Best Online PhD in Psychology Programs


Updated October 21, 2022

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After earning an online PhD in psychology, graduates can work as psychologists in many settings. Here we list the best online psychology doctoral programs. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online Doctorate in Psychology

After earning an online Ph.D. in psychology, graduates can work as licensed psychologists at universities, research laboratories, and inpatient hospitals. However, Ph.D. programs often appeal to learners who want to perform original research in academic or clinical settings. Typical application requirements include a bachelor's or master's degree, standardized test scores, and recommendation letters.

Curricula vary by program. Students earning a Ph.D. in psychology online typically complete core classes in the teaching of psychology, research foundations, and consulting for organizational change. This article covers the benefits of earning a psychology degree online, along with typical tuition costs and program requirements.

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Questions About Psychology Degrees Online

What can I do with a Ph.D. in psychology?

Graduates with a Ph.D. in psychology can obtain a license and treat patients. Because of the degree's research emphasis, most graduates pursue academic careers.

How long does it take to earn a Ph.D. in psychology?

Some programs require only five years of full-time studies. However, with the complex dissertation process, some degree-seekers need up to eight years to graduate.

Can psychologists specialize?

Some online Ph.D. in psychology programs feature specialization options such as research in psychology, teaching in psychology, and social psychology. Students in some programs can design a custom specialization.

Featured Online Psychology Programs

Key Resources for Psychology Students

Why Get a Ph.D. in Psychology?

Professionals with an online Ph.D. in psychology can become biopsychologists, child and adolescent psychologists, and clinical psychologists. Ph.D. candidates often choose a specialization aligning with their career goals. Many psychology careers feature high median salaries and personal fulfillment.

Students can earn a Ph.D. in psychology online from anywhere in the world. Many top public institutions charge all online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency. Additionally, asynchronous coursework allows students to schedule coursework around professional or personal responsibilities.

Best Online Ph.D. in Psychology

  • Baylor University

    Waco, TX

    Baylor University was chartered in 1845 in Waco, Texas as a private Christian university. Students can pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 115 major fields. The 78-hour Ph.D. psychology degree requires completion of 37 core courses, and specialty concentrations in behavioral neuroscience, social psychology, and general experimental psychology. Students must declare and pursue a minor. Or, they may substitute nine hours of elective courses. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum GRE total score of 300.

  • Boston University

    Boston, MA

    Boston University offers a doctoral degree in psychology. Students from over 130 countries have travelled to study in one of the 250 fields offered at Boston University. The students at BU run more than 450 clubs and organizations, allowing for a rich educational community. Students who wish to expand their cultural understanding can apply for one of BU’s numerous study abroad programs, which are spread throughout 26 different countries. On average, qualifying students are awarded almost $30,000 in financial aid.

  • Fordham University

    Bronx, NY

    Fordham University was established as a Catholic, Jesuit institution in 1841. Only full-time students may enroll in Fordham’s graduate programs in psychology. The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (CPDP) is based on the Boulder Scientist-Practitioner training model. This model emphasizes theories and the practice of assessment and diagnosis with a strong laboratory component. During the first two years, doctoral students must complete courses in cognitive assessment, personality assessment, psychopathology, and clinical diagnosis. Supervised practicum experiences are taken in the second, third, and fourth years. Specializations include child and family, forensic, neuropsychology, and health.

  • Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville, AL

  • Loma Linda University

    Loma Linda, CA

    Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution focused on health sciences. Today’s university campus includes the school as well as the Loma Linda University Medical Center. The Ph.D. in clinical psychology degree takes six years to complete, including a required internship. Based on the scientist-practitioner model, the doctoral curriculum combines research and practice. The practicum provides supervised internships across various practice areas in multidisciplinary settings. Students can choose from optional concentration areas in clinical child psychology, health psychology, and neuropsychology.

  • Loyola University Chicago

    Chicago, IL

    Since 1959, the Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Loyola University Chicago has been fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. The goal of the Ph.D. program is to provide students with a strong education in the practice and theory of clinical psychology, as well as in general psychology. The degree takes 4-5 years of studies with a minimum of 72-hours of coursework. Applicants must submit GRE scores. The school invites some applicants for an interview. Only 35 students are admitted to the program.

