Psychology Programs

There are many psychology programs throughout the United States that provide excellent, comprehensive education for those who wish to enter into this very essential and necessary occupation. In order to become a licensed psychologist, regardless of the specialization, one must successfully complete a doctoral program in psychology. Acceptance into a psychology doctoral program is highly competitive, with many schools only accepting a small number of applicants each year.

One more thing worth briefly mentioning is the difference in the two different doctoral degrees that are offered in psychology. There is the older and more well-known Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, program that is usually seen as more of a research degree. There is also the newer Doctor of Psychology, or PsyD, program that has a strong emphasis in preparing students for professional practice with less of an emphasis on research.

The PhD has more weight in the academic world, but when it comes to clinical practice, both the PhD and the PsyD hold relatively the same weight. When researching potential doctoral programs, it is important that each person weigh both of these options and choose the one that fits the best for them.

Course of Study

A doctoral candidate in a psychology program studies mental processes and human behavior. They use and hone their observation skills, interpretation skills, and ability to predict human behavior. Research methods are a large component in many psychology PhD programs, which includes formulating theories and testing them out through the research process. Usually research is geared toward the study of patterns of behavior, but can also include studying thoughts, feelings, and emotions, when they can be studied in such a way that they can be measured.

While learning how to do effective research, future psychologists also learn how to administer different tests, such as personality tests, aptitude tests, intelligence tests, and performance tests. These different types of tests also provide a lot of insight into human behavior.

Types of Programs


The traditional type of doctoral program takes place on a college campus. However, with today’s rise in online colleges, there is also a rise in online programs. There are pros and cons to pursuing an online doctoral program in psychology. Some of the pros include the flexibility of the programs, ease of access to the web site, and array of programs and different specializations offered.

With the pros also come the cons, one of which is that most, if not all, online doctoral programs in psychology are not yet accredited, probably because they are relatively new. Another con is that because online programs are relatively new, there are fewer of them to choose from and people can still run into the occasional internet scam. One last con for online programs is that there is not as much financial aid available yet for online programs, so if financial aid is important to you, make sure you do your homework before signing up.

Putting the pros and cons aside, online programs can be a good investment if done wisely. Some of the more well-known online programs include:

Capella University

Capella University
Capella Tower
225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN 5540

This online university offers a wide variety of doctoral programs in psychology. Not only does it offer some PhD programs, it offers some PsyD programs as well.

The following is a list of doctoral programs in the mental health field offered by Capella University:

  • PhD – Addiction Psychology
  • PhD – Development Psychology
  • PhD – Educational Psychology
  • PhD – General Psycholgy
  • PhD – Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • PhD – Multidisciplinary Human Services
  • Doctor of Psychology – Clincal Psychology
  • Doctor of Psychology – School Psychology

The website offers not only descriptions of each degree, but also all of the information necessary to make a good decision about whether or not to enroll here, such as tuition and fees and even a guide about the university.

University of Phoenix

Online Campus
University of Phoenix
3157 E. Elwood St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

This online university, while one of the more popular ones, does not offer as wide a variety of doctoral programs in psychology. The University of Phoenix only offers one doctoral program in psychology: Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

The university, while not offering a wide variety of doctoral programs, offers a very informational website that even includes a list of the courses necessary for this degree.

Walden University

Walden University

This university offers a Phd in Psychology program with specializations in five different areas. These areas of specialization are:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology

The website is very comprehensive and offers in-depth information on each specialization and on the more general topics, such as tuition and fees and about the university in general.

These are three of the bigger online universities that offer doctoral programs in psychology. There are many more programs out there that offer the same doctoral programs; it is up to the individual to determine whether or not they are right for them.

On-Campus Programs

While there are some online programs that are definitely worth checking out, there are many, many more on-campus, or offline, doctoral programs in psychology available.

Many programs are accredited programs, which means that the American Psychological Association, or the APA, has looked at the program and found it to be of high quality and fitting with their standards of accreditation. There is a comprehensive list of APA accredited programs available on the American Psychological Association’s website.

There are four different lists of schools on the APA web site. The lists are:

  1. Accredited Programs in Counseling Psychology
  2. Accredited Programs in Clinical Psychology
  3. Accredited Programs in School Psychology
  4. Accredited Programs in Combined Professional-Scientific Psychology

While there are multiple pages of accredited schools listed on the American Psychological Association’s website and not all of them can be listed in the content of this article, here are just a few to give an idea of the choices out there. For a complete comprehensive list of accredited programs, visit the American Psychological Association’s web site.

Pennsylvania State University

Department of Psychology
111 Moore Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-865-9514
FAX: 814-865-9516

The Department of Psychology at Penn State University offers five different PhD program areas and two program initiatives.

Five Areas:

  • Clinical (Adult and Child)
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Industrial/Organizational
  • Social

Program Initiatives:

  • Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN)
  • Dual Degree Program in Psychology and Women’s Studies

The Psychology Department’s website will give more detailed information about these programs if they are of any interest. The website also offers more information on the school itself, the programs that are offered, admissions requirements, and much more.

Florida State University

Department of Psychology
1107 W. Call Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4301
Phone:(850) 644-2040
Fax:(850) 644-7739

The Department of Psychology at Florida State University offers five different doctoral programs. They are:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology

They also offer an applied Masters Degree in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis at one of the satellite campuses. The Psychology Department offers a wealth of information on their graduate programs and is definitely worth a visit if this school is of interest to you.

University of Washington

Department of Psychology
Box 351525
Seattle WA 98195-1525
Telephone: (206) 543-2640
Fax: (206) 685-3157

The Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA offers a wide array of areas of doctoral study. These are:

Department Areas

  • Animal Behavior
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Child Clinical
  • Cognition and Perception
  • Developmental
  • Social and Personality
  • Quantitative Psychology

Minors and Specializations

  • Quantitative Minor
  • Diversity Specialization

The website offers more information about each area of study and also about the school itself. This could be a possibility if you are interested in one of the areas of study that may not be available at another institution.

What Can You Do With a Doctoral Degree in Psychology?

Once someone obtains a doctorate in psychology, often depending on the specialization, they can obtain employment at any number of different places. Many psychologists either have their own private offices or work in private offices. Some work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities. Some others who have school psychology degrees can work in the school setting. Some even work in government or in the industrial settings. Also, by obtaining a PhD in Psychology, many are eligible to teach at colleges and universities or even carry out research projects.

Depending on what career path you decide to take, work hours may vary from a steady, 9-to-5 schedule to doing swing shifts. It all depends on the type of setting you work in.

Another consideration when looking for a job in this field is the pay rate. Different types of psychologists get different rates of pay. The average annual wages for a clinical, counseling, or school psychologist is around $64,000. The average annual wages for an industrial-organizational psychologist is around $77,000. Employment in the field of psychology is expected to increase in all areas of specialization, with the greatest increase in industrial-organizational psychologists at 26%.

There is a lot to think about and look through as you begin down the path of obtaining a doctoral degree in psychology. Not only will you have to choose the right program for you, but you will have to decide what type of psychology you want to specialize in and how that might affect your employment opportunities after you are finished with your degree.

Hopefully, this article has been helpful in pointing the way to the necessary resources that will help make the decisions easier. Getting a doctoral degree in any field, especially in psychology, is a lot of hard work and a huge time commitment, so it should be researched and decided on with care.

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3 Responses to “Psychology Programs”

    Interested in pursuing an online/on-campus Phd program in Developmental Psychology with emphasis on Reading in children

  2. Meenu Pandey

    I want to do online degree please give me advice

  3. james white

    interested in the counselling psych./psyd. programs

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