Applied psychologists are unique in that they deal with real-world problems that affect many people, rather than issues that affect the minds of individuals. Because of this focus, they are often found working on improving behavior within organizational contexts, such as how employees interact at work. They may work to reduce maladaptive behaviors, eliminate bullying amongst staff members, and help with integrating diverse cultures under the same roof.

A PhD in applied psychology qualifies the holder to supervise other psychologists on a team. It also brings the holder more respect, increasing the chances that his or her ideas will be listened to and acted on. In some states, a doctorate degree may also be required for a license to practice without supervision.

There are many options available for those who wish to earn their doctorate in applied psychology fully or primarily online. This article will serve as a guide to finding, applying to, and completing these online programs.

What Will I Learn in an Online Applied Psychology Doctorate Program?

Part of what you learn will depend on whether or not you’ve chosen to add a specific focus to your studies. This is possible at some universities, like the University of Massachusetts Lowell, but not all of them. The rest will cover core subjects, including:

  • Theories of Change in Applied Psychology
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods
  • Applied Cognitive Psychology
  • Community Applied Social Psychology
  • Fundamentals of Prevention Science
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Narrative Methods

Some of these courses are elective, and you may get to choose which ones you’ll take to fill out the credit hour requirement for classes directly related to psychology. Several other elective courses are also available at U Mass and other universities, but the required number of these is much lower.

You’ll also need to do a dissertation, and at some schools, you may have to write one or more qualifying papers before that point. At UMass and several other universities, there is also a requirement to submit three research papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Admissions Requirements for a Doctorate in Applied Psychology

Each university has its own admission requirements for its online doctorate program for applied psychology, so don’t be surprised if the one you choose has something unusual or unique. That said, some requirements are all but ubiquitous. These include:

  • An application
  • A fee
  • Official transcripts from prior university-level studies
  • A master’s degree in applied psychology or a closely-related field
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • A statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • A minimum GPA, either for an entire master’s degree program or just a few key courses

Many universities also require applicants to submit GRE scores, but there is a large number that does not.

Some schools are fairly picky about how documentation is submitted, and it’s safe to assume that they’ll consider whether these mandates are followed as part of the process. Others give no information at all about exactly how to provide information, in which case, you’ll need to contact their admissions office for the details.

List of Applied Psychology Doctorate Degree Programs

Find an online or campus-based Ph.D. or PsyD program in Applied Psychology today – our state-by-state listings make it easy to find a great program near you.

Jump to Your State Listings


301 Sparkman Dr
Huntsville, AL 35899
(256) 824-6120


102 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100
(970) 491-1101


1032 W. Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Lincoln Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901-4512
(618) 453-2121


1906 College Heights Blvd
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1000
(270) 745-0111



106 Warriner Hall
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
(989) 774-4000


5000 Holmes St.
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000

New York

365 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 817-7000

100 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
(516) 463-6600


PhD Programs
724 SW Harrison
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 725-3000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Joel Gill
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