Psychology can be a very complex subject. Perhaps the most common definition is the fact that it is the study of the human mind and suggests that it is primarily the study of one’s behavior. However, within the field of psychology, you can choose to concentrate your efforts on one of several specialties, such as, educational psychology.

In this format, psychologist study children in an educational setting. Specifically, they are concerned with the child’s cognitive development, aptitude, learning methods and other developmental disorders. In this capacity, the preferred degree to own is an online Doctor of Educational Psychology degree. A PhD degree in this field will prepare you for careers in education, administration or research.

Most who are considering earning a doctorate degree have already met the prerequisites for earning this prestigious degree. Typically, you must already have earned your master’s degree in a psychology-related subject. Your graduate school will also require acceptable scores on your Graduate Records Examination (GRE), as well as, several letters of recommendation from those who can attest to your abilities and commitment to the doctoral process. Occasionally, you will be expected to attend a personal interview, as well. A certain amount of work experience may also be a requirement to enter a doctoral program.

Can you attend a doctoral program for educational psychology through an online format? Yes, however, probably not 100%, for multiple residencies, practicums and assistantships will, most likely, be a part of your program. The “hybrid” programs combine online learning with some on-campus experiences. Your online Doctor of Psychology program will generally take you five to seven years to complete, although it could take more or even less, depending on your commitment.

Once you have located a doctoral program that fits your needs, what can you expect to learn? A doctoral program will consist of extensive amounts of research in a variety of subjects. In addition, you may be asked to choose an area of specialization such as, in counseling, mental health, special education or pediatric school psychology. Although your courses will focus on your concentration, a general scope of work may include counseling ethics, behavioral disabilities and neuroscience, crisis prevention, education trends and teaching methods, child development, in addition to, intervention strategies. You will also learn about motivational learning, adolescent psychology, human behavior, academic and social assessments, as well as, classroom management.

Through your research, you will determine the needs and theories used to improve student learning and help educators explore teaching methods that will increase the student’s productivity, as you may find that the common teaching methods of yesterday may not necessarily meet the needs of today’s youth. In addition, you will learn about how to meet the needs of those who are exceptionally gifted or talented and of those with special needs. As you are educated about how students learn, you will realize the many factors that affect behavior, such as one’s gender, age, social background and the environment around them.

As you wrap up your online Doctor of Educational Psychology degree program, you will be expected to display your writing and communication skills, along with, your listening and problem-solving skills. To graduate, your doctoral program will require a detailed dissertation project in which you will be expected to defend.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, please see our list of the Best Online Doctor of Educational Psychology Degree Programs.