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Online Resource for PhD Degrees in Psychology

PsychologyPhD has several guides and tips for getting your PhD in Psychology. Psychology is an interesting and expansive field with a wide variety of career choices. These options include clinical psychologist, counselor, social worker, and many other service-oriented professions.

Psychologists spend years in school learning and studying the many facets that make up the profession; therefore, it is important to find the right PhD program that best fits your interests and schedule. Many schools offer a PhD in psychology and depending on your area of specialization you might be able to obtain your degree online.

University of the Rockies
Exec Coaching (PsyD)
Org Leadership (PsyD)
Business Psych (PsyD)
Eval/Research/Measurement (PsyD)
Non-Profit Mgmt (PsyD)
Educational Leadership (PsyD)
In keeping with the changes in education modalities, the University of the Rockies offers both on-campus and online graduate degree programs. They offer dynamic and flexible online coursework that allows you to earn a graduate degree without disrupting your life. Your University of the Rockies PhD program combines the centuries of tradition behind the Doctor of Philosophy degree with the most current, innovative, critical thinking in the field.
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Walden University
Psychology (PhD)
Social Psych (PsyD)
Counseling Psych (PsyD)
Clinical Psych (PsyD)
Forensic Psych (PsyD)
Educational Psych (PsyD)
Walden University is committed to providing you with the tools and resources you need to succeed as a student at their online university. The PhD in Psychology program follows a scholar-practitioner model that encourages you to integrate scholarly research with your practical expertise. This doctorate in psychology program is taught by respected researchers and practitioners, and it will prepare you to make a difference in a variety of professional settings.
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Grand Canyon University
Cognition & Instruction (PsyD)
I/O Psych (PsyD)
Grand Canyon University's classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying the close connection with your classmates and instructors via online discussions. The PhD programs allow students to complete their coursework online, with no residencies required. Grand Canyon University's PhD in General Psychology program offers two tracks: Cognitive/Instruction and Industrial/Organizational.
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Northcentral University
Psychology (PhD)
I/O Psych (PhD)
I/O Psych (DBA)
I/O Psych (PsyD)
Health Psych (PsyD)
Gender Diversity Studies (PsyD)
Northcentral University allows you to work full time while you take classes, study on your schedule without neglecting personal obligations, share in a global experience while you study from wherever you access the internet, and learn from first-rate professors. The PhD in General Psychology prepares students to apply principles of psychology and conduct research related to their area of interest in a variety of settings.
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Capella University
Psychology
Educational Psych (PsyD)
I/O Psych (PsyD)
School Psych (PsyD)
Capella University allows you to work on your courses at a time and place that fit your lifestyle — but you should expect to be engaged, inspired, and challenged. Capella's online psychology PhD specialization offers you the opportunity to create an individualized, academic-track program designed to meet your professional goals and research interests.
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Click here to see more online Psychology PhD programs

What is a PhD in Psychology?

If you’re dedicated to the study of psychology and want to pursue a doctorate, you must plan ahead. Earning a PhD takes dedication and hard work, not to mention a financial commitment. However, if you’re confident that psychology is the profession for you, it’s time to hit the books.

A PhD is an abbreviation for “doctor of philosophy” and indicates a person is an expert in their field. With a PhD in psychology, graduates have the theoretical expertise to provide advanced psychological services to patients. They are trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental and behavioral disorders such as stress, anxiety, depression, fear, and anger. It’s important to note that a PhD does not permit prescriptive authority. Only a medical doctor (MD) can prescribe medicine.

PhD programs typically take three to six years to complete depending on previously earned degrees and professional experience. You’ll have to complete a dissertation, fulfill clinical hours, and obtain the necessary competencies to complete the program.

These programs are often research intensive and provide a comprehensive evidence-based review of psychosocial and behavioral issues. Classes may include:

  • cognitive psychology
  • child development
  • psychology of social behavior
  • theories of personality
  • human intelligence
  • applied research methods

Job Duties of a Psychologist

A PhD in psychology qualifies you to perform many advanced duties. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists typically do the following:

  • Conduct scientific studies to study behavior and brain function
  • Collect information through observations, interviews, surveys, tests, and other methods
  • Find patterns that will help them understand and predict behavior
  • Use their knowledge to increase understanding among individuals and groups
  • Develop programs that improve schools and workplaces by addressing psychological issues
  • Work with individuals, couples, and families to help them make desired changes to behaviors
  • Identify and diagnose mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders
  • Develop and carry out treatment plans
  • Collaborate with physicians or social workers to help treat patients

However, these duties vary depending on what area you choose to specialize in. Most likely, you’re considering a PhD because you’re ready to advance in a specific area of psychology. Perhaps you’ve worked in the field for a few years and earned a master’s degree in the process. With a PhD, you’ll be able to rise to the top and compete for lucrative promotions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median annual wages of psychologist occupations in May 2010 as:

  • $87,330 for industrial-organizational psychologists
  • $66,810 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists
  • $89,900 for psychologists, all other

The top 10 percent earned more than $111,810. Wages vary depending you where you work and what area of specialty you pursue.

Areas of Specialty in Psychology

What’s unique about the field of psychology is how vast and varied the profession has become. Students can focus on one of the many occupational specialties:

  • Clinical Psychology: This is the largest branch of psychology that deals primarily with the assessment and treatment of mental illness and psychiatric problems.
  • Developmental Psychology: A developmental psychologist examines behavior and mental processes in an effort to help others manage stress and/or trauma.
  • Forensic Psychology: A forensic psychologist is an expert in the study of criminal behavior and the nature of crime and delinquency.
  • School Psychology: School psychology refers to a subspecialty of psychology that evaluates students’ performances and behaviors and provides counseling services to parents and students.
  • Social Psychology: This discipline focuses on the study of human behavior in a social context, i.e., how and why people behave and think the way they do.

With a PhD in one of the above-mentioned subfields, graduates may qualify for high level jobs such as case managers, supervisors, researchers, or analysts. Graduates can also enter private practice and provide counseling services to patients at their discretion. Government agencies, hospitals, colleges and universities, rehabilitation facilities, research organizations, and community and mental health clinics also employ psychologists.

If you’ve decided that a PhD is the logical next step in your professional development, it’s time to research schools and find a program that meets your academic needs. Many schools offer a PhD in psychology but specific courses and certifications vary. It’s important to research each school carefully to verify accreditation and to evaluate the nature of the school. Some programs are offered online. This might be an option to consider if you’re working full-time and need maximum scheduling flexibility. Our list of schools below will link you with information about various programs to help you narrow your choices.

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