Doctorate Degree in Psychology, PhD (Psych, Psy)

Psychology, PhD (Psych, Psy)

Program Objectives

The Doctoral Program in Psychology has been developed to challenge you with rigorous coursework and meaningful teaching and research activities.

It follows a scholar-practitioner model that encourages you to integrate scholarly research with your classroom expertise.

At the conclusion of the program, graduates will:

  • Develop an advanced understanding of general psychological principles and theories to include motivation, learning, emotion, and behavior.
  • Appreciate diversity in individuals and the global community, demonstrated through using socio-cultural appropriate methodology in evaluating individual, social, and organizational levels in the field of psychology.
  • Evaluate educational and social services program designs to include program evaluation, curriculum development, and assessment strategies.
  • Apply principles of effective research methods, evaluating problems, developing research strategies, designing and conducting psychological research, interpreting and evaluating research data, and formulating grounded conclusions to add to the body of knowledge.
  • Demonstrate professional communication skills in writing through organizing, thinking critically, and communicating ideas and information in documents, presentations, and publications.

We anticipate that graduates of our program will have the potential to assume leadership positions in the psychology field and to make valuable contributions to government, nonprofit, and private organizations. Settings in which you may practice can include mental health centers, government agencies, healthcare organizations, corporations, community agencies, social services, and schools.

Your career opportunities, depending on your specialization, may include a role as a:

  • Teacher / Professor
  • Researcher
  • Consultant
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Administrator
  • Political Strategist
  • Marketing Director

* Clinical and Counseling psychology positions may require state licensure. This program is not designed to meet the requirements for state licensure as it is not a clinical or counseling psychology program.


Prerequisites for Major Courses:

  • Path One: Students may enter the Ph.D. in Psychology with a Master’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Path Two: Students may enter the Ph.D. in Psychology with a Baccalaureate degree in psychology or related behavioral science from an accredited institution. Students with a baccalaureate degree complete an additional 18 graduate semester hours of course work, to include a thesis.

Note: Courses in the PhD program are eight-weeks in length and students are scheduled for one or two courses concurrently.

Dissertation courses are eight-weeks in length and students are scheduled for two dissertation courses per semester.

Program Outline

To receive a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology degree, students with a Master’s degree must earn 60 graduate semester credit hours. Students with a Bachelor’s degree must complete an additional 18 graduate semester credit hours and complete a thesis to receive their Master’s degree while enrolled in the Ph.D. in Psychology.  Fifty-four of the program hours (for students entering with a Master’s degree) must be completed through BSU.

Seventy-two of the program hours (for students entering with a Baccalaureate degree) must be completed through BSU.  Program requirements are as follows:

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology Major Core Courses ( 60.0 credit hours; 18 additional hours if coming in without a Master’s degree )

Prerequisite Courses ( 18.0 credit hours, for students without a Master’s degree )
History and Systems of Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Health Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Psychopathology 3.0 credit hours
Evolutionary Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Master’s Thesis, Part I
( Prerequisite: PSY701, RSM701)
3.0 credit hours
Master’s Thesis, Part II
( Prerequisite: PSY502, PSY532, PSY542, PSY562, PSY730, PSY760, PSY770, PSY690 )
3.0 credit hours
PSY699 is taken after 33 graduate semester hours have been completed, and must be taken alone.
Foundation Courses ( 27.0 credit hours )
Research, Ethics, and Scholarly Writing
( Program prerequisite course )
3.0 credit hours
Cognitive & Affective Basis of Behavior 3.0 credit hours
Behavioral Neuroscience 3.0 credit hours
Human Development 3.0 credit hours
Theories of Learning and Motivation 3.0 credit hours
Sociocultural Basis of Behavior 3.0 credit hours
Cross-Cultural Methods of Tests and Measurements 3.0 credit hours
Educational Psychology 3.0 credit hours
Curriculum Design 3.0 credit hours
Research Courses ( 18.0 credit hours )
Quantitative Research I 3.0 credit hours
Research Design and Qualitative Mathods 3.0 credit hours
Quantitative Research II ( Prerequisite: Quantitative Research I ) 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Research Theory, Design, and Methods 3.0 credit hours
Psychometrics 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Research: Pre-Proposal and Literature Review
( Prerequisite Quantitative Research and II, Qualitative Research and Reasearch, Theory, Design, and Methods ) Advanced Research: Pre-Proposal and Literature Review is scheduled as the last course and is not scheduled with any other courses.
3.0 credit hours
Elective Courses (In addition to above courses, students must also complete one elective course)
Advanced Seminar in Teaching Psychology
( Prerequisites: Theories of Learning and Motivation, Cross-Cultural Methods of Tests and Measurement, Educational Psychology, Curriculum Design and Leadership :Assessment and Program Evaluation )
3.0 credit hours
Advanced Seminar in Program Evaluation ( project focused )
( Prerequisites: Qualitative Research, Research Theory, Design, and Methods, Advanced Experimental Design in Psychology, Policy Analysis, and Psychometrics )
3.0 credit hours
Dissertation Courses ( 12.0 credit hours )
Students must be admitted to candidacy before enrolling in Dissertation Courses. Students must complete eight DSS900 courses.
( Dissertation is not scheduled with any other course )
2.0 credit hours


The Doctoral Program includes a stimulating and instructional residency requirement. Residency is a time for students to gather to strengthen and continue building community.