  • Michigan State University

    East Lansing, MI

  • Northern Arizona University

    Flagstaff, AZ

  • Nova Southeastern University

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • Oregon State University

    Corvallis, OR

How Much Does a Psychology Degree Cost?

Many factors impact tuition costs for online Ph.D. in psychology programs. According to the Education Data Initiative, Ph.D. programs cost an average of ​​$98,800 in 2021. However, the cost of a Psy.D. averaged $132,200. Public schools typically charge lower tuition rates than private institutions.

When considering overall program costs, prospective degree-seekers should consider institutional and government aid. Many of the top graduate programs provide partial or full funding to doctoral students with financial need.

Additional Online Student Fees

Some Ph.D. in psychology online programs feature in-person requirements, such as an on-campus seminar or dissertation defense. Degree-seekers should budget for related commuting costs as soon as possible. Learners also pay for textbooks and supplies. Many institutions charge a graduation fee.

Many graduates of online Ph.D. in psychology programs earn a license. Licensure examinations require fees, and state licensure boards typically charge application and renewal fees. Degree-seekers and recent graduates should check their state board's website for the latest fee schedules.

How Much Do Psychology Majors Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), licensed psychologists earn a median salary of $81,040 per year, compared to the median of $45,760 for all occupations. Industrial-organizational psychologists earn a median of $105,310 annually. The highest-paid psychologists work in government agencies and hospitals.

Geographic location also impacts licensed psychologists' earning potential. According to BLS data, California, Oregon, and Alaska feature the highest average salaries for psychologists not specializing in clinical or school psychology.

Courses in a Psychology PhD Program

Classes in Ph.D. in psychology online programs vary by school and specialization. Degree-seekers in general psychology programs may take classes in survey construction and administration, multivariate statistics, and advanced qualitative analysis. Coursework trains learners to complete the original dissertation research.

Students who have not chosen a professional path can consider programs with many specialization options. Academic and career advisors help learners choose the right specialization. Educational experiences and graduate outcomes vary by school. Prospective students should contact an admissions advisor for details about online Ph.D. in psychology programs.

  • Survey Construction and Administration

    Professionals can use psychological experiments to assess individuals' mental states. This course trains doctoral degree-seekers in survey best practices. Students analyze various comparative studies, sampling techniques, and data-collection methods. Participants learn to create accurate surveys without bias or interference.
  • Multivariate Statistics

    Psychology researchers use statistics to analyze data. This class emphasizes discriminant analysis, multiple analysis of variance, and regression. Degree-seekers review the latest psychology research and prepare to interpret data they gather for their dissertation. Typical prerequisites include undergraduate and graduate coursework in statistics.
  • Advanced Qualitative Analysis

    Psychology researchers use various methodologies to gather data. This class explores case studies, heuristics, and qualitative research. Degree-seekers examine each method's benefits and drawbacks by reading books, journal articles, and primary sources. Students learn to choose the best research methods for specific situations. Learners may design a small qualitative study.

How to Become a Psychologist

Candidates for psychology licensure must meet education, experience, and examination requirements. Licensed psychologists must hold either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. However, some psychology careers require only a master's. Degree-seekers develop their communication and research skills during an internship.

Psychologists' responsibilities vary by specialization. These professionals often conduct interviews and surveys, perform experiments, and write scholarly texts. They may also supervise less-experienced staff and work with patients individually. Tenure-track postsecondary psychology teachers instruct undergraduate and graduate classes.

Licensure for Psychology

Practicing psychologists in any state need a license. However, licensure requirements vary by state. In Washington, psychology licensure candidates need a doctorate from a program with American Psychological Association accreditation. Graduates then complete a one-year residency and earn 3,000 hours of professional experience.

After meeting the education and experience requirements, candidates take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and a state-specific jurisprudence exam. Candidates submit scores to the Washington State Department of Health. As of May 2022, candidates with passing scores pay $206 to receive their license.

Like other states, Washington requires continuing education classes for licensure renewal. Licensed psychologists must complete 60 continuing education hours every three years. Renewal costs $226. Individuals who miss the renewal deadline pay an additional $105. Washington charges additional fees to amend or reactivate a license.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

See All Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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