Online Doctoral Programs in Psychology That Don’t Require the GRE

Embarking on a doctoral journey in psychology is a significant milestone, but the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirement can often be a daunting barrier. However, the good news is that an increasing number of reputable institutions now offer online doctoral programs in psychology that eliminate the GRE requirement.

This shift in admission criteria not only simplifies the application process but also makes advanced education in psychology more accessible to aspiring students from diverse backgrounds.

Continue reading to learn more about online doctoral programs in psychology that don't require the GRE.

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In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into these exciting opportunities, explore the advantages of pursuing an online doctoral degree in psychology without the GRE, and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision about your academic future.

Whether you’re a working professional seeking career advancement or a passionate psychology enthusiast eager to learn more about the subject, these programs offer a flexible and convenient path to achieving your academic and professional goals.

Why Earn a Doctorate Degree in Psychology?

Earning a doctorate degree in psychology is a path filled with both personal and professional rewards. This esteemed level of education opens doors to numerous opportunities and allows individuals to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of the human mind.

Here are some compelling reasons why pursuing a doctorate in psychology can be a transformative and fulfilling experience. From making a meaningful impact on society to unlocking career advancement, the journey toward this advanced degree holds numerous advantages.

Advancement Within the Field

Earning a doctorate degree in psychology can significantly advance your career within the field. With this level of education, you become an expert in your chosen specialization — which opens the door to leadership positions, research opportunities, and clinical roles. Whether you aim to become a licensed psychologist, a university professor, or a director of a mental health clinic, a doctoral degree sets you apart, providing the knowledge and skills needed to excel. Additionally, it often leads to a broader scope of practice and the ability to make substantial contributions to the field through research and clinical expertise.

Moreover, a doctorate can enhance your credibility and reputation, making you a sought-after professional in the competitive field of psychology. It allows you to engage in cutting-edge research, offer specialized services, and even contribute to policy development in mental health and related areas.

Expand Clinical Knowledge

For those passionate about the practical aspects of psychology, pursuing a doctorate provides a unique opportunity to expand your clinical knowledge and expertise. Doctoral programs offer in-depth coursework and hands-on experiences that teach you advanced therapeutic techniques, assessment methodologies, and evidence-based practices. This comprehensive education equips you with the skills to diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health issues — from common disorders to complex psychological conditions.

Earning a doctorate also allows you to explore specialized areas of clinical psychology — such as neuropsychology, child psychology, or forensic psychology — enabling you to tailor your career to your specific interests. This depth of knowledge not only enhances your effectiveness as a practitioner but also fosters a deeper understanding of the complexities of the human mind and behavior.

Increase Earning Potential

One compelling reason to pursue a doctorate degree in psychology is the potential for a substantial increase in earning potential. With a doctoral degree, you are positioned to access higher-paying roles in both clinical and academic settings.

Licensed psychologists with a Ph.D. or Psy.D. often command higher salaries than those with master’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees. Moreover, the specialized expertise and research skills gained during doctoral studies can make you an attractive candidate for prestigious positions and consulting opportunities.

In academia, a doctorate can lead to tenured faculty positions at universities, where salaries tend to be competitive, and research grants and publishing opportunities can further boost income. Additionally, doctoral graduates often have the chance to engage in private practice, where they can set their own rates and build a successful, lucrative career.

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8 Popular Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs that Don’t Require the GRE

If you’re passionate about advancing your career in psychology and seeking a flexible online doctoral program that doesn’t require the GRE, you're in the right place. We’ve curated a list of institutions that offer online Doctorate in Psychology programs and eliminate the GRE as a mandatory admission criterion.

These programs are designed to accommodate your academic aspirations, providing the opportunity to specialize in various branches of psychology and excel in your chosen field.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology stands out as a unique institution for several compelling reasons. Their online doctoral program in psychology is known for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. The curriculum emphasizes culturally competent practices, ensuring that students are well-prepared to work with diverse populations in the field of psychology. This dedication to cultural competence sets graduates of The Chicago School apart as professionals who can effectively address the unique psychological needs of individuals from various backgrounds, ultimately contributing to more inclusive and effective mental healthcare.

Another distinguishing feature of The Chicago School's program is its strong focus on applied psychology. While providing a solid foundation in psychological theory and research, this program also emphasizes practical, real-world skills that are directly applicable to clinical settings. Students benefit from hands-on training, internships, and supervised clinical experiences that prepare them to excel in their careers from day one. Whether you aspire to become a licensed psychologist, a school psychologist, a counselor, or a researcher, The Chicago School equips you with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to make a meaningful impact in the field of psychology.

Walden University

Walden University’s online doctoral program in psychology stands out as a unique and innovative choice for aspiring psychologists. One key distinctive feature is its focus on social change and advocacy within the field. Walden’s curriculum is designed to empower students to become agents of positive change by addressing critical societal issues through the lens of psychology. Graduates are not only well-prepared psychologists but also advocates who can drive meaningful transformations in areas such as mental health policy, community well-being, and social justice.

Additionally, Walden University offers a flexible learning environment that caters to the needs of working professionals. The program’s asynchronous format allows students to balance their studies with their existing commitments, making it particularly accessible for those with busy schedules.

