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How Long Does it Take to Get a PsyD in Organization Development

Alliant International University
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Published on: 12/07/2022
Last Updated: 12/14/2023
5 minute read

How Long Does it Take to Earn a PsyD in Organization Development?

After getting your bachelors degree and clinical training in psychology, do you want to pursue higher education? If you’re interested in organization development and plan to become a doctor of clinical psychology, you have two options: a PhD or a PsyD. While you’re likely familiar with the traditional PhD degree, you may not be as aware of the PsyD, an alternative to the PhD track that began in the 1970s.1 Because of its emphasis on providing services over conducting research, a PsyD generally takes less time to achieve than a PhD.

But exactly how long does it take to get a PsyD degree?

The answer of whether you should enroll in a PhD program or a PsyD program will depend on the path you take, but, on average, the total timeline is between 7 and 15 years. In this guide, we’ll break down each step of the process so that you know what to expect when pursuing a career in organizational development.

Step 1: Begin with a Bachelor’s Degree (3 to 6 Years)

So ready to become a PsyD student? Most PsyD degrees begin by applying for an undergraduate program at a college or university. Some of the majors you can take include general psychology, social psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, etc. A full-time bachelor’s degree traditionally takes four years, though you could complete it in three if you take courses during the summer. However, part-time students may take six or more years to graduate.

Ultimately, any undergraduate degree should qualify you for the next steps in earning your PsyD in organization development (OD). But some subjects may align more closely with your goals than others. The following majors could provide you with skills that are most relevant to organization development:

  • Business – Because most ODs end up working for large companies or nonprofits, an understanding of finances and business structure is invaluable.
  • Psychology – “PsyD” means Doctor of Psychology, so a clinical psychology degree may seem like an obvious choice. Any knowledge you pick up about human behavior and social interactions could help to prepare you for your future work and schooling.
  • Communications – Communications students often learn how to interpret and convey information clearly—important skills for any prospective PsyD student.

If you’d like, you can enter the workforce after graduating and pick up some valuable real-world experience. Otherwise, it’s time for the next level of education.

Step 2: Enroll in a Master’s Program (1 to 3 Years)

Snap a celebratory picture in your cap and gown, then head back to the library. The next move for many PsyD candidates is to apply to a master’s program that will take you 1-3 years.

Some programs—like the Master’s in Organizational Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University—require just one year of full-time study. In other cases, however, earning a graduate degree will take around two or more years, depending on whether you attend part- or full-time.

It’s worth noting that not all PsyD programs require a master’s degree. Some universities will allow you to take a joint master’s and PsyD program with only a bachelor’s degree. With that said, pursuing a master’s degree is never a bad idea, as you’ll learn essential skills and could have a better chance of getting into a doctorate program.

Step 3: Earn Your PsyD (3 to 6 Years)

If you’ve decided to complete your master’s program, you may then begin the final step: pursuing your Doctor of Psychology degree.

Because typical PsyD programs involve intensive study and internships, the average degree will take four to six years, with variations in length depending on your schedule. However, some specialized programs allow you to graduate sooner.

For example, the doctoral program in Organization Development at Alliant International University is a year-round program that can earn you a PsyD in just three years.

How to Prepare for a PsyD in Organization Development

Even before you start applying to programs, there are ways to improve your chances of acceptance and prepare yourself for the engaging world of organization development.

At any point in your academic journey, it’s wise to start fostering essential skills like:

  • Computer literacy
  • Conflict management
  • Creative problem solving
  • Data analysis
  • Effective reading
  • Professional written communication
  • Public speaking

By staying prepared, you may be able to cut down the time it takes to earn your PsyD—or at least reduce the number of hours you’ll spend on homework.

You Decide How Long Your PsyD Takes

As you can see, the answer to the question, “how long does it take to get a PsyD?” is up to you. If you plan on finishing school as quickly as possible to work in organizational development, you might be able to speed through all your programs in as little as seven years.

However, taking breaks can be a valuable part of your student journey. At a more typical pace, you can expect to earn your PsyD in organization development in eight to ten years.

With the better part of a decade in front of you, the best time to start your ideal professional psychology career is now. Alliant International University, offers a range of master’s, and doctoral programs—including a PsyD in Organization Development. Set yourself up for a successful future and apply today.


  1. Cherry, Kendra. “Psy.D. Doctorate Psychology Degree.” Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind, April 10, 2020. Accessed: December 30, 2021. 

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