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Students in online doctor of educational psychology programs learn about the best practices in learning that enable individuals to absorb, retain, and apply new information. There’s an express recognition of the complexity of the educational system and the no-size-fits-all characteristic of learning.
Doctoral programs in educational psychology are dynamic, too, meaning their underlying philosophy, curriculum, and learning outcomes change over time. The changes in policies, principles, and practices about education and mental health have a direct impact on educational psychology and school psychology.
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Every educational psychology program has a focus of study that enables students to apply their learning in diverse educational settings, from classrooms to corporations. Students study cognitive learning processes alongside emotional and social aspects of human development. Graduates have numerous career paths, too, from college professors and educational psychologists to training development managers.
Choosing an Online Educational Psychology online doctorate program shouldn’t be taken lightly! Here are the factors we considered in putting together the best graduate schools and programs offering doctoral degrees:
- Most, if not all, are structured as a hybrid distance learning program, with certain courses delivered online, and some clinical requirements accomplished on-campus,
- Emphasis on convenient classes and flexible schedules for adult learners or doctoral students, or candidates who are working professionals,
- Comprehensive coursework featuring the advanced principles and modern, ethical practices of Educational Psychology, with emphasis on research and/or application, equipping students with the tools they need to thrive in the industry,
- Faculty and teaching staff of highly trained and seasoned Educational Psychology professionals who are well-versed in the discipline,
- Highlights doctoral program affordability with financial aid and funding arrangements for qualified students,
- Student Assistance and Career Guidance Centers to help doctoral degree students navigate the program and consider their career options,
- Recognition from accrediting academic agencies
Visit our Methodology for more details on our college or doctorate program evaluation process.
The Best Online Doctor of Educational Psychology Degree Programs
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is home to a doctorate in Educational Psychology online program that can be completed in three years. Online students can enjoy a good work-life-studies balance because of their part-time program of study, too. Students prepare for successful careers as educational psychologists, school psychologists, and college professors, among other career paths.
Students learn about real-world applications of the technology used in the educational psychology field. Faculty members guide students in exploring the theories and practices in educational psychology that bridge the research-practice gap.
The online educational psychology doctorate program has a residency component. Students are required to participate in two on-campus residency sessions; special topics, including research methodologies and technologies, are discussed.
Students in the educational psychology online program also choose from concentrations in:
- K-12 Education Learning and Technology
- Higher Education Learning and Technology
- Instructional Design
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has already earned regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC) Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC).
The fully online EdD in Curriculum and Instruction – Educational Psychology program at Liberty University combines theoretical research and practical applications. Students explore human development in terms of learning and, thus, prepare for academic careers.
Note, however, that the doctorate in educational psychology program is a non-licensure program.
Students complete 54 credit hours to earn the doctorate in educational psychology online degree. The average time-to-completion is 2.5 years, and there’s no residency component. Students can transfer up to 50% credits of the doctorate degree total.
Liberty University uses an excellent online learning platform where students access their courses and interact with peers and professors. Students tackle specialized courses, including:
- Survey of Educational Research
- Theories and Research in Developmental Psychology
- Advanced Educational Psychology
- Motivation and Cognition in Learning
The well-rounded curriculum of the online educational psychology program covers the foundation of education, strategies for learner motivation, and advanced learning theory, too. Students can also tailor their doctorate degree through electives.
Liberty University, a private university, is a regionally accredited institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Wichita State University
Students complete 55 graduate hours to earn the online EdD in Educational Leadership – Educational Psychology degree offered by Wichita State University. There’s also the option of earning the Mentoring & Coaching Graduate Certificate, which will boost your professional credibility as a training development manager.
The online educational psychology program has a series of core courses followed by dissertation courses, including:
- Psychology of Leadership, Persuasion, and Influence
- Psychology of Language and Discourse Processes
- Research Methods and Analysis: Quantitative and Naturalistic
- Cognition and Instruction
- Special Problems in Administration
Students can also customize their Doctor of Educational Psychology online degree through electives. There’s a strong emphasis on advanced research methods and analytics. Students in the doctorate in educational psychology program can also participate in ongoing research projects led by faculty members.
Admission into the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program requires a master’s degree, letters of recommendation, and a current resume. A sample of academic writing along with a statement of career goals is required.
