An online Doctor of Psychology degree program will open students up to the highest levels of theory, research, and practice within the discipline. 

In a flexible, yet challenging format, students form relationships with some of the most outstanding academics, practicing psychologists, and faculty members in the field. This not only expands their scope of understanding but their networking connections, as well.

As Psychologists are tasked with studying brain functions and mental behavior, earning a doctoral degree in the field of psychology will assist graduates in helping others in need, providing an exciting and rewarding career for themselves! 


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Methodology

As you continue to earn an online graduate degree in Psychology, rest assured, that many will come to rely on your expertise; therefore, your training at the doctoral level will be extremely useful. So, congratulations if you’ve chosen to pursue an online Doctor of Psychology degree, as it will be a very rewarding experience for you, as well as, your patients. The below Best Online Schools for Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree programs are listed in random order and any one of these superb online schools provides dedicated support and in-depth coursework. We have chosen them based on the following points:

  • Clinically focused 100% Online or Hybrid class format, offering convenience for the working professional in the field of Psychology,
  • Offering challenging Doctoral project opportunities for valuable learning experiences; honing research, data, and analytical skills,
  • Designed to prepare students for career advancements, such as a Clinical Psychologist, Counselor, or Therapist within any type of organization,
  • Offers comprehensive coursework in the foundations of Psychology, in addition to, a wide variety of electives,
  • Financial Aid opportunities; Grants, Scholarships, Military Aid,
  • Innovative and interactive online study programs offering convenient and flexible Learning Management Systems, online Student Support and communication with faculty and fellow students,
  • Promotes community-based, service-oriented coursework and projects that you are truly passionate about; providing experience and social networking opportunities in the field of Psychology,
  • Proper Accreditation and Ease of Credit Transfers,
  • Internships or Clinical Field Experiences may be required for graduation.

To delve deeper, please see our Methodology page.

Best Online Schools for Doctor of Psychology

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SEMINARY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
Southern California Seminary offers a unique online phd in Psychology that integrates psychology and theology and prepares students to impact individuals, families, and communities with counseling skills and modern psychological tools.

Campus Location: El Cajon, CA

Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools-Accreditation Commission

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution, required essays, a reference from a pastor/chaplain, successfully completed entrance exams, a master-level writing sample, and financial aid documentation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Ethics of Sexual Care and Human Sexuality
  • Theological Foundations of Counseling
  • Psychopathology

Degree Outcomes:
One of the many benefits of the Southern California Seminary’s online Doctor of Psychology is that it provides biblically structured training designed to equip students for ministry opportunities in the local church, private practice counseling, or service in organizational and institutional settings.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SEMINARY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM

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NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
Northcentral University is one of the most outstanding online schools in the country and has been included on innumerable indexes of the finest distance education programs available. The online Ph.D. in Psychology is designed to hone critical thinking skills and expand knowledge to evaluate individual, social, organizational, and global problems.

Campus Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Accreditation: Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, and official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution.

Program Options:

  • Addictions
  • Gender Diversity
  • General Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Health Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Trauma and Disaster Relief

Degree Outcomes:
The coursework allows students to excel in current positions of employment, or earn new titles at other organizations and emphasizes applied experimental learning with case studies, scenarios, vignettes, and sometimes real-life situations. Graduates practice research methods as independent scholars in their field.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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TOURO UNIVERSITY WORLDWIDE

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
Touro University Worldwide offers an online Doctor of Human and Organizational Psychology that engages students in a “deeper, more profound way of learning,” according to their website. The curriculum introduces scholarly and professional activities designed to advance the student substantially beyond their current levels of knowledge and skill.

Campus Location: Los Alamitos, CA

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher, two letters of recommendation, and a doctoral entrance essay.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Scholar-Practitioner Model
  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Applied Cognitive Psychology

Degree Outcomes:
Employers are constantly looking to gain a better understanding of what motivates their workforce in order to increase productivity, profitability, and lower turnover, and these graduates are exactly the professionals they need. Touro alumni design evidence-based solutions and have a support system dedicated to student and career success.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TOURO UNIVERSITY WORLDWIDE’S ONLINE PSY.D. IN HUMAN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF THE ROCKIES

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
The University of the Rockies describes their online Doctor of Psychology as the “ultimate curriculum” through which students will “discover how to further the emotional and mental health of fellow human beings whether in a clinical setting or a modern workplace.” A wide array of concentration options allows students to focus on a particular area of interest.

