A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest degree that a person can earn, and up until recently, it was the only doctoral level degree that was available in the field of psychology. Another type of degree, the Doctor of Psychology, has also been gaining more traction lately. Much like doctoral programs in other fields, the PhD in Psychology is more research-oriented, whereas the PsyD is more practice-oriented. Both of these different types of degree may be represented in the following article. There are a range of careers that you could pursue with this type of degree. You could open your own private practice, work as a licensed psychologist for a hospital or government agency, and more. While many of these positions can be obtained with a masters degree, those who go on to study at the doctoral level will have higher pay, see greater job demand, and have exponentially more room to grow. There may be other degree programs included in this ranking article that relate to the field of psychology, but do not result in either of the degrees specified above.
Choosing to continue your education to the doctorate level is a huge commitment. Because of the time and cost involved, it is especially important to make sure that you are choosing the perfect school. Most PhD candidates are around age 34, so it is very likely that people at that stage in their lives are already working professionals. That is why the often overlooked option of earning your doctorate online is a great one. Most of the programs in the field of psychology are presented in a hybrid format, but with that said, they come with limited on-campus requirements. This will help those of you who are already working in your field to maintain your job without too much disruption to your life and finances while you work towards your degree. Additionally, some of the work that you do may be applicable to your degree if there is a specific residency requirement. In the following article, we’ve ranked the top 20 best online doctoral programs in psychology to make the decision and selection process exponentially easier for those students that are ready to take the next step.
Each school on this list was scored out of a possible 200 points. We have scored all of the schools in the United States that offer online doctoral degree programs in psychology in a fully-online or partially-online format according to the following:
- 50%: Freshman Retention Rate and;
- 50%: Graduation Rate
To gather the information that was required to rank each of these schools, we used the school’s websites whenever possible. In cases where a school did not provide the information on their own site that was required by us, we used the databases of both U.S. News and World Report and of National Center for Education Statistics. These two percentages were added together to get the score for each institution, and then they were ranked out of 20 based on this score.
In any instance where two or more schools would have tied for a spot in this Top 20, the alphabetical ordering of their names was used as the tie-breaking criteria. We chose the two ranking criteria listed above because when both rates are considered, they are great demonstrators of student satisfaction as well as educational quality. A special note to go along with this ranking article is that due to some incomplete data, some schools may not be represented or may have ranked lower.
No for-profit colleges or universities were included in this ranking. Additionally, no school was given any preferential treatment and the methodology stated will allow anyone else to draw the same conclusion. This is to ensure that prospective students have an authentic basis upon which to make their decision.
20: Amridge University
Amridge University is a private university that holds its headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama. While it does have a physical campus, Amridge offers all of their degree programs entirely at a distance. It was founded in 1967 as the Alabama Christian School of Religion. It is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, and throughout its history, the primary function of the university was to prepare students to enter a life in ministry, particularly in Bible and Christian Counseling. The university has been through six name changes over the years, settling on its current title of Amridge University as recently as 2008. The university was one of the pioneering schools of the Distance Education Demonstration Program started by the Department of Education in 1999. Amridge University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Despite its small size, serving less than 600 students annually, the university is still comprised of four academic divisions, the College of Business and Leadership; the College of General Studies; the Turner School of Theology and; the School of Human Services. It is through the School of Human Services that the PhD in Professional Counseling and the PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy are offered. Both courses are 60 semester hours of work, and the time it takes to complete them is dependent on the student’s prior study at the masters level. These programs are delivered in a hybrid format, with some instruction taking place at the small campus in Montgomery in the computer labs. Additional licensure will need to be pursued before graduates enter a professional setting.
Amridge Website: http://www.amridgeuniversity.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 9%
Graduation Rate: 25%
Final Score: 34/200
19: Governors State University
Governors State University was founded in 1969 and received its first class of students in 1971. Often abbreviated as GSU, the university was one of the first to not offer grades, but competencies. It was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission in 1975 and has since adopted a more traditional approach to education. There are 5,819 students at GSU, pursuing degrees from the bachelors to doctoral levels. The programs are offered through four different colleges, which are the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business; the College of Education and; the College of Health and Human Services. While GSU doesn’t commonly rank in many publications, it boasts incredible campus sustainability efforts and diversity. Academically, the student to faculty ratio is just 13 to 1, and 90% of all of the teaching staff hold the highest degree in their respective fields.
