By Geetali Chitre, Summer 2012
There are many different paths we can take during our time at Alliant. One fork in the road is deciding whether or not to go moderated. Moderated students take eight to eleven and a half units per term and about twenty per year. For a PsyD student, this typically means the first two years will be spread out over three, which results in completing the program in five years. In contrast, the other option is to take roughly 30 units a year to finish in four years. It is suggested that students make this decision at the start of the program or by the end of their first year.
PsyD students Rexford Bloxsom-Carter and Gregory Desierto both spoke in glowing terms about their experience going moderated. Rexford made the decision partly due to the fact that he was waitlisted for several core classes at the start of his second year. As he reflected on the highlights of his experience, Rexford cited having more time to hone his clinical skills—he is in his second practicum placement and plans to do a supplemental next year—as well as having more time to devote to professional development. He has been a member of the SF Student Government Association for the past two years, as well as the student representative of the Association of Family Therapists of Northern California. Gregory's musings on going moderated revealed that it allowed him greater focus on his classes as well as time to think critically about his dissertation. He explained that his decision to go moderated occurred after respected members of the faculty and staff advised him to consider the option. Gregory pointed out, "on average, students finish their doctorate degrees in 5.6 years." But the perception of moderated students as being unable to handle the workload paired with falling behind your cohort can be strong deterrents. Additionally, there is the increased financial burden of paying for extra years.
Is going moderated for you? Both Rexford and Gregory emphasized that it is a
personal decision, but factors to consider include your financial situation as well as your
plans for personal and professional growth. If you are considering the moderated path
through graduate school, talk with your advisor, ask students who have gone through the
moderated and non-moderated tracks, and contemplate what you want your graduate
experience to be.