Quality distance learning programs present both benefits and challenges for students.

A key challenge faced by students and faculty within the doctoral program is to find alternative ways to create the personal interaction and connectivity that develops more naturally in the traditional face-to-face classroom course. Residency offers an incredible opportunity for cohort members to meet and build relationships with one another, faculty and staff that may last an eternity. In addition, residencies provide enriching in-person networking and mentoring opportunities for students with faculty and peers. It is during residency that the faculty and students truly become colleagues; engaging in both personal and professional dialogue, establishing friendships as well becoming professional equals.

What should students expect residency to look like? The overall experience is slightly different for each cohort. The specific focus for each cohort varies:

First Residency – Residency is a time of orientation. This is when the cohort comes together for the first time as enrolled students.

During this first residency, students are oriented to how the online program functions, and are given time with the faculty and other students to develop mentoring and professional relationships. Students gather together daily for workshops and presentations on important concepts for their doctoral studies.  Students are also expected to begin seriously considering their dissertation topic and committee. They will have opportunities to engage in face-to-face discussions with faculty.

Second Residency –This is the final residency required of doctoral students. Focus during this year includes continuing discussion of the student’s research interests and mentoring the student.  Students will have greater access to the faculty, including individual appointments and to fully discuss these topics.

Students should budget for the following residency costs: 1) transportation, 2) hotel accommodations and 4) some food costs. The residency fee will cover the cost of most breakfasts, lunches and some dinners, as well as classroom break snacks when courses are in session. Students are responsible for making their own travel, lodging and other meal arrangements. The school assists with information on these, and helps facilitate students’ connecting to share rooms and rental cars to minimize expenses.

Students’ daily schedules during residency are occupied with many activities that they are required to attend. The coursework is intensive and requires a considerable amount of study and preparation time.

The program is committed to the historical foundations of the doctoral degree in which a community of scholars is created among faculty-mentors and student-scholars.

BSU mirrors this historical tradition by the utilization of student cohorts, intensive on-campus residencies and a variety of interactive discussion modes that extend beyond topical course discourse. In view of this goal, the waiving of residency requirements will not be considered.


The dissertation is the culminating experience of the Doctor of Philosophy in any field of study.

A dissertation serves two important functions. First, it is a demonstration of research, analytical and writing skill at the highest level of scholarly endeavor. The individual who plans, conducts, writes and defends a dissertation has shown that she or he is capable of pursuing a line of inquiry that requires the mastery of a large knowledge base, proficiency in analytical tools including statistics and narrative analysis, and the ability to articulate the meaning and application of that knowledge to both mentors and peers.

Secondly, the dissertation advances knowledge. Scholarship is advanced by the creative pursuit of answers to complicated questions. Dissertations are not just “really big class projects,” but serve to advance the method of addressing significant social concerns and problems. In that regard, dissertations are public documents designed to advance the culture.

The dissertation process begins early in the Ph.D.

experience. Students are encouraged to pursue lines of inquiry, develop research agendas with faculty and participate in research groups. Papers and projects required in the core courses can facilitate the formation of dissertation projects, along with consultation and discussion of emerging ideas with the faculty.

During the second residency, students focus on the requirements and details of the dissertation process. During this time, students will seek three scholars to form the dissertation committee and guide them through their project. Students will draft a comprehensive literature review, research questions and method of inquiry to answer the questions in their second year. Following completion of comprehensive exams, students will defend their dissertation. Students must submit an application to the Instructional Review Board and receive approval to complete their research prior to beginning their study.

Doctoral candidates work closely with their dissertation chair and committee to complete their research, analyze its meaning and significance, and present it in cogent and succinct written form.

The dissertation defense is the final and culminating experience of Ph.D. studies.

It will consist of a public meeting in which the doctoral candidate formally presents the dissertation project, explains findings of the study and articulates its relevance to significant social problems. Dissertations are a reflection of the student’s comprehension of and capacity to address complex issues.

An associate degree is typically completed in two years of full-time study, but may take longer for part-time students. These undergraduate programs can be found at community colleges, vocational schools, technical

Masters Degree are graduate-level programs that typically take two years of additional full-time study after completion of a bachelor’s degree Because most graduate students are already working professionals

To be considered for an honorary doctorate degree, there are specific criteria that individuals must meet, and there are a variety of  that they may be awarded. There are also many non-honorary doctorate

May 2024

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