What is a Psychology Fellowship?

A postdoctoral (post-doc) fellowship in psychology is a short time period where a recent graduate engages in supervised training where they may gain the skills needed for their chosen career path. If you plan to pursue a career in licensed practice, many states require a supervised postdoc fellowship in that area. For careers in research settings, a post-doc can help establish ones independence. The concept of a post-doc specialty is a relatively new idea in the field. In years pressed it would have been unlike to find a psychologist in a post-doc program. As licensing laws have evolved and the nature of academics has changed, the postdoc is becoming a veritable “first stop” for many new psychologists. The post-doc experience allows scientists the opportunity to earn new investigative techniques and build a research program. Those working in the practical side can achieve the supervised hours needed for licensure.

How Do I Find A Post-Doc Fellowship in Psychology?

Finding a post-doc that suits your specific needs can prove much more informal than applying to grad school or getting an internship. Regardless of your area of practice, this process is more similar to job seeking than any graduate school application process. In the instance of clinical neuropsychology, there is a fellowship matching process, however for most other areas of psychology there is no set plan of action in finding a post-doc. Aspiring practitioners must consider how they will get their postdoctoral supervision when they apply for internships. Those in research tracks should begin vetting potential postdocs as they write their dissertation and no later than a year before they expect to complete graduate school.

Will a Post-Doc Help Me Log My Supervision Hours?

In order to become licensed, graduates must log a set number of supervised clinical hours after graduation, and the number and type vary by the state of practice. Depending on the state, you can complete your hours by joining a formal postdoc training program, working under an investigator’s clinical research grant or working on-the-job at a clinic or with a private practitioner. It is important to find a post-doc setting that allows you to do more than simply clock hours. It must be viewed as another valuable learning experience.

What Are The Two Major Kinds of Post-Doc Experiences?

The fist type of post-doc is the Research Postdocs. Those graduate who plan to seek a research position, securing a postdoctoral research or fellowship experience can be immensely helpful, and in some cases a solid requirement. This type of post-doc that includes a teaching appointment can help achieve competencies as a faculty member.

The second type of post-doc is the Practice Post-doc. This type is helpful to those seeking a license in practical psychology. Most jurisdictions mandate at least one year of supervised postdoctoral experience. These opportunities offer a chance to obtain highly specialized training, preparing many graduates to seek specialty credentialing.


American Psychological Association: The Skinny on the Postdoc