Walden’s faculty, comprised of experienced professionals, guides students through rigorous coursework and research, enabling them to develop a deep understanding of psychology while also fostering the practical skills necessary for success in a wide range of career paths within the field.

University of Arizona

One notable feature that sets the University of Arizona’s online doctoral program in psychology program apart is its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members who are leading experts not only in psychology but also in various related disciplines.

This interdisciplinary approach enriches students’ research and learning experiences, allowing them to explore psychology’s intersection with fields such as neuroscience, sociology, and public health. Such exposure equips graduates with a holistic understanding of psychological phenomena, preparing them to address complex real-world issues effectively.

Another remarkable aspect of the University of Arizona's program is its commitment to research and innovation. The university is known for its cutting-edge research initiatives in psychology, offering students access to state-of-the-art resources and opportunities for hands-on research involvement. Whether your interests lie in cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, or any other subfield, this program empowers students to engage in groundbreaking research projects.

Liberty University

Liberty University’s online doctoral program in psychology distinguishes itself through its strong commitment to a faith-integrated approach to psychology. The program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to address psychological issues while integrating principles of Christian faith and ethics. Specific courses, such as “Integration of Psychology and Theology” and “Christian Counseling for Marriage and Family,” provide a foundation for students to explore the intersection of faith and psychology.

In addition to its faith-based focus, Liberty University’s program offers a wide range of specialized courses that cater to various interests within psychology. Whether you’re interested in clinical psychology, counseling, or industrial-organizational psychology, Liberty’s program provides a diverse array of elective courses. For example, “Psychological Assessment and Appraisal” equips students with advanced assessment skills, while “Leadership and Organizational Culture” discusses the dynamics of workplace psychology.

Touro University

Touro University’s online doctoral program in psychology distinguishes itself through its emphasis on practitioner-scholars. This program is designed to produce graduates who not only possess advanced theoretical knowledge but are also well-prepared to apply that knowledge in real-world settings. This unique focus on practical application ensures that students gain the skills and experiences necessary to excel in clinical and counseling roles.

Touro’s faculty includes experienced practitioners who guide students through a curriculum that emphasizes evidence-based practices, ensuring that graduates are prepared to make a tangible impact on the lives of individuals and communities.

Saybrook University

One key aspect that sets Saybrook University’s online doctoral program in psychology apart is its strong emphasis on humanistic psychology. Rooted in the belief that individuals are unique and possess the capacity for personal growth and self-actualization, Saybrook’s program focuses on holistic and human-centered approaches to psychology.

Students are encouraged to explore the depths of human consciousness, behavior, and well-being, allowing them to develop a profound understanding of the human experience. This emphasis on humanistic psychology fosters graduates who are not only well-versed in traditional psychological theories but are also equipped to approach their work with empathy, compassion, and a deep appreciation for the individual.

The program places a strong emphasis on how psychology can be a force for positive change in society and the environment. Courses such as “Environmental Psychology” and “Social Justice and Community Psychology” prepare students to address pressing global issues through the lens of psychology.

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri’s online doctoral program offers students the opportunity to work closely with renowned faculty members who are at the forefront of psychological research. Whether you’re interested in experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, or any other subfield, the program provides access to cutting-edge research facilities and resources, allowing you to engage in impactful research projects. The emphasis on research not only prepares students to contribute to the advancement of psychological knowledge but also equips them with valuable analytical and critical-thinking skills that are highly sought after in both academia and the private sector.

The program is also known for its flexibility and individualized approach to education. Students have the freedom to tailor their course of study to align with their specific interests and career goals within psychology. This customization ensures that graduates are well-prepared to excel in their chosen subfield, whether it’s academia, clinical practice, or research.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University’s online doctoral program in psychology is distinguished by its strong focus on integrating faith and psychology. Rooted in a Christian worldview, this program offers a unique perspective that encourages students to explore the connections between psychology and spirituality.

Courses such as “Integration of Psychology and Christianity” provide students with a framework to understand how psychological principles intersect with matters of faith and ethics. This distinctive approach prepares graduates to not only be skilled psychologists but also compassionate practitioners who can address the spiritual and emotional well-being of individuals within a faith-based context.

Curriculum of Online Doctoral Programs in Psychology

If you’ve been considering the process of how to become a psychologist, an essential part of your education involves coursework. The curriculum of online doctoral programs in psychology is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the field while preparing them for advanced research, clinical practice, or teaching roles. 


These programs typically consist of a combination of core courses, specialized electives, and practical experiences. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from the curriculum:

Core Courses

Online doctoral programs in psychology typically begin with a series of core courses that lay the foundation for advanced study. These courses cover fundamental topics in psychology, including research methods, psychological assessment, ethics, and the history and theories of psychology. They provide students with a solid theoretical framework and research skills essential for their academic and professional journey.

Specialized Electives

As students progress through the program, they have the opportunity to choose specialized electives that align with their career goals and interests. These elective courses can span various subfields of psychology, such as clinical, counseling, forensic, industrial-organizational, or health psychology. This flexibility allows students to tailor their education to their specific career aspirations, whether they plan to become licensed psychologists, researchers, or educators.

