Online Ph.D. in Psychology degree programs are becoming increasingly common due to the growing number of professionals wanting to return to school without disrupting their career and life obligations. Finding an accredited, quality program can be tricky, particularly if you wish to pursue licensure that leads to a licensed counselor designation. We recognize the importance of selecting a reputable doctoral degree and created this list of the top 35 most affordable online Ph.D. in Psychology programs for 2019.
Affordability is typically one of the most important considerations for many prospective students, which is why we have compiled a selection of the 35 most affordable online doctoral programs in psychology. We conducted a search for the term “Ph.D./Psy.D. in Psychology degree online” using the College Navigator database at the Center for Education Statistics. We narrowed down the initial pool of 40 postsecondary students before finding the 35 most affordable based on in-state graduate tuition for the entire length of the program.
Ranking Low-Cost Online Ph.D. in Psychology Programs
35. Fielding Graduate University
Santa Barbara, California
Online Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Tuition: $115,100 (information provided by the University)
Fielding Graduate University offers an online Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology degree that echoes FGU’s mission statement: to create a more sustainable, just, and humane world. Students can complete the program in five or six years, and the curriculum is provided in a hybrid format consisting of a combination of virtual, in-person, and online activities and classes. Students are required to complete research training and a dissertation, a clinical internship, and a clinical practicum prior to graduating. Available concentrations include social justice and diversity, neuropsychology, health psychology, and forensic psychology.
34. William James College
Online Leadership Psychology Doctorate
The online Psy.D. in Leadership Psychology at William James College is a four- to six-year program that teaches students new tools and techniques that they can apply and test in their current roles. Students complete the hybrid program at their own pace online through discussion boards, readings, and lectures, and they are also required to come to campus three times per year for a four-day residency. The 98-credit curriculum includes required courses in adult development, team and group development, neurobiology of leadership, organization development and change, the psychology of leadership and followership, and ethics and standards of practice in leadership. In addition to the coursework, students must also complete a 400-hour internship project at an organization and a 600-hour practicum.
33. Saybrook University
Online Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Saybrook University offers a highly rated online psychology doctoral program in clinical psychology. Students pursuing this educational path can tailor their degree by selecting one of four concentrations: psychophysiology; existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology; creative studies; and consciousness, spirituality, and integrative health. Although most of the coursework is available entirely online, students are required to attend a few residential conferences in San Francisco. The 105- to 108-credit curriculum can be completed within five years and adheres to the counselor licensing requirements in several states. The program includes coursework in areas such as personality theory and research, systems of psychotherapy, developmental psychology, clinical intervention, human behavior, and multiculturalism. Students are required to complete a practicum, internship, and pass an exam prior to graduation.
32. Antioch University New England
Keene, New Hampshire
Online Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy
Antioch University New England offers a Doctor of Psychology in Marriage and Family Therapy that focuses on social justice applications to marriage and family therapy, preparing graduate students for research, supervision, leadership, and academic careers. The program focuses significantly on research training, and students are required to complete one year of supervised clinical practice as well as one year of additional practical experience in leadership, consultation, teaching, and/or supervision. Those without a master’s degree or experience in marriage and family therapy may be required to take additional prerequisite coursework. Students must also attend a total of 11 residencies throughout the program and complete their degree within six years.
31. Felician University
Rutherford, New Jersey
Online Doctorate of Counseling Psychology Program
While not a fully online program, the 88-credit Doctorate of Counseling Psychology program at Felician University offers classes both online and on-campus in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey. The program is based on objectives developed within the principles of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is important for students who wish to become licensed after graduation. The program can be completed in four or five years, and students learn what it takes to become psychologists in today’s healthcare system as well as how to effectively provide behavioral and mental care by creating connections between behavioral and physical health. Some of the courses offered include learning and cognition, health psychology, healthcare systems, evidence-based theories, and clinical theories. An APA internship and doctoral practicum are also part of the program requirements.
30. Pacifica Graduate Institute
Santa Barbara, California
Online M.A./Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies
A truly unique program, the hybrid M.A./Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute caters to students who have an interest in exploring the practices and theories of Jungian psychology as well as the human psyche. The goal of the program is to shift focus from a clinical space out into the real world. Some topics addressed throughout the course of the program include the development of consciousness, individuation, spirit, myth, and healing. Courses are available online, but students are required to visit the campus four times per year. To earn the degree, students must complete 90 credit hours of study, an oral exam, a scholarly article fit for publication, and a doctoral dissertation.
