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Doctorate in Psychology

A postgraduate academic degree, a PhD in psychology is designed for students who want to explore the field of psychological research in depth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology but they may also get into the field with a master’s degree. These programs may also prepare students to apply for positions in research and academia.

  1. What is a PhD in Psychology?
  2. How to get a PhD in Psychology?
  3. What can you do with a PhD in Psychology?
  4. Accreditation of Psychology Doctorate Programs
  5. What are your financial needs?

What is a PhD in Psychology

A PhD program generally takes 4 to 6 years to complete. In addition to a PhD, a relatively new doctoral degree has been introduced in psychology, the Psy.D. While a PhD is a research degree that includes an exam and a dissertation based on original research, the Psy.D. is a clinical degree program, which is generally based on practical work and an examinations rather than a dissertation.

How to get a PhD in Psychology?

Students who want to enroll in a PhD in psychology may need to hold a master’s degree but some programs may allow students to pursue this degree with a bachelor’s degree as well. Students who apply to highly competitive schools will have to have exceptional academic record. They may also have to provide GRE scores. Besides, candidates are required to submit their transcripts, application as well as a statement of purpose.

Having research experience can be a plus during the admission process.  Applicants should look for psychology research projects in the field of their interest. It is also important to pay due attention to the personal statement since the admissions committee is always keen to learn about the applicant’s  interests and objectives. Applicants need to make sure that their statement is well-written.  

A PhD in psychology includes 4 components:

  • Classroom-based coursework
  • In-person experiences
  • Comprehensive exams
  • A dissertation

Coursework includes instruction in a range of topics such as:

  • Adult Psychopathology
  • Statistics in Psychology
  • Theories of Development / Lifespan Development
  • Adult Assessment
  • Cognitive Psychology    

Students are required to engage in research and many of them develop clinical skills and learn how to combine their academic knowledge with practical experiences through research. An independent research dissertation is the primary objective of the PhD in psychology. Your dissertation must make an original contribution to psychological research and literature.  

Upon completion of the degree, you will learn how to plan, design and conduct research in the field of psychology. Additionally, you will also get a chance to acquire critical thinking skills and learn how to provide appropriate solutions to psychological challenges.

What can you do with a PhD in Psychology?

Before enrolling in a PhD in psychology or Psy.D. you must know where these programs may possibly lead you. A PhD program generally allows you to conduct research and find opportunities in academia while a Psy.D. degree is suitable for those of you who want to practice psychology.

According to the BLS, in 2012, psychologists held about 160,200 jobs and a large percentage of these professionals worked in educational services, healthcare and social assistance. Employed graduates generally hold the following job titles:

  • Instructor
  • Consultant
  • Dean of faculty
  • Program administrator/director
  • Researcher

Accreditation of Psychology Doctorate Programs

Accreditation simply means that a program fulfills certain standards of quality. It is a mark of quality, in short.  This is why before you enroll in a PhD program you must make sure that it is accredited. The American Psychological Association accredits graduate degree programs in psychology.

What are your financial needs?

PhD programs encourage students to apply for fellowship and research assistantship. However, to qualify for financial assistance, you must contact your school’s financial aid office for further assistance. The award package for eligible students may include:

  • A full tuition scholarship
  • Comprehensive health insurance
  • A stipend
Typically, funding is guaranteed for the entire duration of the degree. Besides, PhD students can also apply for external fellowships to fund their own research. Organizations such as The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health offer fellowships for PhD students. In addition, you can also explore merit-based scholarships as well as loans to finance your PhD program. 


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:My search on Doctoral in Psychology took me to Personal Biofeedback and Stress Management course. Can you brief me about it?

A:It is common to come across the reference of various courses and programs relevant to the field while going through search such as Doctoral In Psychology. Personal Biofeedback and Stress Management course is a part of various programs related to Psychology. In this course the students come across the study of behaviors stress and stress management.

Q:Are doctoral programs in psychology accredited?

A:Yes, a number of doctoral programs in psychology are accredited. These days, accreditation is of value to potential employers. Accreditation serves as a proof that certain quality standards are met while delivering degree instruments to students. Various state accreditation agencies offer accreditation to degree programs in psychology. It is good practice to check the accreditation status while enrolling into a psychology program.

Q:How much time would it take to complete online PhD programs in psychology?

A:Online PhD programs in psychology can take around four to six years to complete. They can even take more time depending on the pace of student. Students need to complete their coursework in the initial years and then the rest of the years are spent in research. Research begins once students have chosen their career path or area of specialization.

Q:How long does it take to get phd in psychology?

A:A phd in psychology is a post-graduate program and the highest level of education one can attain in this field. The duration can vary greatly, depending upon the institute and the program. Doctoral degrees typically take 5-8 years to be completed. Students pursuing part-time doctoral programs may take longer than the usual time.

Q:What can you do with a phd in psychology?

A:A PhD in psychology is an advanced doctoral degree which is intended for those individuals who seek to carry out research or work in academia in the field of psychology. This is the highest qualification within the field and as such, opens doors to top tier positions such as a program administrator or director, an instructor or teacher, dean of faculty, consultant, or researcher.

Q:What are the credit hours required for psychology PhD degree?

A:The credit hour requirement for a PhD will depend on which university you enroll in. The requirement can range between 60 and 90, or even more. You can check with prospective schools to learn about the credit requirements and how they can be earned. Browse through our page for more information.

Q:What are the admission requirements for a psychology phd?

A:To be eligible for admission into a PhD in psychology program, you need to meet certain requirements. These include a bachelor's or masters degree in psychology or a related field, entrance exam, transcripts, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. The admission requirements may vary from university to university. Check with the university's websites before you apply for a program.

Q:Can you tell me what a psychology PhD degree will include?

A:A PhD in psychology will include a number of courses that will help students build a thorough base of knowledge and skills. The curriculum may vary slightly from college to college, but will generally include topics such as introduction to psychology, psychological statistics, research methodologies, principles of behavioral neuroscience, psycho-biology, sensation and perception, and cognitive psychology.

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