Best Online PhD in Clinical Psychology Program Rankings

Earning a doctorate in clinical psychology, or a closely related specialization within the field, can often be the most important academic step toward a rewarding and challenging career in psychology.

While most Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in psychology don’t have any options for online education, there are a handful of Ph.D. in Psychology programs, including many that offer clinical specialization, that can be earned entirely or mostly online.

Let’s explore online Ph.D. in Psychology programs and learn more about what prospective students need to know about each one.

Schools On This Page

  • Capella University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Walden University
  • Northcentral University
  • Fielding Graduate University
  • Saybrook University
  • Regent University
  • University of the Cumberlands
  • Liberty University
  • Michigan State University

#1 Capella University

Most coursework for Capella’s general psychology Online Ph.D. can be completed online, and students will be required to complete about 12 days total of residency experiences over the course of their doctoral program, all of which are focused on the dissertation process. Six concentration areas are available.

Capella’s online Ph.D. may not meet the internship requirements in most states, so learners should be sure to consult the laws and regulations where they plan to practice before making any decisions.

*Visit Capella University

  • Institution type: Private, for-profit
  • Delivery method: Hybrid
  • Headquarters: Minneapolis
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Psychology
  • Possible concentrations: Ethics & Multicultural Issues in Psychology, Survey Construction & Administration, Multivariate Statistics: Theory & Application, Advanced Quantitative Analysis, Program Evaluation, Research in Psychology.
  • Expected total PhD tuition: Inquire
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree

#2 Walden University

Walden’s 100% online Ph.D. in Psychology allows students to choose from one of six specialty areas, making it ideal for those who have an interest in a particular psychology niche. The program also has a few options when it comes to previous experience. Students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related area can start right after completing their undergraduate, while those who have a master’s degree can cut some time off the total investment.

The program isn’t accredited by the American Psychological Association, so students hoping to earn state licensure may need to add a supervised internship experience before applying for licensure in their state.

*Visit Walden University

  • Institution type: Private, for-profit
  • Delivery method: 100% online
  • Headquarters: Minneapolis
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Psychology
  • Possible concentrations: Educational Psychology, Social Psychology, Health Psychology, Teaching in Psychology, Research in Psychology
  • Expected total PhD tuition: Inquire
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s entry and master’s entry

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

With several possible Ph.D. degrees that can be earned mostly online, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has some of the most robust online Ph.D. options. Most of the programs require some in-person experiences and internships, but degree options range from International Psychology to Organizational Leadership.

Most programs require students to have master’s degrees in psychology or related fields, but none of the school’s online Ph.D. programs are accredited by the APA, so students hoping to seek professional licensure will want to be sure they closely scrutinize all internship requirements in the states where they plan to practice.

*Visit The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Delivery method: Mixed (PhD in International Psychology can be earned mostly online, others require some in-person coursework)
  • Headquarters: Chicago
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in International Psychology, PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, PhD in Business Psychology, PhD in Organizational Leadership, PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Possible concentrations: Organizations & Systems, Trauma Services, Consulting, Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Expected total PhD tuition: Inquire
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in psychology or closely related field

Northcentral University

Northcentral University’s unique online Ph.D. options are ideal for students who don’t want to wait until the start of a new school year to begin their doctoral journey. That’s because each learner is the center of their own education, and classes start every Monday.

Eight specializations are on offer, including in substance use disorders, gender, counseling and more. And while most tracks aren’t designed to lead to professional licensure, students can opt to take the California Licensure Track, which focuses on earning the state license for counseling.

*Visit Northcentral University

  • Institution type: Private, for-profit
  • Delivery method: Hybrid
  • Headquarters: San Diego
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Psychology
  • Possible concentrations: Addictions, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Mental Health Policy and Practice, Counseling Psychology, Psychology of Gender and Sexual Fluidity, Gerontology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Trauma and Disaster Relief, Counseling Psychology, California Licensure Track
  • Expected total PhD tuition:Inquire
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in psychology, counseling or related field

Fielding Graduate University

Fielding Graduate University offers one of the few Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs on our list that’s also accredited by the APA. While students will sacrifice an entirely online delivery, the added benefit of the APA’s seal of approval may be valuable for students who want to pursue professional licensure.

