Online PhD in Philosophy in Psychology

An accredited online PhD in philosophy in psychology program is ideal for those who enjoy helping people in emotional distress better their lives or cope with illness or trauma. An online doctorate in philosophy in psychology is a degree that aims to train doctoral-level students in consulting, teaching, and scientific research. Typically students in this program already have a psychology license and obtaining an online PhD in philosophy in psychology helps them take their knowledge further to gain an enhanced understanding of adult, social, and group psychology, along with advanced testing, statistical and research methodology. Individuals who earn an online philosophy in psychology PhD are often successful as higher education faculty, leaders in training or human resources, or in consulting or executive coach roles.

An online philosophy in psychology PhD program generally takes about five years to complete depending on a student's individual progress and enrollment status. Students will complete courses within the foundational areas of psychology as well as earn credit by conducting original research, internships, exams, and a dissertation. In order to continue participating in this type of program they likely will be required to maintain a certain GPA, achieve specific exam scores, complete required assignments, and actively participate in research.

About Online PhD Programs in Philosophy in Psychology

The best online doctoral programs in philosophy in psychology teach students how to construct and examine program designs, build and evaluate curriculum, act as a consultant for private industry or government entities, and create and perform research projects. Much of a program's coursework will focus on these aspects and enable students to develop the necessary skills and abilities associated with them. An online philosophy in psychology doctorate offers several areas of specialization—each with a highly unique course of study. Specialization options include the following: general psychology, coaching psychology, consultation psychology, school psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. Much of a student's additional coursework in a doctoral program can be determined by the specialization they choose to study.

Philosophy in psychology PhD programs online may differ from those offered on-campus when it comes to distribution and work load. Due to the nature of distance education, online students will receive instruction through technological means and may have a greater number of reading assignments and other projects. The following are examples of courses from Walden University that typically serve as the core curriculum for achieving online doctoral degrees in philosophy in psychology.

Year One:

  • History and Systems of Psychology. In this course you will learn about the historical background of psychology and counseling including aspects like behaviorism and psychoanalysis, along with contemporary perspectives like postmodernism and feminist psychology.
  • Lifespan Development. This course will teach you about development over the lifespan from infancy to adulthood, and how aging affects humans physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially.
  • Biopsychology. You will learn about the structure and functions of the nervous systems and how human behavior is affected by neurobiology, endocrinology, and physiology.

Year Two:

  • Cognitive Psychology. Along with general cognitive neuroscience, this course will educate you on the domains of cognitive psychology including the acquiring of information, memory and knowledge, language and understanding, thinking, and emotions.
  • Statistics 1. This course will allow you to understand basic descriptive and inferential statistics and the methods in which they are used within social science research.
  • Qualitative Analysis. In this course you will learn about the major traditions of qualitative research methodology and how they are used in research design and data collection and analysis.

Year Three:

  • Philosophical Foundations in Psychological Research. This course covers the ways that scientific discovery and explanation applies to psychology and other social sciences.
  • Research Design. After taking this course you will have a solid knowledge of psychological research and the design of qualitative, quantitative, and mix-method approaches involved.
  • Tests and Measurement. In this course you will learn about the types of tests used to conduct psychological research and the professional standards required in testing.

Year Four:

  • Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice. In this course you will learn about the history of professional codes of ethics and standards of practice in the field of psychology.
  • Psychology and Social Change. This course explores the theories of personal and social change, ways change impacts society, and the role of the psychologist as an agent of change.
  • Dissertation Research. While enrolled in dissertation courses you will go through the process of exploring an area of interest and completing a research study that results in a doctoral dissertation.

Most online doctoral programs in philosophy in psychology require students to pass a comprehensive exam after completing required coursework. The comprehensive exam may consist of both a written and oral exam which tests students on their overall knowledge of psychology and ability to apply this science in a professional environment. Students may be required to complete a practicum training program during their second or third year of the program in order to gain hand-on experience in the field. During their last few years in the program they will be required to complete a dissertation that consists of original research related to a relevant issue in the field of psychology. Here are a few dissertation titles from graduate psychology students at Tulane University: “Social Cognitive Mechanisms of Separation Anxiety Symptoms in Children”; “Attention Deficits in Youth With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”; and ” Acting ethically in the face of threat: The effect of identity and personality”.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Philosophy in Psychology

There is great value in an online PhD philosophy in psychology career wise. First, those with a doctoral degree are more likely to obtain a job within the field as this credential is typically required for independent practice as a psychologist as well as in clinical positions or jobs at private practices. Second, this degree program will give you a broad understanding of this social science as it touches on various area specialties, which can give you more versatility in the job market. The disadvantage to the broadness of an online PhD in philosophy in psychology is that its generality may make it harder to define your expertise in the field of psychology as there is no clear area of specialization. The upside to this is that there are many online PhD programs in philosophy in psychology that offer specialization options allowing you to focus some of your coursework in a particular area. Also, given the nature of online education, these types of programs allow students to pursue an education while remaining employed. Therefore, students also have the ability to gain useful work experience within an area of psychology so that they can focus on a specialization and further define their career goals.

