Best Online PhD in Cognitive Psychology Programs

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Capella University
Capella’s online PsyD in Clinical or School Psychology program is rich in support and engagement, highly interactive, and designed with your unique learning needs in mind. Online learning here is complemented with dynamic, in-person experiences.
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Grand Canyon University
GCU’s PhD programs in psychology are grounded in a Christian Worldview and expertly designed to help online adult learners achieve their academic and career goals.

According to the APA, cognitive psychology utilizes human learning and development principles, as well as cognitive processing, to overcome problematic behavior and emotional thinking. It uses these vital principles to help people live more productive lives.

Cognitive psychologists have an excellent grasp of applied behavior analysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, social learning theories, emotional processing theories, and information processing theories.

A Ph.D. in cognitive psychology investigates the vital cognitive processes and applies several theoretical perspectives to understanding these complex processes. Doctoral candidates in cognitive psychology often conduct basic and translational research to devise solutions for real-world issues, such as enhancing children’s reading comprehension.

Students in cognitive psychology develop expertise in quantitative methods and take courses in vital cognitive processes, such as decision making, dynamics, language, embodiment, natural language processing, perception and action, and neuroscience.

With a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, you may work in intelligence, research, computer science, speech synthesis, big data analysis, informatics, or telecommunications. The degree fully prepares you for any field that is based on cognition and technology.

Are you interested in earning your Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology online? Please review the available online programs below.

Schools on This Page

  • Grand Canyon University
  • George Mason University
  • Bircham International University

#1 Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers an online Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction. This doctoral program is intended to educate students who want to work with adult students in economically and culturally diverse communities.

Graduates will study how cognitive processes can affect and inform instructional methods. The coursework in this program covers topics that are important for building and analyzing needed learning outcomes, including assessments and social cognition.

Required courses in this four-year, accredited program are:

  • Introduction to Research
  • Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Theory
  • Foundations of Research 1 and 2
  • Behaviorism
  • Social Cognition
  • Cognition and Instruction
  • Designing a Qualitative Study

Many graduates of this program continue in their current jobs, but others seek new roles as teachers, researchers, professors, and government contractors.

*Visit Grand Canyon University

  • Institution type: Private, non-profit
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Degrees offered: Ph.D. in cognitive psychology
  • Expected total tuition: $41,700
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in psychology
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#2 George Mason University

George Mason University offers an online Ph.D. in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience that provides advanced knowledge of the essential areas of psychology and practical experience to apply this information to solve problems in relationships, work, and education.

Core courses cover information essential to doctoral in psychology training, including the biological, social, cognitive, and individual bases of behavior, as well as the long history of psychology in the US and across the world.

The program also focuses on the study of biological substrates of human behavior. Faculty study areas such as neural control of behavioral development; animal models of memory and learning; social brain systems involved in perception, human error, decision making, and movement; and the relation of neural activity to human performance.

Required courses are:

  • Biological Bases of Human Behavior
  • Social Bases of Behavior
  • Special Topics in Psychology
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Psychometric Methods
  • Developmental Assessment
  • Emotional Bases of Behavior

Total credits required for graduates range from 72 to 76. If you enter the program with a master’s, you can reduce the number of credits you take by up to 30, if approved by the dean.

  • Institution type: Public, non-profit
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Headquarters: Fairfax, Virginia
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Degrees offered: Ph.D. in cognitive psychology
  • Expected total tuition: $56,000
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in psychology
  • Visit school: Click here

#3 Bircham International University

Bircham International University offers a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology entirely online. This accredited, four-year program reviews the findings, methods, and controversies in cognitive neuroscience and psychology.

The program uses a comparative and developmental perspective to study brain evolution theories and human cognition by using information derived from young children and animals.

The Ph. D. program has 30 required for graduation, but other courses can be added if you are interested in additional specialties. A 70-page thesis paper is required for graduation that will be reviewed by the program’s academic committee. Several 30-page reports may also be required to complete all credits.

The student must defend their thesis in front of at least three members of the Bircham University Academic Network.

  • Institution type: Public, for-profit
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Headquarters: Madrid, Spain
  • Accreditation: United States Distance Learning Association
  • Degrees offered: Ph.D. in cognitive psychology
  • Expected total tuition: $12,240
  • Prerequisites: Master’s degree in psychology
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Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology Summary

Obtaining your Ph.D. in cognitive psychology can be an excellent way to enhance your career if you intend to work in academia, research, or private practice. Students interested in moving to the highest levels of the field with the best salary will find that this highly-respected degree is worth the time and effort.