Best 10 Online PhD Programs in Psychology in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 10 Online PhD Programs in Psychology in 2021

February 13, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Psychology is a profession that primarily focuses on the ways in which humans interact with each other in different settings and environments. The field of psychology includes many subspecialties that allow people to observe, identify, and help improve behaviors, emotions, and issues impacting the peace and well-being of other individuals.

The field of psychology includes a variety of different branches.  For instance, a psychologist involved in counseling works with patients to help them find improved coping mechanisms for life challenges found in one’s homelife, work-life, or within a relationship. A clinical psychologist uses various therapeutic methods to diagnose and treat clients afflicted by emotional, behavioral, or mental issues.

Online PhD programs in psychology offer flexibility to those working learners who wish to continue working while vying for their online psychology degree. Online PhD programs in psychology are provided with two doctoral degrees

  • The Doctor of Psychology or Psy.D. – these online PhD programs in psychology are considered a clinical academic degree where the focus is practical, experiential learning. Most Psy.D. online PhD programs in psychology require candidates can complete this doctorate degree in four to six years, which includes a one-year practicum. Psy.D. prepares students for clinical careers.
  • The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology or PhD – these online PhD programs in psychology tend to follow scientist-practitioner models regarding research in psychology and are required to complete a defended-dissertation from original research and/or a comprehensive exam. Most PhD in psychology students complete their doctorate degree in five to seven years. A PhD in psychology is generally chosen for those seeking a career in research or academia.

A Word About Accreditation

Choosing one of the many accredited online PhD programs in psychology should be an integral part of the prospective student’s analysis regarding potential programs and schools. The federal government accredits schools from a regional level from its six regional agencies throughout the country. Accreditation impacts an earned credits transferability and an enrolled student’s financial assistance from the federal government.

Specialized accreditation is a voluntary process that allows sanctioned agencies to evaluate the contents and merits of an academic program within an industry or industry sector. Within the psychology field, specialized accreditation at the doctoral level is accomplished by the American Psychological Association or the APA.

Best 10 Online PhD Programs in Psychology

1. The University of the Cumberlands (UC)

The University of the Cumberlands (UC) is a private school in Williamsburg, Kentucky that offers a PhD (doctor of philosophy) in Counseling Education & Supervision that prepares doctoral candidates for advanced roles in education leadership. Available concentrations for UC’s 66-credit online PhD programs in psychology include advanced counseling, leadership, or addiction. UC’s online psychology doctorate programs are accredited by CACREP

  • Tuition Fees – $ 3,600 per semester for 9 semester credits
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs –
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Supervision ^ Education & Supervision
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & CACREP
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – 1 to 20

2. California Southern University (CSU)

California Southern University’s Behavioral Sciences School offers a Doctor of Psychology degree (PsyD) program that can be completed entirely online, on average, in four to five years, studying full-time. Located in Costa Mesa, California Southern University’s online PhD programs in psychology allows for up to 30 eligible credits upon approval. CSU’s doctoral degree program requires students to complete 66 semester credits, plus a doctoral project and a comprehensive exam. California Southern University has been recognized among the top veteran-friendly schools by US Veterans Magazine.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 4,050 per semester for 9 semester credits
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs –
    • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
  • Accreditation – WASC & California Board of Psychology
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – not available

3. Liberty University (Liberty)

Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology that offers four specialties to doctoral students. Available PhD in psychology degrees are available in general psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and organizational psychology. Each of these online PhD programs in psychology requires the completion of 60 credit units, which can be completed, on average, in three years.

4. The University of Texas (UT Austin)

The University of Texas (UT Austin) Department of Psychology offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) that is primarily completed online with a low residency requirement. UT Austin’s online PhD programs in psychology offer eight academic concentrations – social/personality, percept/brain/behavior, behavioral neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and cognitive neuroscience.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 5,999 per semester for 9 semester credits
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs –
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & APA
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – 1 to 19

5. Touro University Worldwide (TUW)

Touro University Worldwide offers a Doctor of Psychology degree (Psy.D.) in Human and Organizational Psychology that can be completed, on average, in only 36 months. As one of the top online PhD programs in psychology, Touro University Worldwide allows for up to six credits to be transferred towards the required 66 semester credits, and there is no residency requirement to complete the degree program.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 6,300 per semester for 9 semester credits
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs  –
    • Doctor of Psychology in Human & Organizational Psychology – Organizational Leadership
  • Accreditation – WSCUC & APA
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – 1 to 11

6. Antioch University New England (AUNE)

Antioch University, located in Keene, New Hampshire, offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Couple & Family Therapy that is recognized as one of the top low residency online PhD programs in psychology available. Additionally, Antioch’s PhD in Couple and Family Therapy has received accreditation from the Comm. on Accreditation for marriage & Family Therapy Education.

  • Tuition Fees – $  8,425 per semester for 9 semester credits
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs –
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in CFT (Couple and Family Therapy)
  • Accreditation – HLC & COAMFTE
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – 1 to 13

7. Sofia University (Sofia)

Sofia University, established in 1975, offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Transpersonal Psychology that can be completed in only 36 months with only a few seminar/residency visits (safety permitting) throughout. Sofia University’s onlinePhD programs in psychology offer students several concentrations from which to choose – neuroscience, consciousness, or health & well-being, among others. Students enrolled in one of Sofia’s doctoral psychology degree programs can also complete the degree in up to five years.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 8,550 per semester for 9 semester credits
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs –
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Transpersonal Psychology
  • Accreditation –WSCUC & Association For Transpersonal Psychology
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – 1 to 5

8. Saybrook University (Saybrook)

Saybrook University’s College of Social Sciences/College of Integrative Medicine & Health Sciences, located in California, offers several top online PhD programs in psychology that cover a range of sub-specialties in psychology from an integrative health perspective, creativity studies approach existential/transpersonal psychology or a psychophysiology perspective.

9. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) – Seven Campus Locations (TX, AL, CA, DC, LA)

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology provides a variety of APA-accredited online PhD programs in psychology that are available entirely online. Established in 1979, TCSPP offers more than two and one-half dozen programs in psychology from its multiple campuses and online.

10. Fielding Graduate University

Fielding Graduate University, with campuses in Washington DC and Santa Barbara offers one of the top APA-accredited online PhD programs in psychology with four academic concentrations in neuropsychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, and social justice & diversity. This program is available to all 48 contiguous states (and Canada) but does not meet Oklahoma’s licensing requirements.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 14,550 per semester (tuition paid across three terms of $9,700)
  • Available Doctoral Psychology Programs –
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)  in Clinical Psychology
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)  in Organizational Development & Change
  • Accreditation – WASC & APA
  • Faculty to Student Ratio – not applicable

Our Ranking Methodology for Online PhD Programs in Psychology

The online PhD programs in psychology noted above represent a cross-section of some of the available programs in the education marketplace.  

These online PhD programs in psychology are ranked, with the most cost-effective programs listed first. The tuition fees noted in the analysis include the most recent tuition fees for each semester for a 9-credit course load for the school year of 2020 to 2021 or 2019 to 2020.

Additionally, each of the online PhD programs in psychology noted above includes the following helpful information regarding the doctoral program or higher learning institution –

  • Available online PhD programs in psychology offered by each at the doctoral level.
  • Regional and Specialized Accreditation status.
  • Faculty to Student Ratio.

The information and data obtained to perform this analysis of available online PhD programs in psychology was retrieved from each institution of higher learning’s website or the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) website.

Have you noticed erroneous information listed above? If so, please contact BestValueSchools.org with the updated information so that the information may be updated appropriately.  Thank you in advance for your help.

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