You already know you want to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and not a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree, because you’re passionate about working in research, administration, or academia.

Not sure yet? Read more about the differences between a PhD and PsyD.

The next thing you need to determine is: Which online PhD in Psychology program focus is best for you? If you’re pursuing one at Capella University, you have six choices to consider.

Review these summaries of our PhD in Psychology programs to decide which one is right for you.

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


1. Doctor of Philosophy – 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. Individuals 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:

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


2. Doctor of Philosophy – Addiction Psychology

PhD in Addiction Psychology is designed for experienced professionals seeking to serve as academic, research, or administrative leaders in the addiction psychology field. You’ll develop expertise in addiction research, prevention and treatment, and program design and evaluation.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Program administrator
  • Center administrator
  • Researcher
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty


3. Doctor of Philosophy – Developmental Psychology

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:

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


4. Doctor of Philosophy – Educational Psychology

PhD in Educational Psychology equips you to develop new programs that adapt to the learning needs of students through research, testing, and measurement. The curriculum provides students the opportunity to extend beyond traditional school settings to community and learning centers, online settings, and governmental organizations.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty
  • Psychometrician
  • Training and development director
  • Instructional designer


5. Doctor of Philosophy – 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.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Director or vice president of human resources or organizational development
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty
  • Director of labor relations
  • Evidence-based coach
  • Organizational consultant


6. Doctor of Philosophy – Behavior Analysis

If you’re interested in helping individuals change behavior of social significance,consider a PhD in Behavior Analysis. This program is designed for ABA professionals interested in advancing the profession through research and teaching. The curriculum emphasizes the theory behind this science of behavior which underlies the many ABA technologies that are highly effective in treating individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The curriculum also emphasizes research, teaching, and leadership in the field of ABA. Completion of this degree prepares you to pursue a career in higher education, research, or clinical leadership.

Related job titles to explore* include:

  • Board certified behavior analyst (BCBA)
  • Clinical director
  • Behavior analyst
  • Professor of psychology


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. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.