Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs of 2024

If you're considering an online doctorate in psychology, this guide has everything you need to know — from choosing a program to choosing a career path.
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Updated on May 9, 2024
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The decision to pursue a doctoral degree is never easy: A lot of time, energy, and money are involved. But if you know what you're getting into, an online doctorate in psychology can open up a whole world of cool career options.

For example, Dr. Erin Reynolds used her doctorate in psychology to become a clinical sports neuropsychologist. She's now the director of Baylor Scott and White Sports Concussion Program in Texas, as well as the team neuropsychologist for the NFL Dallas Cowboys, the WNBA Dallas Wings, and the entire XFL minor league.

"I have a dream job treating professional and amateur athletes with sports-related concussions," said Reynolds. "This type of work was not even on my radar when I started graduate school, and now I have a job that many people don't even realize is a possibility."

Doctorate in Psychology Programs You Should Consider

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs of 2024

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com 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. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

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Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs of 2024

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Semester: $1,321

Credits to Graduate: 60

Keiser University's Ph.D. in psychology online program offers a non-clinical, research-based curriculum. Students can pursue careers conducting studies of diverse populations' behaviors, teaching at the university level, or consulting. Distance learners can take one or two classes at a time to balance school with other responsibilities.

Keiser admits students with master's degrees in relevant fields or bachelor's degrees in psychology or behavioral science with a 3.0 GPA. Bachelor's-level students complete an additional 18 hours of courses and a thesis.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$20,800
Out-of-state
$20,800
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$29,632
Out-of-state
$29,632
Retention Rate
72%
Acceptance Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
19,861
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs of 2024

Saybrook University

  • Pasadena, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Cost per Credit: $1,590

Credits to Graduate: 65

The online Ph.D. in psychology program at Saybrook University features four specializations: consciousness, spirituality, and integrative health; creativity, innovation, and leadership; existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology; and psychophysiology. This non-licensure Ph.D. program prepares graduates to develop and improve programs in education, community health facilities, the justice system, and nonprofit organizations.  

Courses take place online except for mandatory residential orientations and conferences. Students can complete their degrees in 5-6 years, including a dissertation. Applicants must hold a master's degree.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$20,856
Out-of-state
$20,856
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
915
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs of 2024

University of Arizona Global Campus

  • Chandler, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: $1,082

Credits to Graduate: 62

The UAGC's doctor of psychology program offers specializations in criminology and justice studies; health and wellness psychology; and sport and performance psychology. The accelerated, four-year online program requires three in-residence workshops, a capstone seminar, and an applied doctoral project or dissertation. 

Graduates do not qualify for licensure but can pursue positions in postsecondary education, consulting, and management. Applicants need a graduate degree and a 3.0 GPA. Up to 30 transfer credits can apply toward the Psy.D.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,280
Out-of-state
$13,280
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,720
Out-of-state
$13,720
Retention Rate
31%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
40,362
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

How We Selected These Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

We use datasets from trusted sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools and our methodologies. This ranking is from 2024. To learn more, check out our full ranking methodologies

Why Should I Get an Online Doctorate in Psychology?

A doctorate in psychology can give you access to higher-paid clinical, research, and industry roles with more responsibility and impact. But given how expensive and demanding the process of earning a Ph.D. can be, it's important to make sure the benefits support your personal and professional goals.

The decision to attend an online doctorate in psychology program may help you better meet these goals. Firstly, online programs provide flexibility and work-life balance, allowing you to attend classes from anywhere, potentially eliminating the need to take time off work or arrange childcare. Additionally, it offers cost savings as online programs often have lower tuition fees and eliminate expenses related to commuting, on-campus fees, and accommodations.

Heads up:

The American Psychological Association does not grant accreditation to doctoral programs that are exclusively online. So, if you want to work as a clinical or counseling psychologist, be sure to select a program that facilitates the supervised learning required for licensure. All of the programs in our rankings are fully accredited.

Is a Doctorate in Psychology Worth It?

Here's what people who have earned a doctorate in psychology have to say:

“I absolutely believe my degree to be worth it. It has allowed me a seat at the table for so many relevant issues, like mental health, LGBTQ+ youth issues, social media addiction, and more. My knowledge and expertise is highly sought after, which means the return on investment has been high.”

Corey Emanuel, Ph.D., media psychologist

“It was worth it for me. A doctoral degree massively impacts the way people interact with you as a professional. You become the authority on theory and practice; it's a big responsibility. It has opened doors for me that I don't think would have opened otherwise. I've had opportunities to work with corporations, on research, and with clients who were only interested in doctoral-level clinicians. And it's often the case that doctoral-level clinicians are paid more by agencies or in private practice than the average masters-level clinician.”

