The field of psychology is undergoing several changes.

For example, there’s an increased focus on how to evolve research practices and reporting, including how big data can be used to acquire larger sample sizes when conducting research. There’s also a push to provide greater public access to research and better data sharing between scientists. Such changes are likely to impact the practice of psychology, focusing in on reliability, transparency, and application of information.

If pursuing an online psychology degree is in your near future, understanding how the field is changing will better prepare you for coursework and, eventually, research and dissertation.


When deciding whether to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree, students need to determine what they want to emphasize in their professional work.

Graduates with a PhD tend to focus more on research-based knowledge – becoming proficient in conducting studies and understanding and applying research results. Many PhD graduates gravitate toward university faculty or administrative positions.

Graduates with a PsyD lean more toward the practice of clinical psychology. These professionals are equipped with clinical training and hands-on practical experience.


Interested in a PsyD in Psychology? Explore which program might be right for you.


Capella University offers five PhD in Psychology degree programs.


1. Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology

Students who choose a PhD in General Psychology learn how to plan and execute research, communicate findings, and lead advancements in the field. General psychologists need to take into account the evolving research methods within the industry and the focus on adhering to the scientific method.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Program administrator/director
  • Consultant
  • Dean of faculty
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty


2. Doctor of Philosophy in Addiction Psychology

A PhD in Addiction Psychology prepares you to work directly with patients. You’ll learn how to evaluate addictive behavior and provide support and treatment for problems ranging from drug and alcohol addiction to eating disorders.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Program administrator
  • Researcher
  • Lecturer/speaker
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty


3. Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology

A PhD in Developmental Psychology is advanced study of how people develop and change. Students in this program will gain a broad base of knowledge in lifespan development, human services policy, and advocacy.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Development psychologist
  • Policy consultant/advocate
  • Program administrator/director
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty


4. Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology

A PhD in Educational Psychology equips you to develop new programs that adapt to the learning needs of students through research, testing, and measurement. You will be groomed for career opportunities that extend beyond traditional school settings to community and learning centers, military settings, and governmental organizations.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Educational program director
  • Learning systems manager
  • Director of institutional research
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty


5. Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

If working in a business setting interests you, consider a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. You’ll gain skills to map and respond to behavior in the workplace through employee selection and coaching, interpreting psychological tests, and adapting company policies to increase productivity.

With this degree, you will step into one of the fastest-growing psychology fields. Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Director or vice president of organizational development
  • Director of labor relations
  • Evidence-based coach
  • Organizational consultant


For those who have a passion to discover new research that can help shape the science and practice of psychology, a PhD can prepare you to become a scientist-practitioner who influences the next generation of psychologists.

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title. Note: Some positions require licensure and/or other designations. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals. Check state licensure requirements. The license to practice as a professional psychologist or counselor is regulated independently in each state or province. Learners who intend to seek licensure or certification should check the program requirements in the state or province in which they hope to practice.


Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program.
* Disclaimer