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 psychology professors at the university level or as licensed clinical psychologists. 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.

Individuals who are looking at Ph.D. programs can expect similar curriculum and concentration options as in full-time Ph.D. programs, but the time to completion may differ.

Part-Time Psychology Program Overview

Part-time psychology Ph.D. programs work similarly 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 each year, such as required tests and internships, in order to move on to the next level of the program.


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 of the credits from that degree. Whether the student is taking a clinical or academic track, some course subjects may include the following:

  • Human behavior
  • Methods of research
  • Psychopathology
  • Multicultural competency in psychology
  • Ethics and conduct


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:

  • Developmental psychology
  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • General clinical practice
  • Social psychology

Program Length

Programs often involve around 60 to 80 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 4-6 years for degree completion.


After graduation, students who have earned a Ph.D. may seek clinical licensure or pursue an academic research and/or teaching job. This is only possible if the Ph.D. has been earned from a university that has been accredited by the American Psychological Association, so prospective applicants should make sure that this is the case before enrolling.

Part-time Ph.D. programs in psychology allow students to pursue advanced studies in the field in a flexible format.

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