Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology 2021

| TBS Staff

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As businesses seek to develop better processes and greater efficiency, organizational psychologists use tools and principles from psychology to improve communication and enhance working environments. An online Ph.D in organizational psychology blends the theoretical coursework of a traditional graduate psychology degree with applied theory. With positions available in fields like corporate communications and education, an online doctorate in organizational psychology prepares graduates to work with companies in just about every industry.

The Best Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Programs

Beulah Heights University true View School Profile Atlanta, GA Beulah Heights University is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).

Founded in 1918 as a Bible institution, BHU now offers a small selection of undergraduate and graduate degrees rooted in the Protestant tradition.

BHU offers a doctor of philosophy in organizational leadership in online and hybrid formats. The 60-credit program consists of foundation and research courses, core classes, and self-directed electives. Courses include biblical leadership, organizational development, and strategic planning.

To graduate, students must complete a doctoral comprehensive course and a thesis project, as well as maintain a GPA of 3.0 throughout the program.

Applicants must hold a master's degree and submit a reference form and a writing sample.

Concordia University-Chicago true View School Profile River Forest, IL 49% 69% 66% Concordia University Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1864 as a Lutheran teacher's school, CUC now enrolls more than 6,000 students across numerous graduate and undergraduate programs.

CUC offers both a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) and a doctor of education (EdD) with a specialization in organizational leadership. Both programs include courses in organizational change, policy analysis, and applied ethics and organizational leadership. Coursework may be completed online.

The EdD program requires 61 credits, while the Ph.D. program requires 67 and includes additional research courses. To graduate, both programs require the successful completion of a comprehensive exam and dissertation.

Applicants must submit official transcripts showing a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0, current GRE or MAT scores, and a writing sample. EdD applicants must demonstrate two years of teaching or administrative experience.

East Tennessee State University true View School Profile $$ Johnson City, TN 45% 46% 55% East Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1911 as a normal school for teachers, ETSU teaches more than 14,500 students each year.

ETSU offers an online doctor of education with specializations in school leadership or higher education leadership. Courses include leadership studies, quantitative and qualitative research, and theories of administration. Students also complete an internship in their area of specialization.

To graduate, students also complete a doctoral dissertation.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, a personal essay, and four recommendations.

Gardner-Webb University true View School Profile Boiling Springs, NC 53% 67% 49% Gardner-Webb University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1942, Gardner-Webb provides Christian education to more than 3,500 students each year.

Gardner-Webb offers a doctor of education in organizational leadership in a hybrid format. Courses include organizational behavior and theory, strategic leadership and management of global change, and policy development and business law. Each core course requires a relevant consultancy project or practicum to enhance concepts.

Applicants must hold a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate three years of work experience. The application requires official transcripts, three letters of reference, and MAT or GRE scores from the past five years.

Gonzaga University true View School Profile Spokane, WA 86% 46% 29% Gonzaga University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Founded in 1887, Gonzaga provides a Jesuit education to nearly 7,300 students across graduate and undergraduate programs each year.

Gonzaga offers a transdisciplinary doctor of philosophy in leadership studies for students from many different professions, including education. Courses include leadership and organizational theory, leadership and psychology, and the social construction of leadership.

Coursework takes place online, but students must also participate in several on-campus immersion experiences throughout the program.

To graduate, students must complete 60 credits and a dissertation.

Applicants must hold a master's degree and submit official transcripts, professional references, and a writing sample.

Governors State University View School Profile $$$ University Park, IL 60% 48% Governors State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1969, GSU teaches roughly 6,000 students across 85 academic programs each year.

GSU offers an online doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership with concentrations in higher education, social entrepreneurship, and superintendent preparation. Core courses include theory and ethics of leadership, communicating strategies for effective organizations, and change, diversity, and social issues.

To graduate, students must complete 60 credits, complete a capstone project, and pass a qualifying exam and oral defense. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program.

Applicants must hold a master's degree with a 3.0 GPA and submit GRE scores and three letters of recommendation.

Indiana Institute of Technology View School Profile Fort Wayne, IN 36% 67% 35% Indiana Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1930, Indiana Tech offers numerous associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees across 19 campuses and online.

Indiana Tech offers an online doctor of philosophy in global leadership with concentrations in organizational leadership, higher education administration, and business administration. Courses include leadership theory and research, communication in global and diverse contexts, and international organizational behavior and culture.

To graduate, students must successfully propose, complete, and defend a dissertation.

Applicants must hold a master's degree and submit official transcripts, an original essay, and a resume.

Johnson University View School Profile Knoxville, TN 63% 59% 36% Johnson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1893 as a Bible college, today JUTN offers more than 70 degrees across three locations and online.

JUTN offers an online doctor of philosophy in leadership studies with a concentration in organizational leadership. Courses include organizational studies and theory, intercultural behavior, and principles of research.

To graduate, students must prepare and defend an original dissertation.

Applicants must submit official transcripts showing a master's degree with a 3.0 GPA and three letters of reference, including one from a pastor. Applicants must also demonstrate their current Christian commitment.