29. Arizona State University
Online Doctor of Behavioral Health
The 84-credit Doctor of Behavioral Health at Arizona State University is designed for working students and prepares them to pursue professional careers in the field of behavioral health. Students can expect a curriculum that emphasizes improving clinical outcomes and integrated behavioral health. The school provides online synchronous courses with live chat, including classes in population-based health management, models of integrated primary care, and financial management in healthcare. Students must also successfully complete a 400-hour clinical internship as well as a capstone research project that details a plan specific to each student’s career goals. Depending on the cohort and the year, admission to the program can be competitive.
28. Adler University
Online Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
The innovative online Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology at Adler University trains students to be forward-thinking experts who draw on a deep understanding of motivation and scientific research to maximize human potential. The program is 100 percent online with no residencies, and graduates go on to foster psychologically healthy environments in fields as diverse as the public sector, academia, nonprofits, corporate enterprise, and consulting. Students take a 75-credit-hour curriculum that includes at least 12 credits in dissertation and coursework in areas such as leadership and management, advanced organizational theory, advanced research methods, and advanced consulting skills.
27. Oregon State University
Online Ph.D. in Counseling
Oregon State University offers a CACREP-accredited online psychology doctoral program that is aimed at preparing graduates for advocate and leadership roles in the field. The hybrid program involves both online and face-to-face instruction for all courses. However, most on-campus instruction occurs two times per quarter during blocks on a Friday and Saturday. Although the 150-credit program provides information regarding professional licensure, courses are not formally approved for those seeking licensure in states other than Oregon. The curriculum explores issues that today’s counselors face as well as topics such as consultation, career counseling, assessment, advanced theory and practice, supervision, counselor education, diversity and social justice, and group counseling. To be admitted, students must submit three letters of recommendation and have professional experience, a strong academic background, and a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.
26. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
The online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology can be completed within three to four years. Students may elect to pursue a concentration in trauma services that equips them with the skills they need to lead organizations in developing preparedness and prevention training. Coursework is available online and includes classes in areas such as self-care strategies in humanitarian efforts, mental health interventions, and the assessment of mental health and psychosocial reactions to traumatic stress. In addition to online coursework, students must also engage in two residencies, each lasting three and one-half days, at the school’s Chicago campus. A third residency is optional. The doctoral program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.
25. Keiser University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Online Ph.D. in Psychology
Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University offers an online Doctor of Psychology that is carefully designed to help students achieve success, both during the course of the program as well as after graduation. Keiser offers two tracks for this program: one for those with a bachelor’s degree and one for those with a master’s degree. Each course is eight weeks in length, and most students take two courses at a time. Students will be exposed to topics such as the sociocultural basis of behavior, behavioral neuroscience, psychopathology, and evolutionary psychology. Students must complete 60 credit hours to earn their degree plus 18 additional hours if they have not yet earned their master’s degree. Prior to graduation, students are also required to complete 12 credit hours of dissertation courses.
24. Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Online Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution
The Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University trains students in the techniques and skills of cultural analysis, historical critique, policy and program development, interdisciplinary research, practice, and theoretical foundations of the field. Students pursue an in-depth study of conflict resolution while drawing from the knowledge of an interdisciplinary, experienced faculty and a variety of theoretical perspectives. Graduates of the 76-credit-hour program are prepared for careers as organization administrators, researchers, program evaluators, consultants, advanced practitioners, and more. In addition to core courses, students may pursue concentrations in areas such as interpersonal conflict, global conflict, conflict in organizations, and community-based conflict. Students taking distance learning courses are required to attend two five-day residential institutes per year.
23. Alaska Pacific University
Online Doctor of Psychology
The online Doctor of Psychology degree at Alaska Pacific University is designed in a way that allows students to further their education while still maintaining their work and life responsibilities. Blended class formats and weekend intensives make it convenient for working professionals and those outside of Alaska to earn their degree. Students come together online in six two-hour synchronous e-Learning sessions and four three-day weekend intensives. Courses include substance abuse assessment and non-diagnostic assessment, professional ethics, evidence-based treatment for families and children, and biological bases of behavior. An internship, dissertation, and practicum must be completed to satisfy degree requirements. Although the hybrid program is not accredited by the American Psychological Association, the curriculum does align with its standards. The curriculum is also designed to meet the academic requirements for licensing as a psychologist in the state of Alaska.
