5+ Online PhD in Counseling Psychology Programs

If you have a professional and academic background in psychology, then you may want to consider advancing your career and education by completing a doctorate degree, which can either be a Ph.D. (research) or a Psy.D. (clinical practice). More and more students are interested in completing these types of degrees online, as it allows them to work and study at the same time.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the field of counseling psychology is set to grow significantly over the next ten years. Indeed, a projected growth of around 29%, which is well above the national average, is expected. This is particularly true for those wishing to offer counseling to families and couples.

An online doctorate degree in counseling psychology will provide graduates with a comprehensive and advanced understanding of the field of psychology in general and counseling in particular, as well as focus on research methods. Often, the programs only accept those students who already hold a master’s degree, although there are some exceptions. Furthermore, some professional experience is also required.

In most cases, the school will also have a number of on campus requirements. Some will want their students to complete a residency or an internship, for instance. The online coursework is delivered through online faculty mentoring and virtual classrooms. Additionally, various online learning tools will be provided, which students must use independently.

Below are what we believe to be the top 6 online doctorate in counseling psychology programs.

#1 Walden University

At Walden University, students are prepared to become licensed to work in independent counseling practice. The curriculum is based on strengths and focuses on the promotion of functional relationships and behaviors across a person’s lifespan. Graduates are able to encourage clients to use their own skills, as well as signposting them to other services. They can also provide them with the tools to address their own inner challenges. Furthermore, they can diagnose and treat a range of psychological conditions.

Visit Walden University

The course consists of 160 quarter credits, as such:

  • 116 credits in courses
  • 12 credits for the counseling practicum
  • 20 credits for a dissertation
  • 12 credits for an internship

Additionally, students must complete an academic year in residency and 4 four day sessions for a Ph.D. residency.

Some of the courses students must complete include:

  • Social psychology
  • Personality assessment
  • Psychology and social change

The total cost of the course without any transfer credits is $93,705.

To be admitted, students must:

  • Provide transcripts to prove academic record.
  • Write a goal statement.
  • Show relevant work experience.
  • Hold a master’s degree.
  • Have three years of professional or academic experience.

#2 Oregon State University

At Oregon State University, students can take part in a hybrid Ph.D. in Counseling course. This aims to prepare graduates who are advanced practitioners, counselor educators or clinical supervisors in academic and clinical settings. Students are expected to contribute to the profession of counseling through research, while also being aware of and addressing the way today’s communities have changed. As such, graduates are not just leaders but change advocates as well.

The program is accredited through CACREP.

The course is offered in an online and face to face hybrid format. This means that there are only two classes during each quarter, always on a Friday through Saturday block. These classes take place at the Wilsonville, OR campus, which is easily accessible for students from all over the country.

The course requires 150 credits to graduate, at a cost of $541 per credit. Some of the courses included in the program are:

  • Advanced theory and practice
  • Diversity and social justice
  • Counselor education

To be admitted to the program, students must:

  • Hold a master’s degree in a counseling related field.
  • Have professional, personal and/or academic experience in counseling.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 minimum.
  • Supply 3 letters of recommendation.
  • Submit a writing sample.
  • Successfully complete an interview.

#3 Keiser University

Keiser University offers a highly specialized counseling psychology degree, which is the Counselor Education and Supervision, PhD. The program has been designed to provide challenges to students through experiential activities and rigorous coursework. Students will learn about clinical treatment and intervention, clinical supervision and research. Graduates are ready to take on positions of leadership in counseling, modeling the highest ethics and standards of the profession.

The program is accredited through CACREP and consists of 60 post master’s semester credit hours. These include such topics as:

  • Counseling supervision
  • Psychometrics
  • Multicultural counseling and advocacy

To be admitted to the Ph.D., students must:

  • Hold a master’s degree in a counseling related field.
  • Submit GMAT/GRE scores.
  • Send transcripts.
  • Provide two letters of recommendation.
  • Write a formal resume.

#4 Amridge University

Like Keiser University, Amridge University offers a more specialized degree program, which is the PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy. The program focuses strongly on research and less on clinical practice, although that is certainly also an element.

This is a 60 semester hour program. It consists of courses that focus on the theories of family and marriage therapy, problems with abuse and addiction, human development, cultural diversity and a strong emphasis on research. The course is delivered in hybrid format, meaning that some on campus attendance will be required. However, much of the curriculum is delivered online.

To be admitted to the program, students must:

  • Provide transcripts.
  • Hold a master’s degree.
  • Submit a writing sample.
  • Complete an interview.

#5 Northcentral University

Just as at Amridge University, Northcentral University offers a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Unlike with Amridge University, however, this program is delivered fully online.

The program is accredited by COAMFTE and is 69 credits in length. It includes a number of specializations, being Child and Adolescent Therapy, Couple Therapy, General Family Therapy, Medical Family Therapy and Therapy with Military Families.

To be admitted to the program, students must have completed a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, or they must have their transcripts evaluated.

#6 Argosy University

At Argosy University, students can complete a Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology. This program has been designed to ensure graduates are able to apply research techniques to their professional position. Additionally, it develops true leaders and educators. The program takes between three and four years to complete and graduates generally find work in field such as research, consultancy or administration.

The program has been accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It consists of a range of different courses, including:

  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Advanced Academic Study and Writing
  • Ethics in Practice
  • Multicultural Issues in Counseling

To be admitted to the program, students must:

  • Hold a master’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 minimum.
  • Complete an interview.
  • Complete an English language test for non-native speakers.
  • Submit a goal statement.
  • Include a career summary in a professional resume.
  • Send in three letters of recommendation.
  • Send in all transcripts.


Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.


Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.