Tag Archives: funding

Gone Fishing: Making Sense of Your Options for Graduate Study

If you’re fishing for a graduate program in psychology, the sea is plentiful. But how do you know which one you want?

At times, it is not clear how programs differentiate themselves from each other. Many applicants are not provided the tools to evaluate programs based on data that is available. Applicants might not know what makes one program a great fit for their professional goals, and another a not-so-great one.

APAGS understands that the choice to go to graduate school in psychology is very significant. We’re trying to take the guesswork out of helping you find your own ideal, high quality training. We’ve blogged about it before and presented about it locally and at regional psychological conferences. (In 2015, we’ll be presenting at EPA in March and RMPA in April.) Now we’re upping our game and making it even easier for you to get on-demand access to our best resources and professional perspectives on the graduate school selection process!

Recorded in November 2014 with the support of Psi Chi and our colleagues in the Education Directorate, the following APA webinar workshop helps you navigate the process of applying to graduate school in psychology as an informed consumer. You will learn (1) the similarities and differences between various degrees and psychology subfields; (2) how to evaluate schools based on several objective and subjective criteria; and (3) how to potentially afford and repay the cost of your graduate education in psychology. Questions and answers follow the formal presentation.

You can also view just the slides (PDF, 2MB) of this workshop, or slides and workshop transcript together (PDF, 1MB). For more resources on applying to, affording, and eventually repaying your graduate education in psychology — including some of the worksheets referenced in the recording —  please visit our APAGS resource page.

Happy fishing!

 

Funding Opportunity for Grad Students! Basic Psychological Science Research Grant

Are you conducting psychological science research and need additional funding for your study?  The APAGS Basic Psychological Science Research Grant provides financial support for direct costs associated with psychological science research studies conducted by graduate students.

Graduate students in the following science-oriented fields are encouraged to apply:

  • Cognitive,
  • Cognitive Neuroscience,
  • Computational, Developmental,
  • Experimental or Comparative,
  • Industrial/Organizational,
  • Neuropsychology,
  • Neuroscience,
  • Perception and Psychophysics,
  • Personality and Individual Differences,
  • Psycholinguistics,
  • Physiological,
  • Quantitative,
  • Social, and
  • Clinical Science

Students in fields with a practice component are eligible, but they must focus solely on their scientific research in their application materials.

In addition, there is new funding for the grant specifically designated for those conducting diversity-related research.  APAGS is offering up to 3 awards for $1,000 to fund diversity-related research project if you apply for a Basic Psychological Science Grant.  APAGS defines diversity according to APA’s Multicultural Guidelines (2002): Diversity “refer[s] to individuals’ social identities including age, sexual orientation, [gender and gender identity], physical disability, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, workplace role/position, religious and spiritual orientation, and work/family concerns.”

Eligibility caveats:

  • Undergraduates are not eligible to apply for these grants/awards, nor are current or former APAGS Committee members, subcommittee chairs and task force chairs.
  • Former APAGS subcommittee members or ad hoc reviewers who have previously reviewed this grant are not eligible.
  • Previous recipients of each grant/award are not eligible to apply again for a period of five years.

Read more and apply online by December 3!  For specific questions, contact APAGS or Alexa Lopez!

Stipends vs CPI

Fun with data: Internship Stipends, cost of living, and practicum hours

Many graduate students in clinical, counseling and school psychology programs are preparing applications to internship positions across the country this fall. The internship component has been a requirement to earn a doctoral degree in these programs for decades. And every year the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation (CoA) collects data on students in accredited doctoral and internship programs.

Let’s have some fun with those data!

The first chart shows the mean and standard deviation of stipends from APA accredited internships from 1998 to 2012. Click the chart to magnify it:

Intern Stipends

Since 1998, the mean stipend for clinical, counseling, and school psychology interns has increased steadily. In fact, the stipends one standard deviation below the mean have increased by almost $5,000. (Source.)

While internship stipends have generally been increasing, do they cover the cost of living? My second chart presents the percent change in the median internship stipend and the percent change in the consumer price index (CPI) from year to year:

Stipends vs CPI

As you can see, the percent change in median stipend amount is greater than the percent change in CPI for some years but not others. It seems that although many stipends cover the cost of living, the percent change in stipend amounts is not always in pace with this marker of inflation (source). The good news? The 1998 mean intern stipend, adjusted for inflation, still beats the amount one would expect to earn in adjusted dollars for 2012 by nearly $1,500.

The percent change in stipend amounts is not always in pace with this marker of inflation.

