Best Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology

by TBS Staff Writers

Updated September 27, 2022

reviewed by TBS Rankings Team
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Ph.D. in Educational Psychology

Whether you want to work with young people or adults, a Ph.D. in educational psychology will give you the practical and research skills to help you succeed. During a Ph.D. in educational psychology, doctoral students study theories of learning, lifespan development, and psychology research methods. Doctoral programs build strong research abilities while also focusing on practitioner skills required for psychologist careers. Degree-seekers specialize their education through focused coursework and research.

Educational psychologists work in careers that require a doctorate, like school psychologist or psychology professor. These fields offer above-average salaries and the opportunity to work with children and adults. With advanced training in educational psychology, professionals can also pursue opportunities in training and development, education, and research.

The American Psychological Association does not accredit any fully online psychology Ph.D. programs. However, several accredited programs are offered partially online, and those top online doctoral programs in educational psychology are the ones listed here, ranked alphabetically.

This article also covers program selection advice, common coursework and graduation requirements, and educational psychology career paths.

The Best Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology Programs

#1

Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The Ed.D. in educational psychology program at Regent University allows students to earn a doctorate in an online learning format. With flexible enrollment options, the private school helps degree-seekers complete their doctoral studies. Enrollees receive research support and participate in scholarly events.

In the online educational psychology program, learners complete doctoral coursework and strengthen advanced skills. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. With an educational psychology doctorate, graduates can work in academia, research positions, and leadership roles.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students can qualify for several forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program for more about financial aid and admission requirements.

Regent University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 9,507

Online Master's Programs: 37

Online Doctoral Programs: 12

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 29-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $15,552

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#2

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 13%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology enrolls online learners. With its flexible format, the private university makes doctoral studies more accessible. Doctoral students strengthen their research skills and present in academic conferences.

Learners complete doctoral coursework during the online educational psychology program. Doctoral candidates pass comprehensive examinations and conduct research for their dissertation. As the highest degree in educational psychology, the doctorate trains graduates for academic, research, and leadership careers.

Doctoral students can qualify for federal financial aid and fellowships at the accredited institution. Contact the counselor education program for more information about doctoral admission requirements.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 2,459

Online Master's Programs: 9

Online Doctoral Programs: 6

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $21,564

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#3

University of Georgia

School Information
Location Athens, Georgia
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Georgia offers an online Ed.S. in educational psychology for doctoral students. The public university provides flexible enrollment options for degree-seekers. Doctoral students strengthen their research skills and present in academic conferences.

Learners take doctoral classes during the educational psychology program. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates choose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. A doctorate in educational psychology trains graduates for roles in research, academia, and leadership.

The accredited institution meets federal requirements for financial aid support. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about financial aid opportunities and the admission process.

University of Georgia at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 5,389

Online Master's Programs: 16

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,878

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Best Online Doctorate

Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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Featured Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology Programs

What Is an Online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology?

A doctoral program in educational psychology provides advanced training in psychological methods, research, and practice. Graduate students study the process of human learning, including how we understand things, communicate new information to others, and create new knowledge. They conduct original research, write a dissertation, and complete an internship or practicum to prepare for roles in psychology practice.

During a doctoral program, educational psychology students strengthen their research and analytical skills. By blending the fields of psychology and education, graduate students build the skills required for career paths in psychology, research, and education. For example, a doctorate meets the requirements for academic roles, such as psychology professor. Graduates can also work in research, training and development, school psychology, and instructional development.

Earning a doctorate requires a significant investment of both time and money. Before considering a doctorate in educational psychology, prospective students should make sure they meet admission requirements.

Some Ph.D. in educational psychology programs require a master's degree for admission, while others admit applicants with a bachelor's degree. Programs may expect candidates to have a psychology degree or meet course prerequisite requirements to enter the program. Applicants with a master's degree may qualify for a fast track within their doctoral program. Admission requirements often include a minimum GPA and standardized test scores.

Choosing an Online Doctoral Educational Psychology Program

Finding the right educational psychology program will affect a doctoral student's education and career opportunities. Prospective applicants should carefully research their options to ensure they make the right choice. Factors such as cost, program length, and delivery format can help applicants narrow their options and find a good fit for their schedule and academic needs.

Applicants should consider questions like: Does the program offer specializations in the their area of interest? Does the program emphasize practice, research, or both? What options will doctoral students have for faculty advisors? Considering these issues will help doctoral students find the program that best meets their needs.

Accreditation for Online Educational Psychology Degree Programs

Prospective applicants should always choose an accredited educational psychology program. Regionally accredited schools and programs meet the highest standards for educating students in psychology. Accredited universities can also distribute federal financial aid to students, and they are more likely to transfer credits from other accredited institutions.

Many psychology careers require an accredited degree. For example, licensed psychologists must attend a psychology doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) to apply for a license. The APA does not currently accredit any fully online doctoral psychology programs, though several accredited programs offer coursework partially online. Learn more about why accreditation matters in our accreditation guide.

What Else Can I Expect From a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology Program?

An educational psychology degree emphasizes research and analytical skills. During a doctorate in educational psychology, graduate students take courses in human development, theories of learning, and the instructional process. They design and implement research studies and analyze the results to write a dissertation.

