Data Brief: Psychology PhD and PsyD Degrees in Health Service Provider (HSP) Fields: 1987-2008

CWS began counting and tracking PsyDs degrees in the late 1970s. In 1978-79, the first year for which we have any data, CWS counted 62 PsyD degrees. Forty eight were in clinical, 14 were in school and other HSP fields. That same year the National Research Council reported 1,509 Psychology PhDs in the HSP subfields, 1,069 were in clinical, 315 in counseling and 125 in school. HSP PsyDs were just under 4 percent of all HSP doctorates (PhDs and PsyDs) granted in psychology that year.

By 1986-87, the picture had changed markedly and PsyDs degrees for that year totaled 384. HSP PhDs were counted at 1,799 of whom almost 68 percent were Clinical PhDs (NRC, 1989). Clinical Psychology graduates accounted for 87 percent of the PsyDs awarded. PsyDs represented approximately 15 percent of the HSP doctorates (PhDs and PsyDs) granted in Psychology in 1986-87.

Most recently, in 2007-2008, data indicated that 1,721 PsyDs were awarded. As usual, most (1,408 or 82 percent) were awarded in clinical psychology. Data from Graduate Study in Psychology revealed that there were 2,100 HSP PhDs awarded in psychology in 2007-2008. Fifty-nine percent or 1,237 of these were clinical PhDs. Overall, PsyDs represented 45 percent of the HSP degrees awarded in psychology in 2007-2008 and 53 percent of the clinical doctorates awarded.

The numbers and percentages of PhDs and PsyDs awarded in psychology by professional schools of psychology also have changed. Over two decades ago, 22 percent of PhDs awarded in clinical psychology were from professional schools of psychology. In 2007-2008 that percentage had dropped to 18 percent.

The number of PsyDs awarded in clinical psychology has increased since 1987 from 327 to 1,408 in 2007-08, over a 300 percent increase. Professional schools now account for a greater proportion of all Clinical doctorates (PsyD and PhD) than was the case in 1987 (55 percent vs. 37 percent, respectively). The proportion of all PhDs awarded by professional schools has not changed measurably since 1987. It was 8.7 percent in 1987 and 8.3 percent in 2008. Clearly, the growth in clinical doctorates in professional schools has been in the PsyD degree.

In 1987, 17 percent of all psychology doctorates were awarded by professional schools. In 2008 this was at 31 percent, highlighting the increased role of professional schools in graduate education in psychology.