Campus Location: Denver, CO

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application and official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Program Options:

  • Criminology and Justice Studies
  • Educational Leadership
  • Health and Wellness Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Mediation and Conflict Resolution
  • Sport and Performance Psychology

Degree Outcomes:
Throughout their coursework, students begin by building a knowledge base in the history and systems of psychology, and then pursue more advanced courses with research, statistics, and measurement. Classes involve real-world settings and extensive field experience that prepare graduates for their careers.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ROCKIE’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM

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THE CHICAGO SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is becoming one of the most popular online schools for degrees of this nature and offers a Ph.D. in International Psychology that establishes a firm understanding of the interconnectivity of global systems through distinctive, real-world training opportunities and field experience.

Campus Location: Chicago, IL

Accreditation: Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution, a statement of research, a personal essay, and a current résumé or CV.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Acculturation Psychology
  • Mental Health Interventions
  • Psychology of Organizations and Systems from a Global Perspective

Degree Outcomes:
This program prepares students to assume leadership positions in multinational organizations. Graduates have gone on to work in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, embassies, international businesses, world bank/world health organizations, and much more!

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHICAGO SCHOOL’S ONLINE PH.D. INTERNATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM

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GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
Grand Canyon University is one of the premier online schools in America and offers an outstanding Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis on Integrating Technology, Learning, and Psychology that enhances the skill and knowledge of individuals working in many different specialties. Students dive deeply into research, statistical analysis, and evidence-based outcomes.

Campus Location: Phoenix, AZ

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing an exemplary GPA, and financial aid documentation. Applicants must also contact an admission professional.

Program Options:

  • Learning and Communication Design
  • Ethical Issues in Psychology
  • Formalizing the Research Prospectus

Degree Outcomes:
This doctoral degree advances the abilities of professionals working in business, social media, government, technology, or institutions of higher education. The coursework “examines the social, group, and multicultural factors affecting individual behavior, the influence of mass communication on social awareness and control.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PH.D. IN PSYCHOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY LEARNING DEGREE PROGRAM

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OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
Oregon State University offers a Ph.D. in Counseling that is very similar in nature to other online psychology degree programs. The coursework emphasizes student contribution to the counseling profession through research while understanding and addressing the societal changes of today’s communities.

Campus Location: Corvallis, OR

Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, evidence of volunteer experience or paid experience in the helping profession, a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Supervision
  • Advanced Theory and Practice
  • Consultation

Degree Outcomes:
OSU’s online degree program prepares students to work as advanced practitioners, clinical supervisors, and counselor educators in clinical and academic settings. Graduates also have the knowledge and understanding to work as leaders and advocates for positive change within the industry.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PH.D. IN COUNSELING DEGREE PROGRAM

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CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
The online Doctor of Psychology is one of the most popular degree programs at CalSouthern. This applied, clinically focused degree meets the educational requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist in the state of California. The curriculum includes incredibly rewarding academic experiences in personal areas of interest.

Campus Location: Costa Mesa, CA

Accreditation: Western Association of Colleges and Schools Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities, and completion of prerequisite courses (if required).

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Human Sexuality

Degree Outcomes:
This coursework emphasizes practical skills in counseling and therapy and gives students great leverage and opportunity in their individual careers. Important research projects throughout the program instill outstanding theories and strengths in classes that are taught by leading practitioners in the field.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PSY.D. PROGRAM

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SAYBROOK UNIVERSITY

Doctor of Psychology

Program Standouts:
At Saybrook University, students gain hands-on training at residential conferences and are closely mentored by brilliant faculty members with years of experience. The coursework focuses on a holistic view of clients’ needs in a broader social and system context.

Campus Location: Oakland, CA

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Admission Requirements:
For the online doctorate program, applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution, a current résumé or CV, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Applicants must also complete a personal interview.

