Online Colleges Offering Doctoral Degrees in Psychology & Behavior

At the doctorate level, students use their in-depth knowledge of psychology principles and theories to make original contributions or to expand on current knowledge in the field. Through these contributions, students demonstrate their proficiency and extensive knowledge by applying what they have learned to a variety of clinical settings.

What does a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from an Online College Entail?

Online schools offer one of two psychology doctorate programs: A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.). A Ph.D. places emphasis on research and scholarly publication, while a Psy.D. is less research-oriented and more clinical, preparing students for licensure and professional practice. Coursework generally consists of core and research-based courses, covering everything from innovative health care practices and psychopharmacology to data analysis and advanced qualitative research. A Ph.D. in psychology commonly culminates with a comprehensive exam and a dissertation, whereas a Psy.D. often requires completion of clinical training and standard tests rather than a dissertation. Approved internships, or other work experience, may be used to fulfill such work requirements.

Online doctoral psychology programs often contain both online and offline components. Online elements might include assignments, multimedia presentations, discussion board postings, and communication with classmates via portals and forums. By utilizing modern technology, instructors also deliver lectures and webinars online. Offline aspects of the program often consist of on-site residency requirements. Residencies offer opportunities for immersion in the field of psychology, and are usually structured as a few separate weekend retreats. Students spend time networking with faculty and personnel in the field, preparing for dissertations and celebrating achievements. Both online and offline coursework can help provide students with the necessary attitudes, habits and insights needed for professional success.

Related Careers for Graduates of Online Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology

Graduates of an online psychology programs commonly pursue consulting, institutional research or program administration positions. They may also seek out faculty or administrative training positions in higher education, business or the military. After earning the appropriate licenses or certifications, doctoral degree graduates may begin work as psychologists or even open their own private practice. Those who choose not to start their own practice usually find employment in mental health centers, government agencies, healthcare organizations, community agencies and institutions of higher education.

Employment growth for psychologist is projected to grow at a higher rate than most careers between 2010 and 2020, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012). During that time, job outlook is expected to increase 22 percent. Increased demand for assistance in mental health centers, schools and hospitals should contribute to this growth, as people rely on psychologists to help diagnose and manage psychological issues. Postsecondary teacher is another occupation that is projected to grow in the future, increasing at a rate of 17 percent. A doctoral degree in psychology can help prepare graduates to fill these roles, applying their knowledge to the classroom and conducting research studies that can put them on track to tenure positions.

Individuals interested in pursuing an online doctoral degree in psychology can learn more about program specifics from any of the schools below by requesting information. Each online college offers a program that can allow students to work toward a graduate degree in psychology.

Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Postsecondary Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

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