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For which doctoral program should I apply: the CScD (clinical doctorate) or PhD (research doctorate) ?

The main consideration for an applicant is whether they want to prepare for an advanced clinical career or a research career. Although there are people who complete a PhD and continue with clinical work, the philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh is that the research doctorate is preparing research leaders for the future. Graduates of the PhD program will typically be those hired into academic positions, most often research-oriented tenure track positions. A clinical doctorate program should be equally rigorous as a research doctorate, but focusing on clinical leaders. Graduates of the CScD program develop advanced skills for working with medically complex patients, as well as professional presentation, leadership, and clinical teaching skills. This program provides a foundation for moving into leadership positions in clinical settings (e.g. hospitals, specialty clinics, etc.) or university settings. CScD graduates may also contribute clinical research teams.

The clinical doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh requires coursework in statistics and research methods with a focus on critical evaluation and application of published evidence. This prepares the CScD graduate to expertly consume and apply published evidence and disseminate these methods to their students, supervisees, trainees, and the profession as a whole.  The research doctorate requires those courses and skills as well but students are immersed in advanced theoretical thinking and scientific endeavors. The PhD program prepares graduates to develop original, theoretically important research questions that may or may not have direct clinical implications, design rigorous research projects, analyze data and disseminate results. The program also prepares PhD graduates to lead research teams.

Clinical Doctorate (CScD)

Research Doctorate (PhD)

Careers as advanced clinical practitioners

Research careers

Clinical leaders

Research leaders

Critical evaluation and application of published evidence to solve clinical problems

Critical evaluation and application of published evidence to advance theoretical thinking and scientific research

Clinical specialist positions, didactic and clinical teaching

Academic positions, especially in programs focused on research

Contribute to clinical research teams

Execute independent and collaborative research and lead research teams: Develop original questions of theoretical importance, design rigorous projects, analyze and disseminate results

Contribute to the development of academic program guideline and accreditation standards

Contribute to the development of academic program guideline and accreditation standards