Application & Admission Requirements

A master's degree in virtually any area of psychology will position candidates for online doctorate degrees in philosophy in psychology. Additionally, an M.S.W. (Master of Social Work) serves as a great foundation, and an M.A. in counseling also provides a good starting point for online PhD programs in philosophy in psychology. Some online doctoral programs in philosophy in psychology may require that applicants achieved at least a 3.0 grade point average in their Master’s studies. Although it may or may not be a requirement, professional experience in a relevant area is often preferred for doctoral programs. Those who enter the top online PhD philosophy in psychology programs are often licensed social workers, employee or vocational counselors, or work in some other form of human services. Applicants will need to submit a completed graduate school application as well as GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose that outlines their professional and educational aspirations.

Career Options & Job Market

The process of obtaining an online doctorate in philosophy in psychology is a lengthy and challenging one; however, many options await the graduate. While completing a philosophy in psychology PhD online generally requires at least five years, this training equips graduates to compete for academic jobs in colleges and universities, enter private practices, or work in businesses, organizations, or social/community agencies. Online doctoral degrees in philosophy in psychology offer a variety of career options for the student to choose from, including: coaching psychologist, consulting psychologist, school psychologist, or industrial/organizational psychologist.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists is projected to increase 12 percent by 2018 as there is a need for the type of services they provide in hospitals, mental health centers, schools, consulting firms, private companies, social service agencies, and substance abuse treatment clinics. Given the range of organizations that utilize psychologists, those with online PhD degrees in philosophy in psychology can expect positive job prospects.

Where to Find Information

  • The American Counseling Organization: Psychology students looking to pursue a career in counseling should take a look at this Web site for relevant resources, blogs, news and academic information concerning the counseling profession.
  • APS News: The Association of Psychological Sciences is a great resource for any students wanting to read up on the newest research and learn about the latest findings within the field of psychology. On this page you can access a variety of press releases, blogs, headlines, and podcasts.
  • American Psychological Association of Graduate Students: Grad students can look to this association to learn about relevant education and training issues, legislative developments, and potential changes in the field. Those who decide to join will become a part of the largest group of organized graduate psychology students in the world.
  • Succeeding in Graduate School: The Psychology Graduate Applicant's Portal is a site that provides a wealth of information for grad school applicants. On this page you will find resources that will aid you in your educational journey including links, books, and articles with information about graduate school and psychology careers.

How to Get Funding

The amount you must pay for philosophy in psychology doctorate degrees online can vary from one from one institution to the next as each sets its tuition and fees according to program costs. For example, the PhD in philosophy in psychology program at Capella University charges students $470 per quarter credit hour. With a minimum requirement for the program being 120 quarter credit hours, at the very least students will be paying $56,400 in tuition costs. The good news is that most students do not end up paying the full cost of the program from their own bank account as there are many funding opportunities out there.

  • Grant Writing Tips for Graduate Students. Receive grants can greatly lessen your financial load when it comes to graduate research. This article from The Association of Psychological Science will inform you about the process and preparation involved in grant writing so that you will have the best chance of securing funding for your next project.
  • American Psychological Association Awards. The APA and affiliate organizations offer a variety of grants, scholarships, and awards which are available to students who are enrolled in programs for psychological practice and research. Use this search engine to find funding by award topic area, recipient type, sponsor types, and award type.
  • APF/COGDOP Graduate Research Scholarships. The American Psychological Foundation and the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology award 13 annual scholarships for students conducting graduate research. Visit this site for more information on eligibility and requirements.

Essential Advice

  • It's important to find an area of psychology that you are interested in as most philosophy in psychology doctorate degrees online offer specializations for students who wish to focus their studies. This not only provides them with a concentration area in which to conduct research, but allows them to gain expertise within that specialization which can greatly improve their career outlook. Common areas of specialization are educational psychology, clinical psychology, consultation psychology, and organizational psychology.
  • As an undergraduate student take a variety of psychology courses as it is important to have a foundational knowledge of this social science and a balanced educational background. Also make an extra effort to participate in research opportunities with graduate students and faculty members. Not only will this help you to familiarize yourself with research methods but the hands-on experience will look great on your grad school application. Those with educational and research experience in the field of psychology will likely remain competitive when it comes to choosing applicants for a top online PhD in philosophy in psychology program.
  • Gain some practical experience within psychology, social work, or health services before enrolling in an online PhD in philosophy in psychology program. It's important to have a grasp on how psychology is applicable in real world situations and professional environments. This will also help you to decide whether or not taking your education to the next level is necessary to fulfill your career aspirations.