Why This Matters

  • DEMAND FOR PSYCHOLOGISTS TO INCREASE 6%

    The job outlook for psychologists is strong, particularly for clinical and counseling psychologists.

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 4,500 MORE PSYCHOLOGY PROFS

    Teaching at the collegiate level is another job opportunity for those with a PhD. Demand for postsecondary psychology teachers is expected to increase 10% by 2031.

  • EARN $90,000+ PER YEAR

    According to Payscale, the average salary for workers with a doctorate degree in psychology is $92,000.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online Doctorate in Psychology programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list have been accredited by reputable organizations, such as the WASC Senior College and University Commission and Middle States Commission on Higher Education, that assess the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of colleges and universities.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online Doctorate in Psychology programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 11 Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Top Doctorate in Psychology Programs 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
Liberty University
01
Best for Organizational Psychology
Touro University Worldwide
01
Best for Educational Psychology
Texas Tech University
01
Best Scholarships
Northcentral University
01
Best for General Psychology
Alaska Pacific University
01
Best for Forensic Psychology
Fielding Graduate University
01
Best for Transfer Credits
Felician University
01
Best Christian Institution
Southern California Seminary
01
Best Public Institution
University of Texas at Austin
01
Most Unique Concentration Options
Saybrook University
01

Keiser University

What You Should Know About This Degree

To become a licensed clinical or counseling psychologist, an individual must have a doctoral degree. The two most common types of degrees are a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). PhD programs emphasize research, with students completing a dissertation as part of their graduation requirements. A PsyD is more clinically-focused, with students learning advanced practical skills. When deciding between the two degrees, think about your personal interests and career goals to determine which program is right for you.

Regardless of degree, psychologists must have a state-issued license to offer psychological and counseling services to the public. Specific licensure requirements vary by state, but they generally include a doctoral degree in psychology, an internship, and supervised postgraduate experience. You can find out your state’s requirements by visiting the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Even if you enroll in an online program, you should be prepared to complete in-person requirements like an internship. Talk to a program representative about the number of clinical internship hours you are expected to complete and the setting in which you will complete those hours.

There are several specializations within the field of psychology, including neuropsychology, group, and school psychology. The American Board of Professional Psychology offers certifications in these specializations, which may be required by employers.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching PhD in Psychology programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? PhD programs tend to have significant requirements for admission, including a master’s degree in psychology or a related field and professional experience. You may also be required to submit a writing sample, as PhD programs require a significant amount of writing. Review the program’s eligibility requirements to confirm that you meet the qualifications before applying.
  • What research opportunities are available in the program? In addition to meeting the qualifications for professional licensure, many students pursue a PhD in psychology to conduct research that contributes to the field. It’s important to select a program that aligns with your research interests and supports your work through faculty mentorship, financial support, professional contacts, and more.

At this stage, look at the program’s admissions requirements and deadlines, and start gathering your application materials. PhD programs are usually selective, and they may require standardized test scores and writing samples as part of the application packet.

Also consider your options for financing your doctoral degree. Many programs offer fellowships or assistantships to doctoral students, although these may require working as a teaching or research assistant.