22. Alliant International University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Psychology in Educational Psychology
The Psy.D. in Educational Psychology at Alliant International University is designed for students who currently hold a PPS credential in school psychology or a PPS credential in school counseling, and this credential is a requirement for admission. Coursework in behavior interventions, developmental psychopathology, and psychopharmacology helps students fine-tune their understanding of what makes children tick and how they can help kids reach their fullest potential. Alliant offers a unique blend of online and on-campus coursework, giving students the opportunity to lead treatment, evaluation, and assessment plans in private, non-profit, and government organizations at the national, state, or local level.
21. Sofia University
Palo Alto, California
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Transpersonal Psychology
The online Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology is offered in online and onsite formats, and students enrolled in this program explore courses in five concentrations: Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience, Consciousness and Creativity Studies, Whole Systems Approach to Health and Wellbeing, Applied Transpersonal Psychology, and Transpersonal Education and Research. Students must complete 75 units of coursework, and they are required to attend three one-unit in-person seminars in Northern California. Students must complete these three seminars prior to entering the dissertation phase of the program. Although this program is not a clinical degree, the school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a premier accrediting organization.
20. Northcentral University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Northcentral University’s online Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology is a non-licensure program that is designed to be completed within 48 months and offers eight professionally relevant specializations such as mental health policy and practice, health psychology, gerontology, general psychology, gender diversity, and addictions. The program offers flexible online courses and multiple start dates, and it is adaptable to busy schedules. Throughout the online Ph.D. in Psychology, students are prepared to excel with an emphasis on applied experiential learning with vignettes, scenarios, case studies, and real-life situations. Students must complete 20 courses for a total of 60 credit hours of study.
19. Loyola University Chicago
Online Ed.D. in School Psychology
The online Ed.D. in School Psychology at Loyola University Chicago is a blended program designed for practicing school psychologists looking to advance their careers by earning a doctoral degree. It was developed with the goal of meeting the needs of school psychologists who wish to become more informed leaders and professionals within the educational community. Applicants must hold a valid Illinois Professional Educator License or hold a school psychology license in another state. The program consists of 72 graduate semester hours and covers core areas such as evidence-based interventions, statistics and research, and family, school, and community collaboration. Students may choose from two tracks, the mental health track and the data-based decision-making track, each of which includes an additional 12 credits in specialty courses.
18. Ashford University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Psychology
Students who pursue the online Doctor of Psychology at Ashford University are either aspiring or current practitioners who wish to specialize in health and wellness psychology, educational leadership, sport and performance psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, mediation and conflict resolution, or criminal justice. The program emphasizes a well-rounded approach to the field, creating students who are scholars and practitioners educated in the evidence-based practices, research, and theories of their chosen specialization. The curriculum consists of 62 credits, including seven specialized courses, 10 core courses, and a culminating capstone course as well as either a traditional dissertation or an applied doctoral project.
17. Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology
Michigan State University’s hybrid Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology degree is a five-year program in which students take one online course in the fall and spring semesters and two courses during the summer semester. Students are required to attend a two-week on-campus session during the summer. In addition to the general course requirements, students are required to choose three emphasis courses in areas such as teachers and technology, current issues in motivation and learning, socio-emotional development, and cognitive development. Like most doctoral programs, students are required to complete and defend a doctoral dissertation prior to graduation.
16. Endicott College
Online Ph.D in Applied Behavior Analysis
Endicott College’s Van Loan School offers a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis that prepares students to work as scientists and professors within the fields of public policy, education, industry, and business. Focusing on human behavior, students may take this program entirely online or in the classroom, allowing maximum flexibility for busy students. Applicants must hold a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis or related field, and the school recommends that students hold BCBA certification or be licensed behavior analysts. The full curriculum is 60 credits and includes a dissertation and research project. Students will delve into areas of applied behavior analysis such as experimental design and analysis, research in social skills training, conditioning and learning, research methods, and analysis and intervention in developmental disabilities.
15. Lesley University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Expressive Therapies
Although not a traditional online doctoral degree in psychology, the Doctor of Philosophy in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University is a 45-credit program that incorporates a research focus into a work-from-home format. The program combines artistic, development, and research opportunities for growth with artistic inquiry and expression. The four-year program is built on a low-residency model that requires students to come to the school’s campus each July for a residency. During the residencies, students design research projects, connect with their peers, attend small classes and seminars, and meet with faculty advisers. The fourth year of study is devoted entirely to completing and defending a dissertation. Applicants must hold a master’s degree and have at least three years of experience as an expressive therapist.
