-law graduate who is conducting innovative research on juries' ability to interpret expert-witness testimony. In addition, Marczyk says, dual degrees allow graduates to develop novel practice areas, such as the one being fostered at his new leadership and organizational development center.

  • Versatility. Increasingly, successful students and professionals are recognizing the importance of being able to adapt their skills to new settings, says Marczyk. "One day they're conducting therapy, and the next day, they're engaged in a forensic evaluation or organizational consultation," he says. "Having this flexibility gives you the versatility to continually expand and refine your skills and to keep things fresh and interesting."

  • Social impact. Many psychologists harbor a strong social conscience, Marczyk notes, and dual training can fan this flame. It allows graduates to get involved at a larger level and to help more people than they would be able to otherwise, he believes: Examples include dual-degree people who craft public policy and nurture healthier business climates.