Wichita State University, a public research university, has active accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The online Ph.D. in Education – Educational Psychology Specialization program at Regent University covers diverse topics to prepare students and candidates for careers in academia and other industries. Students not only strengthen their foundations of theory in education but also their research skills and love for lifelong learning.
The educational psychology online program requires students to complete at least 67 credit hours. The required courses include:
- Advanced Human Learning and Motivational Development
- Collaborative Research
- Psychological Underpinnings of Learning
- Advanced Research Design and Analysis
- Regression and Correlation
Students must complete an acceptable research-based dissertation to complete the online doctorate degree requirements. Graduates who earn online educational psychology degrees possess advanced research and teaching skills.
Regent University, a private university, is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
California Coast University
The EdD in Educational Psychology program encourages students to challenge the current principles and practices in the educational psychology field. As a result, graduates have more opportunities to become movers and shakers, as well as leaders in the profession.
The educational psychology online program features asynchronous classes and a self-paced program of study. Students also benefit from the combination of affordable tuition and interest-free installment payment plans.
Graduates of the online educational psychology program possess strong foundations in the development of conducive environments that foster student success in various educational settings. Their skill sets also include the conduct of advanced educational research projects.
Applicants must have 3-5 years of education-related professional experience, a master’s degree, and a writing sample. Students in the online doctorate program must also pass a qualifying exam and a comprehensive exam. Students complete 66 credit hours, which include writing assignments and a dissertation.
California Coast University, a private for-profit online university, is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program at Capella University is designed for individuals interested in advancing their skill sets in education and research. Students conduct research in diverse areas and tackle topics in higher education instruction, instructional technology, and corporate training.
Students in the online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program complete 87 credit hours consisting of seven core courses, including:
- Learning Theories in Psychology
- Principles of Educational Psychology
- The Psychology of Teaching
- Principles of Instructional Design
There are also nine specialized courses and three seminars on doctoral project development. Students must pass a comprehensive exam and submit an approved dissertation.
Graduates demonstrate the professional-level capacity to design and conduct research into diverse educational psychology issues. The online doctorate degree program enables graduates to earn the degree with less student debt. Financial aid includes federal financial aid, the Capella Progress Reward, and employer and military discounts.
Applicants must have a master’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. GRE and GMAT scores aren’t required.
Capella University, a private for-profit online university, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Students pursuing the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology degree at Walden University learn psychometric tools with a focus on adult learners. The online doctorate degree program allows students to earn their degree in a shorter period – students with a master’s degree in a related field receive an automatic waiver of up to five courses.
The curriculum of the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program includes core courses along with a foundation course, research courses, and specialization courses. Students complete a doctoral dissertation with related courses, as well as participate in four residencies; the latter consists of four-day sessions.
The maximum time-to-completion is eight years. Walden has a Fast-Track option that allows students to complete additional courses. The core courses include:
- Teaching of Psychology
- Research Foundations
- Consulting for Organizational Change
Applicants to the online doctorate in educational psychology program may be admitted with either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in education, educational psychology, or another related field.
Walden University, a private for-profit online university owned by Adtalem Global Education, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Alliant International University
The doctorate in Educational Psychology program at Alliant International University is unique in this list because of its psychology-centric focus. The program of study emphasizes social justice and equity with practical applications in school counseling and other aspects of human development. Applicants must possess a certification or license in school psychology to be considered for admission.
Students complete 50 credits in the online doctorate degree program. Time-to-completion is two years or 11 terms.
The classes include developmental psychopathology, multicultural counseling, and psychopharmacology. Other courses are in:
- School, Family, and Community Relations
- Current Issues and Trends in Education
- Consultation and Program Evaluation
- Research Design
- Leadership Supervision
Graduates are eligible to teach at community colleges and four-year universities, among other educational psychology-related occupations. Admission into the online doctorate in educational psychology program requires compliance with academic and non-academic factors.
Alliant International University, a private for-profit university, features a large graduate student population and has regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC).
Michigan State University
The hybrid Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University enables students to enjoy on-campus experiences. Students in the partly online doctorate in educational psychology have plenty of research, socialization, and networking opportunities that will broaden their horizons.
The doctorate in Educational Psychology program, however, doesn’t offer guaranteed funding to its students. However, doctoral candidates may be eligible for research and teaching assistantships.
