Advice on PhD in psychology, behavior, cognitive sci

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by Trek, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. Trek

    Trek Member

    I'm looking for a non-clinical PhD that allows dissertation defense from a distance. Ideally without requiring other residencies. If that's not possible, I may do a PsyD instead, or I may do in-person defense, but I see that as a major inconvenience because of life circumstances. Residencies within the first year (especially) or two years are less of an inconvenience for me, but that isn't usually how they work!

    I want the PhD for personal growth and so I can publish. I know that publishing is possible with a Masters, but I am not going that route. I don't plan on a traditional academic career, but would do PT online adjuncting.

    1. Walden and ASU (Behavioral Science) have too much residencies/practicum.
    2. Chicago School of Professional Psych seems extremely expensive (nearly $1500 a credit).
    3. U of the Rockies, WISR, Institute of Transpersonal Psych appear to be gone.
    4. Ryokan, CalCoast, Cal Southern are not regionally accredited.
    5. U of Phoenix seems to no longer have a PhD in Psych.

    Backup Options:
    1. Touro and Ashford which only have PsyD, but I'm not sure about residencies.
    2. Fielding only has one non-clinical PhD in Media Psychology and I'd rather not have this focus. They are a little pricier. I'm not sure about residencies. However, Fielding looks best on the resume since they have an APA accredited program? I would be much more interested if they had general Psych or some others.
    3. NCU requires oral defense. I have not verified that it's required in-person or checked about other residencies. NCU seems to cost over $70K now and their rep is below average, so this is a backup option only.

    Needs Info:
    1. Grand Canyon U has two residencies. However they are about writing the dissertation. I have not checked if they also require a visit for dissertation defense.
    2. Capella. I don't know what is required yet. I don't like their rep and some reviews I read, but I have to keep them on the list.
    3. ULM PhD in MFT. Not in psychology. Not my preferred degree, but I like it a little more than a PsyD and it's also cheap. I don't know what residencies are required. Not worried about most entrance requirements, but slightly prefer schools with quicker entrance. ULM seems to have one only start per year.
    4. Foreign schools? I have only checked US schools thus far. Perhaps I missed some. For international, I'd like to only consider schools in Canada, Australia, and certain parts of Europe.
    5. Possibly PhDs in cognitive science, behavioral health, behavioral science, etc? These generally seem to be hybrid and not online. The science programs may be too heavy on the science for me as well. Health science would not be too heavy.

    I'm not looking for cheap, but would rather not pay one of the priciest schools unless it's really worth it. I haven't paid a lot attention to price and number of transfer credits. Do most programs accept credits from a second Masters that was completed and/or credits from an incomplete second?
    jeepnbeep likes this.
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    You've clearly done your homework. Also consider
    Keiser University
    Touro University Worldwide
    California Southern University
    Texas Tech U
    Regent U
    Saybrook University

    There are others, depending on how far afield you're willing to stray from the standard Psych PhD. For example, Organizational Psych, Educational Psych, etc.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
    jeepnbeep likes this.
  3. Trek

    Trek Member


    Saybrook University - Very expensive. Has two residencies and an intro visit, perhaps more.

    Keiser University - Two residencies which seem to be early in the program, and it's implied that the defense is in-person. Still a possibility.

    Texas Tech U - They take up to 30 credits in transfer! They also have degrees I like better. Defense is probably in-person. In fact, it appears, you have to advertise on their campus in advance of the defense. Still worth finding out more.

    Regent U - Very interesting, because it's reasonably priced and doesn't seem to have residencies. Unsure about in-person defense. Has religious content in multiple courses which I could deal with. I'm going to look into this more.

    I will update my original lists. Touro University Worldwide and California Southern University are in the above lists.
  4. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Suggestion: Immediately strike out all for-profit universities. As a general rule, they do not produce scholars, their reputations are questionable in general, and you stand a higher likelihood of having your degree questioned by a potential school for which you want to teach and by publishers, magazines, and journals.

    Today there are as many non-profits in the distance doctoral game, many of which are traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Proprietary (profit-making) schools are more of a joke in higher education on the whole, and if you able to avoid them you will not have people like me laughing at you.

    Generally, you can find out whether a school is for profit or non-profit by checking their profile on Wikipedia. DO not assume their status yourself, as many of the major players (Walden, NCU, Capella, Phoenix, and lots more) are for profit.

    Also be careful of for-profit schools that have become non-profits (Argosy, Grand Canyon, Keiser, Art Institutes, among others). Their long-term history follows them.