Most coursework is done online, but students will need to attend some in-person seminars and meetings in their region, in addition to weeklong residential sessions, research and clinical experiences.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Delivery method: Hybrid
  • Headquarters: Santa Barbara, California
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Possible concentrations: Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, Social Justice and Diversity, Neuropsychology
  • Expected total PhD tuition: $145,500
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s
  • Visit school: Click here

Saybrook University

With a combination of online coursework and in-person seminars, workshops and intensive experiences, Saybrook University’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is one of only a few that can be earned mostly online.

The program is not accredited by the APA, but the educational aspects are designed to meet the licensure standards in many states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Delivery method: Hybrid
  • Headquarters: Pasadena, California
  • Accreditation: Senior Commission of Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Expected total PhD tuition: $137,000
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in psychology or related field
  • Visit school: Click here

Regent University

Regent University’s online counseling psychology Ph.D. tracks are ideal for students who want an online psychology doctorate that’s grounded in the Christian faith tradition. Students can choose from a wide array of focus areas within their doctoral program, including addictions, grief, biblical counseling, life coaching and more.

Regent’s programs won’t meet the practicum experience requirements that most states have for professional licensure, but interested students should be sure to examine the rules in their state before making their final decisions.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Delivery method: 100% online
  • Headquarters: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Counseling & Psychological Studies
  • Possible concentrations: Addictions Counseling, Biblical Counseling, Grief Counseling, Human Services Counseling, Human Services for Student Affairs, International, Life Coaching, Marriage & Family Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Research, Trauma & Crisis Counseling
  • Expected total PhD tuition: $36,225
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in psychology, counseling or related field
  • Visit school: Click here

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands is home to an online Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision that offers three possible focus areas, addiction, counseling and leadership. The degree track does require in-person practicum experiences, making it a hybrid program.

While it’s not accredited by the APA, the inclusion of a supervised internship experience may be a boost in states where APA-accredited degrees aren’t the only types of doctoral degrees accepted for licensure.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Delivery method: Hybrid
  • Headquarters: Williamsburg, Kentucky
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision
  • Possible concentrations: Addiction, Advanced Counseling, Leadership
  • Expected total PhD tuition: $26,400
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in counseling or psychology
  • Visit school: Click here

Liberty University

Liberty University’s evangelical Christian tradition serves as the foundation of its entirely online Ph.D. in Psychology. Four concentration areas are available, including the popular and emerging fields of industrial-organizational and developmental psychology.

Optional on-campus intensives are offered for students with the ability to travel to Virginia, or who already live in the area, but the degree does not include an internship requirement. However, students will be able to contribute to research through their dissertations.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Delivery method: 100% online
  • Headquarters: Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Psychology
  • Possible concentrations: General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Social Psychology
  • Expected total PhD tuition: $39,970
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree
  • Visit school: Click here

Michigan State University

Michigan State’s Ph.D. in Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education is unique among Ph.D. programs at major research universities. That’s because the program is designed to offer an optional hybrid online/in-person delivery method that allows working professionals to complete a doctorate without giving up their careers.

The majority of the program’s work is done online, and students who are able to get the time away from their jobs and families can visit campus for a semester of face-to-face courses. While the program does not include an internship experience, it does require a dissertation, and the online program is designed to be completed in just five years. Michigan State’s educational psychology department is APA-accredited, but because the online Ph.D. does not include a practicum or internship, it may not fulfill educational requirements for licensure in some states.

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: Hybrid
  • Headquarters: East Lansing, Michigan
  • Accreditation: American Psychological Association
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education
  • Expected total PhD tuition: $60,000 (out-of-state)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in psychology or related field
  • Visit school: Click here

Conclusion

While the bulk of online Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology, as well as other specialties in the field, can be earned only through in-person, traditional coursework, the handful of programs that can be completed entirely or mostly online gives students who require the flexibility at least a few options that may be right for them.

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