The first doctoral program offered at GSU was added to the curriculum in 2007, in Physical Therapy, and now there are a total of four. The degree that we have ranked them for is a Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision. This degree would lead to a career as a school counselor or similar position at another organization. It was included because students will still delve into subjects such as counseling theory, advocacy, and more. The classes are presented in a blended format, requiring students to meet at the campus in University Park, Illinois regularly for some of the lessons. After the coursework is completed, students will be required to complete a capstone project as well.
GSU Website: http://www.govst.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 55%
Graduation Rate: N/A
Final Score: 55/200
18: Alaska Pacific University
Alaska Pacific University is a liberal arts college in Anchorage, Alaska. Due to the remote area, there are only 541 students. Despite that fact, less than a quarter of the student body participate in the distance learning opportunities available through the university. APU, as the school is generally called, was founded in 1957 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is the youngest institution with this affiliation. The university is also a member of the Eco League, which is a consortium of schools that have robust programs in the fields of Environmental Studies, and Psychology. APU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and awards degrees at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels. Some certificates are also available.
The Doctor of Psychology program was added to the curriculum in 2011, the same year that APU graduate Katy Lovegreen won the title of Miss Alaska. APU focuses strongly on active, self-directed learning, and this program is no exception. The majority of the coursework, totaling 80 credit hours overall, is presented in an online format. Every six weeks, students will have to meet on-campus for what APU describes as intensive instruction. The degree program is designed to take four years, and students are expected to work at a full-time pace through the duration of the program. The on-campus meetings are typically held on weekends and last for three full days. While this structure was implemented because of the geographical restrictions in Alaska, any student can take advantage. The program prepares students for licensure in-state, so there may be additional requirements based on where you live.
APU Website: https://www.alaskapacific.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 51%
Graduation Rate: 48%
Final Score: 99/200
17: Regent University
Regent University is a private Christian research university that was founded in 1977. When it opened, it was originally named the Christian Broadcasting Network University. It was founded by the same man that founded its namesake organization, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson. He remains a chancellor of the university today. In 1990, the name Regent University was adopted. The university’s inaugural class was only 77 students, and now there are 8,389 students in total. It is uncommon for schools to have a graduate student majority, but Regent does, with almost 5,000 of their students pursuing graduate degrees. The university offers degrees from the associates to doctoral levels primarily at a distance. 72% of students are enrolled solely in online courses. Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and holds specialized accreditation in a variety of areas. The doctoral programs we’ve ranked today are fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and have been since 2002.
Regent University offers three different programs. Students have the choice of a PhD in Counseling & Psychological Studies with a concentration in Research, a PhD in Counseling & Psychological Studies with a Clinical Concentration, or a PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision. Both Counseling & Psychological Studies programs are 100% online and can be completed anywhere there is an internet connection. The Counselor Education & Supervision program does require students to complete a residency in Virginia Beach, Virginia where the campus is located. That program is 66 credit hours. The other two psychology PhD programs are only 51 credit hours.
Regent Website: https://www.regent.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 30%
Final Score: 108/200
16: University of the Cumberlands
The University of the Cumberlands is a private college in Williamsburg, Kentucky. The main campus is less than 20 miles from the Daniel Boone National Forest and is home to the only place in the Western Hemisphere that a lunar rainbow can regularly be seen. The university is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and is a religious college, which is reflected in many of their policies. The university was founded as the Williamsburg Institute in 1889. It operated under that name until adopting Cumberland College in 1913. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and became the University of the Cumberlands in 2005. This is another graduate majority school, with over 4,000 of the 7,652 students studying at the graduate level. Of those graduate students, almost 80% of them are earning degrees purely through distance education. The first doctoral program, a Doctor of Education, was added to the curriculum in the fall of 2008.
