psychology dual

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northwood
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psychology dual

Postby northwood » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:52 pm

I have been debating this for quite some time and am welcoming other people's opinions ( even if its re-take, re apply, dont go, isolate yourself from distractions and make up your mind, etc)

I am thinking about the benefits of pursuing a dual degree wiht my jd in psychology. I want to be able to analyze why people act and do and how they rationalized their decision making process in courtroom setting. I am interested in family law, criminal law, and disability law, and am thinking more information about why people act and do will help me become a better lawyer and advocate for these people. I understand that I am looking at more schooling than just a J.D degree, but this is something that I have been thinking about for a while. Do you think this is a decent idea, or should I try to force myself to make the decision as to should i focus my attention on either being an attorney or a psychologist and just go down one of those roads and dont look back?

I might add that I have a tendency to second and thrid guess my decisions, and my rationalizations for them, and look at the final price tag with worry. I have done this with ppretty much every major life decision that I have had to make. I have done a lot of soul searching( and done some unpaid internships at a law firm) and know that I want to be a lawyer, and I am willing to embrace the life and work schedules that accompany the legal profession.

ran12
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Re: psychology dual

Postby ran12 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:57 pm

northwood wrote:I have been debating this for quite some time and am welcoming other people's opinions ( even if its re-take, re apply, dont go, isolate yourself from distractions and make up your mind, etc)

I am thinking about the benefits of pursuing a dual degree wiht my jd in psychology. I want to be able to analyze why people act and do and how they rationalized their decision making process in courtroom setting. I am interested in family law, criminal law, and disability law, and am thinking more information about why people act and do will help me become a better lawyer and advocate for these people. I understand that I am looking at more schooling than just a J.D degree, but this is something that I have been thinking about for a while. Do you think this is a decent idea, or should I try to force myself to make the decision as to should i focus my attention on either being an attorney or a psychologist and just go down one of those roads and dont look back?

I might add that I have a tendency to second and thrid guess my decisions, and my rationalizations for them, and look at the final price tag with worry. I have done this with ppretty much every major life decision that I have had to make. I have done a lot of soul searching( and done some unpaid internships at a law firm) and know that I want to be a lawyer, and I am willing to embrace the life and work schedules that accompany the legal profession.



I don't think a dual with psych is worth it considering the time and money that goes into it. As you get more experienced in law settings you'll be able to read people and situations better.

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AreJay711
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Re: psychology dual

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:58 pm

I thought about a dual degree but the thing is if you have a psych undergrad degree or can take a few psych classes as electives it might be better than the extra time for a second degree. The question I would ask is weather the extra credential is important or just some increased knowledge about psychology.

sidhesadie
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Re: psychology dual

Postby sidhesadie » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:19 pm

I don't think it's worth doing, in most cases.

That's not to say it might not be worth it to take additional psych classes (maybe even attend some seminars on the subject) but to do a dual degree? nah.

I'm in a Forensic Psych class right now (undergrad) and our prof (forensic psychologist w/30 yrs experience) said the same thing from the other side, it's of no use to get a dual grad degree, he's seen no additional success for people that do. If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer. If you want to be a psychologist, be a psychologist. Not to say, again, that taking classes in the other discipline isn't useful (likewise, legal process classes would be useful to a forensic psychologist) but the time and money of the dual degree doesn't pay out career wise.

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innernetp
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Re: psychology dual

Postby innernetp » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:54 pm

That's a good question. I'm a psych/east asian studies major.

It depends on what you really want to do with your dual degree. If you just want more expertise in a field within psych, then I would recommend a few courses in your area of interest. The world would be a better place if everyone took research methods, too.

Grad school for psychology is ridiculously cut throat both in terms of admissions as well as your day-to-day life. Typically grad students in psychology have ONE main research question that they want to dive into hardcore for five or so years, and have already been researching that in undergrad. Unless you already have a specific idea on how you want to relate psychology with the law I'd say that a dual degree would be cumbersome and unnecessary. Even if it is enjoyable, that's a minimum of a seven year commitment.

If you're interested in juror behavior, then I recommend taking research methods, cognitive psych, social cognition, and researching authors that Gladwell's been touching on in his books. After that you'll have the tools you need to do your own research.

(I don't mean this to come off as patronizing, especially if you're already a psych major...!)

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emhellmer
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Re: psychology dual

Postby emhellmer » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:01 pm

Some schools (I think University of Houston may be one of them) offer a JD/MSW degree. IMO, that may be useful than a psychology MA. I have a background in social work, and am also interested in family law, etc. Many of the programs that I have looked at emphasize a link with the university's school of social work. I don't know about what classes you take for an MSW vs. Psychology MA, but an MSW would certainly require training in counseling and practical psychology.

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masochist
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Re: psychology dual

Postby masochist » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:36 pm

First of all, I am a psychologist so my opinions in this thread are more informed than my opinions in other threads where I spout off at length based upon limited anecdotal evidence and supposition. :)

IMHO a clinical psych MA is not a very good idea for anyone right now. There is no national advocacy group for clin psych MAs so they are getting pushed out of license eligibility in a lot of states by CACREP and the social work lobbyists. CACREP counseling programs are usually unfunded, and they do not have a prominent research focus so they probably would not meet your needs. I could imagine that a social work program might help with family law, but it is not going to teach you to be better able to interpret test results (MSW don’t do this) or read people (this focus is more likely to be found in cognitive psych, social psych, or neuropsych).

This leaves doctoral programs. I don’t agree with the forensic psychology prof who stated that there is no advantage to having both a psych PhD and JD, but I would agree that there would be very little advantage to the dual credential if you wanted to have a typical law practice or a typical psychology career. Academic jobs, a couple of very specialized branches of healthcare law, government positions in mental health agencies, and maybe family law would value credentialing in both. I can’t imagine that anyone else would. It would be handy in trial work, but I don’t think it would make a huge difference in hiring.

Also, clin psych doctoral programs are scary hard to get into. Admissions is not as driven by numbers as it is in law (since nobody cares about USNWR rankings), but it is extremely competitive around research experience. In order to have a really good shot at admission to a funded PhD program you need a minimum of a 3.5 from a good school, 80th percentiles on the GRE, and two years of research experience from a good lab. Acceptance rates of 1% are typical, and it is a ton of work to even apply. It is no less a pain in the *&% than law school admissions, and there is a lesser chance of success. Every good LS applicant will get in somewhere. This is not true of clinical psych.

Unless you have a career goal that would definitely benefit from the dual degree, I’d recommend against it. PM me if you have other questions.

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johnnyutah
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Re: psychology dual

Postby johnnyutah » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:02 pm

I was hoping you were a bad speller and this thread was going to be about a duel between psychologists.




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