14. University of the Cumberlands
Online Psy.D. Clinical Psychology
The online Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of the Cumberlands is a hybrid, 103-credit program, and students take most of their courses Fridays through Sundays. The remaining credits are available online. Courses include focus areas in psychodynamic approaches to treatment, cognitive and behavioral approaches to treatment, and practicums in assessment and psychotherapy. Students may also choose from a list of specialized courses covering topics such as forensic psychology, comprehensive assessment, grief and crisis interventions, advanced psychopharmacology, and clinical applications. The program culminates in a clinical internship and doctoral research project. Those interested in pursuing a predoctoral internship in clinical psychology may take an additional nine credits.
13. Capella University
Online Ph.D. in Psychology
Students earning a Ph.D. in Psychology at Capella University can expect to begin their doctoral dissertations as soon as class begins. Between challenging general coursework, seminars to increase knowledge, and specialized courses to help students develop a topic, the program offers a rigorous academic experience. The program is designed to help students deepen their understanding of human behavior, preparing them for research, academic, or clinical settings. Students can choose from several specializations in addiction psychology, behavior analysis, general psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, educational psychology, and developmental psychology. Capella University also offers a Ph.D. in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior.
12. Eastern University
St. Davids, PA
Online Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy
The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Eastern University offers both a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Doctor of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Studies. Both programs train individuals from pastoral and clinical backgrounds to create positive change in church communities, individuals, couples, and families. The degrees are delivered in a hybrid format with both online and face-to-face educational interactions. Students are required to complete a research project and doctoral dissertation, and the faculty members are active in service, scholarship, pedagogy, and clinical practice, all with an emphasis on justice, reason, and faith.
11. Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Online Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology
The Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology at Central Michigan University is an APA-accredited program designed to extend the training of the specialist-level school psychologist so that he or she has the knowledge and skills to serve communities and educational systems. The program is based on the scientist-practitioner model and emphasizes the application of behavioral science. Students may complete the program in four years of field experience and intensive academic preparation as well as a full-time, one-year internship. Students are only admitted on a full-time basis and can expect to take nine to 12 credits per semester. Students with an undergraduate degree must complete 106 graduate credit-hours, while those with a master’s in school psychology must complete 70 graduate credit hours.
10. Amridge University
Online Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy
Offered by the School of Human Services at Amridge University, the Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy degree is a 60-semester-hour research-oriented program. It is not designed to prepare students for licensure, but students will complete intensive studies in research, cultural diversity, problems with abuse and addiction, human development, and the theories of marriage and family therapy. Courses are partly delivered online and also taught from traditional class settings, covering areas such as applied adult development, medical family therapy, analysis of substance abuse interventions, integrative models of marriage and family therapy, and professional counseling in the Ph.D. setting. Students attending full-time may earn the degree within four years, and they are required to complete a dissertation prior to graduation.
9. Texas Tech University
Online Educational Psychology – Ph.D.
The online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Texas Tech caters to students who have worked in or studied health sciences, psychology, sports sciences, human sciences, and education. The program is offered in a hybrid format with one-week summer sessions, online coursework, and some required on-campus time. The school places a special emphasis on preparing students for academic roles and teaching, but students may also choose to follow a practitioner path such as one in school psychology. Students must complete 91 credit hours in order to graduate, and the curriculum is divided into three interrelated phases: the candidacy phase, the intermediate phase, and the foundation phase.
8. Grand Canyon University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology With an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Grand Canyon University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in General Psychology with an emphasis in industrial-organizational psychology that allows students to participate in an in-depth exploration of how people behave in different settings. Students can expect to focus on human behavior at work, methods and principles, and employee-management relationships with the goal of accelerating organizational, group, and individual performance through change management, coaching, and consulting. The 60-credit program includes core courses in behaviorism, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory, principles of I/O psychology, statistics, qualitative research methods, and the psychology of leadership, consulting, and coaching. In addition to completing coursework, students are required to participate in two hands-on doctoral residencies. The program does not lead to licensure.
7. Texas Woman’s University
Online Ph.D. in Family Therapy
The Ph.D. in Family Therapy at Texas Woman’s University is offered in a hybrid, blended format, meaning most of the courses consist of both online and face-to-face classes. The goal of the program is to prepare systemic family therapists to contribute to family therapy theory and scholarship as advanced educators, supervisors, researchers, and clinicians. The program consists of 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, with at least 30 of these credits focused on research, dissertation, and a two-semester internship. The degree contains the courses required by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists, and students are eligible to sit for the national licensing examination after they earn their degree.
