PhD Emphasis Spotlight: Performance Psychology

Posted on September 03, 2015  in  [ Doctoral Journey ]

Thinking about earning your PhD at Grand Canyon University, but unsure which program is right for you? Our degree and emphasis spotlights are here to help you discover which area may be your best fit.

Today we explore the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance Psychology program, which is focused on the psychology of success. Performance psychology learners focus on the psychology of humans who are in professions where there is a demand of excellence in performance.

Is This Program Right for Me?

The vastness of this research program attracts a diverse pool of learners from a variety of backgrounds, including public service industries such as military, police and fire. Others bring in common attributes of experience in exercise science, sports medicine, athletic training or coaching. Even backgrounds in business, especially those who work with sales and marketing, entrepreneurship and executive leadership, may find an interest in performance psychology.

While there is some focus on examining and addressing problems that inhibit success, this emphasis has a large focus on developing positives and increasing performance. The goal isn’t just to get “from negative back up to positive,” but to maximize the positive/excellence of individuals.

“Understanding the human condition to help others reach their potential is the underlying goal of this program,” says College of Doctoral Studies PhD Program Chair Jim Hadley, PhD.

Performance Psychology vs. Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology

  • Performance psychology is focused on the individual.
  • Performance psychology is broader than I/O psychology.
  • Both share a common goal of improving employee performance through similar means, such as goal setting.
  • The performance psychology emphasis is the most broadly applicable of all the PhD emphases.

Quick Look!

  • You can enroll with any MA degree and a college statistics course.
  • You can transfer up to three equivalent doctoral-level courses (9 credits) for approval.
  • Research can be either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative or qualitative studies are valuable and the program provides instruction in both.
  • All GCU doctoral programs involve learning statistics. The PhD program does cover slightly more stats than the EdD or DBA, so there is a pre-requirement of some stats coursework.

Want to learn more about this program? Interested in learning about other programs offered by the College of Doctoral Studies at GCU? Get more information about starting your journey here at GCU!

***Disclosure: This program is not APA accredited; this is because it is not a clinical-based counseling degree that requires APA accreditation, only regional accreditation (GCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission). This program does not lead to licensure.***

About College of Doctoral Studies

Grand Canyon University’s innovative doctoral degree programs prepare learners for leadership roles in their professions, communities and society. Our dynamic online learning community, integrated dissertation process, wealth of resources and collaborative environment support a successful and meaningful doctoral journey. We believe earning a doctoral degree is a journey and similar to climbing a mountain—challenging, invigorating and completely rewarding when you reach the top. Our goal is to help you conquer your own mountain and succeed on your doctoral journey. Readers of The Doctoral Journey blog, presented by the College of Doctoral Studies, will find resourceful and knowledgeable posts regarding the doctoral process, research best practices and dissertation tips among other topics from GCU’s doctoral faculty.


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