The doctorate in psychology that is available at the University of the Cumberlands is a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. The program is offered strictly in a blended format, where students would have to meet on campus for one full weekend every month. The timeline through which the 73 credit hours is unique, but the degree can be completed in as little as four years with a full-time commitment. In addition to the executive weekend format detailed above, students will have to complete a three-year residency at the Northern Kentucky campus. This degree does lead to licensure in the state of Kentucky, but there may be additional requirements to gain licensure in other states. This degree program prepares students for work as psychotherapists, at schools, in government agencies, and more.
University of the Cumberlands Website: https://www.ucumberlands.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 43%
Final Score: 109/200
15: University of West Georgia
The University of West Georgia is a public university in Carrollton, Georgia. There are additional centers throughout Georgia, in the cities of Dalton, Newnan, and Rome. The University of West Georgia, or UWG, was founded in 1906 and is part of the University System of Georgia along with 27 other schools. It is comprised of the College of Science and Mathematics; the Richards College of Business; the School of Nursing; the College of Social Sciences; the College of Education; the College of Arts and Humanities and; the Honors College. The university as a whole is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and holds five specialized accreditations in certain programs. There are just over 13,000 students in attendance, who have the option to earn degrees at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels.
The majority of the graduate student population is enrolled only in distance-based courses. UWG’s psychology offerings are incredibly unique. There are just two universities in the nation that offer psychology programs with a humanistic and transpersonal focus. The first PhD in psychology was added in 2011, and since then the programs available have expanded. UWG has the most diverse student base in its psychology department, with many of the students hailing from Ivy League universities. Online, students can pursue another psychology related degree that isn’t specifically a psychology degree, and that is a Doctor of Education in Professional Counseling and Supervision. Other programs in psychology are offered in hybrid formats, but over half of the coursework would be completed traditionally.
UWG Website: https://www.westga.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 41%
Final Score: 113/200
14: Felician University
Felician University is a private Roman Catholic university based in Lodi, New Jersey; it operates a second location in Rutherford, New Jersey. In 1923, the school that would become Felician University opened its doors. It was called the Immaculate Conception Normal School, and it didn’t become an official teachers college until 1935. It continued to grow, becoming a junior college in the 1940’s. In the 60’s, the college was first allowed to confer associates degrees, and a nearby hospital implemented its nursing programs at the school as well; the name of Felician College was adopted. The college was accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 1974 and finally granted university status in 2015 which catalyzed the final change in title. Today, Felician University enrolls 2,014 students and confers degrees from the associates to doctoral levels, along with a variety of certificates.
Distance education is available to students at Felician University, but it isn’t widely popular, with only 30% of the student body taking advantage of the opportunity. The program offered at Felician University is predominantly traditional, though. It is a hybrid program, but over 50% of it is to be completed traditionally. The Doctorate of Counseling Psychology program is an 88 credit-hour program that will take around 5 years for students to complete. It is not currently endorsed by the American Psychological Association, but the entirety of the program has been designed according to the standards set forth by the APA. The program prepares students to actively work as psychologists in either private practice or a hospital setting. A primary focus of the program is to drive healthcare leaders of the future to create positive changes within communities using the foundation of their degree.
Felician University Website: https://www.felician.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 41%
Final Score: 125/200
13: University of North Florida
The University of North Florida is a public university that is based in Jacksonville, Florida. When it opened in 1972, it was only for juniors and seniors, but now the university accepts freshmen, and grants degrees at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels. There are almost 16,000 students at UNF, with the option to pursue 53 different undergraduate degrees and 28 graduate degrees through any one of the university’s five academic divisions. These divisions are the College of Arts and Sciences; the Coggin College of Business; the College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction; the College of Education and Human Services and; the Brooks College of Health. As a whole, the university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Out of almost 2,000 graduate students, a quarter of them are learning online.
