Part-Time Psychology PhD Programs: How Do These Programs Work?

Part-time psychology Ph.D. programs are often meant to prepare students for work as either a psychology professor at the university level or as a licensed clinical psychologist. A part-time doctoral program in psychology extends the amount of time allotted to complete the degree (within reason) to accommodate working professionals and other busy students.

Part-Time Psychology Program Overview

Part-time psychology Ph.D. programs work similar to full-time programs. That is, they require the student to enter the program with a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology or a related field. They also require the student to meet certain benchmarks per year, such as required tests and internships, in order to move to the next level of the program. Deadlines for students in a part-time program are longer than those for full-time students; for example, full-time students may need to complete a comprehensive psychology exam after two years, while part-time students in the same program may have up to three years to take the exam.


The student may have five or more years to complete classroom requirements, separate from the clinical work and dissertation. If the student has already earned a master's degree, he or she will likely be able to transfer some or all credits. Whether the student is taking a clinical or academic track, some course subjects may include human behavior, methods of research, psychopathology, therapy, multicultural competency in psychology, ethics, conduct and diagnosis.


Part-time programs also may require a concentration, allowing students to focus their studies on clinical psychology or another type of psychological study. Some of these concentrations include family psychology, child psychology, general clinical practice and sport-performance psychology.

Program Length

Programs often involve up to 114 credits, which must be taken within a certain amount of time as specified by the university. This includes practicum credits, dissertation credits and clinical credits. Some schools only offer their programs at the full-time level. However, schools in which part-time psychology Ph.D. programs are offered often allow 10-13 years for degree completion.

If the student doesn't complete the part-time program within the designated period of time, he or she will likely be let go.


Both full- and part-time programs should be accredited by the American Psychological Association ( This will ensure that the student is prepared for clinical licensing tests upon graduation and qualify him or her for employment at universities in the United States, if the graduate chooses to pursue an academic career route.

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