Students in the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program enroll in 1-2 courses every term (fall, spring, and summer). Time-to-completion is 5-6 years. Courses include:
- Proseminars in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology
- Educational Inquiry
- Quantitative Methods and Qualitative Methods
- Cognitive Development
- Motivation & Learning
Hybrid students tackle the same courses as their on-campus counterparts but use virtual technologies like Zoom. The courses may be in synchronous and asynchronous formats.
Michigan State University, a public land-grant research university, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Texas A&M University
The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program at Texas A&M University emphasizes the close relationship between human development and learning. Students develop a multidisciplinary perspective of the educational psychology field, from learning strategies to statistics.
Note that this is a partly online doctoral program. Between 50% and 85% of the student’s time is spent in an online learning format, while the rest is in face-to-face mode.
Students complete 90 credit hours to earn a doctorate in educational psychology degree. Courses include:
- Introduction to Educational Psychology
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Introduction to Human Cognition
The doctoral program can be completed in four to seven years. Admission into the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program doesn’t require foreign language credits. Students, however, must meet dissertation requirements. Incoming doctoral students choose between two tracks: Educational Track and Experimental Track.
Federal financial aid and other funding opportunities are available. Tuition rates vary for in-state and out-of-state students in the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program.
Texas A&M University, a public land-grant research university, is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Overview of Online Doctor of Educational Psychology Degree Programs
There are three major types of educational psychology programs. First, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology programs are designed for professionals who want to pursue advanced research and scholarship in specialized areas.
Doctoral candidates must submit exceptional dissertations that contribute to the body of knowledge in educational psychology. Professional researchers and college professors usually possess a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.
Second, the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Psychology programs emphasizes real-world applications of research studies in professional practice. The applications can be in the general field of psychology in the specialized educational psychology field. School counselors, administrators, and classroom teachers usually pursue the EdD in Educational Psychology degree.
Third, the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program also emphasizes practical applications of research studies in diverse settings like classrooms and clinics. School psychologists and training development managers are more likely to pursue the PsyD in Educational Psychology degree.
As a general rule, Ph.D. in Educational Psychology degree programs tend to have more rigorous academic standards than EdD and PsyD in Educational Psychology programs. Students in Ph.D. programs must possess advanced statistical and mathematical skills in the completion of their dissertations.
Doctoral candidates in EdD and PsyD programs apply their research studies to current issues that culminate in a thesis or a capstone project.
Doctorate programs in educational psychology have different time-to-completion periods, but the general rule is 4 to 5 years of full-time studies. But check the maximum completion period in the educational psychology program you’re interested in so you can plan accordingly. Most online programs have a maximum seven-year time-to-completion from the date of admission.
Part-time or full-time enrollment will have a direct effect on time to completion. Doctoral candidates must also be mindful of the pace of their dissertation completion.
Format, Curriculum, and Courses
The typical online educational psychology programs use a specific learning management system (LMS), such as Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas. Graduate students use the LMS to access learning materials, interact with their peers and professors, and submit their academic requirements.
Since earning a doctor of educational psychology degree means completion of research projects, online education emphasizes dissertation-related knowledge and skills. The research courses prepare students for the rigorous dissertation process.
Most Doctor of Educational Psychology programs require students to achieve satisfactory scores in three major exams, namely:
- Qualifying exam
- Preliminary exam where students demonstrate readiness for the dissertation process; and
- Final oral and written exam for dissertation presentation and defense
The sequential nature adds to the academic challenge of passing the core and specialized courses along with these exams.
The dissertation is a common requirement in Doctor of Educational Psychology programs, and it’s considered the most challenging aspect. As a culminating project to earn a doctoral degree, the dissertation must contribute to the fields of educational psychology, educational technology, or instructional design.
Students learn advanced dissertation skills via a series of courses, too. These courses cover the dissertation process, literature review, and annotated bibliography.
Students pursuing a doctoral degree in school psychology or educational psychology may also be required to undergo a practicum experience. Internships and assistantships may also be required, and many of these are paid experiences.
Check if the online doctorate in educational psychology program you’re interested in has a residency component, too. This can involve on-campus workshops, seminars, and conferences.
Educational psychology programs have different credit hour requirements depending on whether students are admitted with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. However, students complete between 40 and 70 credit hours in online courses, many of which are specialized courses.
- Contemporary Educational Psychology and Its Issues
- Adolescent Psychology
- Motivation in Education
- Integrating Technology in Learning Systems
Skills and Competencies Gained
Educational psychologists with extensive education, including a doctoral degree and work experience, develop their skill sets that contribute to their professional success.
