List of Online PhD in Social Psychology Programs

A lot of people wonder why others feel a need to conform. They want to know why there are mobs, and why these sometimes spiral out of control. They also want to find out why there continues to be such strong religious discrimination around the world, or why non-profit organizations continue to struggle to increase donations. These are just some of the many questions that social psychologists aim to answer.

A social psychologist is charged with studying human interaction. They are different from clinical psychologists, who work with individual patients. A social psychologist looks at trends and general features, trying to identify how different human beings relate to one another, without taking their unique idiosyncrasies into consideration. They look at everything involved in human interaction, from how two people relate to each other to how entire groups can communicate. Furthermore, they use the knowledge they gather through research to structure and manipulate so-called socio-psychological processes in an attempt to improve them.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social psychologists are likely to earn an average of around $74,030 per year, although this varies tremendously depending on where they work, how long they have been employed and what their level of education is. The BLS has also reported that the field itself will experience around 12% growth between now and 2022, which is on the national average. However, the economy is still recovering and this means there is a good chance this percentage will grow as well.

The projected growth is particularly true because there is a new emerging trend within the field of social psychology. There is now a strong demand for professionals who understand social psychology across today’s internet age. This pertains to a new generation of social psychologists who are very tech-savvy are looking into how people interact online on social networking sites and chat rooms, and they can identify and break through patterns in cyber bullying.

If you want to hold a doctorate degree in social psychology, it is likely that you will go to an on campus institution, through which you will become involved in various research projects to work towards your dissertation. In fact, there is currently only one school that offers an online doctorate program in social psychology, which does require some residency as well. One other school is also not quite delivered online, but much of the curriculum encompasses self-guided study, which can be completed online. Let’s take a look, therefore, at the two possible programs for those who wish to obtain a doctorate in social psychology online.

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1. Walden University

Walden University offers a PhD in Social Psychology – Fast Track (BS Entry) option. This program encourages students to conduct research on various important social issues, including group dynamics, interpersonal processes, attitudes and social cognition. Graduates will get a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology. This encourages them to become more knowledgeable on the various influence of social factors. Students are provided with sophisticated research methods and can become educators or researchers in higher education. Many graduates become consultants serving for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Additional Options

  • Social Psychology – Related MS Entry (PhD)
  • Social Psychology – BS Entry (PhD)
  • Social Psychology – Fast Track (MS Entry) (PhD)
  • Social Psychology – Related MS Entry (PhD)

The program takes a total of 106 quarter credits to complete, which are made up of:

  • 71 credits in core courses
  • 15 credits in elective courses
  • 20 credits for a dissertation
  • 4 four day Ph.D. residency sessions

Some of the core courses include topics such as:

  • Social cognition
  • Culture and psychology
  • Ethics and standards of psychology

The elective courses cover issues in Educational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, General Psychology, Health Psychology, or Organizational Psychology.

The program costs $67,610 to complete without any transfer credits.

To be admitted to the program, students must:

  • Provide their academic records.
  • Write a goal statement.
  • Have relevant work experience.
  • Hold a master’s degree at least.
  • Have at least three years of relevant academic or professional experience.

2. The New School for Social Research

The program offered by the New School for Social Research in New York is not a traditional online degree, but it is one that includes a lot of independent learning, much of which can be completed online. This degree program is most suitable for those who currently hold a bachelor’s degree, as the program starts by completing a master’s in general psychology, after which graduates concentrate in social psychology.

Students are expected to research broad socio-psychological areas including culture and cognition, political psychology, existential psychology, and close relationships. They investigate specific questions in these areas, such as conflict resolution in political disputes, dehumanization, essentialism and entitativity, sacred values, culture and norms of reciprocity, self-objectification, the origins of racial categories, interpersonal motivation, and immigration.

The program is made up of 60 total credits, 30 of which are for the master’s degree. Students must complete these credits within a ten year time period and they must hold a GPA of 3.7 in order to graduate.

To be admitted to the program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree (those with a relevant master’s may be accepted straight onto the Ph.D. pathway).

3. Liberty University

Students interested in a Ph.D. in Social Psychology can earn their degree online at Liberty University. This Ph.D. in Psychology – Social Psychology is a highly specialized degree that can help the student to envision large scale challenges of society and be a key part of devising practical solutions. (

Liberty University’s online Ph.D. in Social Psychology offers strong research training that will ready you for a career in academia and social psychology research. An online Ph.D. in this program is ideal for students who want to bring new human behavior knowledge to the field of social psychology and find ways to address pressing social issues. 

Learning objectives in this four-year program are: 

  • Learn how to apply psychological principles to large scale social thought and group psychology.
  • Master psychological writing and research techniques that will establish your work in human behavior studies. 
  • Complete your Ph.D. dissertation research during the program with mentorship from your psychology professors. 

Required courses for graduation are: 

  • Theories and Research in Social Psychology
  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Social Cognitive Development
  • Contemporary Topics in Social Psychology
  • Attitudes, Measurement and Change
  • Social Relationships
  • Social Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology of the Digital Age
  • Quantitative Research and Analysis

*Indicates school is a Featured Partner. Click here for disclosure on Featured Partners. 

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