UNF’s degree that has made this list is the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Psych-Mental Health degree program. The program’s coursework is available entirely online and consists of 53 credit hours. Students will have one face to face meeting per semester. With this degree, you can conduct therapy, prescribe psychiatric medications, manage long-term care for psychiatric patients, and more. As a PMHNP, you could work in a hospital, in private practice, a clinic setting, a school, and many more options. Students must possess appropriate licensure and a masters degree in order to enroll in this program. Licensure requirements will vary by state, and students don’t need to be licensed in the state of Florida in order to attend.
UNF Website: http://www.unf.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 54%
12: Liberty University
Liberty University is a huge private Christian research university that is headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia. The university consists of 17 schools and has a student body of 75,756 people. An impressive 83% of students are working towards their degrees entirely online at Liberty University, which is often shortened to just Liberty. It was founded in 1971 at Lynchburg Baptist College and quickly expanded. It was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges in 1980 which was just four years before it received its university status and took on its current name. Liberty University is the first institution of higher learning that 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, spoke at after his election. President George H.W. Bush was the first president to speak at Liberty’s commencement ceremony in 1990. Liberty offers over 500 degree programs for their students, and 289 of those programs are online.
Liberty’s online learning initiative is called LU Online and was kicked off in 2009. It has greatly surpassed the expectations that were outlined in the beginning, account for six times as many students as Liberty hosts on the 7,000-acre campus in Virginia. Liberty has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report along with many other publications. Related to psychology, Liberty offers a Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling with concentration options like Marriage and Family Counseling, Pastoral Counseling, and Traumatology. LU Online also hosts a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. Both of these programs’ coursework can be completed in as little as four years, and entirely at a distance. With that said, there are some on-campus intensives that are required but provided flexibly to all online students.
Liberty Website: http://www.liberty.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Final Score: 134/200
11: Lesley University
Lesley University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts; there are three campuses in Cambridge, the Brattle Campus, Doble Campus, and Porter Campus. It was founded in 1909 as the Lesley Normal School. It became a college, specifically Lesley College, in 1944 when it began conferring baccalaureate degrees. The second expansion of the curriculum came much faster, in just 1954, graduate degrees were added in the fields of art therapy, counseling, education, global studies, human services, and management. Lesley University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The university offers over 100 different degree programs at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels. Students can also earn professional certificates at the baccalaureate and masters levels.
20% of the 4,865 students at Lesley take at least one of their courses via the web, and less than 10% don’t report to campus at all. The degree that the university offers is a low-residency Doctor of Philosophy in Expressive Therapies. As a student in this program, you would have to complete a 3-week on-campus residency during the summer for three years, and the rest of your work would be done entirely at a distance, wherever that may be. This program is just 45 credit hours and can be completed in three years, leaving one year for you to complete your dissertation. After completing it, you would need to have one more face-to-face meeting in order to defend it in front of a faculty panel. This degree would allow you to work as an art therapist in private practice, through an agency, or anywhere else that you found your skills to be applicable.
Lesley Website: https://www.lesley.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 55%
Final Score: 135/200
10: Hampton University
Hampton University is a private historically black university in the city of Hampton, Virginia. It was founded as the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in 1868. After the close of the American Civil War, there was a need for freedmen to have access to education, which drove the university’s creation. The school is entirely nonsectarian despite the previous affiliation with the Presbyterian church and the American Missionary Association. Today, Hampton University is referred to as HU or Home By The Sea and serves 4,646 students. The university confers degrees at all levels from associates to doctorate in a variety of fields. There are a total of 46 baccalaureate programs, 23 masters programs, eight doctoral programs, and ten other programs that result in associates degrees or certificates. HU has consistently ranked among the top HBCUs in the nation by a variety of publications and has been named one of the best colleges in the state of Virginia by The Alumni Factor.
Hampton University is made up of the School of Engineering and Technology; the School of Pharmacy; the School of Business; the School of Education and Human Development; the School of Journalism and Communication; the School of Nursing; the School of Liberal Arts; the School of Science; the University College; the College of Virginia Beach and; the Graduate College. It is accredited as a whole by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Online students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. It is provided in an accelerated format, with each course lasting for 16 weeks, and the entire program spanning just over three years.
