PhD in Counseling Psychology Online

Online Counseling Psychology PhD Programs offer graduate students a convenient option for earning an advanced degree. If you are working or cannot relocate, finding an APA-accredited online PhD program may make sense. Distance-learning usually means that your courses are available on a web platform, and you use digital research and library tools so you can study remotely, or from wherever you have Internet.

PhD Programs in Counseling Psychology

Meetings with faculty can also be done via web-based technology, and internships or externships may be coordinated through your graduate school at settings near your home. If you need the flexibility, are autonomous and eager to practice as a licensed psychologist[i], finding a PhD or PsyD program online may be advantageous.

Online Counseling Psychology PhD Programs : Basics

Depending on your personal requirements, there are accredited Online Counseling Psychology PhD and PsyD programs that either except students with a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree or both. There may be variance in the application process for doctoral candidates between schools, but here are some things you may be asked to provide:

  • Official school transcripts and prerequisite courses
  • GRE standardized test results
  • Payment
  • Current resume with contributions or work experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Interview process

What Do Online Psychology Doctorate Degrees Require?

Online Counseling Psychology PhD programs typically involve a combination or coursework, research and internships. Some programs may also entail a graduate teaching experience.[ii] The average length of a doctoral program can be about 5 years of full-time study. Some programs such as the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) are geared to those interested in research, teaching or a combination of both, which is why to obtain this

degree, students must research, write and present a dissertation based on original findings. Other programs such as the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) are oriented to students who prefer clinical practice and working with individuals, couples or groups. This type of program usually entails examinations and practicum as opposed to a dissertation.

DID YOU KNOW? Psychologists hold a doctoral degree such as a PhD or PsyD. They study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience.[iii] 

Potential Coursework and Degree Requirements of a PhD Counseling Psychology Online

Each Online Counseling Psychology PhD program is going to have unique features, and coursework, although there may be similarities in terms of program structure from required coursework to practicum, internship, research, then dissertation.

Potential PhD courses might include topics such as:

  • Statistics
  • Experimental procedures
  • Research methodology
  • Psychopathology
  • Interpersonal psychology
  • Ethics, laws governing counseling psychologists
  • Counseling skills
  • Developmental and child psychology

Finding the ‘Right’ Online Doctoral Degree in Counseling Psychology

Counseling Psychology is both a specific type of Psychology Degree as well as an umbrella for other types of Counseling doctoral degrees that may have their own licensing boards. It is important at this stage to fine tune your area of interest both in terms of potential career and because a doctoral degree involves a lot of dedicated work. Online Counseling Psychology PhD programs are available in specialized areas such as:

  • Online PhD in Art Therapy
  • Online PhD in Counseling and Therapy
  • Online Doctor of Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Online PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Online PhD in Substance Abuse Counseling

Furthermore, while the PhD and PsyD are the terminal Counseling Psychology Degree options, there are a few other doctorate degrees to consider outside of psychology that might be available in these other counseling related specializations:

Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology (EdD) An EdD in Counseling Psychology may be considered a professional teaching degree as programs focus more on applying knowledge than progressing it, and its focus on education and training make it a popular choice for those looking to teach or work in educational administration or for those who aspire to be a leader in administration in one particular area of specialization, such as the director of a chemical dependency counseling center. 

Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) For the graduate student who is keenly interested in working with couples or with families, either in private practice or as part of an agency, pursuing an online Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) degree may be the best option for you, as it will provide you with the tools to counsel these different groups; a DMFT takes the lens of viewing patients as individuals and as part of a group that can be analyzed scientifically to arrive at scientifically valid treatment methods.

The PhD in Counselor Education/Supervision This type of doctorate degree is based upon the premise that the best counseling organizations are built with a solid infrastructure and support systems. As the holder of a PhD in Counselor Education/Supervision, you will be taught to create those systems to potentially take on a leadership and supervisory role.

Accreditation : Accredited Counseling Psychology PhD Programs Online

Students interested in Online PsyD or PhD programs should take note that while the American Psychological Association does not accredit Bachelor’s or Master’s programs or schools, they are the national accrediting authority for professional education and training in psychology. The scope of their accreditation is for doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology, internship programs in professional psychology that are part of doctoral training, and postdoctoral residency programs that provide education and training in preparation for professional practice[iv].

List of Online Counseling Psychology Program Types

Program Specialization Common Focuses Degree Earned

Online PhD in Art Therapy

Psychotherapy and usage of art as a medium of holistic healing


Online PhD in Counseling and Therapy

Research methodology and academic skills or clinical pratice preparation


Online PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling

Counseling people with disabilities, mental health or addiction issues

Online PhD in Substance Abuse Counseling

Counseling victimes of abuse and addiction


Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology Online

Teaching counseling psychology, administration of programs


Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy

Counseling families and couples


The PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision

Administration and leadership of counseling organizations


Take the Next Step to an Online Counseling PhD

Earning an Online Counseling Psychology PhD may be an important step in the direction of your career; once licensed or certified, graduates may end up as Applied Behavior Science Specialists (ABSS), Chemical Dependency Therapists, Counseling Services Directors of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)[v]. If you are someone who wants to earn a doctorate degree but cannot make the commitment to a campus program, start reviewing sponsored program listings such as Online Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy- Child and Adolescent Therapy, Online Doctor of Psychology – Mental Health Administration or PhD in Psychology online. Make sure to request information from the prospective universities as they all have unique features and formats.

sources: [i] |[ii] |[iii] |[iv] |[v]


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