Johnson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Northcentral University View School Profile San Diego, CA Northcentral University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

Founded in 1996, NCU offers online doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees as a part of the National University system.

NCU offers an online doctor of philosophy in organizational leadership where students receive one-on-one attention from faculty members. Courses include theory and practice of organizational leadership, communicating change, and executive leadership.

To graduate, students must complete a dissertation and maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the coursework.

Applicants must hold a master's degree. Either their master's or bachelor's degree must be in generalized business.

Nova Southeastern University View School Profile Fort Lauderdale, FL 50% 51% 47% Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1964, NSU offers numerous degree programs in online or hybrid formats.

NSU's doctor of education in organizational leadership takes place largely online with a yearly summer residency requirement. Courses include virtual and global leadership, change management, and emerging theories of organizational leadership.

To graduate, students must complete at least 55 credits as well as a dissertation or strategic research project.

Applicants must hold a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0 and submit two professional recommendations. The program does not require an entrance exam.

Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

University of Southern California View School Profile Los Angeles, CA 92% 29% 18% University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

One of the top research universities in the world, USC teaches a total of 46,000 students each year.

USC offers an online doctor of education in organizational change and leadership with annual immersion experiences in Los Angeles. Courses include framing organizational change and leadership, fundamentals of creativity, and using communication to facilitate change.

The program admits students with or without master's degrees. Those with a master's degree will earn advanced standing.

Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and at least six years of proven leadership experience.

University of the Cumberlands View School Profile Williamsburg, KY 33% 40% 85% University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1888, Cumberlands now enrolls more than 18,000 students across 40 fields of study.

Cumberlands offers a hybrid executive doctor of philosophy in leadership for those working in academic settings. Courses include leadership in theory and practice, learning in adulthood, and the change process. Students may also choose a specialty area in fields such as criminal justice, health science, or nursing.

To graduate, students must complete a theory-based dissertation.

Applicants must hold a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0.

Best Online Doctorate

Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines

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

The motto of is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:

The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
  • Public or private status
  • Acceptance rate
  • Retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • ACT/SAT requirements
  • Cost in-state / out of state
  • Undergrad, grad, or both offered
  • Region
  • State
  • City

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If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

Featured Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Programs

What to Expect From a Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Program?

Curriculum for an Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology

  • Organizational Psychology: This course prepares students to work with businesses to enhance work environments through the use of psychological principles. Topics include group dynamics, personality traits, and communication across organizational levels. Students examine multicultural issues in the workplace and develop strategies that promote conflict resolution and improved communication.
  • Psychopharmacology: In addition to examining the ethical and cultural issues surrounding psychopharmacology, this course covers the neurological effects of pharmaceutical use. Students explore side effects, drug interactions, and the various types of medication used to treat mental illnesses. This is an essential course for students planning any kind of clinical practice.
  • Psychophysiology: This course examines human behavior from a biological perspective. Students explore the relationship between the brain and behaviors, and acquire knowledge of neurological processes and biofeedback techniques. Students also interpret psychophysiological research and integrate it with theories of psychology. With an understanding of psychophysiology, students qualify for careers in clinical practice and research.
  • Research Methods: In this course, students interpret research in the field and develop their own research projects. The course emphasizes the use of appropriate statistical methods to analyze data. Students gain skills in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research design, which prepares them for careers in research and consultation.
  • Theories of Personality: This course familiarizes students with historical and contemporary theories of personality. Students examine modern approaches to psychotherapy and use theoretical knowledge to conceptualize human behavior. This course provides a foundation for advanced scientific inquiry and clinical practice, and online Psy.D programs often include it in their core curriculum.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology?

Students complete their Ph.D. in psychology online in approximately five years. Programs that require an internship typically take six years to complete while those that don't generally require only four years in school. Most programs consist of approximately 60 credits with the final credits of the program comprised of dissertation and fieldwork hours. Your completion time will also vary based on elective requirements and whether you enroll full-time or part-time.

Online doctoral programs in psychology may also vary in their program structure. While some programs allow students to earn their degree at their own pace, other programs use a cohort learning model. Cohort programs admit a select number of students once or twice a year, and follow a structured program schedule while advancing together as they earn their degree. Students in cohorts also benefit from deeper group interactions and interpersonal communication. Conversely, students enrolled in individually-paced programs follow a personalized plan of study and may take time off between semesters if necessary.

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Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Degrees

Accreditation ensures that schools provide a quality education by adhering to a set of accreditor-approved regulations and standards. The most common type of accreditation in the U.S. is regional. Regionally accredited schools emphasize a strong liberal arts foundation and are typically nonprofit private and public state-funded institutions. Conversely, nationally accredited schools are commonly for-profit colleges that provide vocational training. While both accreditation types are recognized by the Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), many universities only accept credits earned from regionally accredited schools. Additionally, schools may also acquire accreditation through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, an organization that specializes in the accreditation of online programs.

