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Online Psychology Graduate Certificate

Earning an online graduate-level certificate in psychology is a unique experience as there are a limited number of colleges and universities that offer online programs at this level. This article reviews general admission requirements and some common courses offered.

Earning an Online Graduate Certificates in Psychological Studies

General Admission Overview for a Graduate Certificate in Psychology Studies

  • Degree and Prerequisite Requirements: An undergraduate degree is required for admissions. Some colleges and universities require that students either have an undergraduate degree in psychology or complete perquisite coursework in psychological studies in order to be eligible for the program.
  • GPA: GPA requirements are college and university specific, and there are multiple schools that offer an online graduate certificate in psychology without a minimum GPA requirement.
  • Documents: Unofficial transcripts are necessary for the application process and submitting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is a common requirement in order to be considered for admittance into the graduate certificate program.
  • Tests: Having to submit GRE (graduate record examinations) scores is not a standards requirement, but students who do not speak English as a first language will need to submit TOEFL (test of English as a foreign language) scores.

Coursework Examples for a Graduate Certificate in Psychological Studies

Graduate certificate programs are designed to be completed in 1-3 years depending on part-time or full-time study, and within this time frame students can expect a comprehensive and challenging curriculum with coursework in psychopathology, developmental psychology, and techniques and theories in counseling. The coursework in professional ethics, learning theories, and behavioral studies prepare graduates of the program to advance in fields not directly related to psychology like educators and corporate managers, but students are also well-versed enough to apply their studies to social service careers as social workers or community service managers.


The diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of mental disorders are addressed in this class. The biological, neuroscientific, social and cultural implications on psychopathology are also analyzed. Theory and data are assessed, and students should walk away understanding the causes of abnormal behavior as well as being able to apply various therapeutic methods of changing said behaviors.

Developmental Psychology

Understanding how culture and environment influence human development over the course of a lifespan using research and examples from over the world are explored in this course. Normal and abnormal development and the effects of nutrition and location on development are examined. Students should come away from the course understanding the physical and mental growth and development of the human individual as well as devising treatment plans to address behaviors resulting from sociocultural, socioeconomic, and developmental influences and anomalies.

Ethics and Law

Professionals might find it hard to navigate their careers without encountering ethical and legal issues and their application and consequences in individual and organizational decision making. Also discussed are the ethical rights and responsibilities of clients and therapists. Students will also come to understand the importance of approaching these topics and issues from globally and culturally diverse standpoint.


Psychological tests and assessments are part and parcel for careers in psychology as well as during courses of study in the field. The concepts and theories of psychological tests, measurements, and assessments of the results as they pertain to intelligence and personality, learning styles, and within the confines of clinical situations are examined in psychology assessments and measurements courses. Students are expected to grasp the ethical implications, and the overall benefits and limitations, of psychometrics and the interpretation thereof.


In many ways research is the backbone of psychological studies, and research courses are not only designed to teach students how to conduct research, but also to give considerable consideration to the methodologies of psychological research work. Not only do students learn to apply the scientific method along with their growing knowledge in assessing case studies, but they may also design their own hypothetical studies. In conjunction with methodologies in experimental psychology and qualitative and quantitative research methods, students develop an understanding of data analysis. The roles of ethics and individual accountability in writing and reporting research outcomes are also explored as students develop into scholars who apply critical thinking skills in the consumption of established research.

A graduate certificate in psychology offers students the opportunity to increase their professional value and obtain graduate level credits that can be applied toward a full master's degree if the student should decide to pursue one. The online format offers flexibility for busy students who are often working professionals, while still allowing them all the benefits of the breadth of applied knowledge expected of graduate level studies in psychology whether on-campus or not.