    Remember, the more schools that join the distance education game, the less you need to rely on the sleazy, satanic for-profits. (Yes, I joke. Or do I?)
    Trek likes this.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  6. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    Steve pretty well summed up what I would say. With what is available today, I would avoid a for-profit at all costs. All of that “competency based” stuff where people are finishing a masters in 3 months is ridiculous. How much can one REALLY learn?

    Anywho, off my rant, I would find a school that is rather local to you, if possible, to minimize traveling costs in the event they have residencies.
  7. Trek

    Trek Member

    That makes perfect sense. However, where we end up during the last 1-2 years of my studies is undetermined because of my husband's work. I don't mind traveling to my school if we're still in North America, but we're hopeful he gets an opportunity in Australia. I'd like to enroll in an Australian school, but I'm concerned about the possibility of living over here when it's time to defend my dissertation. My concern is avoiding additional barriers, so I have no travel excuses! I'm not keen on 20-hour trips and I get unmotivated when I have to wait around.

    1. Australian National University - At least 4 weeks residence.
    2. McGill U (CA) - Summer residencies.
    3. Charles Sturt U (AU) - Only seeing three doctorates for international online students. Psych is not one.

    Research more:
    1. University of South Queensland (AU) - PhD in (general) Psychology. $17K and change per year for international students. I didn't see a mention of campus visits yet. FT students have a maximum of four years to complete the entire program!
    2. Avondale College of Higher Ed (AU) - General psych. Religious and small school. $8300 per semester? May be more for doctoral. No distinction made? On a different site it said their PhD is issued with Charles Sturt U.
  8. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

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  9. Trek

    Trek Member

    Ooh, I never thought of that. Thanks for the warnings! I've tried to remove both of those types of schools. Do you think I need to remove Regent University?

    Here's my current complete list:

    1. U of South Queensland (AU) - PhD in (general) Psychology. $17K and change per year for int'l students. I didn't see a mention of campus visits yet. FT students have four years to complete.
    2. Avondale College of Higher Ed (AU) - general psych. Religious and small school. $8300 per semester (or is that for only masters/bachelors)? On a different site it said their PhD is issued with Charles Sturt U (seems to have a good rep). Rolling applications.
    3. Texas Tech U (US) - has degrees I like more. 30 credits in transfer. Defense is probably in-person. In fact, it appears you have to advertise on their campus in advance of the defense.
    4. Regent U (US) - reasonably priced and doesn't seem to have residencies. Unsure about in-person defense. Has Christian content in multiple courses which I could deal with, but could be looked down upon by some academics?
    5. University of Leicester (UK) - PhD in Sociology. Requires visiting only for exam/viva. Price is reasonable. Unsure if I would have to take undergrad sociology courses.
    6. Fielding Graduate U (US) - has one non-clinical PhD in Media Psychology and I'd rather not have this focus, but I like the school rep. Above average cost. I'm not sure about residencies. Looks best on a resume since they have an APA program?
    7. U of Louisiana at Monroe (US) - PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy. Not a psych degree, but still interesting. Cheap. I don't know what residencies are required. One start per year, so may need to take the GRE immediately and apply. Or it seems I couldn't start until Fall 2020!
    8. U of Birmingham (UK) - Have not looked into yet.
    9. U of Exeter (UK) - Ranked top 100 in the world for psychology. General. Reasonable cost. May be difficult to get in.

    - Look into other PhDs in sociology. Very interested in many of these, if I wouldn't have to go take sociology grad courses to get admitted (psych courses have to suffice).
    - Look into other foreign schools. Probably only schools in Canada, Australia, and certain parts of Europe. The UK has Human Sciences programs to look into, they seem to be essentially cognitive/behavioral science. I looked at most AU schools.
    - There may be PhDs in behavioral health, cognitive/behavioral science, etc. These generally seem to be hybrid. Some may be too heavy on the bio/chem for me, but those are mostly the hybrids. I don't mind online health science courses.
  10. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

    Not Psych but something to do with Counselling.

    Liberty University has an Ed.D in Community Care and Counselling

    University of the Cumberlands has a PhD in Counselling Education and Supervision

    Oregon State University - PhD in Counselling (Hybrid program, they meet twice a term)
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The competency-based model has nothing to do with tax status. Many competency-based programs are offered by nonprofits. The school that's at the forefront of this model is Western Governors University, a nonprofit school.

    Competency-based programs are designed to go fast if you already have the knowledge. If you have a lot to learn, then you aren't going to finish in three months.