Hampton Website: http://www.hamptonu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 81%
Graduation Rate: 56%
Final Score: 136/200
9: Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University is a public research university in Lubbock, Texas; it is the flagship university of the Texas Tech University System. It is also the only school in the state that holds an undergraduate university, a law school, and a medical school. Usually just called Texas Tech, the university was founded in 1923. Settlers arrived in the late 1800’s, and the call for a college followed them shortly. It was originally slated to be a branch of Texas A&M University; however, the legislature made the call to open an entirely new university. The university has been coeducational since its inception, and the first enrollment was 914 students, which was a large turnout for the time. Now, Texas Tech is 36,551 strong and has tens of thousands of alumni living worldwide. Some incredible alumni include decorated astronauts, veterans, and athletes. Dr. Phil McGraw of the popular daytime talk show Dr. Phil also attended TTU. The university is also highly regarded for its research, among the few institutions to have received the distinction of “highest research activity” from the Carnegie Foundation.
The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and holds eight programmatic accreditations. One of those is from the American Psychological Association for the predoctoral internship programs at the university. The online option for those of you who want to pursue the highest education in the field is the PhD in Educational Psychology. The program is a hybrid program, featuring some traditional courses and some online courses, as well as week-long summer intensives each year. This is a research-oriented degree, and most people that hold this merit go on to work conducting research or teaching at universities all over the world. The program has a high academic focus and consists of 91 total credit hours.
Texas Tech Website: https://www.ttu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 60%
Final Score: 144/200
8: Oregon State University
Oregon State University is a public research university in Corvallis, Oregon. It is one of only three universities in the United States, alongside Penn State and Cornell that is a land-, sea-, space-, and sun-grant university. OSU offers over 200 degree programs to its 30,354 students. The university was founded in 1868 but has roots all the way back in 1856. Throughout history, OSU cycled through 11 different names and didn’t become the institution it is today until 1961. When it was first accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in 1924, it was operating under the name Oregon Agricultural College. OSU is a very distinctive institution in the state of Oregon, carrying more programs than any other school and having several unique distinctions. The programs in the field of forestry and agricultural sciences at Oregon State University rank 9th in the world.
Oregon State University has a robust selection of online degree programs. In the field of psychology, there is only one doctoral program online, and it is the PhD in Counseling, which is offered through the Oregon State University College of Education in conjunction with the OSU Ecampus. It is a hybrid program that requires students to appear on campus in Wilsonville, Oregon twice every quarter for just one weekend. The program starts in the summer and can be done in as little as three years. You will be able to complete your internship where you live through an approved organization. It is important to note that this program will not qualify you for additional licensure upon completing this degree, just masters level licensure as you will require a masters degree to apply.
Oregon State Website: http://oregonstate.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83%
Graduation Rate: 63%
Final Score: 146/200
7: Southern California Seminary
Southern California Seminary is a private Christian school in El Cajon, California. It is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission. It enrolls 240, with a substantial graduate majority of 167 students. A little less than half of those graduate students are earning a degree entirely online. Since its founding in 1946, the school has cycled through the names Linda Vista Baptist Bible College and Seminary, Southern California Bible College, San Diego Bible College and Seminary, Southern California Bible College, and Seminary, and then finally to Southern California Seminary in 2005. The final name change took place to more adequately emphasize on both its theology programs and its behavioral science programs. The mission, values, policies, and curriculum of the school are all strictly focused on its faith.
Southern California Seminary offers an online Doctor of Psychology Program. The coursework can be completed entirely online and your required practicum completed at an approved local site. The program consists of 66 credits and will take four years of full-time study to complete. It is clinically focused and prepares students to evaluate patients and create unique long-term psychotherapeutic treatment plans on a case by case basis. This knowledge can be applied in a variety of settings, such as a religious one, a government agency, private practice, and more. The course of study meets all requirements for graduates to obtain licensure in the state of California; however, based on the regulations where you live, additional steps may need to be taken to obtain such licensure.
