The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program was designed in response to the growing interest in psychology as a discipline of study and the need for advanced studies, including research beyond the master's level. This degree program emphasizes theory, research, and scholarship, culminating in a dissertation.

Goals of the PhD Program in Psychology

The goals (referred to as Student Learning Outcomes) of the Doctorate in Psychology programs are as follows:

PhD Specializations in Psychology

There are five specializations within the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology degree program, each of which is described in further detail below:

General Degree Requirements

The PhD in Psychology degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the master’s degree.

The University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university while enrolled in a doctoral program with a grade of "B" or better.

The PhD degree programs in psychology have the following graduation requirements:

Competencies for PhD Programs in Psychology

All PhD students are required to demonstrate competency in these areas:

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral allows seven years to complete a doctoral program.  

Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limit are dismissed. Students who believe they have extenuating circumstances may document the circumstances in a request for special consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to this policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.

Normal time to completion for this program is 82 months. Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most Northcentral students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 48 months.

PhD in Psychology Degree Plan

Credit Hours - The PhD program may be completed in 60 credits (not including required Standard Curriculum courses; see below). Up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete dissertation research. Students who do not complete their program in 75 credit hours (not including Standard Curriculum courses) will be dismissed

Basis of Admission - In order to enter the doctoral (PhD) program in psychology, applicants must have earned a master's degree from an accredited university. There are two options for entering the doctoral program in psychology:

NOTE: Standard curriculum courses are only required if you do not have a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related field. Courses can be waived if similar graduate level courses were completed prior to enrollment.

Standard Curriculum - Up to 12 credit hours determined based on formal evaluation. These courses are in addition to the 60 credits listed below.

Click on the course name for description, click again to close.

PSY7011

History and Systems of Psychology

PSY7012

Professional Ethics, Law, and Psychology

PSY7013

Human Development and Functioning

PSY7014

Social Psychology

Gender Diversity

The purpose of the Gender Diversity Studies specialization is to provide an in-depth understanding of the social, cultural, and biological foundations of human sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation, prepare students to apply principles of psychology related to gender diversity in a variety of settings, and carry out research related to gender diversity in a variety of settings. Eighteen (18) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Gender Diversity Studies.

PSY7101

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Psychology

PSY7102

Scholarly Writing and Professional Communication in Psychology

 

Standard Curriculum Courses, if needed

PSY8200

Sexual Issues

PSY7103

Research Methods

PSY8201

Dynamics of Family Interaction

PSY7104

Statistics I

PSY8202

Psychology of Women

PSY7105                       

Tests and Measurements

PSY8203

Psychology of Gender

PSY7106

Quantitative Research Design

PSY8204

Psychological Aspects of Gender Variance

PSY7107

Statistics II

PSY8205

Psychology and the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Population

PSY7108

Qualitative Research Design

PSY7109

Planning Dissertation Research in Psychology

CMP9500P

Comprehensive Exam

DIS9501P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9502P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9503P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9504P

Dissertation Research*

*Dissertation Research – A minimum of four dissertation research courses must be completed in order to complete the program. Up to an additional five dissertation research courses (DIS9505P-DIS9509P) may be taken if the dissertation requirements are not completed in DIS9504P. 

General Psychology

The General Psychology specialization allows students to select courses from a broad range of electives to fit their personal and professional goals. This specialization also prepares students to apply principles of psychology and conduct research related to their area of interest in a variety of settings.

Students in the General Psychology specialization select six courses (18 credit hours) from the School of Psychology curriculum at the 7000 or 8000 level. Courses from other disciplines may fill this requirement, with School of Psychology approval. Note: an internship course cannot count towards the degree program.

A sample degree plan follows; an asterisk (*) indicates an example specialization course:

PSY7101

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Psychology

PSY7102

Scholarly Writing and Professional Communication in Psychology

 

Standard Curriculum Courses, if needed (see above)

PSY8100

Theories of Personality*

PSY7103

Research Methods

PSY8101

Multicultural Psychology*

PSY7104

Statistics I

PSY8103

Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation*

PSY7105                       

Tests and Measurements

PSY8104

Positive Psychology*

PSY7106

Quantitative Research Design

PSY8105

Community Psychology*

PSY7107

Statistics II

PSY8106

Human Communication: Interviewing Skills *

PSY7108

Qualitative Research Design

PSY7109

Planning Dissertation Research in Psychology

CMP9500P

Comprehensive Exam

DIS9501P

Dissertation Research**

DIS9502P

Dissertation Research**

DIS9503P

Dissertation Research**

DIS9504P

Dissertation Research**

*Courses listed are examples and upon acceptance to the program the initial degree plan will include these courses. Students are encouraged to choose their specialization courses based on personal and professional goals and will work with their Academic Advisor to revise their degree plan. Students can select any PSY8000 level course for this specialization. Please consult the course descriptions for a full list of available courses.

