Thursday, March 29, 2012

Should Students Pursue an Online PhD in Psychology

Should students pursue a Ph.D., in Psychology and should it be online?

Most graduate students are a bit confused when they are confronted with the above question. Splitting the question into two sections makes it a lot easier to answer.

Firstly, what is a Ph.D. in Psychology and how does it help your career? A Doctor of Philosophy otherwise known as the Ph.D., is the highest degree you can obtain in a particular field. Obviously, it is not only time consuming to obtain, but also with it comes a lot of prestige. Therefore, the biggest question is whether it is worth to you, because you will be spending around five years and much money on this project. Psychology on the other hand is one of the most sought-after programs of study for many prospective students. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor, there are only few jobs that are available to those who only possess a Bachelor in Psychology. Therefore, the need to obtain a Ph.D., in Psychology is fast becoming a necessity for those wanting to make this field, their line of profession.

Although the courses vary with universities, obtaining a Ph.D., in Psychology consists of a variety of research, essay writing, completing a dissertation, data analysis, and clinical studies. This course can also be obtained virtually through an online degree. However, there are many prerequisites required by almost all accredited colleges and universities in order to be accepted into their online Ph.D., psychology program. Prospective students should not only possess at least a Masters or Bachelors in Psychology, but also possess the necessary technical knowledge so as to successfully participate in online classes. In addition to this, prospective students may also have to take extensive written examination and other entrance tests so as to ensure that they possess the necessary knowledge in the field.

Why should a student choose an online course instead of the traditional campus path?

The factors that influence a student pursuing an online Ph.D., in psychology are;

• That the online study is less expensive. Studying online will reduce various costs, such as lab fees, parking and other fees that traditional on-campus students must pay.
• That an online doctorate course allows them to study at their own pace. Typically, a Ph.D., program can be completed anywhere within 3 to 10 years.
• Although obtaining a Ph.D., online means that a student will have the convenience of attending classes at home, they may not have the physical interaction that a traditional campus classroom brings.
• That they are more convenient for working people as they tend to learn better in an online setting than in a purely traditional classroom setting. Furthermore, online graduate students are at an advanced age, which means that they have a family to look after, in addition to full-time work commitments. The opportunity to take online classes from home, not only saves their career, but also provides them with more flexibility in their personal life.
• That the analyses of 2009 Doctorate Employment Survey data from the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Workforce Studies (Michalski, Kohout, Wicherski, & Hart, 2011) found that 72% of responding psychologists who earned their doctorates in 2008–2009 secured their first choice when looking for a job. In addition, at least 73% of the respondents were employed within 3 months of receiving the doctorate. As might be expected, the highest paid and greatest range of jobs in psychology are available to those with doctorates in psychology. (ref : [2])
• That students who thrive in a live instruction and interaction, may find the virtual classroom a bit too informal. It is also essential that online Ph.D., students be in touch with their research labs and classrooms while taking the online course. Without such an apprenticeship program, an online option would make little sense. Students who plan to take a Ph.D., course soon after their Bachelors or Masters are advised go in for the traditional campus Ph.D., course, as they would likely receive funding or research assistantship. Despite the success of online degree programs, there is a section of employers who feel that online training does may not impart the knowledge and training as a traditional class does. It is also highly unlikely that an online Ph.D., course would guarantee a job unless the college that provides the online course is reputed and is well recognized.

Whichever path one chooses, the online Ph.D., in Psychology degree will require intensive research and a commitment to the field of study.

Works cited:

[1] American Psychological Association: Graduate Study Online

[2] American Psychological Association:
Frequently Asked Questions About Graduate School:
Which is the "best" program in psychology? (Page 2)

[3] American Psychological Association: Careers in Psychology: Doctoral Graduates (Page 3)

[4] United States Department of Labor; Bureau of Labor Statistics: Psychologists
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

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  3. The title caught my attention so I decided to read it. And I must say that it is really informative.

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  7. online is a good way of taking PhD degree. but no one should think one can get the degree very easily. though you can take the degree in living at your home but the labor on campus students need to pay you will also need to give that labor. yes it is right online degree is less expensive.

  8. taking online degree is not very easy. you have to give the same labor which a on campus student need to give. the difference is that he needs to go campus and you will stay at home.