Cal Southern Website: https://www.socalsem.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 100%
Graduation Rate: 50%
Final Score: 150/200
6: Andrews University
Andrews University is a private university in Berrien Springs, Michigan that is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was the first ever institution of higher education to be started by Seventh-day Adventists and is the flagship university of the Seventh-day Adventist school system. It was founded in 1874 as Battle Creek College. The name was changed to Emmanuel Missionary College in 1901. After the acquisition of Potomac University, the name Andrews University was adopted in 1960. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is made up of several colleges and schools. These are the School of Architecture & Interior Design; the College of Arts & Sciences; the School of Business Administration; the School of Distance Education & International Partnerships; the School of Education; the School of Health Professions; the College of Technology and; the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
Through the School of Graduate Studies, Andrews University offers a hybrid doctoral program in psychology, which is a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology. Students are only admitted for the Fall semester, but interviews take place during the first five months of the calendar year. The program typically takes four or five years; the first three years are when students complete their coursework, and the following one to two years are for their dissertation. Afterwards, students are required to complete 2000 hours of supervised fieldwork internship at an approved location. The program allows for specializations in the areas of Adult, Child/Family, Cultural Diversity, and Health Psychology, and students must choose one. This specialty will be closely followed with the course plan and will be the focal point of the dissertation they complete.
Andrews University Website: https://www.andrews.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Graduation Rate: 63%
Final Score: 150/200
5: Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university with several campuses spread out over the Phoenix metropolitan area. Commonly called ASU, this school is one of the largest by enrollment in the country. It has also been designated as a research university with the highest research activity according to the Carnegie Classifications of Higher Education. Staying on the cutting edge with research isn’t the only thing that ASU is concerned with, but staying on the academic forefront and creating new opportunities for students is a core value. Because of this, U.S. News & World Report has declared it the most innovative school in America for its third year running. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, with its oldest accreditation dating back to 1931; however, some campuses weren’t certified until as recently as 2006.
ASU Online offers a Doctor of Behavioral Health degree program. This degree path prepares students to work as Behavioral Health Consultants, Clinical Managers, and more. It is an 84 credit-hour program, and students will receive 30 credits towards the program if they possess a masters degree from a regionally accredited institution when admitted. There is a 400-hour clinical internship that is part of this program, which is only available to students if they are already licensed, or at least license-eligible in the state where the internship will take place. This program also features courses in entrepreneurship so that students who wish to move on to private practice have a working knowledge of how to accomplish that goal.
ASU Website: https://www.asu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 67%
Final Score: 151/200
4: Touro University Worldwide
Touro University Worldwide us a private college that is located in Los Alamitos, California. The university traces all the way back to a speech given by none other than George Washington in 1790. He spoke at the Touro Synagogue, and his words inspired the founders of Touro College and University System and Touro University Worldwide. The Touro family founded the first free public library in North America and began giving large donations to establish universities. Touro University International is the direct predecessor of this university, and it was created in 1998. It was the first institution of higher education in the world to offer a fully-online doctorate degree program with no residency requirement. TUI was eventually sold, and to fill that educational space that was created, TUW set sail in 2008. Touro University is a Judaic university and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.
The program offered through TUW is one of the only ones on this list that is 100% online with absolutely zero face-to-face meetings required, and no residency whatsoever. The degree program culminates in a Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology. Organizational psychologists work in research-driven or corporate environments to help employers drive productivity from an organizational level. The purpose of this program is to equip students to understand how psychology plays its distinct role in the workforce. There is no licensure associated with this type of degree, and it is purely to hold corporate positions at large companies, government agencies, and more. The cost is just $700 per semester credit unit, and out of TUW’s 1,069 students, 100% of them are receiving financial aid. Affordability and the ultimate flexibility give this multifaceted degree a unique edge, making it a great option for any student who is ready to take the next step in this field.
