A qualitative methodology was adopted to explore the lived experiences of doctoral level students in applied psychology. A total of 15 students ranging in age from 24 to 43, who were at varying levels of their doctoral education, participated in individual semi-structured interviews exploring themes related to influences for the pursuit of graduate study, experiences in their program of study, and general reflections of the graduate school journey. All interviews were conducted from a constructivist-interpretivist model, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a phenomenological coding approach (Creswell, 2012; Moustakas, 1994). Emergent broad themes included antecedents leading to graduate study, current experience of doctoral education, and reflections on the doctoral experience. Implications for future research are discussed and recommendations for graduate programs based on findings are provided.


Lived Experiences, Doctoral Students, Psychology Students, Qualitative Research, Doctoral Study, Applied Psychology

Author Bio(s)

Jason S. Frydman is a registered drama therapist, licensed creative arts therapist (NY State), and a postdoctoral research fellow at Tulane University. His research interests include understanding the effectiveness of school-wide, trauma-informed interventions, implementing creative arts therapy programming in schools, and school climate. He is an adjunct instructor in psychology at Molloy College and Tulane. He holds a doctorate in School Psychology from Fordham University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: jfrydman@fordham.edu.

Linda Cheung is a nationally certified school psychologist in New York. She has always had a passion for working with children and decided to combine her interest in psychology. Linda earned her MA in general psychology at Hunter College, where she did research on mother-child interactions of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She also earned her MSEd. and Ph.D. with a focus on bilingual education. Linda has worked in a number of settings: hospitals, a day rehabilitation center, an outpatient clinic, and schools. Her research interests include working with culturally diverse populations, behavioral interventions, and learning differences. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: lcheung4@fordham.edu.

Joseph G. Ponterotto is Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Division of Psychological and Educational Services within the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York City. His primary research and teaching interests are in multicultural psychology, psychobiography, career counseling, and qualitative research methods. He maintains a small private psychotherapy practice in New York City. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ponterotto@fordham.edu.

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