Capella University Psychology PsyD & PhD Review

Capella University is a regionally accredited, online institution that offers an online Ph.D. in psychology, as well as a Psy.D. in psychology. The Ph.D. in psychology offered by the Harold Abel School of Psychology, and it features a unique structure that helps students to remove some of the roadblocks from their educational journey, through the program structure, faculty and support team and many online resources. Students start their dissertation in the first year, and this helps them to complete the project on time and in the highest level of quality possible. (

Favorite Features

The doctoral program offers several specialties

Many professionals who want to enter psychology practice, research or academia have specific career goals and interests. Capella University offers the following specialties with the Ph.D:

  • General psychology
  • Behavior analysis
  • Developmental psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Industrial/organizational psychology

For people who want to have a role as part time or full time faculty; program director; consultant or dean of faculty, the general psychology track is the best option.

Students start their dissertation at the beginning of the program

The approach of Capella is different from other online programs. You are required to start early on with your dissertation. This helps you to generate educational momentum and to produce the best original research work possible.

Below are some of the faculty and support available to support you in the dissertation process:

  • Faculty are available daily to provide you dissertation feedback
  • Academic advisors will support you during this process and in your overall academic development
  • Writing coaches provide strategies to help you to develop an area where you can write a successful dissertation
  • Mentors: Dissertation experts who help you to navigate your overall experience at Capella

Ph.D. program offers two flexible options to complete the program

The first way you can complete the Ph.D. is with what Capella calls Guidedpath. This is their original learning format that provides you with a structured and flexible way to earn the degree. It features weekly, pre-set deadlines and group discussions with other students

The other option is Flexpath. This is an entirely self-paced learning format that puts your educational process in your hands. You can finish a course on your own at your own time and pace and move on to the next when you are ready.

These two different ways to earn a degree can truly be a major benefit for different styles of learning. If your schedule allows you to take classes in a fixed format with other students, the Guidedpath option is a good fit. If your schedule is more varied and you have the ability to produce good work on your own, Flexpath could be the answer.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The university holds an important accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, which is recognized by the US Department of Education as a major accreditation body. This accreditation means the entire university has met minimum standards of quality for its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

Affordable tuition for doctoral programs

The tuition for all doctoral programs at Capella ranges from $425 to $790, which is a reasonable amount for a doctoral degree.

Least Favorite Features

Capella University is a for profit, online university

For profit universities sometimes get a bad reputation for being ‘diploma mills,’ with many students taking on large debts and never earning their degrees. This is not always a fair presentation of reality. Many students graduate from Capella with their Ph.D. in psychology and go on to successful careers. Student surveys indicate the majority of alumni are satisfied with their Capella experience.

No program accreditation

Like many for profit, online universities, the Ph.D. program in psychology is not accredited by a major educational body. APA does not perform accreditation on online programs. So, it is debatable how valuable this degree will be to some employers in the field.

Also note that Capella University is unranked by major publications, such as US News and World Report.

Low overall graduation rate

According to, the overall graduation rate from Capella for all programs within six years is only 17%, which is one of the worst in the country. Be sure that you have the time and resources to graduate on time from your Ph.D. program. (

Also, the average retention rate for Capella freshmen is only 50%, which is well below the national average of 72%.

The Details

  • Year established: 1993
  • For profit
  • Based in Minneapolis, MN

Degrees offered

  • D. and Psy.D. in Psychology


  • General psychology
  • Behavior analysis
  • Developmental psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Industrial/organizational psychology


  • $410 to $796 per credit hour

Student Facts

  • 38,000+ online students
  • Average age: 39
  • 53 degree programs
  • 2 online learning formats
  • 88% of students attend part time
  • 50% students of color
  • 17% with military background
  • 88% of faculty have doctoral degrees
  • 78% female, 22% male
  • 75,694 alumni
  • 83,406 degrees awarded
  • 91% of alumni surveyed agree that Capella gave them flexibility to graduate on time
  • 90% of alumni are satisfied with their education
  • 91% of FlexPath students would attend the program again


  • About Capella University. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Psychology and Ph.D. Program. (n.d.). Retrieve from
  • Graduation and Retention Rates. (n.d.). Retrieved from