Touro University Website: http://www.tuw.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85%
Graduation Rate: 78%
Final Score: 163/200
3: Endicott College
Endicott College is a private college in Beverly, Massachusetts. The college opened in 1939 because of the vision and drive of its founder, Dr. Eleanor Tupper. She wanted to create a school where women could receive an education, gain more independence, and find their footing in the workplace. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and is no coeducational. There are nearly 5,000 students of which just over 3,000 are undergraduates. Distance learning is relatively popular at Endicott, with 57% of the graduate student population participating in some online learning, 51% of them are earning their degree entirely on the web. Endicott began awarding associates degrees in 1952, and now grants degrees at that level, as well as bachelors, masters, and doctoral. The first doctoral program was added in 2014.
Endicott offers an online Applied Behavioral Analysis Ph.D. Program. Coursework will include topics such as Conditioning and Learning, Professional and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis, Research in Social Skills Training, and more. Students must complete a research project and a dissertation. The program requires a total of 60 credits to graduate and takes between three and five years to complete. This degree will lead to careers involving public policy, developmental disabilities, education, and many other areas. With this degree, a graduate could also go on to teach this subject at the college level. The program is fully online, but it is presented synchronously, so there will be set times for students to log in and participate in live-streamed lectures and more. This is not a self-paced program.
Endicott Website: https://www.endicott.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Graduation Rate: 80%
Final Score: 166/200
2: Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public land- and sea-grant research university in East Lansing, Michigan. It is frequently referred to just as MSU. It was founded in 1855 as an agricultural school, and the first classes in 1857 were attended by only 63 men. Today, MSU is one of the largest universities in the country by enrollment size. It is currently home to 50,340 students and boasts over half a million living alumni all around the world. Among them are congresspeople, athletes, entertainers and more. Its current students hail from all 50 states as well as over 80 countries worldwide. MSU has broken through the top 100 universities worldwide according to publications like U.S. News & World Report and Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Its research is also incredibly reputable, some centers working in conjunction with the United States Department of Energy.
The psychology degree program relevant to this ranking that is available at MSU is its Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology. The program is delivered in a hybrid format through the university’s College of Education. It is described as being substantially online. The hybrid aspect of the program begins in your first year, with one summer course being taken traditionally. The session lasts only two weeks. This degree program is rigorous and will take five years to complete when students are working at a full-time pace. If students choose to do so, they are allowed to attend a full semester the old-fashioned way without a difference in tuition costs. For the fourth year, students just have to take two elective courses, and the rest of the time is dedicated to their dissertation. The fifth year is dedicated in its entirety to completing a dissertation, which will have to be presented in person upon its completion.
MSU Website: https://msu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Graduation Rate: 78%
Final Score: 169/200
1: University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is the flagship university of the University System of Georgia, and it is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university. The main campus is located in Athens, Georgia and it is designated as a historic district in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Most widely known as UGA or Georgia, the university offers almost 200 different degree programs through its 17 constituents. The university is wholly accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, and holds an additional 11 program-specific accreditations. Three of those specialized endorsements are from the American Psychological Association, for its doctoral programs in school psychology, counseling, and clinical psychology. Though Athens is consistently ranked among and widely considered one of the best college towns in the nation, there are still 9% of the 36,574 students that are learning online. The majority of distance-learners are seeking graduate degrees.
Online through its Gwinnett campus, the University of Georgia provides a PhD program in Counseling and Student Personnel Services. It is a hybrid program that does still require a substantial degree of traditional learning alongside the online counterparts. However, the program was designed with the busy life of a working professional in mind, with most classes beginning at 5 p.m. or later. A central theme in this program is encouraging students to address social justice and become effective advocates for necessary systemic change in the nation’s education system. The course sequence is entirely synchronous and is not currently available in an accelerated format. With that said, it takes the typical student four years to complete the program. Three years of coursework are followed by one year dedicated to the capstone project, your dissertation. Additional time will be allowed if you can’t complete your thesis in the allotted year.
UGA Website: http://www.uga.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Graduation Rate: 85%