The PhD in Psychology: Exploring the Possibilities

By Lauren Abraham

Counselor with a couple

In the fascinating world of psychology, earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in General Psychology opens many new doors for those who are passionate about and want to pursue a career in the field.

Obtaining a doctorate degree in psychology is extremely valuable and rewarding. It can qualify individuals to open their own private practice, or even teach and conduct research at advanced levels. The field of psychology is unique in that there are many different areas in which individuals can specialize, so they can pursue careers that are of interest to them.

So, how does one specialize in a particular area of psychology? In earning an online PhD in general psychology from Grand Canyon University, learners can choose an emphasis that suits their interests.

Cognition and Instruction

A PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction prepares learners to teach and train individuals in an effective way so that the information becomes embedded. In the program, learners study social cognition and the way individuals understand themselves and others. They explore learning in formal education, as well as cognitive psychology theories that apply to the context. This degree can be applied to government positions, school systems and other types of instructional and applied settings.

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Individuals interested in becoming behavioral experts in the workplace may choose to pursue a PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. This PhD in psychology allows doctoral learners to gain knowledge of how individuals behave in a variety of different settings. They examine human behavior at work and employee-management relationships. In addition, they explore methods to improve individual, group and organizational performance through consulting, coaching and change management.

Those who choose to specialize in industrial and organizational psychology learn methods of psychology that can be applied to talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance, and work-life balance. They are prepared to pursue a career such as a consultant, staff psychologist, researcher, or college professor.

Performance Psychology

Learners who are interested in industrial and organizational psychology may also be interested in earning a PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance Psychology, as both programs share a common goal of improving employee performance through similar means.

Specifically, those who specialize in performance psychology focus on the psychology of human performance in professions that expect excellence in psychomotor performance. Theories of emotion, cognition, and motivation are applied to understand performance, and learners study the foundations of performance psychology, psychomotor performance, principles of behavior modification, the psychology of leadership, and performance enhancement. A career in sports, medical, business, sales, marketing, government, or higher education is obtainable to those who specialize in performance psychology.

Integrating Technology, Learning and Psychology

A PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Integrating Technology, Learning and Psychology integrates psychology and technology with instruction and learning. In doing this, learners in this program conduct research and create solutions to optimize opportunities for stakeholders. They learn theories and principles about the psychology behind applying technology to individuals, organizations, and communities. While doing this, learners assess the risk and benefits associated with technology use, while also gaining valuable skills in creating strategies for building communities and social networks.

For those looking to advance their career in areas such as business, social media, government, technology or higher education, a degree specializing in technology, learning, and psychology is the right choice. The program prepares them to understand the psychology of change at the organization, community and social network levels, making them valuable in the workplace.

No matter what emphasis they choose, learners who pursue a PhD in psychology learn to use approaches based on research to understand concepts such as memory, reasoning, intelligence, motivation, and learning. They analyze factors that affect individual behavior as well as the influence of mass communication on social awareness and control. In addition, they learn to interpret psychological tests to measure learning outcomes.

All in all, earning a PhD in psychology allows individuals to make the most of their careers.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies encourages and inspires learners to take on leadership roles in their professions, communities, and society. For more information about earning a doctoral degree at GCU, request more information today!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.


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