Online PhD Programs from GCU

Flexible Online Programs to Help Become a Leader of Tomorrow

An online Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program from Grand Canyon University (GCU) helps encourage and inspire learners who are passionate about their fields of study and ready for leadership in their professions, communities and society. At GCU, the College of Doctoral Studies is an innovative community that connects faculty and learners.

Discover ways of teaching, leading and training others using advanced knowledge of humans' mental and emotional responses with GCU’s PhD programs online. Use your knowledge and skills toward teaching or conducting psychological research within business, government or higher education. Choose from several emphases, including performance psychology, cognitive psychology, I/O psychology and technology, learning and psychology.

Ranked Best

Grand Canyon University is ranked, “Best Faith-Based Institution for Online PhD in Psychology Programs.”*

The GCU Difference

GCU has been an accredited university for over 50 years and has created a track record of success in online education. Our online PhD degrees are fully part of the university’s educational curriculum, with full support from professors and academic counselors.

In the same fashion, all of our online programs are led by faculty who holds years of experience in their respective field. We offer a competitive and affordable online tuition and a schedule that is tailored to your schedule. Learn more about online learning at GCU and how earning a degree can be the next step to career success.

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Online PhD Degree FAQs

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Earning your PhD is a big decision. Get answers to frequently asked questions from people considering continuing their education with a doctoral degree.

PhD is an abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy, and can be a doctoral degree in almost any discipline. GCU offers a PhD online in a variety of focus areas. Learners in our PhD online programs conduct research in order to seek new developments in current research or create new theories of their own, whereas learners in our online EdD programs seek to apply current research in order to achieve progress.

To have a PhD is to obtain a “Doctor of Philosophy” degree from an accredited institution. PhD degrees often include taking doctorate level courses, conducting research, creating a thesis, writing a dissertation and defending your thesis. Those with a PhD are recognized as experts in their field and can go on to perform academic research and fill prestigious rolls in academia and beyond.

A doctorate is recognized as the highest level of academic achievement. A PhD, a form of a doctorate degree, is also considered the highest degree obtainable. Though PhD graduates may go on to pursue additional academic degrees, the doctorate is the pinnacle of higher education.

A PhD is one form of a doctorate degree. While the PhD is the most popular form of a doctorate degree, there are other types of doctorate degrees that learners may pursue such as an EdD, EdS, DNP or DBA.

A doctoral degree is considered the highest form of academic accomplishment. Doctoral degrees are typified by their emphasis on research, skill, and application. PhD programs are strongly research based and focused whereas other doctorate degrees are grounded in application. Doctoral degree requirements differ by program and university.

A doctorate degree can be obtained through successful enrollment and completion of a doctorate degree at an accredited institution, such as GCU. To enroll in a doctorate degree, learners should hold a master’s degree in a similar subject. To discuss enrollment opportunities, complete a “Request More Information” form or contact GCU at 1-855-GCU-LOPE.

A residency requirement within a doctoral program may refer to the expectation for doctoral students to complete courses with the academic institution; alternatively, a residency requirement may refer to an expectation for doctoral learners to be physically present on the university’s campus to network, attend seminars and/or present. For information about GCU’s residency requirements, visit our Doctoral Scholar Resource page.

Requirements to graduate with a PhD may vary by the program and the institution. PhD applicants are typically required to have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a related field. Upon entry to the program, the typical PhD requires successful completion of the courses and residency, as well as submission and defense of a thesis or dissertation to graduate.

To graduate with a PhD, the learner must meet all course requirements and successfully complete their dissertation. Different institutions may have varying graduation requirements. Contact your academic counselor for a list of graduation requirements.

The number of classes required for doctorate degrees is dependent on the unique program and university chosen. While course expectations and lengths vary widely, typical programs span from 60-100 credits. Most programs offered by GCU’s College of Doctoral Studies are a minimum of 60 credits. For specific course and credit information, visit the doctoral program pages or contact your counselor.

The length of a PhD program is dependent on the requirements of the specific program. Most online PhD programs have a duration of three to four years to complete.

While a PhD program provides increased knowledge and prestige, it also has a potential to increase salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, the median wage for those within master’s level occupations was $68,090 whereas the median wage for those in doctoral and professional-level occupations was $103,820.*

Most traditional PhD programs require a dissertation, but there are some that do not. Some programs may offer a doctoral capstone in replacement of a dissertation requirement.

*COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on 2017, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Employment Outlook for Graduate-Level Occupations.

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