Doctoral candidates focus their training through specialized courses in areas like educational technology, the psychology of motivation, and instructional design. Many programs also incorporate practicum requirements, which provide experience in educational psychology for doctoral candidates considering careers in psychology practice.

This section introduces common educational psychology courses and the requirements for earning a doctorate.

Common Courses for an Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology Program?

Earning a Ph.D. in educational psychology online usually takes 3-7 years, but this can vary depending on a few factors.

The first stage in earning your doctoral degree is completing required coursework. Students often take these classes as part of a cohort, meaning they learn alongside their peers as they progress through the program together. However, some programs may be self-paced, allowing students to proceed at their own speed. Most full-time students finish their coursework in 2-3 years.

The second stage of earning a psychology doctoral degree is completing a dissertation. Generally speaking, students work with a faculty advisor on their dissertations, but they do the majority of their research and writing independently and at their own pace. When finished, students defend their dissertation in front of a faculty committee. Most full-time students complete the dissertation process in 1-4 years.

Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology Degree

The first step toward earning an educational psychology Ph.D. online is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA connects eligible students with various kinds of financial support, including grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.

Students do not need to pay back federal grants or work-study wages, but they do need to repay loans. However, federal loans have relatively low interest rates, and the federal government may also forgive all or a portion of a loan if a student works in public service for a set period of time.

Many states and private organizations offer scholarships to students based on academic achievement, community service, or financial need. Teachers looking to transition to a career as an educational psychologist may also qualify for discounted tuition or tuition reimbursement, depending on the program and their employer.

Finally, students can apply for private student loans. While these loans can be helpful in financing a part of the total cost of education, students should avoid taking out private loans to cover the majority of their tuition and other expenses. Private loans typically have higher interest rates than federal loans, and private loan organizations usually do not forgive loans for public service.

Educational Psychology Jobs

A Ph.D. in educational psychology prepares graduates for a variety of careers. While many work directly in the field of educational psychology as researchers or academics, a doctorate can also lead to opportunities as a training and development manager, school psychologist, or student development director. Educational psychologists can also work in private practice or pursue roles in instructional design, educational coordination, or counseling.

Learn more about the job description, median salary, and job outlook for common educational psychology jobs below, and then check out our page on careers with a psychology degree.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers oversee the development of an organization's human resources. They conduct assessments to determine training needs, design programs to meet those needs, and manage training and development specialists. They also evaluate programs and instructors, manage training budgets, and update current training programs. A background in educational psychology helps training and development managers create programs and instructional methods.

Median Salary: $113,350 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

School Psychologist

School psychologists use their understanding of human behavior to support student learning. They may help students address emotional problems, design and implement plans to boost a student's academic performance, or collaborate with teachers and administrators to develop broader teaching and learning strategies. Most school psychologists hold a doctoral degree, like an online educational psychology Ph.D.

Median Salary: $80,370 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 3%

Postsecondary Teacher in Psychology

Postsecondary teachers instruct and advise students at trade schools, colleges, and universities. They also conduct psychological research or write about topics in educational psychology. While a master's degree may be sufficient for jobs at community colleges, most professorial jobs require a doctoral degree.

Median Salary: $79,540 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 9%

Instructional Coordinators

Rather than working with individual students, instructional coordinators design, implement, and assess school curricula and teaching standards. Instructional coordinators often need an advanced degree, and online educational psychology Ph.D. programs can help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to create strong learning experiences for students.

Median Salary: $66,290 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 6%

School Counselor

School counselors support the academic and social-emotional development of students. They evaluate a student's abilities or aptitude through various assessments; work to address issues that affect school performance; and help administrators create programs and policies meant to curb bullying, drug use, or other problems. School counselors usually hold an advanced degree.

Median Salary: $57,040 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 8%

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

After earning an educational psychology Ph.D. online, some graduates may work exclusively with students who struggle with behavioral or mental health issues. These professionals often collaborate with schools and educational organizations, but they may also work at treatment centers or in private practice. These positions typically require an advanced degree.

Median Salary: $46,240 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 25%

Becoming a Educational Psychologist

What Do Educational Psychologists Do?

Educational psychologists research how people absorb new information and learn. They conduct research and work with children and adults to understand the process of educating people.

How Do You Become an Educational Psychologist?

Educational psychologists often hold a doctorate in their field, which meets the requirements for roles like school psychologist, educational psychologist, and psychology professor.

What Is the Difference Between School Psychology and Educational Psychology?

School psychologists focus their training on working with children, while educational psychologists work with adults and children. Educational psychologists also approach learning from a broader perspective.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become an Educational Psychologist?

Earning a Ph.D. in educational psychology typically takes at least three years, with many programs running over five years. Depending on the dissertation process, earning a Ph.D. can even take up to seven or eight years.

How Much Money Do Educational Psychologists Make?

According to PayScale, educational psychologists make over $75,000 per year on average. Similar roles, like school psychologist and psychology professor, may pay higher salaries.

Do You Need a Ph.D. to Be an Educational Psychologist?

Many advanced roles in educational psychology, including researcher and professor, require a doctorate, though some positions may hire candidates with a master's degree and relevant experience.

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