6. Liberty University
Online Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision
The 60-credit-hour online Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Liberty University can be completed within four years. The CACREP-accredited program aims to develop spiritually and ethically aware mental health counselor educators and counselors who possess the personal disposition, skills, knowledge, and values to promote the holistic and mental health wellness of clients across diverse populations. Courses integrate a biblical worldview, while also preparing students to serve a diverse culture. In addition to coursework, students must complete advanced field experiences and internships, allowing them to gain work experience and connect with professionals in the field.
5. Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, California
Online Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology
Touro University Worldwide offers a fully online doctoral degree in human and organizational psychology — no GRE or residency required. Students can take advantage of affordable tuition and an accelerated admissions process as they become part of a complex, exciting field of study. The online Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Psychology focuses on how students can specifically implement psychology in the workplace; students also focus on industrial psychology and leadership psychology. The goal of the program is to teach students how to turn theory into action, and the course structure includes various research options and group assignments. Once students complete the required courses in practice, research, and theory, they begin the proposal, or pre-dissertation, phase and finish their degree with a doctoral dissertation.
4. Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Online Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies
Regent University’s online Ph.D. in Counseling and Psychological Studies is designed to prepare Christian leaders and scholars in psychological science, research, and mental health counseling. The program is available entirely online and consists of 51 credits of study. Areas of study may include political structures and policy analysis, indigenous mental health care, ethics and legal issues, and concepts of the family systems. Students can choose either a research or clinical concentration within the program and select one of 11 available specializations. Graduates may choose to become researchers, writers, guidance directors, or faculty members or leaders within global universities.
3. California Southern University
Costa Mesa, California
Online Doctor of Psychology
The School of Behavioral Sciences at California Southern University offers an online Doctor of Psychology degree that is designed to lead to licensure as a clinical psychologist. The 66-credit program includes coursework that can be taken online and covers areas such as statistical methods and analysis, research methods in psychology, history and systems of psychology, ethical and professional issues, and advanced theories of personality. Internship and practicum opportunities are also available. Students are required to complete a final doctoral project that serves as a culmination of their educational training, and the degree can be completed within four years.
2. University of Louisiana Monroe
Online Doctor of Philosophy With a Concentration in Systemic Studies
The doctoral program with a concentration in systemic studies is designed for professionals who desire deeper studies of the contexts that advance the practices necessary for change. The program consists of 60 semester units of study, or two years of full-time coursework, as well as a dissertation. Throughout the program, courses go beyond disciplinary limitations, and students will learn strategies of relevant research. Other areas of study include issues and problems in systemic and marriage and family therapy, family systems, social ecology, and family therapy. Nonclinical in emphasis, this degree does not prepare students to be eligible for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
1. California Coast University
Santa Ana, California
Online Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology
California Coast University offers an online Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology that aims to train leaders in the developing knowledge of the legal, historical, and philosophical underpinnings for student success. Throughout the program, students become familiar with the broad theories of education psychology, interpreting scientific data in educational research and applying skills in measurement theory. Students also further develop their ability to analyze the larger cultural, economic, social, and political environment and the potential impacts on education. The program consists of 66 semester hours of study and is available entirely online. Students round out their degree with a comprehensive examination as well as a proposal, dissertation, and oral defense.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Ph.D. in Psychology?
A doctoral degree in psychology prepares students for a career in the field of psychology, typically in a specialty such as health, counseling, or industrial-organizational psychology. Most organizations require candidates to hold a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. These degrees are also mandatory for state licensure. Individuals who hold the appropriate doctoral degrees in psychology are often highly sought-after, not just in social work and healthcare settings but also by the military, organizations, and schools. The following are several career options for those with an online Ph.D. in Psychology:
- Developmental Psychologist: From behavior and circumstance to ways of thinking, humans change over a lifetime. Developmental psychologists can assist in adjusting, coping, and dealing. They primarily work with two groups of people: the elderly and children/adolescents. In turn, many developmental psychologists practice in retirement homes, centers for the homeless, and healthcare facilities.
- School Psychologist: School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support teachers’ ability to teach and students’ ability to learn. They apply expertise in behavior, learning, and mental health to help youth and children succeed emotionally, behaviorally, socially, and academically.
- Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychologist: An industrial-organizational psychologist helps businesses and organizations relate to their employees, thus facilitating greater job satisfaction and workplace productivity. I/O psychologists work together with management and human resources to help in the areas of training, hiring and retention, company culture, and team morale.