Practical Experiences

Many online doctoral programs in psychology incorporate practical experiences, which are essential for gaining hands-on skills and real-world knowledge. These experiences can include internships, supervised clinical practicums, or research projects. 

Practical training is especially important for students pursuing careers in clinical or counseling psychology, as it provides opportunities to work with clients and patients under supervision, ensuring they are well-prepared for licensure and professional practice.  

What Are the Admission Requirements for Doctorate in Psychology Programs? 

Admission to a Doctorate in Psychology program is a competitive process, and requirements can vary from one institution to another. However, to be eligible for a doctoral program in psychology, candidates generally need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field. 

Some programs may require a master’s degree in psychology, particularly for Ph.D. programs. However, online Psy.D. programs may accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree and relevant coursework or experience. It’s essential to review the specific program’s prerequisites to ensure you meet their educational requirements.

Applicants are typically required to submit their academic transcripts from previous institutions. A competitive GPA (Grade Point Average) is often expected, with many programs seeking candidates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, some programs may require specific coursework in psychology or related fields, so be sure to review the prerequisite courses for each program you’re interested in. 

Other common admission requirements may include letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose or personal statement, and a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Additionally, many programs may require applicants to participate in an interview as part of the selection process, during which they can discuss their goals, research interests, and fit with the program’s faculty and curriculum. 

Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Accreditation is a critical aspect when selecting an online doctoral program in psychology. Look for programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) if you’re pursuing clinical or counseling psychology as this accreditation is often required for licensure. 

For non-clinical programs, ensure the university holds regional accreditation from recognized agencies like the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Accreditation guarantees that your degree meets high-quality standards and will be recognized by employers, licensing boards, and other institutions.

Do You Need a PhD to Be a Psychologist? 

In most cases, yes, you need a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) to become a licensed psychologist in the United States. These doctoral degrees typically require several years of graduate study, including coursework, supervised clinical experience, and research. 

After earning the degree, aspiring psychologists must also complete state-specific licensure requirements, which often include passing a licensing exam and fulfilling supervised practice hours. 

While some individuals with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in psychology can work in related fields, such as counseling or human resources, the title of “psychologist” and the ability to engage in independent clinical practice generally require a doctoral degree and licensure.

What Are Career Options for Individuals with a PhD in Psychology? 

A PhD in psychology opens up a wide range of career opportunities, allowing graduates to apply their expertise and skills in diverse professional settings. Here’s an overview of some of the rewarding career paths available to individuals with a PhD in psychology:

Clinical Psychologist 

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat mental health disorders through counseling and therapy.


Professors in psychology educate and mentor students while conducting research in their specialized areas of psychology.

School Psychologist

School psychologists support students’ academic and emotional well-being, assessing and addressing learning difficulties, and collaborating with educators.

Psychology Consultant

Psychology consultants offer expert guidance and advice on psychological matters to individuals, organizations, or businesses seeking psychological insights.


Researchers in psychology conduct studies and experiments to expand our understanding of human behavior, cognition, and mental processes.

Therapist or Counselor 

Therapists or counselors provide emotional support and guidance to individuals or groups to address mental health challenges and improve well-being.

Online Doctorate in Psychology FAQs

You’re considering pursuing an online doctorate in psychology, but perhaps you have more questions. Here, we address common questions to help you navigate this educational journey and make informed decisions about your academic and professional future.  

How Much Can You Earn with a Doctorate in Psychology?

The average salary for individuals with a doctorate in psychology varies based on factors such as specialization, location, and years of experience. Clinical psychologists, for example, can earn a median salary of around $90,100 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s important to note that a doctorate in psychology opens doors to higher-paying roles.

How Much Do Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs Cost? 

The cost of online doctoral programs in psychology can vary widely. On average, tuition for these programs can range from $30,000 to $60,000 or more, depending on the institution and program. Factors such as residency status, financial aid, and scholarships can also impact the overall cost. It’s essential to research and compare program costs and financial aid options to make an informed decision.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a PhD in Psychology? 

The time required to earn a PhD in psychology can vary based on program format, specialization, and individual progress. Typically, full-time students can complete their doctoral studies in psychology in about 5 to 7 years, including coursework, research, and the dissertation. Part-time students may take longer — often up to 8 to 10 years or more — to finish their degree.

Is Getting a PhD in Psychology Worth it?

Earning a PhD in psychology can be a worthwhile investment for individuals passionate about the field. It offers opportunities for specialized knowledge, research, and advanced careers. However, it’s essential to consider your career goals and weigh the financial and time commitments associated with pursuing a doctorate. For those seeking careers in research, academia, or clinical practice, a PhD can be highly rewarding.

Why Are Schools Not Requiring the GRE? 

Some schools are moving away from requiring the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) for admissions due to concerns about its effectiveness in predicting success in graduate programs and promoting diversity in student populations. Schools are increasingly focusing on holistic admissions criteria, including academic achievements, letters of recommendation, and personal statements, to evaluate applicants’ qualifications. This shift aims to make graduate education more accessible and equitable for a broader range of candidates.

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