Beyond stipends, I decided to look at the trends in practicum hours reported by internship applicants. In particular, I wondered if the internship crisis was leading to greater accumulation of hours by students who desire to appear more competitive. This third chart shows practicum hours of applicants from 2006 to 2012, broken into supervision and assessment/intervention categories:

Practicum Hours

It appears that the trends in supervision and in assessment/intervention hours are similar between the APA mean (blue) and APPIC median (red) hours. If we look at the most recent data, it appears that median hours are increasing over time. Students applied to internships with 18% more intervention/assessment hours in the eight years between 2006 and 2013.

It appears that median hours are increasing over time.

(Sources: Mean practicum hours are reported by APA, though public release of data in this area ceased in 2010. Median hours are reported by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers, or APPIC. It is important to note that APA accredits some doctoral and internship programs, almost all of which send students through the APPIC national match. APPIC data report students from accredited and unaccredited doctoral programs vying for accredited and unaccredited internships.)

Any thoughts on the data I presented? Are you surprised by the trends? Do any possible interpretations come to mind? I welcome you to comment on this post!

APAGS on the Road! California: 9/20 and 9/21

APAGS is coming to California in one week to offer a half-day workshop for students and recent psychology graduates.

In sponsorship with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and The Trust,  we will present sessions to help students and recent grads grapple topics such as:

  • Building a private practice — identifying different types of private practice, discerning what types of practice you might envision for yourself and developing a plan to start that practice.
  • Loan forgiveness — brief overviews of the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and NIH Loan Repayment Program.
  • Psychological services in the digital age — applying key ethical principles to evaluate risks, benefits and appropriateness of using electronic communication and social media in professional practice.
  • Preparing for the EPPP — best practices for studying for the licensure exam.

Advance registration is $15 before Sept. 15, 2014. On-site registration is available for $20. Follow these links to register:

See you in California!

#StopSkippingClass! The need for social class stories in psychology education

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” yet inequality is at an all-time high in the United States.

Within the field of psychology we continue to perpetuate middle class ideology in terms of clinical practice normed for middle class people, research subject selection, and theory development. Socioeconomic status (SES) as an area of cultural competency lags behind other multicultural areas. The SES literature currently does not even have congruent language for describing SES. Terms such as social economic status, cultural capital, tax bracket, and social prestige–along with others–are used interchangeably to describe and measure a spectrum of social class variables.

Within psychology, we continue to perpetuate middle class ideology.

Empirical issues aside, psychology has many social class issues within its training process. Graduate students have now lost access to their Subsidized Stafford Loans, which pragmatically translates to an $8,500 pay cut for graduate students across the country (prior to 2011, this was the amount allotted to all graduate students for a subsidized loan). Students previously had access to both subsidized and unsubsidized loans and could take out both or either in order to pay for school. Students are now only left with the unsubsidized option, which begins accruing interest the second the loan is taken out.

Students pursuing clinical, counseling, or school psychology continue to take on years of unpaid or underpaid internships and practica while attending school full time. In an era of an internship crisis, the application process has become outrageously expensive with some students spending thousands of dollars between interviewing and relocating. It is reasonable to conclude that those that can afford it are able to apply to more sites, visit more sites, and have in-person interviews, which may be substantively different than ones conducted virtually.

If this was not enough to squeeze psychology grad students, APPIC increased the cost of applying to internship sites this year, a 228% increase for clinical, counseling, or school psychology students applying to 15 potential sites. If you apply to 15 sites ($400) and obtain a match number ($110), you will have spent $510, which does not include travel or other fees. Similar to when affirmative action was struck down in my home state of Michigan, I worry that these financial barriers will continue to exclude individuals from low-income backgrounds from becoming psychologists.

The biggest issue for me as a member of the APA Committee on Socioeconomic Status and former APAGS Regional Advocacy Coordinator is the perpetual silence on this issue from students. The Budget Control Act of 2011 passed with little more than a peep from graduate students across the country.

The biggest issue for is the perpetual silence on this issue from students.

This blog post is an effort to break the silence. As the future of psychology, students need to begin openly discussing social class issues. If you feel strongly, please begin a dialogue about:

  1. Your own social class story/financial difficulties in graduate school.
  2. Clinical stories of how your work is impacted by social class variables.
  3. Discussions of how to incorporate social class into your research.

You can do this by responding to this post, submitting your own story to this blog, or tweeting using the hashtag #StopSkippingClass.

Kipp Pietrantonio
Kipp Pietrantonio

Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Kipp Pietrantonio, Ph.D. Please visit the Committee on Socioeconomic Status to learn more about efforts at APA to raise awareness of SES.