- Psychological assessment using psychometric tools like Wechsler assessment scales, BRIEF Inventory, and ABAS Scales
- Database management
- Academic and learning interventions
- Special education services
- Prevention and intervention services
- Professional ethics and law
- Instructional support
- Crisis preparedness, response, and recovery
- Communication skills, both written and oral
- Public speaking
- Empathy and compassion
- Attention to detail
Graduates of doctor of educational psychology programs possess the knowledge and skills to:
- Practice as an educational psychologist, school psychologist, or training development manager
- Conduct educational psychology research
- Teach school psychology or educational psychology in community colleges and four-year universities
- Design instructional plans and behavioral interventions for diverse individuals
Tuition and Financial Aid
The tuition fees and other charges in the online doctor of educational psychology programs widely vary. Public institutions generally have more affordable costs than their private counterparts. Online students must also be aware of technological fees and other charges that on-campus students aren’t required to pay.
The typical tuition fee for an online doctorate in educational psychology programs ranges from $400 to $1,400+ per credit hour.
Federal financial aid is available for doctoral students, too, and it’s one way of reducing tuition costs. Scholarships, grants, and assistantships are also viable tuition reduction options.
Licenses and Registrations
Educational psychologists must not only earn a doctor of educational psychology degree but may also be required to seek licensure. All states require school psychologists and educational psychologists with clinical practice to possess a license. The license requirements vary by state but supervised clinical experience, passing a national certification exam, and continuing education are common.
Educational psychologists work as researchers and consultants, too, for public and private institutions. In their case, a license isn’t necessary as long as they aren’t engaged in educational assessments and/or clinical practice. Educational consultants, training development specialists, and instructional designers fall under this category.
Board certification doesn’t exist yet for educational psychologists. However, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPBB) offers a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology. The certification requirements include a doctorate in psychology, educational psychology, or school psychology, passing a certification exam, and a current license.
Overview of Doctorate of Educational Psychology Prospects: Duties, Pay, and Career Advancement
Students pursuing a doctorate degree in educational psychology agree that it’s a challenging undertaking! Aside from academic rigor, doctorate degree programs require students to engage in high-level research projects. But the rewards are worth your while, too!
Roles and Responsibilities of Educational Psychology Professionals
In general, professionals in the field of educational psychology assess the learning needs and design appropriate learning interventions for individuals in diverse educational settings. These include K-12 students, professionals in the private and public sectors (e.g., corporations), and adult learners. Indeed, the diversity of career opportunities is an oft-cited reason for pursuing a doctorate degree in educational psychology!
In academic settings, educational psychologists perform these duties:
- Work with students with learning difficulties or disabilities
- Coordinate with classroom teachers and families to improve student learning outcomes
- Measure the student’s progress and design appropriate interventions
- Collaborate with other professionals to create education plans and programs
Average Salary, Job Outlook, and Potential for Career Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth rate for school psychologists is 10.4%, or 12,300 new jobs (2022-2032). Educational psychologists earn an average annual salary of $93,038 – or nearly twice as high as the average annual wage for all occupations.
The possible career paths include:
- School counselors who promote student success
- School psychologists
- Training and development managers who manage training budgets, among other responsibilities
Educational and school psychologists can find gainful employment in K-12 and post-secondary institutions, as well as in mental health centers, juvenile justice programs, and community-based facilities. Private practice is also a popular career path.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a PsyD degree equivalent to a PhD in Education program?
No, it is not. A Ph.D. degree is suitable for researchers, while a PsyD degree is best for clinical practitioners.
Are educational psychologists and school psychologists the same?
No. Educational psychologists are more concerned with education and learning. School psychologists are more focused on mental well-being.
Are educational psychologists allowed to diagnose learning disorders?
Yes, they are allowed to diagnose dyslexia, dyscalculia, and other learning disorders, but they must have a valid license. Training and development managers, however, aren’t allowed.
Is online education accepted by employers, clients, and other professionals?
Yes, online education is now widely recognized. But be sure to consider only accredited online Ph.D. and other doctoral programs.
- Earning a doctor of educational psychology degree boosts career advancement opportunities in academia, corporate training, and other occupations.
- Challenges in earning a doctorate degree in Psychology include academic rigor and dissertation completion.