Program Options:

  • Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health
  • Creativity Studies
  • Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of Saybrook’s online Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology are prepared to bring about positive change through service and leadership and are prepared for certification examinations and licensure in many states throughout the country. These professionals direct their efforts toward the person-centers and interpersonal dimensions of psychotherapy.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SAYBROOK UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PH.D. IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM


ALASKA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts: APU’s online doctorate in psychology is created for working professionals. Over the years, faculty members of the APU online programs have designed the best class structure that allows for the blending of technology-supported and face-to-face instruction. With that, APU’s online coursework and online programs for prospective students are met accordingly.

Campus Location: 401 University Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508

Accreditation: Northwest Commission of Colleges and University

Admission Requirements:
For the online doctorate programs, online students must create an account on the school’s website. This is where you will submit your completed application.

Other supporting documents for the doctoral degree program include your official transcript of records from all your post-secondary programs and institutions attended. You are also required to submit program-specific documents like a personal essay, statement of interest, letters of recommendation, resumé, and standardized test scores.

Program Options: Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program

At present, APU’s doctoral degree program is one of only two training psychology programs for doctor-level psychologists in entire Alaska.

Degree Outcomes:

Graduates of the online doctoral programs of APU will get real hands-on experience thru internships where the newly gained theory and knowledge can be applied. After the program, graduate students will have a better understanding of evidence-based practices and how these can be used in a clinical setting.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE PH.D. IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM of APU now.

Choosing the Right Psychology Graduate Programs

So you have finally decided to pursue your online ph.d in psychology, but you’re confused about which program is the best. Selecting the best psychology programs typically is a tough decision. Is social psychology a good choice? How about clinical psychology? Or developmental psychology perhaps? Should you get a Ph.D.? or is Psy.D a better option?

As you start planning your online psychology doctoral programs, there are some basic but helpful tips to get you started.

Know Your Interests and your Needs

Psychology is a very broad area that involves different topics like philosophy, statistics, and science. Because of this diversity, no one can tell that one field is better than the other. In school psychology, your talents, needs, and interests are the determining factors that dictate which psychology online programs are suitable for you.

Psychology graduate programs widely vary and will depend upon the graduate students’ area of study, type of degree, and preferred career goals. For instance, one psychology program may have a specific sub-discipline like counseling psychology, social psychology, or educational psychology programs.

Check the Program’s Teaching Philosophy and Theoretical Focus

Every psychology program varies in educational philosophy and theoretical focus. Before students pursue their graduate psychology degrees, it’s best to spend time comparing and researching the many types of psychology graduate programs. Sit down with faculty members, research interests, talk with program advisors, or if possible, visit the school where you plan to enroll in your online program.

It also helps to ask about a program’s student outcome like where graduate students enrolled in the program usually find employment. Simple factors like these play a crucial role in identifying which psychology program is perfectly suited to your interests and needs.

Assess Your Professional and Education Goals

Before choosing an online program for your psychology graduate school, take a look also at your educational, professional, and even personal goals. You can discover more of your interest when you go over the different subfields of psychology.

Assess which field of psychology is most interesting to you. Sit down and talk with an academic advisor about the plans and possible career options after you complete your graduate study.

Reasons to Earn a Doctorate in Psychology

Here are some of the top reasons why a doctoral degree in psychology is worth considering.

You Plan to be an Academic

Especially if you have plans of going for a full-time career as a psychology professor in big universities, a bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree is not enough. You should earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

You Plan to be a Researcher

Majority of Ph.D in psychology students wish to become research psychologists where they will have the opportunity to study a wider range of psychological issues and treatments, and discover new solutions. Research psychology is a perfect path if you plan to build original research.

You Plan to Specialize

While master’s programs will allow you to specialize in a psychology branch, a doctorate degree allows you to be more focused on these specializations, thus making it possible for you to become an expert in the field. Doctoral psychology specializations include:

  • Neuropsychology
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Human Factors Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology

You Plan to Work in Private Practice

With a master’s degree in psychology, you are authorized to work as a clinical psychologist although you need to be under the supervision of a Ph.D. While this may sound okay, most professionals eventually want to practice in private soon.

You Want to Earn More Money

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top earners in the field of psychology earn an average of $130,000 every year, and most of these professionals have tons of work experience and a doctoral degree.