- Forensic Psychologist: Forensic psychology is a newer specialty of the psychology doctorate, and forensic psychologists work in the criminal justice and legal system, mainly assisting on cases to help explain psychological aspects such as defense and motivation. While many forensic psychologists work in private practices, they may also be on staff at educational institutions, courts, mental health centers, and hospitals.
- Health Psychologist: A health psychologist is a clinical psychologist who studies how behavioral and psychological factors interact with healthcare, wellness, and health. These professionals typically work in either private practices or in healthcare settings such as community centers, clinics, or hospitals. Health psychologists examine how psychological factors influence our physiology/health.
What is the Employment Outlook for Online Doctor of Psychology Graduates?
Although earning a master’s degree in psychology can help graduates obtain some positions in the field such as a research assistant, the most desirable prospects are reserved for graduates who hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Psychology. In order to practice as a legally recognized “psychologist,” an individual must be licensed, and most states require candidates to hold a doctoral degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates who indicate a specialty such as forensics or I/O psychology are at an even greater advantage. The demand for psychologists is expected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. However, employment growth will vary by occupation.
How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online Ph.D. in Psychology?
On average, students should expect to complete the online Psy.D. or Ph.D. in Psychology program within six years. Factors such as whether a student is attending part- or full-time naturally influence program length. For a doctorate in psychology, especially the Psy.D. and the Ed.S. for school psychologists, fieldwork is a requirement that may be achieved through a residency, supervised research project, or internship.
As is the case with any advanced degree, completing a doctoral dissertation is a significant undertaking that requires an enormous amount of effort and time to complete. Psychology doctorate online candidates may be eligible to transfer credits, which would also affect the length of the program. While some programs allow students to transfer a maximum number of credits from the master’s degree, other programs do not. Finally, if a program is based on a cohort model, meaning students complete the program as a group, this essentially removes the option of completing the program at an individual, and possibly quicker, pace.
What Curriculum Can You Expect in an Online Ph.D. in Psychology Program?
Although the curriculum varies for online doctoral degrees in psychology, the basic methodologies, concepts, and theories they cover are usually the same. Here are a few sample courses students can expect, each designed to prepare learners for careers in psychology or one of its related disciplines.
- Stress and Coping: Intended for online doctoral degree students who are looking to become health psychologists, a course in stress and coping addresses the topical issues of coping strategies, stressors, and stress in general and how these behaviors can impact one’s physiology and health.
- Individuals/Groups in Organization: Students explore how an organization’s failures and success relate to its culture as well as the behaviors of its management teams and workforce. Students learn how to analyze, interpret, and observe individual cognitions and behaviors and how to apply emerging, new theories in the field of industrial-organizational psychology.
- Personality and Behavior: This course looks at behavior through the lens of personality. Students will determine how personality affects the decisions people make, and how our character impacts our interactions with others. This is an important course for those considering a career as a school psychologist or in industrial-organizational psychology.
- Cognitive Neuroscience: Particularly important for those pursuing the health psychology career path, cognitive neuroscience focuses on mental processes and neural activity. From emotion to perception to social cognition, students explore change and behavior as well as how to help people gain control over, and thus improve, their health.
- Human Motivation: Explore what’s behind the initiative, ambition, and drive of individuals and learn how motivation can come from within a person as well as external sources. Through this course, students develop an understanding of both current and established theories on human motivation and discover how this knowledge can help individuals, organizations, and groups achieve success.
What Concentrations Are Available in a Doctoral Degree in Psychology?
An online doctoral degree in psychology will either award graduates with a general degree or a degree designed for a specialization such as counseling or industrial-organizational psychology. Health psychology, school psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology are just a few examples of popular specializations or concentrations that Ph.D. and Psy.D. graduates pursue. Although the details may vary depending on the program and school, these subsets represent a sample of what students can expect.
What Professional Organizations Are Available for Graduates With a Ph.D. in Psychology?
Professional organizations exist to advocate for a particular field or industry and to further the interests of their members. Joining such an organization can be helpful for job hunting, particularly for recent graduates and students, networking, and the continued development of skills as members participate in annual conferences, seminars, workshops, and more. An online doctorate in psychology candidate can expect to find mentors, financial opportunities, and resources by joining one of the following professional organizations:
- Society of Neuroscience
- Association for Psychological Science
- National Association of School Psychologists
- American Psychiatric Association
- American Psychological Association