General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Can you specialize in a field without having a teacher in that field ?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (17721points) September 17th, 2016

If I want to get a pH. D. In personality psychology do I have to find a professor in that same field speciality? My last question didn’t clarify that.

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9 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

You can, especially today with the world’s libraries available to you on the net, but our society has become increasingly dependent on certificates of course completion from reliable institutions of good reputation as a prerequisite to employment. Many companies and schools get sued these days due to the actions of incompetent and undisciplined “self-educated” charlatans and feel they need to protect themselves by insisting on impeccable documentation.

LostInParadise's avatar

Not necessarily. You can carry out independent research, perhaps involving various experiments, and publish a new result in the field. I am sure that if you did this, some university would be wiling to award you with a doctorate.

The chances of most people being able to do this at about zero, so the better plan would be to get an undergraduate degree and then apply to a PhD program. This is going to take a considerable amount of time, meaning that you would be fairly old by the time you are done.

zenvelo's avatar

You don’t need to have someone with that exact discipline, but you need an advisor from that department. For a doctorate you do independent research that is overseen by a professor to make sure the research is being performed correctly and within guidelines.

And, to get accepted into a PhD program, first you must demonstrate your ability by getting a bachelor degree, and in most cases a Masters.

You could look into some places like Wright Institute in Berkeley CA, they tend to focus on people earning a Psy.D, without a Mastrs.

You do need to earn at least a Batchelor degree. Doctorate programs are not open to shortcuts.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You baffle me. I’m sitting here wondering so many things about you and your take on the world. Have you mentioned this ambition to any of your doctors or therapists?

anniereborn's avatar

What is “personality psychology” ?

Haleth's avatar

It really depends on the field. There are a lot of free ways to learn about a subject that interests you. Websites like coursera have free online college classes, and you can find a lot more from the colleges themselves with a bit of googling around. You can also get library books and audit college classes. Depending on where you live, there might also be free lectures on different subjects. These will be listed in a local newspaper or on the activities board at the public library.

In an area like psychology, you will really need to have a degree to get a job. But if you have a lower income, you could qualify for a surprisingly high amount of financial aid. My suggestion would be to apply to a few colleges and talk to a counselor and the financial aid office.

There are a few subjects that you can still basically teach yourself and get a job. Off the top of my head, I know of two. I got my foot in the door with a part-time job at a wine shop and studied A LOT in my free time, mostly with library books. That led to my current job managing a wine store. From there, a lot of people go on to higher positions in the industry. One of my college dropped out and taught himself to write code while working at radio shack. He had a nighttime tech support job for a while and then got a great job with a government contractor.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t think you appreciate the enormity of what is required to acquire an advanced degree from a reputable establishment. Talk to a doctor or specialist you trust and respect about your goal.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you want to earn a PH.D. which anyone will recognize as valid, you first must complete the coursework required for a Bachelors degree followed by a Masters degree. You can’t just skip over that part and shortcut it.

But you can specialize in any subject which interests you and motivates you if you’re willing to put in the effort. It won’t get you a PH.D. but it depends what your goals are.

There are people who have PHDS in several different fields but they went through the criteria required for each at whichever institution granted each degree.

If you want to work in a field requiring a PH.D. (and its higher salary) there are no shortcuts.

If you want to delve deeper into a field which interests you for purpose of intellectual growth then go ahead. No teacher needed.

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