    While WGU's model is the most popular competency-based model currently, there are other models i.e. taking CLEP, DSST, and AP exams. You're not going to find the WGU model in any doctoral programs currently being offered. However, many doctoral programs in other countries require no coursework. There's only a dissertation, which in reality, is not much different from earning credit in a WGU course for getting a passing grade on a paper. You can either do the work, or you can't. There's no arbitrary minimum time requirement.
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    University of Western States has an Ed.D in sports psychology, but a lot of the coursework is not specific to sports psychology.
  13. Trek

    Trek Member

    I'd be curious about dissertation-only program if there are any in Canada, Australia, and European countries that have a lot of English speakers. I don't like all the coursework about how to write one, because I'd rather learn that on my own, but all the programs I've seen have that. Regular coursework about the subject matter is a different story.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Most Australian universities subscribe to the Commonwealth model and so their doctoral programs will be research oriented dissertation-only degrees. I trust you can run the list and discover the specific programs that are attractive.
    Trek likes this.
  15. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Trek, one correction to your original post. California Southern University (CalSouthern) IS Regionally Accredited and has been for a couple of years. Probably the most affordable distance PsyD program. If you are a veteran, they offer a tuition discount.
    Trek likes this.
  16. Trek

    Trek Member

    I've given this more thought. I'd like to avoid the lower rep schools, but finishing the degree is very important. If I enter a program with on-campus visits, I'm less likely to finish, possibly much less likely (if I live farther away, and I know how unexpected personal matters crop up).

    I'm satisfied with only adjuncting at smaller, lesser known schools. I understand I would not be competitive for academic publications too. I would like to be able to publish through traditional means (i.e. textbook or consumer book publishers).

    I'm still only interested in PsyD or PhD Psych/Sociology/similar. One Behavioral Health program I looked at was very uninteresting to me, but other Behavioral Science programs seem close enough to my interests.

    TUW is my frontrunner. CalSouthern would be if they had federal aid. Both are PsyD which I'm more willing to do.

    As far as I know, the only others which are RA without campus visits are: some Australian or UK schools or NCU.

    I only found one possible Australian option thus far (since I don't want to go with the school that allows only 4 years). I don't believe I can get into the better schools, and I would have to complete more prerequisite courses for many schools.

    I read some negative things about NCU, and their posted graduation rate is only 33% for 2009, but I'm still considering NCU at this time. It's a PhD and has a good selection of concentrations. It's more expensive than TUW. It also has 4 prerequisite courses that would set me back by 3 to 4 months.

    My current thinking is that if I'm ok with PsyD, go with TUW. I like that I could start at TUW sooner, but it's not significant in the long-run. With TUW, I don't like the "Worldwide" in the name. I also don't like that I would need to reapply if I needed more than a session (half semester) off, because I believe I will need to do this at least once. However, their process seems to be easier. I believe it would work out. These are not big concerns.

    I'd like any advice!

    U of Leicester (UK) requires two campus visits for the Sociology PhD.
    U of Missouri's PhD in Sociology has residenc(ies).
    UNM's program requires completing the MA in Sociology along the way.
    Kent State's PhD in Sociology takes too long and has prerequisite courses.
  17. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I think that's the wrong way to look at it. In a competency-based model, the amount of time it takes you to finish is not so much a matter of how much you learn but how much you already know, which is the basis and lifeblood of the competency-based model, allowing you to advance on the knowledge you already have rather than slowing you down and forcing you to take classes on things you've already proven to have mastered (or at least proven satisfactory competence). If you don't know the material, the systems are set up to identify that and then have you learn what you don't know which will add to your advancement time. In a nutshell, if you know a lot, your time will be shorter, and if you know less your time will be longer. This in some ways is not far off from the concept of testing-out which has existed for a very long time in higher education.

    With regard to the CBE model, in reality, the number of people who've pulled off these fast finishes is small relative to the majority, it's not common, and to do that it requires a level of commitment and focus that the average person doesn't have and WGU and other schools offering CBE programs are aware of this, that's why there is no incentive to make any drastic changes to the model. Plus, people who have managed to pull that off were usually strongly experienced in their field to start with, so it comes as no surprise that they were able to move quickly through the modules.
    SpoonyNix likes this.
  18. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Trek, how did things go (did you find a program)?
  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Do you wish to support this statement with a source other than your opinion?
    heirophant likes this.
  20. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Nope. I explained the rationale in my earlier post in this thread (and many other threads), and stand on that.

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