Kamran Esthehardi,, Ph.D., clinical psychologist

“I'd say it's worth it for the sense of purpose and fulfillment you acquire. But financially, you may end up with substantial student loan debt and a moderate level of income – so it really depends on how you define 'worth it'.”

Christopher Stack, Psy.D, clinical psychologist

Popular Concentrations and Specializations for Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Doctoral programs in psychology offer many concentrations and specializations to cater to the diverse interests and career goals of students. These specialized areas of study enable you to delve deeper into specific aspects of psychology.

Popular concentrations and specializations for a doctoral program in psychology include:

  • Counseling Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Psychology of Gender and Sexual Fluidity
  • Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
  • Trauma and Disaster Relief
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Behavioral Health Leadership

What Are the Benefits of a Doctorate in Psychology?

An online doctorate in psychology prepares you for the most advanced careers in the field: You can become a professor, researcher, practicing psychologist, or even branch out into industry roles.

"If you understand how people work, you don't necessarily need to stay in the field of psychology," said Dr. Inna Post, who leveraged her degree into coaching, consulting, and development. "You can expand."

A doctorate in psychology can also help you gain entry into a number of niche, unexpected careers. Dr. Corey Emanuel, for example, got his Ph.D. in psychology with a concentration in media. He is now the CEO of his own creative production company.

"My career continues to be full of surprises in the best ways. On any given day, I'm approached by journalists, producers, studio executives, clinical psychologists, and even students who are seeking to better understand some psychological phenomenon linked to media consumption," said Dr. Emanuel. "Being a media psychologist is a fascinating career choice."

Read More: Discover More Psychology Careers

Read More: Explore The Highest-Paying Psychology Jobs

How Much Does an Online Doctorate in Psychology Cost?

The average annual cost of an online doctorate in psychology is $14,470 in tuition and fees or $38,300 total per year, including non-tuition expenses. If it takes you six years to complete your doctorate, you can expect to pay a total of $86,820 in tuition and fees and roughly $165,000 total.

Note: There are ways to reduce the cost of a doctoral degree:

  • Graduate students may qualify for scholarships, grants, and fellowships.
  • Some Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs may offer funding, tuition waivers, health insurance, and stipends.
  • Many online programs offer accelerated degree programs, which can help you save on time and tuition.

Average Annual Tuition Cost of a Doctorate Degree

Public Institution

$12,596

Private Institution

$29,931

Source: NCES, 2021-2022

Read More: Financial Aid Guide for Graduate Students

Read More: How to Choose a Graduate Program

How Long Does an Online Doctorate in Psychology Take?

You can expect to spend between 5-7 years completing your doctoral degree in psychology.

Average Length of Time*

6 years

Required Course Credits*

60-90 credits

*Varies depending on your school/program

Doctoral programs in counseling and clinical psychology will also require fieldwork and an internship or practicum experience. Online students can often arrange to complete these requirements at approved sites in their local communities.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Doctorate in Psychology?

Most programs require the following:

  • Check
    Application
  • Check
    Test Scores
  • Check
    Letters of Recommendation
  • Check
    Resume and Work Experience
  • Check
    Essays (1-3)
  • Check
    Official Transcripts

Everything Else You Need to Know About an Online Doctorate in Psychology Program

What can I expect from an online doctorate in psychology program?

First, you will need to choose between two types of online doctorate programs in psychology: a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) or a doctor of philosophy in psychology (Ph.D).

"I would say the Ph.D. is better for people interested in academia and research, while a Psy.D. has a stronger clinical focus," said Christopher Stack, Psy.D. "But students should be aware that a Ph.D. program typically takes a bit longer - which may result in more student debt."

Whichever path you take, you can expect to:

  • Face a competitive application process
  • Undergo four years of full-time coursework
  • Sit for qualifying exams, usually between years two and three
  • Complete a dissertation in which you design an original research project and report on your findings
  • Complete an internship or practicum in the field

The curriculum is largely determined by specialization, but core courses for most programs include research methods, professional ethics, and human development.

No. Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs are equally prestigious and well-respected, and both will qualify you for clinical practice. If you're interested in research or teaching, a Ph.D. may prepare you better for those roles. If you're interested primarily in a clinical career, a Psy.D. is a great option.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges.

BestColleges.com 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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