**Dissertation Research – A minimum of four dissertation research courses must be completed in order to complete the program. Up to an additional five dissertation research courses (DIS9505P-DIS9509P) may be taken if the dissertation requirements are not completed in DIS9504P. 

Health Psychology

The purpose of the Health Psychology specialization is to provide an in-depth understanding of the total matrix of factors influencing psychological and physical health and illness, prepare students to apply biopsychosocial principles in a variety of settings, and carry out research related to health psychology in a variety of settings. Eighteen (18) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Health Psychology.

PSY7101

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Psychology

PSY7102

Scholarly Writing and Professional Communication in Psychology

 

Standard Curriculum Courses, if needed (see above)

PSY8300

Health Psychology

PSY7103

Research Methods

PSY8301

Psychosocial Factors in Health

PSY7104

Statistics I

PSY8302

Behavioral Nutrition

PSY7105                       

Tests and Measurements

PSY8303

Eating Disorders and Obesity

PSY7106

Quantitative Research Design

PSY8304

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

PSY7107

Statistics II

PSY8305

Consultation and Interventions in Health Care Settings

PSY7108

Qualitative Research Design 

PSY7109

Planning Dissertation Research in Psychology

CMP9500P

Comprehensive Exam

DIS9501P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9502P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9503P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9504P

Dissertation Research*

*Dissertation Research A minimum of four dissertation research courses must be completed in order to complete the program. Up to an additional five dissertation research courses (DIS9505P-DIS9509P) may be taken if the dissertation requirements are not completed in DIS9504P. 

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

The purpose of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology specialization is to provide an in-depth understanding of people in the world of work, prepare students to apply principles of I/O psychology in work and organizational settings, and carry out research related to human behavior in organizations. Eighteen (18) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

PSY7101

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Psychology

PSY7102

Scholarly Writing and Professional Communication in Psychology

 

Standard Curriculum Courses, if needed

PSY8400

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

PSY7103

Research Methods 

PSY8401

Leadership and Management

PSY7104

Statistics I

PSY8402

Work Motivation and Attitudes

PSY7115                       

Tests and Measurements in I/O Psychology

PSY8403

Organizational Development

PSY7106

Quantitative Research Design

PSY8404

Consulting in Business, Education, and Health

PSY7107

Statistics II

PSY7108

Qualitative Research Design 

PSY8406

Multivariate Statistical Analysis

PSY7109

Planning Dissertation Research in Psychology

CMP9500P

Comprehensive Exam

DIS9501P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9502P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9503P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9504P

Dissertation Research*

*Dissertation Research A minimum of four dissertation research courses must be completed in order to complete the program. Up to an additional five dissertation research courses (DIS9505P-DIS9509P) may be taken if the dissertation requirements are not completed in DIS9504P. 

Mental Health Policy and Practice

The purpose of the Mental Health Policy and Practice specialization is to provide an evidence based practice approach to those people who have substantial experience in their respective disciplines and wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge behavioral health administration and care.  Eighteen (18) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Mental Health Policy and Practice.

PSY7101

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Psychology

PSY7102

Scholarly Writing and Professional Communication in Psychology

PSY8500

Mental Health Services Policy

PSY7103

Research Methods 

PSY8501

Mental Health Administration and Management

PSY7104

Statistics I

PSY8502

Comparative Analysis of Psychotherapies

PSY7105                       

Tests and Measurements

PSY8503

Evidence-Based Treatments

PSY7106

Quantitative Research Design

PSY8504

Psychology and Finance

PSY7107

Statistics II

PSY8505

Mental Health and the Courts

PSY7108

Qualitative Research Design 

PSY7109

Planning Dissertation Research in   Psychology

CMP9500P

Comprehensive Exam

DIS9501P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9502P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9503P

Dissertation Research*

DIS9504P

Dissertation Research*

*Dissertation Research A minimum of four dissertation research courses must be completed in order to complete the program. Up to an additional five dissertation research courses (DIS9505P-DIS9509P) may be taken if the dissertation requirements are not completed in DIS9504P.