APA’s Workforce Studies said that about 72% of surveyed psychologists holding a doctorate got their top career choice right after they graduated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I become a Psychologist?

As with most professional careers, one must begin by earning a bachelor’s degree. Becoming a licensed Psychologist requires a formal education as well, beginning with completing a bachelor’s program. Next, depending on your state’s requirements, you will be required to earn a doctorate degree (or, a Master’s at the very least). 

After completing your phd in psychology, you must participate in and complete an internship program for valuable hands-on and clinical training. Internships usually require 1,500 to 2,000 hours, taking one to two years to complete. 

What’s the final step? Again, pursuant to your state’s regulations, you will need to gain your psychology license and pass the “Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology” test. More information can be found by checking the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board’s website.

What kind of doctorate degree do I need to work in the field of Psychology?

Depending on your end goal, there are two main categories of degrees in psychology-related matters to consider, such as:

  • Psy.D. – The Doctor of Psychology degree is perfect for those who would like to become a Clinical Psychologist or Counselor.
  • Ph.D. – The Doctor of Philosophy degree allows students to work on research-related activities within the field of psychology.

What types of Psychology should I consider as a specialization?

If you choose to become a practicing Psychologist, you may want to specialize in one of the following, each focusing on a different aspect of psychology:

  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology 
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Educational Psychology

How many years will it take to complete my Doctor of Psychology degree program?

Earning an online Doctor of Psychology degree is not for the faint of heart. Dedication is a must. After completing a bachelor’s and master’s degree, your doctorate degree program will take between four to seven years to complete, plus an internship. 

To become a Clinical or Counseling Psychologist, you can easily invest ten to fourteen years in completing your education.

What classwork can I expect in an online Doctor of Psychology degree program?

The field of psychology is a diverse field that will require an education based on coursework, clinical work, and research. At the graduate level, you can expect advanced coursework to include classes, such as:

  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Crisis and Trauma Counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Interviewing and Assessment
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Professional Ethics
  • Intervention Therapies
  • And, much more! 

What career can I expect with my Doctor of Psychology degree?

With a Psy.D. degree, you can become a Clinical Psychologist or Counselor within a wide variety of industry specializations. In addition, if you would like to do research in the field or become a professor at the university level, you can do that too! 

Is a career in Psychology a wise choice?

Yes; however, you must be apprised of the time and effort it will take to earn your degree. In addition, the salary you will earn will need to allow for a good return on your money when you consider the cost of your education. Your salary will depend on your qualifications, experience, and your specialization. 

Emotionally, a career in psychology can be mentally demanding, as you will often deal with those who are experiencing depression, thoughts of suicide, illness, and disease, or just plain bad behavior; therefore, you must be mentally strong yourself.

If you can adhere to the downfalls of being a Psychologist, without a doubt, helping others in this capacity can be a very rewarding career choice. 

How much does a Psychologist get paid?

According to the BLS, a Psychologist earned $82,180 annually, as of May 2020. Additionally, the highest 10% earned upwards of $137,590 per year. 

The top-paying industries include governmental positions, hospitals, ambulatory healthcare, as well as elementary and secondary schools.

Is there a job demand in the Psychology field?

The BLS states that the job growth expectancy rate for a Psychologist is at 8%, providing 13,400 new job openings over the next decade.  

What are the differences between Psychologists and Psychiatrists?

The titles Psychologist and Psychiatrist sound similar; however, there are some differences, such as:

  • A Psychiatrist often treats mental illness with medication, while a Psychologist takes the “therapy” approach.
  • A Psychiatrist focuses on mental health, while a Psychologist can treat many issues including behavioral and developmental problems, drug addiction, autism, depression, and more through therapy.
  • A Psychiatrist is authorized to administer and prescribe medication, while a Psychologist does not. If medication is needed, a Psychologist can work in conjunction with a Psychiatrist to write drug prescriptions as needed. 
  • A Psychiatrist must earn a medical degree to practice, while the Psychologist needs a Doctor of Psychology degree to practice.

Getting a doctorate in psychology will give you so many career opportunities and a better shot at earning more in the field. With a Ph.D. in psychology, this indeed results in a high level of professional and personal satisfaction.