When selecting a graduate program, online psychology doctoral students should seek APA-accredited online Psy.D programs. The American Psychological Association's accreditation process ensures that psychology programs adequately prepare students for licensure while also providing quality assurance for consumers.

All accrediting agencies are recognized through the ED and CHEA. These organizations require accrediting bodies to engage in ongoing reviews in order to ensure that accreditors hold schools accountable for the standards stipulated in the accreditation process. Not only do the ED and CHEA serve in an oversight capacity, they also advocate for consumers through the enforcement of quality control regulations. Both the ED and CHEA operate databases that list all accredited schools and programs in the United States. Students may find these compilations helpful as they evaluate prospective online Psy.D programs.

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Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Graduates

Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Careers

Graduates with a Ph.D. in psychology online have several marketable skills that prepare them for careers in fields like psychology, education, corporate consultation, and administration. Psychologists and similar professionals often have the freedom to create their own work schedules, and nearly a quarter of psychologists are self-employed. Professionals employed in the following occupations rely on their skills in analysis, observation, and communication. They are effective problem solvers and rely on compassion and patience to help facilitate change.

true Psychologist $75,230 14%

Psychologists carry out different tasks depending on their speciality. Many psychologists work in clinical settings, helping clients overcome emotional difficulties and equipping them with tools to confront problems. Other job duties include conducting research, developing assessments, and supervising students and new professionals.

true Rehabilitation Counselors $34,670 13%

Rehabilitation Counselors are tasked with helping mentally, physically, and emotionally disabled clients become self-sustaining, rehabilitation counselors serve as therapists, advocates, and intermediaries. An advanced degree in counseling or psychology equips these professionals with skills needed for treatment planning, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the administration of assessments.

true Postsecondary Teachers $75,430 15%

Postsecondary Teachers earn an online doctorate in psychology allows professionals to teach at the graduate level. Postsecondary teachers instruct courses, provide student support, create lesson plans, and grade assignments. In addition to instructional responsibilities, postsecondary teachers help students develop a plan of study and often serve on dissertation committees.

true Postsecondary Education Administrators $90,760 10%

This occupation typically requires a master's in organizational psychology degree for career entry positions. A Ph.D. in psychology online allows professionals to advance to higher levels of college administration, which often include developing school policies, creating programs to assist students, and overseeing student organizations.

true Training and Development Specialist $59,020 11%

Training and Development Specialist Organizational Ph.D. psychology online programs prepare graduates for careers as training and development specialists. These professionals work with organizations to improve employee productivity and job satisfaction. They assess current employee practices, develop and implement training programs, and provide personalized support as employees acquire new skills.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Doctorate in Organizational Psychology Salary

Using data from PayScale, the table below lists salary trends for five careers commonly pursued by graduates with an online Ph.D. in psychology. All five of these careers feature entry level salaries above $50,000.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Entry-Level Employees Mid-Career Employees Late-Career Employees
Psychologist $74,066 $65,000 $80,000 $98,000
Clinical Psychologist $75,196 $69,000 $78,000 $94,000
Human Resources Consultant $70,888 $60,000 $74,000 $100,000
Postsecondary Professor $87,552 $60,000 $71,000 $99,000
Scientific Researcher $62,692 $51,000 $60,000 $93,000

Organizational Psychology Professional Organizations

Students pursuing their Psy.D online can enhance their education by joining a professional organization. These organizations allow students to network at professional conferences, access the latest scholarly publications, and feature job forums and continuing education programs. Additionally, Psy.D programs online often require students to secure liability insurance prior to completing an internship, and these organizations allow students to acquire that insurance at a reduced price.

The nation's leader among professional psychology organizations, the APA advances the psychology profession and the practical application of psychological tools in the daily lives of individuals around the world. Founded in 1947 with support from the APA, ABPP protects the public by ensuring that psychologists demonstrate clinical standards prior to licensure. In addition to certification, this organization hosts conferences and offers continuing education programs. SIOP provides several resources for industrial and organizational psychologists and educators. A division of the APA, this organization features a job forum, a publication database, and research grants.

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Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Organizational Psychology

Online Psy.D programs may seem expensive at first glance, but students can pursue a variety of financial aid opportunities to ease the burden of tuition. One of the most common ways students meet tuition costs is through federally funded programs. The Department of Education provides loans, work study programs, and grants for qualifying students. Students should take the initial step toward acquiring federal aid by completing the FAFSA, a free online application for federal student aid. Completing the FAFSA determines a student's eligibility for loans and other types of federal assistance.

When taking on student loans, students should select a federal loan before considering a private loan. Federal student loans feature low interest rates, deferment while in school, and income-based repayment plans that make them the best choice for students. Furthermore, professionals who meet certain employment requirements may be eligible for loan forgiveness. Teachers and other public service workers employed by the government or nonprofit organizations may receive full loan forgiveness.

In addition to federal aid, many organizations, schools, and private sponsors offer scholarships. These monetary gifts allow students to reduce their out-of-pocket costs without repaying a cent of the scholarship awarded. The American Psychological Association offers scholarships, grants, and research funding to psychology students.

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